10 Key Things about Paris, France

Paris. The city of beginnings.

Paris has been home to artists, writers and scientists. Here is where the revolution for science and freedom started. Today, the capital of France is an immensely significant centre of trade, finance, arts, science and fashion. It is also, deservingly, one of the most visited countries in the world.

1. History of Paris

Paris has had its ups and downs throughout history. A Celtic tribe called Parisii established the city on the Ile-de-la-Cite during the 3rd century BC. The Romans came around in 52 BC to capture the city. They renamed the city Lutetia Paris. The city was then captured by the Franks in 486 AD and made capital.

Then the Vikings came. The city prospered again from the 11th century. Paris became an important trade centre. However, in the 1330s, the French and English started the Hundred Years War. The Wat and the Black Death wreaked havoc in the city. The English captured the city in 1420 AD, but the French got it back in the late 1430s.

The city gradually recovered from the effects of the War and became the centre for the Renaissance. This was the time when the city’s distinctive architecture came about. Paris was also the centre of the French Revolution.

During the Second World War, the city fell to the Germans but the allies got it back. Thus, rising and falling, the city has made its way to being the symbol that it is today.

2. Night Life in Paris

Paris bubbles up to the brim with things to do during the night. Nightclubs, bars, pubs, restaurants… Almost every arrondissement has something unique to offer.

Marais dictates the city’s gay scene. Marais also offers some wonderful wine bars and pubs. If you are exploring around Oberkampf, you can go pub crawling over to Bastille. They’re pretty close and have pretty crazy dive bars. Pigalle is a ‘hipster’ area to go for a night out. Saint Germain and Champs-Elysees falls a bit on the expensive side.

The list of things in Paris at night does not end there. You can always go to the Opera (Paris has two. Opera Bastille and Opera Garnier). Or visit the Louvre at night (it opens till 10 PM). The river cruise on the Seine at night is a wonderful way to look at the city in a different perspective. Keep a lookout for classical and theatre performances.

10KeyThings-Night-life-Paris-France-1024x768 10 Key Things about Paris, France

3. Safety in Paris

Paris is pretty safe. The number of violent crimes is remarkably less. Pickpocketing is frequent, like any other big city. The city is one of the safest in Europe.

Don’t flash your phone or money. Never leave your bags unattended. Avoid Les Halles, Chatelet, Gare du Nord, Stalingrad and Jaure late at nights. The northern suburbs are also best left alone after dark. The city is safe for women, but they should be vigilant about their surroundings. Prolonged eye contact and acceptance of drinks are invitations for more than just drinks in Paris. Pedestrians should be careful as Parisien drivers are known to be rash and violate traffic rules.

4. Living Expenses in Paris

Paris is the second most expensive city to live in the entire world. The people who work in the city get a reasonably high wage. The tourists, however, can have a large hole burnt in their pocket.

The cost of buying and renting apartments can wary from arrondissement to arrondissement. The posh arrondissements, which fall in the city centre, can have rents of one bedroom apartments as high as €1,500 (USD 1680) per month. For one bedroom apartments outside the city centre the cost can go upto €1,000 (USD 1120). The average prices are €1,100 (USD 1230) and €800 (USD 900) respectively.

Budget hotels in Paris can cost you around €60 (USD 70) Luxury hotels (Hotel George V, Le Meurice, Mandarin Oriental.. ) cost  around €900 (USD 1000) per night.

5. Cuisines of Paris

Paris is famous for the French cuisine. French gastronomy was added to the UNESCO’s list of “intangible world heritage”. Although Paris has cuisines from all over the world, the French remain deeply rooted in their culture. Cheese, wine, and bread dominate the ingredients.

If you want to eat cheap (under €10), head down to Canal St. Martin for Du Pain et des Idées. Have anything here. Pain, rolls… They’re all wonderful. Le Marais has L’éclair de genie. A crepe from Au P’tit Grec will satiate your appetite. The best hot-chocolate can be found at Angelina (rue de Rivoli). Sandwiches at Chez Alain Miam Miam are worth trying out. Le Loir dans la Théière has wonderful dessert. L’as du Falafel has the best falafel you will find in most places. Cheap, they might be, but they are some of the best places to eat in Paris.

While you are in the city, don’t forget to try out the chocolates, wine, macaroons and baguettes.

6. Statistics of Paris

Paris is the most populous city of France. The City of Paris has an area of 105 sq. km and a population of 2,241,000. The city’s urban and metropolitan areas are 2,850 sq. km and 17,180 sq. km respectively. The total population of the city-region (Île-de-France) is over 24 million (as of 2012).

Around 18% of the residents in the Île-de-France are immigrants from countries like Algeria, Morocco, Portugal, Tunisia, Turkey, China, Guadeloupue, and Spain.

The city has a population density of 21,000 per sq. km.

7. Public Transport in Paris

The city’s bus and metro routes are extremely extensive. You can see the entire city by bus, the metro is the fastest though. For daily commuters, metro cards are the cheapest and most efficient option. There is the Paris Visite Card for international tourists. The Paris Visite allows you to travel on the metro, the RER lines and most of the Ile-de-France bus lines (RATP and OPTILE). The card is valid for 1, 2, 3 or 5 consecutive days. The daily caps for adults are €11, €18, €25 and €36 respectively (for travels between zones 1 and 3). Prices are higher for travel between zones 1 and 5.

For the metro map, route information and any query head to the Transport Office site.

Pollution in Paris – It is not unbreathable. The air quality is better than many of the capitals. PM 2.5 levels hover around 30 ppm, as opposed to Delhi’s average of 180 ppm. The government is taking steps to better the air quality as the monuments are tarnishing in the polluted air.

8. Weather of Paris

It has an oceanic climate which is affected by the North Atlantic current. It has mild weather with moderate rainfall (652 mm). Rainfall is spread throughout the year, but the city is known for abrupt heavy showers. Summers are pleasant and sunny. Winters don’t get much sunshine but temperatures remain above freezing.

Spring: March to April. Average high: 15 degrees C. Average low: 11 degrees C.

Summer: June to September. Average high: 25 degrees C. Average low: 19 degrees C.

Autumn: October to December. Average high: 12 degrees c. Average low: 9 degrees C.

Winter: January to March. Average high: 8 degrees C.  Average low: 4 degrees C.

9. Culture of Paris

Culture is Paris, Paris is culture. The city’s rich history and the culture run so deep that the two words are almost synonymous with each other. With the impressive diversity that lives in the city, Parisian culture is something that can only be experienced to be known. It lives and breathes in the city’s noisy, vibrant streets; in the typical architecture; in the art that has been growing since the Renaissance; in the local performances and the delicious cuisine.

10KeyThings-ballet-dance-Paris-1024x576 10 Key Things about Paris, FranceThe Louvre, Musée d’Orsay and the Musée Marmottan-Monet are some of the museums and galleries which take you down the Parisian memory lane. Along with the regular theater and music performances (Parisian folk music by the local musicians and classical by the legends), Paris also has festivals spread out during the year. Bastille Day, Rock en Seine, the Paris Summer Arts Festival and Festival Paris Cinema are some of the many.

10. Places to Visit in Paris

Things to do in Paris: Go atop the Eiffel Tower; Visit the Notre Dame, the Arc de Triomphe, Sainte Chapelle, Sacre-Coeur, Sainte-Chapelle, Place de la Concorde, the catacombs, the Pantheon, Tuileries Garden, Château de Chambord and the Conciergerie; Explore the tiny lanes and shop in Montmartre; Stroll the Luxembourg Gardens; Take a walk at night; Have some of the mouth-watering French delicacies; Enjoy an hour or two in a cafe; You can also attend the Paris Fashion Week or the French Open.

10KeyThings-Eiffel-Tower-Paris-France-1024x685 10 Key Things about Paris, FranceThings to do for Kids in Paris: The city is kid friendly. Attraction for kids include: the amazing kids’ museum, Cite des Enfants; The Parc de la Villette; The beach; The botanical gardens (le Jardin des Plantes); You can go ice-skating between December and March; The kids would love Parc Asterix and definitely, Disneyland.

Museums and Galleries: Paris has galleries and museums. More galleries appear in the “ten things to do in Paris” than monuments. Your trip is incomplete without a visit to the famous Musee du Louvre. Other notable museums include Centre Georges Pompidou, Musee d’Orsay, Musee National Rodin, Musee de l’Orangerie, Musee Marmottan Monet and Musee Picasso.

Places Nearby: Versailles is only an hour away from Paris and it is one of the “must visit” places. The sophisticated wine capital of the country, Bordeaux, is just a day trip. So is Mont Saint Michel, Normandy and St. Tropez.

Offbeat Places: Auvergne, Picardy, Loire Valley and Luberon are stunning, easily accessible and a bit less touristy than usual.

Author’s Conclusion: Paris is beautiful, serene, vibrant. If you’re looking for food, you won’t be disappointed. If you’re looking for art, you are in the right place. Every mood has its place here. The city has something magical in the air that makes you fall in love with it.

Country France
City Paris
Area 105 sq. km
Population 2,250,000
Demonym Parisian
Languages French, English
Currency Euro (EUR) (1€ = 1.12 USD as of 8th February, 2016)
Time Zone Central European Time (UTC +1)
Driving Right Hand Traffic, Left Hand Drive vehicles
Helpline Emergency-112, Police-17, Fire-18, Ambulance-15

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