Laura Martin, one of our experienced Tour Advisers, has visited Paris several times and knows the city well. Here are her top 5 most interesting facts about the city that you need to know before you travel there on your school trip.
Paris is a green city
There are more than 450 parks and gardens in Paris, making it quite easy for Parisians and tourists alike to escape the hubbub of the city. And there are 470,000 trees, all of which have been documented.
One of our favourites is the Parc de la Villette, in the northeast of the city. This lovely park, which is perhaps one of the lesser known parks among British tourists, is actually home to the largest concentration of cultural venues in the city, including the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, Europe’s largest science museum, and a firm favourite for school science trips.
You can see the Statue of Liberty in Paris
France gifted the USA the Statue of Liberty in 1886 to celebrate the centenary of American independence. But she’s not an only child…there are ten statues of Liberty in France, five of which are in Paris - at the Île aux Cygnes, the Jardin du Luxembourg and the Musée des Arts et Métiers (where there are two).
The Rungis International Market is slightly bigger than Monaco
At 232 hectares, the Rungis International Market is slightly larger than the Principality of Monaco, making it the largest wholesale food market in the world. The annual turnover is 9 million euros and it serves 18 million consumers!
There are 38 towns and cities called ‘Paris’ in the world
Of course, the French capital is the most famous and the one we all think of, but there are 37 other places across the world called ‘Paris’. And they’re found as far and wide as Gabon, Panama, Russia, Sweden and the Ukraine! In the USA alone there are 29 towns called ‘Paris’!
There’s even a Paris in space – 3317 Paris, a minor planet or ‘Trojan asteroid’ that shares Jupiter’s orbit around the Sun.
The city’s motto and coat of arms are maritime-themed
The Parisian motto, Fluctuat nec mergitur, means ‘she’s rocked [by the waves] but never sinks’. And the city’s coat of arms also features a ship. But why this distinctly maritime theme for an inland city like Paris?
Well, it’s thought that the motto was originally the motto for the city’s Marchands de l’eau in the 12th century, who navigated the Seine for commerce and trade. Their activities were key to the success of the city and they became very powerful.
It wasn’t until 1853 that the motto was officially adopted, when Baron Haussman introduced an official decree incorporating it into the city’s coat of arms.