Paris, utterly useless facts on this great city

    IMG_7290Ancient Paris

  1. Paris was once a Roman town with the name Lutetia.
  2. The Seine only became a beautiful sight in the late nineteenth century. Prior to then, sewerage seeped into its waters and rows of houses blocked the view.
  3. The Garnier Opera House was built over an underground spring that flooded the site. It took eight months to pump the water out and to build a giant dam around its foundations.
  4. As little as 70 yrs ago in Paris you could buy fresh goats milk and I mean so fresh that it was warm.  A goat-herd would walk his goats around the streets of Paris, blowing pipes to signal his presence and people would pop down with their empty pots to be filled by the goat-herd who would milk the goat on the spot.
  5. The Louvre opened as an art museum in 1793 – after the Revolution.
  6. It wasn’t only aristocrats that were imprisoned or measured up for the guillotine during and after the French revolution, the middle classes, the lower middle classes, the working classes, the lower working classes. The society had loose lips dobbing each other in to the authorities if their friends, relatives or neighbours had sympathies to the monarchy.
  7. There was a second Revolution in 1848 known as the working class revolution, it deposed Louis Philippe who was later replaced by the autocratic Napoleon III.
  8. French museums are idiosyncratic about opening and closing times, keep checking.
  9. There is legislation at present that prevents shops having to close on Sundays. Parisians have decided this old rule must change, to be one of the greatest cities in the world and not be able to shop on Sunday is now considered old fashioned. The larger stores are leading the charge to have that ruling changed.
  10. A visit to the post office in France is the activity I detest the most. The queues are too long and once the French make it to the front they pay bills and make all kinds of enquiries, they don’t care about the crowd behind them and neither does the post office worker.
  11. The Hotel de Ville is not a hotel at all. It is the city hall of Paris. Contained therein is a Hall of Mirrors evocative of Versailles but for security reasons most of the building is closed to the public.
  12. Shopping malls around the world have their genesis in the Arcades of Paris. They were built to make life easier in bad weather conditions for ladies to shop without wetting the hems of their long gowns or ruining their shoes.

    Grand Arche

    The faulty but Grand Arche Photo: Christine Robertson

  13. The Grand Arche in the Francois Mitterrand built commercial district has a net slung under it to catch any falling debris that has been known to fall off the structure.
  14. The area code for Paris and Ile-de-France ceased to exist in 1996. The prefix 01 is added to all 8 digit numbers in Paris – so therefore shouldn’t that be the area code?
  15. And lastly this statement by Charles de Gaulle sums up the French ‘The French will only be united under the threat of danger. Nobody can simply bring together a country that has 265 kinds of cheese’.

  16. Roz MacAllan

    Passage of little butcher

    Passage of little butcher, it won't lead you to a butcher today

    Printemp furniture atrium

    Au Printemps department store furniture atrium

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