You have probably already heard and read enough about Paris to appreciate why it has the moniker “City of Lights”. However, there are a few lesser-known facts about the French capital, which you can relate to your family before a private Louvre museum tour, and gain some respect for knowing so much about the place you are visiting.
Paris Has a Shadow Town
Beneath the wide streets of Paris is a swathe of tunnels and galleries running underground. The catacombs ossuary is open for visit by the public, and form a small part of what is the result of mining Lutetian limestone over hundreds of years. Haussmannian architecture makes heavy use of Lutetian limestone in its white hued constructions.
There is a Hidden Village
Called La Campagne à Paris, this may be one of the best-kept secrets of Paris. Translating to “The Countryside in Paris”, it is a small village on top of a mound in the 20th arrondissement, with 92 houses. Just a few minutes from the “Périphérique” ring road, this area is set apart from the surrounding area and is characterized by houses with pastel colors and window boxes. Each house is worth well over a million Euros these days.
There is a Beautiful Mosque Garden
With many historic churches available for sightseeing in Paris, it is possible to overlook the Grand Mosque in the Latin Quarter. This famous construction was first put up in 1926, and has a courtyard cafe that has hanging leaves and mosaic décor. It is a good place to get mint tea and relax away from the bustle of the rest of the city, while also witnessing a big part of its cultural heritage.
Sewer Water is Emptied into the Street Every Night
If you saw water flowing down the streets during evening, do not be alarmed; it is actually one of the 12,000 washing outlets in the city being put to use. There are road-level valves, which put out water that is then redirected. This way, the water collects the garbage from the gutters so that street cleaners can take care of it.
Notre Dame Has a Singular Gargoyle
When Notre Dame was refurbished, Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc installed a rather unusual looking gargoyle with the face of a woman in a hat. Their mythical off looks have always inspired artists, who adored the magnificent creatures, and included them into their works as well.