Things you might not know about Paris…

Pont Neuf

Despite its name (‘Pont Neuf’ means new bridge), the Pont Neuf is the oldest bridge in town. It was built between 1578 and 1607 to a design by Jean Baptiste Androuet du Cerceau.


The Gallo-Roman town of Lutetia (Lutetia Parisiorum in Latin) was the predecessor of the modern-day city of Paris. It was founded in about the middle of the 3rd century BCE by the Parisii, a Gallic tribe.

Eiffel Tower

In figures

  • Current height: 324 m – 1063 feet
  • Original height: 312 m – 1024 feet
  • Lifts: 5 lifts from the esplanade to second floor, 2 x 2 duolifts from second floor to the top
  • Weight of the metal frame: 7,300 tons
  • Total weight: 10,100 tons
  • Number of rivets used: 2,500,000
  • Number of iron parts: 18,038
  • Pillars: The 4 pillars form a 410 square feet sideways square

The painting

The Eiffel Tower has been re-painted 18 times since its initial construction, an average of once every seven years. It has changed colour several times, passing from red-brown to yellow-ochre, then to chestnut brown and finally to the bronze of today, slightly shaded off towards the top to ensure that the colour is perceived to be the same all the way up as it stands against the Paris sky.

25 painters strip, clean, apply rust-proofing and the final coat of paint to the whole 300 metres.

It should be mentioned that even today the painters still work using traditional methods dating back to Gustave Eiffel’s day – the painting of the Eiffel Tower is done only by hand! All “remote” work is forbidden, and so the painters must have the brush in their hand. Paint guns are of course ruled out.

The restaurants

Both the restaurant on the first floor, Madame Brasserie,  and the Jules Vernes restaurant on the second floor are run by Sodexo! The Jules Verne is a 1 * Michelin restaurant. The cuisine is led by 3-star chef Frédéric Anton (Pré-Catalan) and the offer was co-developed by two-star and celebrity chef Thierry Marx.

First photo of a person

The first photo of a person ever taken was in Paris. The Boulevard du Temple photograph of 1838 (or possibly 1839) is one of the earliest daguerrotype plates produced by Louis Daguerre.

The photograph was taken from a window in Daguerre’s studio where now Rue du Faubourg du Temple joins the Place de la République. The Boulevard du Temple would have been busy with people and horse traffic but because an exposure time of four to five minutes would have been required the only people recorded were two keeping still – a bootblack and his customer at the corner of the street shown at lower left of the plate.

Emmanuel bell

Emmanuel is the big church bell of the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris and the second biggest bell in France, after the Savoyard bell in the campanile of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Montmartre, also in Paris.
It is only rung on major religious occasions (major Catholic holidays) or civil occasions, in order to preserve it. It is also sounded for sad events (ex: Charlie hebdo). The bell weighs a total of 13 t and its clapper weighs 500 kg. The diameter at the base of the bell is 2.62 m. Before it was motorized, it had to be operated by eight men.

Some other fun facts about Paris…

  • Every single tree in Paris is referenced and measured: there are 470,000 trees in Paris, and yes that’s a lot.
  • In Paris, you can find 6,100 streets. Some of them are extremely famous and very large, like the Champs-Élysées. Some others, like “Rue des Degrés”, are the opposite. This one is the shortest street of the whole city, it is only a staircase with fourteen steps, and is 5.75 m long. It’s been here since the middle of the seventeenth-century.
  • The Louvre is the world’s largest art gallery and museum, it has over 38,000 pieces of art within its walls, including the most famous painting ever, Mona Lisa. In 2018, 10.8 million visitors passed through the doors of The Louvre, making it the most visited gallery on planet earth!
  • Contrary to popular belief, the Eiffel Tower is actually not the most visited monument in Paris! The Eiffel Tower is ranked fourth among the most prized monuments in Paris. The cathedral Notre-Dame ranks first, followed by the Sacré-Coeur Basilica and the Louvre Museum.
  • There is an underground lake beneath the famous “Opéra Garnier”! The opera was built in 1862 by Charles Garnier, and is one of the most famous operas in the world. What is very surprising is that there is a lake beneath it, inaccessible to the public, that Paris firemen use for their training.
  • There is one famous Paris, but another 53 places around the world with the same name! Everyone knows Paris, France, maybe Paris, Texas… (remember the film) but there are a lot more: 53 places around the globe are called Paris, with 23 of them being in the United States. There is even another Paris in France!