In the nomenclature of Parisian streets, the best-represented theme is the military. With 700 street names (approximately 12% of all Parisian streets), the subject is by far the most common. The next is religion (100 names, or approximately 3% of streets), while trades (approximately 80 names, or 1.5% of streets) take third place.
We call them cafés, bars, bistros, and brasseries. Some are chic, and others attract great crowds. Paris boasts approximately 10,000 cafés, nearly all of which include terraces. These places serve as a great way to spend an afternoon and watch the people passing by.
Built between 1887 and 1889, the Eiffel Tower instantly became the world’s tallest structure. And in fact, the Eiffel Tower was not its original name! During the Universal Exposition of 1889, the structure was called the Tour de 300 mètres, or the 300-Metre Tower. And during its construction, a number of Parisians deemed the tower unsightly and called for its demolition!
This monument is 34 centuries old and Egyptian. It’s the obelisk at the Place de la Concorde, also known as the Obelisk of Luxor. Built during the reign of Ramesses II, the obelisk was given to France in 1830 by Muhammad Ali, Viceroy of Egypt. It took three years for this 23-metre, 230-tonne structure to arrive safely in Paris. The obelisk was erected with great reinforcements at Place de la Concorde in 1836.
The Catacombs of Paris feature 350 kilometres of underground tunnels. For centuries, the Parisians dug up stones to build their homes. In 1765, Parliament banned burials within city limits for sanitation reasons. 20 years later, the idea of emptying the city cemeteries and storing the bones of 6 million people underground became a reality… The underground space was blessed and consecrated, and the Catacombs were born…
In 1572, on 18 August at Notre Dame Cathedral, people gathered to celebrate the marriage of Marguerite de Valois (the future Queen Margot) and Henry of Navarre (later Henri IV). However, Henri was Protestant, and was not allowed to enter the Catholic cathedral. So, the wedding took place separately, with the bride at the altar and the groom in the square outside Notre Dame. Later, when Henri IV converted to Catholicism in order to reign, he declared, “Paris is worth a Mass!”
The Seine passes beneath 37 Parisian bridges, including 5 gateways. Completed in 1607, the Pont Neuf is the oldest bridge still standing in Paris. It was named for the new features it showcased at the time of its construction. Devoid of residences in the immediate area, the Pont Neuf revolutionised the lives of pedestrians by providing the first sidewalk in Paris. The newest bridge is the Simone de Beauvoir Gateway, a structure for pedestrians and cyclists linking the 12th and the 13th arrondissements.
Built in the 1st century, the Arènes de Lutèce, located on Rue Monge, could accommodate nearly 15,000 spectators. They are, along with the Thermes de Cluny (the Cluny Museum), the only visible remains of the Gallo-Roman period in Paris.