10 Things You Didn’t Know About ParisMarch 23, 2015 4:27 pm
Paris, the City of Light, is a city you can visit many times – over and over, in fact – and you still won’t know everything there is to know. From its historic centre, magnificent architecture and iconic landmarks the city’s heritage is complex, intriguing and never ending.
To make things even more interesting, we thought we’d spice it up a little and tell you 10 things you didn’t know about Paris just to add to the appeal of this magical and captivating city.
- There are more than one ‘Arc’ in Paris
Paris’ most loved Arc is the iconic Arc de Triomphe, stationed in the centre of the Étoile at Champs Elysées. However, if you keep your eyes peeled you will come across a fair few others. The arc just outside the Louvre, Arc du Carrousel, is one of the most popular landmarks to be confused with the Arc de Triomphe. It’s worth noting however, as it has a notable history itself. Commissioned by Napoleon and built in 1808. There are also two more in Paris, by Strasbourg Saint Denis, at the request of Louis XIV who had a penchant for these architectural monuments.
- Sometimes streets have more than one name
If you’ve ever wandered around Paris you might have noticed that some of the streets have more than one name. This was because there was once great debate over the height at which these familiar blue plaques were to be fixed. To make things even more inconsistent, you’ll also see some street names have been engraved into the stone, too, and don’t match their blue plaque above. The stone names are the old street names, pre-Revolution, which were then changed to what you see in the blue plaques – except the removal men were too lazy to take the old ones off!
- Paris haute couture was invented by an Englishman
Paris is synonymous with high fashion and haute couture, however ironically it was actually Charles Worth, an English draper, who really created the trend of haute couture. This modest man from Lincolnshire opened a luxury shop on the prestigious rue de la Paix, breaking the mould of made-to-order gowns, as was the habit of dressing in Paris in those days; instead making gowns of next season fashion. This British influence caught on and was swallowed up by the French artistry and fashion over time that soon it became known, and recognised, as Parisian haute couture.
- The column in the Bastille
For anyone who has visited Bastille Square, you cannot miss the imposing column in the middle of Place de la Bastille. However, the Revolution that it commemorates is not actually the French Revolution as most people think, but the July Revolution of 1880! So next time the question comes up in a pub quiz, you’ll know the answer!
- Paris is the Queen of café culture
Come rain or shine, you’ll see the streets of Paris lined with people sipping coffee and reading their papers. Paris’ popular café culture is inescapable and did you know it’s actually impossible to have a coffee at every Paris café? It has been worked out that it would take nearly 30 years of your life to visit every open terraced bar/café/restaurant in Paris! To make it simple, here are some of our favourites.
- It was a law until 2013 that women couldn’t wear trousers
Paris might be progressive in terms of fashion, but a slight loophole in the law meant that until 31st January 2013, it was actually illegal for women to wear trousers in Paris! A law created in 1800, following the French Revolution, made it so that women couldn’t wear trousers unless they sought permission by a policeman! Although in the years 1892 and 1909 women could legally wear trousers while riding horses and riding bikes, the original law was left untouched until France’s Minister of Women’s Rights overturned it… 213 years later!
- Paris has three Statues of Liberty
Everyone recognises the Statue of Liberty as one of the biggest symbols and icons in the world; New York is lucky to have just one! But did you know that Paris has, in fact, three of them! Dotted around Paris you will find three replicas of the American statue from the lifesize flame on (aptly named) Avenue de New York. If you hop on a Seine River Cruise you will also be able to see a second replica on the Ile de Cygne (Swan Island) near the Eiffel Tower, and the third is situated in the picturesque Luxembourg Gardens.
- Celebrate football scandals with a statue
The 2006 World Cup made headlines not only for its world class play, but as much for its foul play. This was the year in which French player Zidane disgraced himself by head-butting his Italian opponent, Materazzi, during the final – and deciding – match. This act of violence made headlines around the world but artist Adel Abdessemed took it one step further and made a statue of this iconic moment called Coup de tête in 2012, unveiling it outside the famous contemporary art gallery Centre Pompidou. Understandably it caused ripples of upset and it was moved to Doha a year later…
- Paris Syndrome – a genuine malady
A common malady among certain Japanese tourists is the Paris Syndrome. Doctors around the world have noticed a trend of complaints by, specifically mid-thirty year old females from Japan visiting Paris, who arrived with such high expectations, to have their illusions shattered by reality. This shock (which the Japanese Embassy treats in all seriousness) has been dubbed Paris Syndrome and is a real psychological stress disorder with symptoms such as dizziness, sweating and anxiety.
- Streets far as the eye can see
Paris is made up of 6,100 streets – and considering most of them have two names is still quite a number! Most tourists are urged to walk around Paris, rather than hop in taxis, as that’s where your adventures are to be had. Getting from the north of the city to the south only takes two hours, on average as well so it’s always recommended. You can even take a detour down the shortest street in Paris, too, just to say you’ve done it – measuring only 5.75m!