10 General facts about Paris
Paris is the capital of France and has more than 2,2 million inhabitants. Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world, attracting around 14 million international visitors every year… Here are 10 general facts:
- The name “Paris” is derived from that of its earliest inhabitants (Parisii). Paris’s original name was Lutetia Parisiorum. The origin of this name is uncertain. It may contain the Celtic root *luco-t-, which means “mouse” or it may derive from another Celtic root, luto- or luteuo-, which means “marsh” or “swamp”.
- Paris most famous nickname is “The City of Light”. Not only because Paris became one of the first European cities to adopt gas street lighting, but also because Paris was a centre of education and ideas during the Age of Enlightenment. Since the mid-19th century, Paris has also been known as Paname in French slang.
- The city of Paris is divided into twenty arrondissements. They are arranged in the form of a clockwise spiral. The first arrondissement (Louvre) is the least populated of the city’s arrondissements and one of the smallest by area. You can find the number of the arrondissement on the street signs.
- The river that flows through Paris is called the Seine. There are more than 30 bridges over the Seine in Paris. Pont Neuf is the oldest one (built between 1578 and 1607).
- Paris is relatively flat, and the lowest point is 35 m (115 ft) above sea level. Yet there are several prominent hills of which the highest is Montmartre at 130 m (427 ft).
- There are more than 6 000 streets in Paris. One of the most famous streets is the Avenue des Champs-Élysées.
- Surprisingly for an old city, Paris has very few mediaeval houses. The oldest stone house in Paris is the house of Nicolas Flamel (a successful scrivener and manuscript-seller). It was built in 1407 and you’ll find it at 51 rue de Montmorency. This house has been the subject of new restorations in June 2007 and is now a restaurant (Auberge Nicolas Flamel).
- There are a lot of popular attractions in Paris. The Notre Dame Cathedral, The Louvre Museum, the Eiffel Tower and the Sacré-Coeur Basilica attract all more than 5 million visitors per year.
- Paris is twinned with a number of cities. The most famous one is Rome. In 1956 the two capitals became sister cities. There is even a famous quote about these sister cities: “Only Paris is worthy of Rome; only Rome is worthy of Paris.” Other partner cities are: Beijing, Berlin, Chicago, Dubai, London, Moscow, New York City, Rio De Janeiro, Tokyo and so on (whole list).
- Famous people who lived in Paris: Claude Monet (French painter), Coco Chanel (French fashion designer), Edith Piaf (French singer), Frederic Chopin (Polish composer), Charles de Gaulle (French statesman), Victor Hugo (French novelist), Maria Skłodowska-Curie (Polish physicist) and many more.