50 Picturesque Facts about Paris, The City of Love

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26 Lafayette, we are here!

Lafayette, we are here!

In 1917, during World War 1, U.S. troops in Paris stopped at the grave (composed of soil from the U.S.) of French Revolutionary War Hero, Marquis de Lafayette, and proclaimed “Lafayette, we are here!”


27. Paris was the first western capital to have a black mayor. Severiano de Heredia became the mayor Paris in 1879.


28. Before 1976, American wine had a terrible reputation internationally until an event where Stag’s Leap, an American winery, won first place against French wines. The Paris Wine Tasting of 1976 thus became known as the Judgment of Paris. In 2006 the same vintages were re-tasted and Stag’s Leap beat all French wines and took 2nd place.


29. The opera house in Paris that the Phantom of the Opera is based on actually has an underground lake beneath it, just like in the book and musical.


30. When Paris’s Cemetery of the Innocents was moved, the human remains (decomposed to mostly fat deposits) were made into candles.


31 Statue of Liberty Replicas

Statue of Liberty Replicas

There are eight replicas of the Statue of Liberty spread across Paris. The largest of all the replicas was a gift to the French three years after the original statue was gifted to the United States. There is also a 1:1 flame that is an unofficial memorial to Princess Diana.


32. The Grand Mosque in Paris, under Si Kaddour Benghabrit, saved hundreds of Jews during World War 2 by granting them fake papers and allowing them to hide in the catacombs beneath the mosque.


33. Paris has public sparkling water fountains throughout the city to encourage more people to drink water.


34. In Paris, in 1778, lightning rods were the height of fashion, being included in hats, umbrellas and the like.


35. The Paris Fire Brigade is part of the French Army. They serve Paris and the surrounding area of 7 million people. Napoleon militarized the Fire Department after seeing a lackluster response during a fire at the Austrian Embassy.


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36 Paris’ Ugliest Building

Paris' Ugliest Building

The Tour Montparnasse has been the tallest building in central Paris for over 50 years, primarily because it was deemed ugly after it was built which resulted in a ban of structures over 7 stories tall.


37. Disneyland Paris opened in 1992 but didn’t have a profitable year until 1995. Efforts to increase profit included serving alcoholic beverages with meals in 1993.


38. At the start of the 20th century, Paris had a zoo full of confined humans from their colonies: Madagascar, Indochine, Sudan, Congo, Tunisia and Morocco. Over a million people visited the zoo.


39. If an apartment in Paris has a direct view of the Eiffel Tower rent is automatically 2-3 times, the average of the neighborhood.


40. The Success of “Cyrano de Bergerac” play, which premiered in 1897 in Paris, was such that one full hour after the curtain was down, the audience was still applauding.


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41 Strange Olympic Event

Strange Olympic Event

The 1900 Paris Olympics featured a 200m swimming obstacle race. Swimmers started by clambering over a pole to plunge into the River Seine. They fought the current to scramble over a row of boats moored in their path, before ducking under a second row of boats, and then sprinting to the finish.


42. Paris’s first Tex-Mex restaurant opened in 1983. The business was slow, but the 1986 film Betty Blue, which had characters drinking tequila shots and eating chili con carne, made the food popular. One restaurateur said, “after the movie came out, everybody in Paris wanted a shot of tequila and a bowl of chili.”


43. There was an amusement park inside Paris from 1900 to 1934 called “Magic City”, predating Luna Park by 9 years. It was also an LGBT heaven where meet-ups were presented as “disguised dancings” in order to evade vice squad.


44. “Paris Syndrome” is a psychological disorder whereby Japanese tourists visiting Paris for the first time experience such severe culture shock that they become ill.


45. The oldest monument in Paris, the Luxor Obelisk, is thought to be over 3,000 years old. The Ottoman ruler of Egypt gave 75 feet, 250-ton ancient Egyptian obelisk to France in exchange for a mechanical clock in 1833. The obelisk was placed in the center of the Place de la Concorde where it stands today.


15 Most Controversial & Costly Blunders in History


46 Renault Taxi de la Marne

Renault Taxi de la Marne

In 1914, thousands of allied troops were transported from Paris to the Battle of the Marne in local taxis (Renault Taxi de la Marne).


47. In 1895, a train entered the Gare Montparnasse station in Paris too fast, crashed through a wall, and fell 33 feet before landing on its nose and killing a woman standing below. A guard was fined 25 francs as he’d been preoccupied with paperwork and failed to apply the emergency handbrake.


48. Originally a “meter” was defined as one ten millionths of the distance between the North Pole and the Equator through a Paris meridian, which you can still find at the center of the Paris Observatory.


49. In Paris, in 1450, a pack of man-eating wolves killed 40 people, led by a red wolf.


50. It took 87 years to build Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral, from 1163-1250.


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