"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast." — Ernest Hemingway
In the words of Audrey Hepburn, "Paris is always a good idea." So, I must confess, Paris is my second favorite city, directly in line behind Amsterdam. However, I know that this does not make me unique, as it is most likely half of mankind's favorite city. Paris is simply so romantic — the Seine, Eiffel Tower and outdoor cafés are some of the quintessential icons that come to mind. One doesn't have to know or study architecture to appreciate the loveliness of this city and its structures. Not to mention, the abundance of history to be learned and explored there. Some of my favorite architectural styles include the Romanesque and Gothic period structures, which are all so unique and only enhance my deep-rooted infatuation with the city. A few specific historic landmarks that are favorable to visit are the Cathédrale de Notre-Dame and the Hôtel Carnavalet. It has also been said that the political and cultural history of Paris is to a very large degree the history of France itself.
FUN CITY FACTS ABOUT PARIS
1. PARIS WAS ORIGINALLY A ROMAN CITY CALLED "LUTETIA".
The name Lutetia actually derives from the Latin meaning, "place near a swamp". Learn more.
2. THE FIRST PUBLIC SCREENING OF A MOVIE TOOK PLACE IN PARIS.
French brothers Auguste and Louis Lumiére used their invention "the cinématographe" to show ten films, which were about fifty seconds each, in December 1895. Learn more.
3. THE EIFFEL TOWER WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A TEMPORARY INSTALLATION.
The Eiffel Tower was constructed in celebration of the centennial of the French Revolution for the 1889 World Fair, and it was only intended to stand for 20 years to demonstrate France's industrial prowess to the world. Today, it takes 20,000 light bulbs to create the artistic effect that the tower displays when lit up at night. Learn more.
4. THE FAMOUS BELL OF NOTRE-DAME IS NAMED EMMANUEL.
The cathedral is one of the most widely recognized symbols of the city of Paris and the French nation, and the top most visited site in Paris. Yes, even above the Eiffel Tower. Its bell, named Emmanuel, weighs 13 tons. Learn more.
5. THERE'S AN UNWRITTEN LAW THAT STATES THAT EVERY CITY IN FRANCE MUST HAVE A ROAD NAMED AFTER VICTOR HUGO.
Victor Hugo, a French poet, novelist and dramatist of the Romantic movement, is the author of Les Misérables. Paris' Avenue Victor Hugo can be found in the 16th arrondissement, which is also where the novelist resided. Learn more.
6. CAMOUFLAGE CLOTHING WAS FIRST USED BY THE FRENCH.
Camouflage clothing, also known as "camo", was first used in France, and the word "camouflage" roughly translates to "make up for the stage". Learn more.
7. IT IS SOMEONE'S JOB TO COUNT THE TREES OF PARIS.
Parisians are proud people, and they have a unified approach to maintaining the beauty of their green city. The last count has a record number 470,000 trees. Learn more.
8. THE LOUVRE'S MOST HEAVILY TRAFFICKED PIECE OF ART IS THE MONA LISA.
Italian artist, Leonardo da Vinci, is the master behind the Mona Lisa, an Italian Renaissance masterpiece commonly described as "the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world". In 1962, the artwork was insured for a record-breaking $100 million, which today equates to approximately $650 million. Learn more.
9. OVER 6 MILLION PEOPLE ARE PUT TO REST BENEATH THE CITY.
The Catacombs of Paris is an underground network beneath the streets of Paris and also serves as the final resting place of over 6 million people. Learn more.
10. THE FRENCH ARMY STILL USE CARRIER PIGEONS.
The only one in Europe still to do so, the French Army still employs pigeons. In case of an emergency, much like the owls in Harry Potter, these pigeons are trained to carry important information. Learn more.
10. THE FAMOUS BLOODY MARY COCKTAIL ORIGINATED IN PARIS.
Legend says that the popular drink was the result of a unique request made by famed novelist, Ernest Hemingway, who while visiting the Ritz Hotel in the 1920s asked for a cocktail that didn't smell like alcohol, so he was given vodka mixed with tomato juice. Learn more.
11. PARIS HAS THE LARGEST NUMBER OF MICHELIN STAR RESTAURANTS IN THE WORLD.
If you are in search of world class food, look no further than Paris. Be sure to check out the full list of Michelin Star restaurants in Paris here.
Jaq Jaq Bird's Cities of Wonder Erasable Book Collection allows children to trace and illustrate their travels, in-person or imaginary, all while learning to love the world around them. Each book includes an educational, interactive map guide featuring landmarks, facts and more about the city.