Paris is undeniably a city that is on everyone’s bucket list! But, what is Paris known for apart from the obvious – Eiffel Tower? Paris, being the capital of France, is steeped in history, iconic French landmarks and monuments. Today, Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe that is renowned for its excellent museums, romance and many picturesque places.
This post is a comprehensive collection of all the famous things in Paris – from famous Paris landmarks such as the Arc de Triomphe, famous Paris churches and the most iconic monuments in Paris. You will also get to know the most famous Parisians, super famous Paris places and other things Paris is famous for.
After reading this post, I guarantee you will know what is famous in Paris. Let’s get to it!
What is Paris Known For – Map
What is Paris Famous For? – 15 Most Famous Things Associated with Paris
It is impossible to answer ‘what is Paris known for’ in one sentence or even a few. There are so many iconic things in Paris so to make things easier, I’ve gathered the 15 most important Paris famous things in this section. Hopefully, after this chapter, you’ll have a clear understanding of why is Paris famous.
#1 Eiffel Tower – Paris Famous Landmark
The Eiffel Tower is the most famous Paris landmark, one of the most famous landmarks of Europe and one of the most recognisable structures in the world! The tower was built in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 World’s Fair, and it was nicknamed by the French ‘La dame de fer’, which means ‘Iron Lady’. The tower was named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel whose company designed and built it. He also created the metal structure of the Statue of Liberty in New York and the Bordeaux railway bridge.
The Eiffel Tower is one of the top 10 things to do in Paris! Interestingly, this famous tower in France is the most visited monument in the world where the entrance fee is charged. The Iron Lady is situated on the Champ de Mars, and it’s the tallest structure in Paris, measuring 324 meters. Going up the Eiffel Tower is a bucket list experience and if you’re planning to visit, make sure you book your tickets way in advance! From the top of the Eiffel Tower, you’ll be able to enjoy a stunning, panoramic view of Paris!
#2 Notre Dame – Paris Famous Church
The most famous cathedral in Paris – Notre Dame dedicated to the Virgin Mary is the finest example of French Gothic architecture. Notre-Dame de Paris is a mediaeval Catholic cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the famous landmarks in Paris.
Notre Dame is also famous for the fictitious persona of Quasimodo, a hunchback that was a bell-ringer from the novel by Victor Hugo that was also adopted in Disney’s film the Hunchback of Notre Dame. In 2019, the cathedral’s roof caught fire during the renovation, and a substantial part of it got destroyed. Luckily, prominent art connoisseurs have donated considerable funds to restore Notre Dame. The works currently taking place are planned to be completed in 2024.
#3 River Seine – The Famous River in Paris
The Seine is the most famous river in France that goes through its capital city Paris. The Seine River is 777 kilometres long which makes it the third-longest river in France. The river starts in Dijon all the way through northern France to the English Channel. The Seine is one of the most navigable rivers in France. Ocean vessels can navigate it up to Rauen, which has always been an excellent advantage for trade in France.
In Paris, there are 37 bridges that go through the Paris famous river, connecting its two banks. The most famous bridge is Pont Alexandre III (you can read more about this famous landmark in Paris in the first section of this post). Some of the Seine River facts include that the river is the main source of water supply in France, and it supplies more than 50% of water in Paris! Every summer in Paris, a part of the riverbank is transformed into a beach with real sand and palm trees! And, one of the famous things to do in Paris is a romantic cruise along the river!
#4 Louvre – Paris Famous Museum
The Louvre Museum is one of the most visited museums in the world and where the most famous art in France is kept including Paris famous paintings. The Louvre, with its iconic glass pyramid, is also the most famous Paris museum and one of the most famous sights in Paris – the reason why people come to the French capital.
Located on the Right Bank of Seine, in the heart of Paris, the museum houses some of the most precious pieces of art in human history, such as the Mona Lisa painting by Leonardo Da Vinci, Venus de Milo, the sculpture of The Winged Victory of Samothrace and Liberty Leading the People by Eugene Delacroix.
The museum opened in 1793 and today exhibits over 38,000 precious objects. If you were to visit just one museum, it must be the French Louvre! The best time to visit the museum is during the offseason, such as during the European winter. You will need at least half a day to view only some of the main collections. The Mona Lisa painting is stored in a separate part of the Louvre, and expect to queue to be able to see her just for a few seconds!
#5 Mona Lisa – The Most Famous Painting in Paris
The Mona Lisa is one of the most famous Paris paintings that can be seen in the Louvre in Paris. It was painted by an Italian artist – Leonardo da Vinci, and it is often called “the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world”! If you’re visiting Paris, you can not leave without seeing this mysterious portrait of a woman.
The Mona Lisa arrived in Paris in 1804 as a part of the royal collection and has stayed in Paris ever since. The whole fascination around this painting comes from the unproven identity of the woman and her mysterious smile that has been a subject of multiple kinds of research and investigations over the years. Today, millions of visitors come to the Louvre Museum to see the mysterious and priceless painting of the Mona Lisa. If you’re wondering Paris is famous for what things, the Mona Lisa painting is definitely one of them!
#6 Moulin Rouge – Paris Famous Building
Moulin Rouge, located near Montmartre district, is one of Paris France famous landmarks not to be missed when visiting the French capital city! It has a very recognisable red building facade with a windmill on its rooftop, in fact, Moulin Rouge means ‘Red Mill’!
The origins of its name are mostly unconfirmed. In the 1800s, there were lots of windmills in the Montmartre district, and the owner could have been inspired by one of them. Or it could have been after a man that shot a Russian officer in an attempt to defend his property in 1814 when Napoleon Bonaparte was losing, and the Russian army invaded Paris. It is believed that the Russians killed the French man, cut up his body into pieces and hung them up on a windmill in a brutal act of vengeance. The mother of the killed man, put a small, red windmill on his grave that you can still see in the Cimetière du Calvaire.
This super famous French cabaret was founded in 1889, and it is known as the birthplace of the modern form of cancan dance. Initially, cancan was a seductive dance performed by the courtesans, and after a while, it gained in popularity, and it became a form of entertainment in its own right. Today, visiting the Moulin Rouge is one of the best things to do in Paris. You can either just take a photo from outside or book an evening entertainment package that will include watching a show, dinner and a bottle of wine.
#7 Arc de Triomphe – Famous Monument in Paris
Hands down, the most famous arch in France and one of Paris famous monuments, Arc de Triomphe, proudly sits in the middle of the Place Charles de Gaulle roundabout, at the western end of the Champs-Élysées Avenue in Paris.
The arc is also one of the more important historical monuments in Paris. It’s been built to honour all those that fought in the French Revolution. It has all the most significant victories inscribed on the walls along with the names of leaders involved in the fighting. On its lower ground, there is also the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier commemorating all those that died in World War I.
Today, the arc is one of the most visited Paris famous places and one of the most photographed spots! It is possible to access the inside of the Arc de Triomphe! You can also get to the top by either climbing the 264 steps to the top or taking an elevator to the mid-level and climbing the remaining 64 steps.
#8 Pont Alexandre III Bridge – Paris Famous Bridge
The most famous bridge in Paris and one of the most beautiful and extravagant bridges in the world, Pont Alexandre III connects Champs-Élysées, the Invalides and the Eiffel Tower quarters. The bridge is one of the most famous places in Paris, where you can get a stunning view over the Eiffel Tower in the distance. Not surprisingly, the bridge is also one of Paris popular places for photoshoots and one of the most Instagrammable places in Paris! It has been featured in multiple films and music productions. Some of the most famous ones include the Netflix Series – Emily in Paris, Adele’s music video – Someone Like You and the 1985 James Bond movie – A View to a Kill.
This famous Paris bridge was built between 1896 and 1900, and it is regarded as an engineering genius of the 19th century. It consists of a 6 metres high single span steel arch to ensure the bridge doesn’t obscure the view! It features four gilt-bronze statues of fames and nymphs symbolising the Franco-Russian Alliance. The Nymphs of the Neva with the arms of Imperial Russia and the nymphs of the Seine with the arms of Paris. Gustave Eiffel built a similar bridge symbolising the alliance in Saint Petersburg called the Trinity Bridge.
#9 Avenue des Champs Élysées – Paris Famous Street
Wondering what’s the most famous Paris street? Avenue des Champs Élysées that connects Arc de Triomphe with Place de la Concorde, is the most famous street in Paris for shopping and Paris most famous street in general. It stretches to 1.9 km in lights, and it’s 70 meters wide. The name of the avenue translates to ‘Elysian Fields’, a place for dead heroes in Greek Mythology. Before the 17th century, Champs Élysées were a field. Then, the avenue was orchestrated by Louis XIV and reconstructed to its current look by Napoleon III.
Today, this Paris famous shopping street is steeped with expensive shops, fancy restaurants and some of the most luxurious and famous Paris hotels. One of the most renowned hotels is Peninsula Paris boasting a spectacular rooftop terrace and an average hotel rate of €1,000 per night!
Every day over 300,000 people, including many tourists, walk down Champs Élysées, and every first Sunday of each month, the avenue is close to motorised traffic, allowing Parisiens to have a more enjoyable shopping experience. This Paris shopping street famous for the luxury brands, hotels and clubs, is also a place of the annual military parade called Bastille Day and a finish line of the Tour de France.
#10 Chanel – One of the Most Famous Paris Brands
One of the biggest celebrities from France of the 20th century is Gabrielle Coco Chanel, founder of Chanel’s world-famous and luxurious brand. The House of Chanel started in 1909 as a hat-making shop at 160 Boulevard Malesherbes in Paris.
Gabrielle was a mistress of a wealthy textile businessman – Étienne Balsan, and her shop was located at the bottom of his flat where there also was a salon for hunting and sporting elite frequented by many influential men that often were accompanied by their mistresses. That gave Gabrielle the opportunity to make huts for ladies of wealthy men, and that’s how her brand started. Today, apart from designer clothes, the brand is famous for its perfumes and also makes luxurious makeup.
#11 Père Lachaise Cemetery – Paris Famous Cemetery
Père Lachaise is the largest cemetery in Paris covering 110 acres and houses over 300,000 graves. Every year, over 3.5 million visitors come to the cemetery which makes it the most visited and famous cemetery in the world. This world-famous Paris cemetery takes its name from the King Louis XIV confessor – Père Lachaise, who opened this necropolis in 1804.
Many famous people were buried here, some of the Paris cemetery famous graves include Frédéric Chopin, Honoré de Balzac, Jim Morrison, Marcel Proust and Sarah Bernhardt.
You can find the cemetery in the northeastern part of Paris. If you’re interested, there are guided tours available for bookings with prior notice. If you decide to visit the cemetery on your own, make sure you collect the free map and familiarise yourself with it before heading in. Also, don’t miss climbing a hill from where you can get some great views of the cemetery and this part of the city.
#12 Famous Paris Macarons
French macarons are something that we directly associate with Paris. They are one of the most iconic French things to eat and famous Paris food! Macarons are a type of biscuit made of almond flour, egg white and sugar, typically with a jam or clotted cream filling. They resemble a sandwich and come in different colours.
Macarons are a super famous food of Paris! In Paris, you can find many pastry shops that specialise in making them. One of the most famous is Laduree, a famous Paris bakery, located on Champs-Élysées. Visiting one of the fancy macarons shops is a must-do when visiting Paris!
#13 Jardin du Luxembourg – One of the Most Famous Paris Parks
Luxembourg Gardens are one of the most famous Paris gardens! Before the French Revolution, the gardens were only open to the privileged few, but today, they are one of Paris most famous places to come with family or friends for a relaxing time in nature! If you want to experience a place where Parisiens hang out, visit this famous landmark in Paris. The garden is also an excellent place for people watching and experiencing the local vibe.
Jardin du Luxembourg was designed by Marie de Medici, the widow of King Henry IV, in 1612 to go with the newly built residence – Luxembourg Palace. After the death of her husband, Queen Marie couldn’t stand living alone in the Louvre, and she designed the Luxembourg Palace to resemble Pitti Palace in Florence, where she spent her childhood. Today, the gardens are owned by the French Senate that meets in the palace, and it also is referred to as Senate Garden. One of the most beautiful places in the garden is the area around the long basin of the Medici Fountain (one of the most famous Paris fountains), shaded by the plane trees.
#14 Montparnasse Tower – Paris Famous Tower
Montparnasse Tower is one of the tallest famous Paris buildings, measuring 210 meters and 60 floors. It is also the tallest landmark in Paris France, excluding the business district of La Défense. The tower was constructed between 1969 to 1973 and designed by architects Eugène Beaudouin, Urbain Cassan and Louis Hoym de Marien.
This famous tower of Paris is super controversial and often criticised as being the ugliest building in Paris. And yes, the ultra-modern, office-like design majorly contrasts with the majority of historic townhouses of the Paris centre. In fact, it caused such a big outcry amongst Parisiens that the city authorities banned buildings taller than seven stories to be built in the centre.
However, what’s incredible about the Montparnasse Tower is its 210 meters high observation deck. On a clear sky day, it boasts a 360-degree panoramic view of Paris, reaching as far as 40 km in every direction! From the deck, you can see the Iron Lady, Notre Dame Cathedral, Sacre Coeur and even the aeroplanes taking off from the Orly Airport! And, the entrance tickets are cheaper than for the Eiffel Tower!
#15 Sacre Coeur – Famous View of Paris
Sacre Coeur Basilica, one of the most famous landmarks in France Paris, sits atop Montmartre Hill. The church was built in the 19th century by the French government after the defeat by the Prussian army following the Franco-Prussian war. The generous donations of the Parisians fully sponsored it. Sacre Coeur was designed by the artist Paul Abadie in a romano-byzantine architectural style, with large domes being its main feature.
Today, Sacre Coeur is the second-highest point in the city, boasting some spectacular vistas over Paris stretching for many kilometres. The church is roman-catholic, and it is the most visited church in Paris after Notre Dame and of the most famous locations in Paris to enjoy a sunset.
Another great time to visit Sacre Coeur is early in the morning when the church is less busy. There are no entrance fees to go inside the church, but it’s an active place of worship, so be respectful to others praying inside. If you want to go up to the top for even better views, it costs 5 euros.
Paris Famous Landmarks
Château de Versailles is one of the historical places of Paris of great significance and one of the most visited castles in Paris, and even the whole country. Versailles is an important UNESCO World Heritage Site today, built by Louis XIV and expanded by Louis XIV that made the chateau his permanent residence. The palace is situated 19 km from the centre of Paris and can be reached by metro.
A visit to Paris would not be complete without visiting this impressive royal palace and its magnificent, expansive gardens that span over 30,000 acres and feature 400 decorative sculptures and 1,400 fountains!
No expense has been spared to decorate and furnish the interiors! One of the most impressive chambers at the palace is the Hall of Mirrors that boast a total of 357 mirrors. Interestingly, at the time of the construction of Versailles, Venetians had a monopoly on manufacturing mirrors. In order to go round it, the French lured a Venetian mirror maker to France! The hall is also famous for being a place of the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I. Today, Versaille is one of Paris famous attractions visited by over 10,000 tourists per year.
#17 Palais Garnier
This famous palace in Paris – Palais Garnier is one of Paris famous tourist attractions, equally iconic as Notre Dame Cathedral or the Louvre. This is because it was featured as the setting for the famous Gaston Leroux’s 1910 novel The Phantom of the Opera and its subsequent film adaptations. Some describe Palais Garnier as “unquestionably a masterpiece of the first rank” built during the Second Empire and the rule of Napoleon III between 1861 and 1875.
What’s left without a doubt is that Palais Garnier is a super famous building in Paris. It houses one of the world-famous operas – Opera Garnier and its Library Museum. Its architecture style combines Baroque, Classicism, and Renaissance elements based on axial symmetry. Its main facade is heavily ornamented with the two prominent gilt copper sculptures representing poetry and harmony. Inside, the Palais Garnier features a large extravagant staircase made of marble that leads to the Grand Foyer with spectacular ceiling paintings depicting different moments in music history. The auditorium itself can seat 1,979 spectators and is designed to accommodate up to 450 artists!
#18 Hôtel National des Invalides
One of the famous national monuments in Paris, Hôtel national des Invalides, is a large complex of museums and monuments French people celebrate relating to the military history of France. The complex also includes a hospital and retirement home for the French veterans, which was the original purpose of the complex – Les Invalides means disabled.
Les Invalides was created by King Louis XIV in 1670 to provide care for the injured soldiers. Today, the complex is one of the most famous landmarks in Paris France where visitors come to see the resting place of the greatest French leader in history – Napoleon I. The Tomb of Napoleon I is located in the attention-worthy building within the complex – the impressive, Baroque-style basilica – Dôme des Invalides that occupies the most central location.
#19 Pantheon de Paris
The Pantheon stands proudly in the Latin Quarter of Paris, and although it’s not one of the most famous places in Paris France favoured by tourists, it takes an important position on the Paris landmarks list. The Pantheon was commissioned by King Louis XV that after recovering from an illness, wanted to do something to express his gratitude! The construction was delayed and only completed in 1790 when the French Revolution had already started, and Louis XV was dead. So the temple, instead of serving as a church dedicated to the Paris patron – Saint Genevieve, as initially planned, became a temple for liberty and great French people. The Parthenon is not quite as impressive as the one in Rome, but it’s also not a modest building by any means!
Today, the Pantheon de Paris is one of the most important Paris buildings famous for being a resting place to some of the finest French artists, scientists and philosophers. There are about 70 people buried at the Pantheon, including Victor Hugo, Voltaire, Marie Curie – the great chemist (she was actually Polish) and Alexandre Dumas.
Sainte-Chapelle (Holy Chapel in English) is one of the most famous churches in Paris renowned for its rich decorations, including the most exquisite collection of its stained-glass in the world, from that epoch.
This famous church in Paris was built in the 13th century within the medieval royal residence – Palais de la Cite. The original purpose of the chapel was to house King Louis IX’s collection of relics, including the most precious, the Crown of Thorns – the most expensive Christian relic that was stored in Notre Dame Cathedral for years. Unfortunately, during the French Revolution, the chapel was severely damaged. However, two-thirds of the stained-glass that are installed today are genuine! Interestingly, the glass was removed for safe-keeping twice in the chapel’s history, including during World War II.
#21 Disneyland Paris
Located in Chessy, 32 km from the French capital, Disneyland Paris is the only Disney entertainment park in Europe that used to be called Euro Disney Resort. As there is no other entertainment park like this in Europe, Disneyland Paris is one of the famous Paris tourist attractions.
The park opened in 1992, and it was the second Disney park to open outside of the US after Tokyo Disney Resort. After 25 years, the park was visited by a whopping 320 million visitors, making Disneyland Paris the most visited theme park in Europe. In fact, many children from different countries dream of visiting Disneyland Paris with their parents. Today, the park consists of the original theme park Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studio Park that was added later on. Apart from those two parks, Disneyland Paris encompasses many resort hotels, restaurants, shopping venues, a golf course, Disney Nature Resorts, and smaller entertainment complexes.
#22 Philharmonie de Paris
Opened to the public in 2015, the Philharmonie de Paris is one of the modern famous monuments in Paris. The Philharmonie is located in Parc de la Villette, and it consists of various concert halls with the main symphonic concert hall with the capacity of 2,400 spectators designed by Jean Nouvel. The concert hall boasts exceptional acoustic properties. Due to its compact design, all members of the audience, wherever they sit, are suspended in the music.
This modern structure in the French capital city has an unusual look – it resembles a UFO saucer. Its external grey shell is made up of 265,000 aluminium birds that serve as tiles. The building was also designed to be energy efficient and have a minimal negative impact on the surrounding environment. Also, this musical monument of France was created to increase access to music for the underprivileged. It boasts various educational and recreational spaces, including a 34 meters high rooftop. The access to the rooftop and its walkway is free of charge to the general public and impresses with 360-degree views of the city!
Famous Paris Museums
#23 Musee d’Orsay
Musée d’Orsay is one of the most famous Paris art museums, visited by millions each year
and one of the most famous Paris sites. The museum is housed in a unique building of a former train station called Gare d’Orsay, and it features some of the most outstanding French artworks dating from 1848 to 1914.
The museum is famous for an extensive collection of impressionist artists and the post-impressionism movement, including Claude Monet, Van Gogh and Renoir. During your visit, don’t miss the iconic large clock behind which there is a museum cafe! If you’re an art enthusiast, consider buying combined tickets that will also include access to two other museums: the Orangerie and Musée Rodic.
#24 Musée de l’orangerie
Musée de l’orangerie is a famous Paris art gallery, located next to the Place de la Concorde in a building that is part of Tuileries Palace and in the past served as a large greenhouse that was built to protect orange trees and other fruits in the cold winter months – (that is where it takes its name ‘l’orangerie’. It houses many famous impressionist and post-impressionist paintings.
Musée de l’orangerie is mostly famous for featuring eight large murals of Water Lilies painted by Clouse Monet – the most famous impressionist painter of all time. Some of the other works that are displayed in the gallery include the works of Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri Rousseau and Paul Cézanne.
#25 Centre Pompidou
Pompidou Centre, also known locally as Beaubourg due to its location, is one of Paris famous museums, designed in a high-tech architecture style. The centre houses the Public Information Library, Europe’s largest modern art museum – Musée National d’Art Moderne and a centre for music and acoustic research.
It was opened in 1977 and named after a former French president and the centre’s visionary, Georges Pompidou. The building of the centre was designed by two architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers. It is a glass and metal, the ultra-modern structure that, according to the vision of its creators, is a living organism – a heart fed by huge metal arteries in bright, prime colours.
Today, Centre Pompidou is one of Paris famous sites, renowned for its unusual architecture. The building also has become popular for the alternative view of other famous sites in Paris, such as the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Opera Garnier! So, even if you’re not a massive modern art fan, it is still worth popping into the Pompidou Centre for the spectacular panoramic views.
#26 Louis Vuitton Foundation
Perhaps not one of the most famous places for tourists, Louis Vuitton Foundation is an important nonprofit organisation that supports modern and historical art that encompasses an art museum and a cultural centre.
The design of this famous building of the Louis Vuitton Foundation is truly extraordinary and is meant to reflect the “cultural calling of France”. The architect Frank Gehry combined the traditional “art de vivre” with modern technology. He was deeply inspired by other glass buildings, such as the glass Grand Palace. The whole project was supposed to cost €100 million, but later on, it was revealed to the public that the final expenditure was eight times more! As a result, he created a building resembling a boat’s sail inflated by the wind with plenty of natural light and space. The art museum opened in 2014, and it is estimated that in 2017 the Louis Vuitton Foundation was visited by 1.4 million people!
More Famous Places in Paris
#27 Paris Metro
Paris is known for its Metro System which is one of the oldest in the world! It covers over 214 km and includes over 300 stations and 16 lines! Paris Metro Stations are renowned for their unique character and style. For that reason, many famous Metro stations in the city are part of the tourist attractions in Paris France.
Many famous Metro stations were designed by Hector Guimard in an Art Nouveau Style featuring iconic iron wrought details. Some of the best examples of that style are Cité, at Blanche, and at Porte-Dauphine. Another noteworthy Metro station is Liege Station decorated entirely with white and blue tiles. It initially was named Berlin but after WWI the name was changed to honour the exceptional bravery of the Belgian resistance. Other beautiful Metro stations in Paris include Pont Neuf decorated with huge replicas of French coins and Concorde with the entire Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizens inscribed on the walls.
Montmartre district, located in the northern part of the city, is one of the famous places to visit in Paris! Montmartre is also a 130 m hill in the centre of the district known for fantastic city views and is home to Sacre Coeur Basilica, one of Paris famous buildings.
Montmartre is also a famous place in Paris for excellent nightlife scenes with many cool nightclubs located in the district. If you’re not big on going out, another great time to visit this lovely part of Paris is early in the morning. Head to the Montmartre hill first to see the sun rising over the city. Early morning is the quietest time to see Sacre Coeur and an excellent time to snap some good shots with gentle golden sunlight. After the hill, head to one of the local cafes in the area for a delicious breakfast, including homemade jams and honey!
#29 Place de Concorde
Place de Concorde is a large public area and one of the most famous squares in Paris, located at the eastern end of the Avenue des Champs Élysées. Place de Concorde is mainly known for being a place of the most important executions during the French Revolution. People like the last king of France – Louis XVI, his wife – Queen Marie Antoinette and Maximilien Robespierre – one of the most influential figures of the revolution, lost their lives on this square.
A large Luxor Obelisk stands on the square. An Egyptian monarch gifted the obelisk that is over 3,000 years old in a diplomatic gesture. Next to the Egyptian obelisk stand two large fountains.
#30 Place de Vosges
Place de Vosges is the oldest planned square in Paris built in the early 17th century by King Henry IV. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the square was the most chic and expensive place to live in the city. Some of the most famous people that were residents of this fashionable place were Cardinal de Richelieu and Victor Hugo, author of Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
The square was used to call Place Royal, although not many royals lived in the townhouses surrounding the square. The name ‘Vosges’ was given during the French Revolution to honour the first department that paid tax to the newly republican country.
What is Paris Known for? – Famous Things about Paris and Parisians
Here are more famous things about Paris you should know!
#31 Paris Fashion Week
In answering the question – ‘whats Paris famous for’, it’s impossible not to mention fashion! Paris is home to world-famous French brands such as Dior, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, and Céline that have their luxury fashion boutiques in Paris as well as all over the world.
There is also a Paris Fashion Week that takes place twice a year and includes ready-to-wear and couture shows. Paris Fashion Week is part of the ‘BIG 4’ that also includes fashion weeks in New York, London and Milan. Although a first-ever fashion week was held in New York, the event originates in French “défilés de mode”, which translates to “fashion parades”. In Paris, the first fashion showings were taking place as early as the 1700s. First, the clothes were presented to affluent customers on mannequins before models replaced them in the later years.
#32 French Revolution
Paris is famous for what things in history? The French Revolution that was centred in the French capital! It took place between 1787 and 1799, and it was a major social uprising that resulted in the abolition of the despotic rule of the French monarch and the introduction of the constitutional monarchy in France and liberal democracy that included universal suffrage and the abolition of slavery. After the turbulent period of the revolution, including the execution of the French king, Louis XIV, France became a republic. The change not only affected France but the French Revolution inspired many other European nations, including one of the more famous social upheavals – the Russian Revolution in 1917 and the rules of Lenin and Stalin.
#33 Eating Late
French people eat their dinner very late. True or false? It is most definitely true. It is normal to eat dinner in Paris as late as 8 pm or even at 9:30 pm. In fact, if you’re looking to book a table at a restaurant, they may not be open any earlier than 7 pm – 8 pm! French dinner is typically a light meal consisting of a soup with bread or salad, so it may make sense to eat it late. French people also tend to have substantial lunch that consists of a first and second course and sometimes even a dessert. So, the reason why they have their dinner so late is that they have their most substantial, main meal at lunchtime. When in Paris, don’t forget to have something substantial for lunch because you may be waiting for dinner long!
#34 French Wine
Wine in France is what’s tea for the British and beer for the Germans. The French language is the best evidence of the wine’s importance, with a rich vocabulary describing wine. It is estimated that 80% of French people drink wine, and wine consumption is one of the biggest in the world – 11 gallons per person a year compared to 3 gallons per person for an average American. While wine consumption is steadily declining, it is still customary to drink wine with the evening meal in Paris and the rest of France. France is also the second biggest (after Italy) wine producer in the world! Some of the most famous wine regions in France include Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne and Corsica. Some of France famous wine include Trimbach Riesling Alsace Réserve from Alsace, Château Lestage Listrac-Médoc from Bordeaux and Louis Latour Mercurey from Burgundy. If you’re a big wine fan, a holiday to France will feel like heaven!
#35 Café Culture
Cafés in Paris were the centre of the intellectual movement of the 17th century Enlightenment. Artists, thinkers and scientists met in the cafés to discuss their ideas and many great projects had their beginning in these kinds of social meetups.
Today, spending a few moments in a café while sipping espresso and people-watching is one of the favourite past times in the city. But, Parisien cafés differ from the ones that we are used to. They come with the whole menu – serving breakfast, lunch and dinner and even come with a full bar and an extensive wine selection.
Some of the most famous Paris cafes include Café Procope, dating back to the 17th century. This famous Paris cafe is also the most established and oldest in the city. Famous people such as Benjamin Franklin, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Napoleon often visited this café, while Voltaire had his permanent desk at the establishment and the rumour has it that he drank up to forty cups of coffee a day!
#36 French Food
French cuisine is one of the most renowned in the world and visiting Paris without sampling some of the most iconic French dishes would be a mistake! So, what is famous food from Paris?
Let’s start with the simple croissant, a buttery puff pastry served for breakfast with butter and jam. If you stay in a hotel in Paris, you’ll most likely get served croissants for breakfast. Another famous food in Paris is escargots or snails. Yes, you heard me right, French people eat snails. They are served in shells with garlic and butter. Also, don’t forget to sample some french cheese – France is super famous for it! The country has about 1,200 varieties of cheeses and produces 2 million tonnes each year. Other french dishes include steak tartare – raw meat with egg, onion soup and French crêpes.
#37 The city of Love
What is Paris known as the city of? Paris is known as the city of love. Paris is renowned for being a cultural and artistic centre which adds to its romantic ambience. Many famous artists lived and practised in Paris and the city is the subject of many famous artworks. Have you heard about Romanticism? It’s an artistic style that is known to show the authors feelings and it emerged in Paris!
Every year many proposals happen in front of the Eiffel Tower, which is a super romantic gesture. Paris has so many charming neighbourhoods, such as Montmartre and there is nothing more romantic than strolling through it or having a coffee and people watching with your loved one. Not to mention the riverside of the Seine and many beautiful bridges! Paris has so many gorgeous photo spots (which I will talk more about in the next section), that couples often have their wedding shoots in the city. If you wake up early in the morning, you will be able to spot many shoots happening in famous places in Paris such as in front of the glass pyramid of the Louvre. To top that, the french language is also very romantic. Its sound and melody make this language one of the most romantic and beautiful in the world!
#38 Instagrammable City
Paris is one of the most Instagrammable cities in the world! Every day you’ll find the crowds snapping pictures in almost all parts of Paris. And, those that are super serious about the photography will wake up before sunrise to take their shots without the tourist crowds in the background! You probably see Paris on your Instagram feed every day.
There are so many Instagrammable places in Paris, it’s insane! Some of the most picturesque locations include Trocadero for the views of the Iron Lady, the Louvre pyramid, Arc de Triomphe, Montmartre district: Le Consulat and La Maison Rose, Pont Alexandre III and countless viewpoints with the Eiffel Tower in the background.
#39 Smoking Culture
When first arriving in Paris, a lot of people notice many smokers. While indoor smoking in all public areas is banned in France and the government is cracking down on the major taboo companies to reduce smoking in the country, lighting a cigarette is still a thing in France. You will notice any French people sipping their espresso in an outdoor cafe smoking a cigarette.
Some believe that smoking in France is still popular because of its artsy culture that still associates smoking with art, intellectuals and the most famous French celebrities of all time such as Brigitte Bardot, Albert Camus and Béatrice Dalle that were all chain-smokers. While in countries such as the UK, smoking is something of the past, in France it still seems to be a trendy and acceptable behaviour.
Paris is also famous for its excellent nightlife scene. Many say that the city never sleeps and this is largely true! If you wake up early in the morning, you can still see people partying and drinking in the bars or slowly going back home after a whole night of entertainment.
One of the most famous districts for great nightlife, excellent bars and nightclubs is Montmartre. Other areas include Champs Elysees, The Marais, Belleville and Oberkampf.
#41 Paris in Cinema
Paris has been featured in countless Hollywood and international films! In many of them, it is portrayed as the city of love or an extremely desirable location to visit that many dreams of. One of the famous Netflix series was shot in Paris called Emily in Paris 2020. Other famous movies include Amelie 2001, Midnight in Paris 2011, Taken 2008, The Da Vinci Code 2006, Mission Impossible 2018.
Famous People from Paris
Have you heard the story about the hunchback of Notre Dame? It comes from a novel by a French writer Victor Hugo and many film adaptations, including the Disney version from 1996. In the story, Quasimodo gets abandoned at the doorstep of the Notre Dame cathedral because, as a baby, he was born with a deformity. The people of Paris are scared of him because he looks like a monster, and he finds refuge in being a bell-ringer in the cathedral. Although he looks like a monster, he has a kind heart. Interestingly, in 2010 a British researcher found evidence that there was a stone carver with a hunchback that lived at the same time as Victor Hugo! So, after all, Quasimodo was a real person!
#43 Brigitte Bardot
Brigitte Bardot, born in Paris in the 1930s, is one of the most influential women of her lifetime recognised fashion icon, a sex symbol and one of the most liberated women of the post-war era. Brigitte was an actress, a singer, a model, and after she retired from the public world of entertainment, she became an animal rights activist.
A Bardot neckline was named after her. It is a wide-open neck that exposes both shoulders. She also popularised the bikini as she was photographed wearing it on many beaches during the Cannes Film Festival. She inspired many women that styled their hair and wore eyeliner to resemble Brigitte! She also inspired fellow actors and artists such as John Lennon. In 2020, Vogue named Bardot number one of “The most beautiful French actresses of all time”! Brigitte Bardot is undoubtedly one of the most influential women of all time that impacted the lives of many women!
#44 Coco Chanel
Gabrielle Coco Chanel, the founder of the world-famous and luxurious brand – Chanel, is one of the most famous French celebrities from Paris, of the 20th century. She was a fashion designer and successful businesswoman. After World War I, she popularised the chic and casual feminine style instead of the corseted silhouette that was dominant in the previous years.
She was also recognised as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century by Time magazine as the only fashion designer! Coco Chanel was a real boss babe and a role model for any female entrepreneur. She was talented beyond high fashion; she designed herself the Chanel logo that is still used today and the iconic fragrance Chanel NO 5! During World War II, Coco had a romantic relationship with the Nazi diplomat Hans Günther von Dincklage but she was never charged for collaborating with the enemy, although the more recent evidence indicated that she indeed did. She also was known to have a close relationship with Winston Churchill, the British prime minister.
#45 David Guetta
Although everyone knows David Guetta, most don’t associate him with someone famous from Paris. But, David Guetta, a world-famous music producer and songwriter, is French! This famous French musician was born in Paris in 1967, but he only released his first album at the age of 35 called ‘Just a Little More Love’ (2002).
Guetta became famous in 2009 with the release of the ‘One Love’ album with the hit singles such as “When Love Takes Over”, “Gettin’ Over You”, “Sexy Bitch”, and “Memories”. Today, he is one of the most successful and well-known DJs in the world!
I hope you enjoyed all the interesting things about Paris and your question – ‘What is Paris known for’ has been answered in great depth! I also hope you got inspired by the best things to do in Paris for your next trip. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below.
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