10 things you didn’t know about Paris

Paris, the French capital, is talked about so much, photographed so much and visited so much that it might see like there’s nothing that the city can hide anymore. But Paris is not as easy to figure out as you might think, and it knows how to keep secrets that only the locals know sometimes. If you are curious about the hidden secrets of the city of love and romance, here are 10 things you didn’t know about Paris.

1. Foreign monuments

Some of the most beloved monuments in Paris are actually British, like the Wallace fountains, for example, installed by a British philanthropist in the 19th century. The fountains feature statues symbolizing simplicity, goodness, charity and sobriety.

2. Street plaques

Some streets in Paris have two name plaques, and when they are identical, it means that the level of the street was changed, and when the names are different, the new name was probably added after the revolution. In either case, officials couldn’t be bothered to remove the old ones.

3. Haute Couture

Parisian haute couture was invented by a Brit called Charles Worth, who instead of sewing custom dresses, simply invented new models and notified rich ladies that those would be the colors or fashions of next season.

4. Historical buildinds

Although Paris seems proud of its historical architecture, at the end of the 19th century, civic planner Baron Haussmann destroyed much of the city’s medieval heritage.

5. Metro entraces

Paris is fickle when it comes to its metro entrances – for example in the early 20th century, the beautiful art nouveau entrances designed by Hector Guimard were so hated by the population that most of them were destroyed.

6. The name

One of the 10 things that you maybe didn’t know about Paris is that the city’s name is not some allusion to the prince of Troy; it comes from the name of the Parisii, a Gaulish tribe who lived on the site of the modern-day city.

7. City of Lights

Paris is not actually called the city of lights because it lights up like a Christmas tree each night – the name comes from its reputation as the home of many of the greatest intellectuals – lights – of the world.

8. Eiffel Tower

Some facts about this emblematic structure: there are 1652 steps to the top of the tower, the building is made of 15,000 iron pieces and 2.5 million rivets, and it is covered in 40 tonnes of paint.

9. Palais Royal

The beautiful royal palace, just opposite the northern wing of the Louvre, has a bit of a saucy history: right after the French Revolution, it housed several brothels!

10. May 1968

1968 was the year of the biggest general strike ever in Paris, and things got so violent that pavement stones were hurled by the protesters. Today, some of these stones are being sold on e-bay for quite a lot of money.

 

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