Paris is renowned as the endlessly talked about and photographed city of love. But what about the lesser-known aspects of this capital of romance? We take a look at four things you never knew about Paris.
The Eiffel Tower ‘grows’
The iconic landmark was designed to sway a little in the wind, but it also moves away from the sun as much as seven inches when the tower heats up. The tower gets a bit taller in warm weather too, ‘growing’ up to six inches.
Scale its heights to watch the setting sun before being wooed by the twilight sparkle over Paris. If you have a big proposal to make, you could always pop the question at the champagne bar on the top floor.
It’s not all about the Louvre
Paris’s museums and galleries are world famous. The Louvre is the world’s largest museum, the Musée d’Orsay’s collection of impressionist artwork is outstanding and the Centre Pompidou offers a near complete summary of 20th-century art.
But what about the city’s small and quirky museums? The Museum of Magic explores the ancient arts of magic and optical illusion in the cellars of the Marquis de Sade’s former home. Here you’ll find a stunning collection of antique magicians’ props and beautiful old posters advertising magic shows.
There’s only one recipe for baguettes
Parisian baguettes are so integral to everyday life in France that the recipe is prescribed by French law. These elegant loaves have to be made on the boulangerie premises from start to finish and can only contain four ingredients – flour, water, salt and yeast.
Find the finest Parisian baguette in the 14th arrondissement at Aux Délices du Palais, winner of the city’s best baguette competition for the second time this year. Don’t be deterred by the queue snaking out the door – the bakes are worth the wait, including the multi-award-winning macaroons.
A lady’s attire could have broken the law
Chanel, Saint Laurent, Lacroix… Paris is the home of high fashion. But until last year, any woman strolling down the street could have been arrested if they were found to be “dressed like a man”. This city by-law had been on the statute books for over two centuries.
Thankfully, you no longer have to fear arrest when sporting your chinos on rue de Passy. Try the quaint Marais district for distinctive jewellery and vintage clothes, or wander around the lavish department stores of Printemps and Galeries Lafayette. See the latest catwalk trends in the Saint-Honoré fashion district’s chic boutiques, such as Hermès.
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