12 Fun facts about Paris
Paris is my hometown. We have what we can call a love/hate relationship. Like a lot of Parisians, I am guilty of hating Paris as much as I love it (so… a lot). In my opinion, it’s a beautiful city to visit and enjoy, but it’s not a nice place to live in. But, I still love my city. So, today I am going to share some funny things and secrets about Paris you might enjoy!
x – Paris was founded in the 3rd century BC by the Gallics, the first French people, and was called Lutetia. According to historians, Lutetia was located in Nanterre, a close suburb west of Paris. The residents called themselves “Parisii” and Lutetia became Paris in 310.
x – The oldest bridge of Paris is the Pont Neuf. It was built in 1604 by the King Henry IV in 1578.
x – Paris is home to 1803 monuments, 173 museums, 450 parks and gardens that take about 1200 acres, 47000 trees, 400 cinemas. It also has 830 libraries, which makes it the city with the most libraries in the world, and 302 metro stations, which makes it the 4th largest public transport system in the world.
x – The motto of Paris is “Fluctuat Ner Mergitur”. It means “Tossed but not sunk” in Latin, referring to a ship. We reclaimed it after the attacks of the Bataclan and the bars in November 2015 as way to say “fuck you” to ISIS. They may have hurt us but we won’t sink. You can now see a big graffiti on Place de la République.
x – The regional train system in Paris was supposed to be called “Métro Express Régional Défense-Étoile”. That’s “M.E.R.D.E”. Do you know what merde means in French? It means “shit”. This may be one of the most used words in the French language, but not for a train, right? Anyway, it’s called RER, Réseau Express Régional. There are 5 lines and they go through the suburbs to the main metro stations in the inner city. One thing to know about the RER, it that it’s very rarely on time. Note that the B is the main one to know as it is the only train that goes to both airports (Charles de Gaulle and Orly).
x – You can see a bunch of statues all around Place de la Concorde. They represent the 8 largest cities of France: Lille, Strasbourg, Marseille, Nantes, Lyon, Brest, Bordeaux, and Rouen.
x – There are approximately a dozen ghost stations in Paris. Some famous ones are:
The station Porte Molitor (built in 1923) originally intended to access the stadium at the Parc des Princes. Today, the tracks are used as a garage for the trains.
And the station Porte des Lilas (1921-1939) was established as a shuttle between the lines 3bis and 7bis. Today, it is used mostly for filming and the actual Porte des Lilas station is close to it. It’s on the lines 11 and 3B, as well as the tram T3b.
x – There are actually ten Statues of Liberty in France! 5 of them are in Paris. The most famous one is on l’ile aux Cygne, next to Pont de l’Alma. It was offered by the International Herald Tribune to France in 1987, as a symbol of friendship between France and the United States. There is also one in the Luxembourg gardens.
x – As you might know, the French can be pretty rebellious. When Hitler showed up in Paris for the first time during World War II, he was forced to walk up the stairs all the way up the Eiffel Tower because the workers had cut all the lifts’ cables before his arrival, to make sure he couldn’t use any of them. Way to be passive-aggressive!
x – Still during World War II, the Grande Mosquée de Paris (the great Mosque, in the 5th arrondissement) helped a lot of Jewish people escape the city. They would give them fake ID papers indicating they were Muslims and not Jewish, which saved them from the concentration camps.
x – Useful tip if you ever get lost looking for a specific number on a street, remember this: if the street is perpendicular to the river, the 1st number will be on the closest side from the river and if the street is parallel to the river, the numbers follow the river in ascending order.
x The RER A, the one that goes to Disneyland Paris, is the most used train line in Europe and carries 1.2 millions passengers everyday.
Did you enjoy these? Have you learned anything new? Let me know in the comment, I might have more fun facts to share with you about my lovely hometown!
You can find more photos of Paris in my portefolio, check it out!
(more to come in the France part of my travels, no worries 😉 )