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30+ Fun, Interesting & Unique Facts About Paris

Discover 30+ Fun, Weird, Unique & Interesting facts about Paris! From its iconic landmarks to its rich history (+ more!) PLUS 10 Paris Facts for Kids – how many do you already know?!

Welcome to a delightful exploration of the enchanting city of Paris! As the capital of France, Paris beckons with its timeless charm, iconic landmarks, and rich tapestry of history and culture – and in 2024, The XXXIII Olympic Summer Games.

Whether you’re planning a dreamy trip to the City of Light, mapping out a three-day adventure in its bustling streets, or simply seeking to broaden your horizons with some fascinating tidbits, you’re in for a treat.

In this post, we unveil over 30 fun, interesting, and unique facts about Paris that will captivate your imagination and leave you with a deeper appreciation for this extraordinary city. And for our younger readers, we’ve curated a special collection of 10 fun facts about Paris designed to spark joy and curiosity.

Join us on a journey through the cobblestone streets, along the banks of the Seine River, and beneath the shadow of the Eiffel Tower as we uncover the secrets and wonders that make Paris truly unforgettable.

Facts about Paris cover photo of traditional Parisian slate rooftops, with the Eiffel tower standing above them in the distance Disclaimer: Almost all posts on this site contain affiliate links, and this one featuring 30+ Interesting Facts About Paris (inc. 10 Fun Facts about Paris for Kids) is no different. This means that if you click on any of the links in this post (and make a purchase) I may receive a small commission at absolutely no cost to you. Each post is carefully crafted to (hopefully!) answer all your questions and recommendations are made where we believe they will improve your trip and help with your planning. As such we thank you in advance should you decide to click & buy. Read my full Disclosure here.


30+ Interesting Facts About Paris

1. Paris was originally a Roman city called Lutetia. The city was later conquered by the Franks, who renamed it Paris. Evidence of the Romans can be found in the Latin Quarter at Arènes de Lutèce, an ancient Roman amphitheater that dates back to the 1st century AD.

2. Paris is known as the “City of Light”(not love!) – but you may not know the reason why:

Paris is often referred to as the “City of Light” or “La Ville Lumière” in French. There are two main reasons why Paris earned this nickname. First, the city was one of the first in the world to have street lighting, which was introduced in the late 17th century during the reign of King Louis XIV. The city’s streets were lit by oil lamps, which were replaced by gas lamps in the early 19th century. Today, Paris is illuminated by over 200,000 streetlights, making it one of the brightest cities in the world.

The second reason why Paris is called the “City of Light” is due to its intellectual and cultural heritage. Paris has a long history of being a center for art, literature, philosophy, and science. The city has been home to many famous writers, artists, and thinkers, such as Voltaire, Victor Hugo, and Albert Einstein (at various points in their lives). Paris has also been the site of many important events in history, such as the French Revolution and the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.

The nickname “City of Light” is also a play on words, as the French word “lumière” can also mean “enlightenment” or “illumination.” Paris has been a beacon of culture and learning for centuries, attracting people from all over the world who come to study, work, or simply enjoy the city’s beauty and charm.

Eiffel Tower from the Seine, the river in the foreground, the sky a light shade of blue with some white wispy clouds

3. Built for the 1889 World’s Fair, The Eiffel Tower was meant to be a temporary structure, however, its popularity has meant it was left standing and has become one of the most visited landmarks in the world, the tallest building in the city and an enduring symbol of Paris (and maybe even France!) itself. (This is quite a famous fact about Paris – and I think quite well known).

RELATED: First-time visitor? We’ve got 10 Reasons to Visit Paris and Quotes about Paris to get you inspired plus 35 Top Things to do in Paris (inc. 20 FREE Things to do in Paris to save your wallet) and 35+ Indoor Activities for a Rainy Day PLUS 30+ Essential Paris Travel Tips to know before you go – as well as some Basic French words and phrases to get you started!

4. The Louvre Museum, home to the famous Mona Lisa, Venus di Milo and countless other artistic treasures (including over 380,000 objects and 35,000 works of art spanning 9,000 years), was originally a medieval fortress and later a royal palace before becoming what it is now – the largest art museum in the world.

Pyramid at the Louvre Museum

5. Paris is divided into 20 Arrondissements

Paris is divided into 20 arrondissements, each with its own unique character and charm. The arrondissements spiral clockwise like a snail shell from the Left Bank (south) and Right Bank (north) of the Seine River right up to the périphérique (ring road) that encircles the city.

Each arrondissement has its own distinctive personality and draws for visitors, from the historic architecture of the 1st and 3rd arrondissements to the trendy boutiques and restaurants of the 10th and 11th arrondissements.

Here is a brief overview of each arrondissement and what major attractions and Paris highlights can be found in each:

Arrondissement Highlights
1st Louvre Museum, Tuileries Garden, Palais Royal
2nd Bourse (stock exchange), Opéra-Comique, Place des Victoires
3rd Picasso Museum, Place des Vosges, Carnavalet Museum
4th Notre-Dame Cathedral, Sainte-Chapelle, Hôtel de Ville
5th Panthéon, Sorbonne University, Jardin des Plantes
6th Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Luxembourg Gardens, École des Beaux-Arts
7th Eiffel Tower, Musée d’Orsay, Les Invalides
8th Champs-Élysées, Arc de Triomphe, Grand Palais
9th Folies Bergère, Galeries Lafayette, Opéra Garnier
10th Canal Saint-Martin, Gare du Nord, street art
11th Bastille, Oberkampf neighborhood, Père Lachaise Cemetery
12th Bois de Vincennes, Gare de Lyon, Bercy Village
13th Chinatown, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Butte-aux-Cailles
14th Montparnasse Tower, Catacombs of Paris, Parc Montsouris
15th Tour Montparnasse, Parc des Expositions, André Citroën Park
16th Trocadéro, Palais de Tokyo, Bois de Boulogne
17th Batignolles neighborhood, Parc Monceau, Palais des Congrès
18th Montmartre, Sacré-Cœur Basilica, Moulin Rouge
19th Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, La Villette, Canal de l’Ourcq
20th Père Lachaise Cemetery, Belleville neighborhood, Parc de Belleville

Seine River at Sunset, a boat traveling away from the bridge where the photographer is standing

6. The Seine River is one of the most iconic landmarks in Paris, France. It is a 485-mile-long river that flows through the heart of the city, dividing it into two parts: the Rive Gauche (Left Bank) and the Rive Droite (Right Bank). But is only the second longest river in France, after the Loire River.

7. There is another city directly underneath the city of Paris. The Catacombs of Paris are a network of underground tunnels and chambers that are home to the remains of over six million people. One of the most interesting parts of the Catacombs is the Ossuary, a room that is filled with bones and skulls that have been arranged in intricate patterns.

8. Notre Dame Cathedral has 10 bells, the oldest and heaviest of which – the ‘bourdon’ – dates back to the 15th century and weighs 13 tonnes. At the request of King Louis XIV, it was recast in 1681 and given the name ‘Emmanuel’. It rings at F sharp and has tolled for major events in French and Global history such as the coronations of French kings and papal visits, and to mark the end of major conflicts including World War I and World War II.

In the late 1700s, it survived the French Revolution (the other nine were melted down for ammunition), and in April 2019 it survived the fire which destroyed much of the Cathedral. It currently hangs in place awaiting the completion of the re-build and reopening of Notre Dame. (The other 9 have names too, if you are curious)

Replica Statue of Liberty in Musee D'Orsay

Replica Statue of Liberty in Musee D’Orsay

9. Paris is home to 5 replicas of the Statue of Liberty, including a smaller version of the statue that stands on Île aux Cygnes in the Seine River which faces her counterpart in New York City.

This statue was gifted to France by the United States in 1889 to commemorate the centennial of the French Revolution. Other replicas can be found throughout the city, including in the Jardin du Luxembourg and on the Pont de Grenelle.

10. The Pont Neuf (which ironically translates as ‘new bridge’), is the oldest bridge in Paris which spans the Seine River and connects the Île de la Cité with the Left Bank.

11. The Paris Métro, inaugurated in 1900, is one of the oldest and most extensive underground railway systems in the world, facilitating transportation throughout the city across 16 lines and over 300 stations.

12. There are 6,100 streets – (known as rues) – in Paris; the shortest one, Rue des Degrés, is just 5.75 metres long and can be found in the 2nd arrondissement. Find out more about the most interesting and prettiest streets in Paris.

Disneyland Paris Main Street looking towards the Castle

13. Disneyland Paris is the most visited tourist attraction in Europe welcoming around 15 million visitors – or Disney devotees – per year – although it is 31.5km from Paris city center (and easily accessible on a direct RER A train from Gare de Lyon, costing around €5 each way, in 2024)

14. There are no Stop signs in Paris. Originally introduced in 1955, they were removed and replaced over the years with traffic lights and roundabouts. Notably, one Stop sign remained in 2012 (located in the 16th Arrondissement) was finally removed in 2016 – although because of its fame, had been stolen many times before its final retirement.

15. Paris is home to the world’s first department store, called Le Bon Marché, which opened in 1852 and is still in operation today.

16. Charles De Gaulle Airport is the 10th busiest airport in the world, seeing 57,474,033 passengers (in 2022.) Conversely, it was also home to an Iranian refugee – Mehran Karimi Nasseri – for 18 years, which inspired Steven Spielberg’s, ‘The Terminal‘ starring Tom Hanks.

People queuing outside the Louis Vuitton Store

17. Paris is considered the fashion capital of the world, and for good reason. The city is home to some of the world’s most iconic fashion houses, including Chanel, Balmain, Christian Dior, Hermes and Louis Vuitton.

18. Paris is home to the world’s oldest cafe. The Cafe Procope was founded in 1686 and has been in operation ever since.

19. There are 2 natural islands in the Seine River: the Île SaintLouis and Île de la Cité. They are home to some of Paris’ top attractions including the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris, Sainte-Chapelle, and The Concierge – where Marie-Antoinette was held for the last 10 weeks of her life before her execution.

20. An unoccupied flat in Paris, whose rent was paid each month for 70 years but remained empty and locked, was secretly home to a Boldini painting valued at more than $2 million – which was only discovered upon the death of the renter.

21. There are 3 arches located along the Historical Axis (Axe historique) of Paris (the 10km stretch between La Bastille and La Defence along the Champs-Élysées and Avenue de la Grande Armée): The Arc de Triomphe, The Grande Arche de la Défense and the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel (and there are incredible views of Paris from each!).

Arc de Triomphe Paris, taken from the street corner opposite where lpadlocks have been attached to a lamppost in the foreground of the shot

22. The French army was the first to use camouflage, commencing in 1915 during World War I. The word camouflage comes from the French verb “to make up for the stage.”

23. The very first movie shown in a cinema was on 28 December 1895, in Paris. The movie was called “Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory” and was created by the Lumière brothers, Auguste and Louis.

24. ‘Paris Syndrome‘ is a psychological condition experienced by some visitors disappointed by the city not living up to their expectations. Albeit rare, this extreme form of culture shock does exist.

25. There are several surviving vineyards within the city – the most iconic of which is situated in the shadow of the Sacré-Coeur, although there are over 135 vineyards in the wider Paris area.

26. There are more than 420 parks and gardens in Paris, covering more than three thousand hectares and containing more than 250,000 trees. Some of the most famous include Jardin des Tuileries, Luxembourg Gardens, Parc de Belleville, Parc Monceau and Bois de Boulogne.

Poeople sat on green chairs next to a lake with museum buildings in the distance on Rue du Rivoli Paris

And finally, some of the most unique facts about Paris are:

27. Nicholas Flamel – you know, the guy from the Harry Potter films with the elixir of life – actually existed AND you can visit his house.

In real life, he was a scribe who lived between 1330 and 1418. Following his death, rumors began circulating that he had learned alchemical secrets that allowed him to create the Philosopher’s Stone which turns base metals into gold, and that he and his wife, Perenelle, achieved immortality through the “Elixir of Life”

28. There is an old railway that encircles the entire city called ‘The Petite Centre’. Dating back to the 19th Century it was abandoned to the elements and is now a true hidden gem of Paris.

29. The official motto of Paris is Fluctuat nec mergitur‘ – a Latin phrase which means “[she] is rocked [by the waves], but does not sink” and has been used since 1358. 

30. The Parisian sewer system mirrors the streets above. Large enough for people to walk through, it has streets, crossings, squares, and blind alleys directly below their above-ground counterparts – and even have their own corresponding street signs! Visitors can learn all about it at The Musée des égouts de Paris (Paris Sewer Museum).

Paris Sewers Museum

31. Paris and Rome are sister cities that have shared the same motto since 1956 when they were twinned: “Solo Parigi è degna di Roma, solo Roma è degna di Parigi” (Only Paris is worthy of Rome; only Rome is worthy of Paris).

32. Paris holds an annual Bread Festival – la Fête du pain – which is held in May each year. It starts on the day of Saint-Honoré, the patron saint of bakers, and ends the following Sunday.

33. The oldest cemetery in Paris is not Pere Lechaise (est. 1804) – but is Cimetière du Calvaire (Calvaire Cemetery), first established in 1688 and reopened in 1801 is located next to the Sacre-Coeur in Montmartre.

It is only open to the public twice a year: November 1 (All Saints’ Day) and during the city’s Heritage Days, which occur the third weekend in September.

34. The acronym for the RER (the train system running throughout Paris and its suburbs, with the RER A being the most frequented daily train line in Europe) was originally meant to be MERDEwhich means sh!t in French!

Train in Paris

10 Fun Paris Facts for Kids

1. Paris is the capital city of France.

2. During the Middle Ages, Paris was the largest city in Europe.

Notre Dame de Paris

3. Notre Dame Cathedral has 10 bells, but the largest and most important is called Emmanuel. He weighs 13 tonnes, sounds in F Sharp, and survived both the French Revolution and the terrible fire that destroyed most of the cathedral in 2019.

4. The Louvre Museum in Paris is the largest art museum in the world and is home to the famous painting, the Mona Lisa, which attracts millions of visitors each year.

5. The Eiffel Tower, Paris’ most famous landmark, was only meant to be temporary and was almost torn down after its construction!

6. Disneyland Paris, a magical theme park inspired by Disney characters, is just a short train ride away from the city center and the most visited tourist attraction in Europe welcoming around 15 million visitors a year.

La Defence as seen from the top of the Arc de Triomphe

7. La Defence is the business district of Paris, home to 19 skyscrapers and over 50 other buildings built of glass and steel. La Grande Arche de la Défense dominates the skyline.

8. There is a small version of the Statue of Liberty on the Seine, which faces her counterpart in New York City. In total, there are 5 replicas throughout the city.

9. There are more than 100 museums in Paris. The most famous are the Louvre, Musee D’Orsay, Petit Palais, Centre Pompidou, Hôtel de la Marine, Fondation Louis Vuitton, and Musée Picasso – just to name a few.

Mona Lisa at The Louvre Museum

10. The Eiffel Tower is NOT the most visited tourist attraction in the city – that honor actually goes to the Louvre Museum.

11. Famous French foods include Baguettes, Croissants, Crepes, French Onion Soup, Escargot (snails!), Boeuf Bourguignon, Steak Frites, Coq au Vin, Croque Monsieur, and Macarons.


And that’s a wrap! We hope our guide to the 30+ Facts about Paris has encouraged you to visit the French Capital at least once in your life. And if you know of anyone else who needs a little bit of inspiration or assistance in planning their Parisien getaway or just increased their knowledge about Paris, please be sure to share on social media: Facebook, Flipboard, Twitter or grab the image from below for Pinterest. And remember – sharing is caring (and we thank you in advance!)

Facts about Paris cover photo of traditional Parisian slate rooftops, with the Eiffel tower standing above them in the distance


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