Top Ten Interesting Facts about Paris for Kids.

paris 1 Cammy Harley

 

louvre-museum-picture

  1. It took 666 years to build the Louvre.  It was originally built as a palace but is now the most visited art museum in the world.  It houses over 35 thousand works of art and would take ten months to look at every single item housed there. www.louvre.fr

 

  1. Plaster-of-Paris-Fix-Cast_LPlaster of Paris, used to make a cast if you break a bone, was invented in Paris. It comes from a powdered rock called gypsum and sculptors such as Auguste Rodin used the powder, which was plentiful in the hills around Paris, mixed with water, to create miniature sculptures before casting their masterpieces in bronze.

 

  1. paris plageEach summer, the banks of the Seine are turned into a beach. Tonnes of sand are brought up the river by barge. It is spread along the little road that runs alongside the Seine, essentially turning it into a mini-beach complete with kayaking and volleyball.  A suspended swimming pool over the river provides a safe swimming area.  The concept was invented in 2002 to cater for Parisian families who could not afford to get away to the beach and has now become popular with everyone.

 

  1. vatel-559797-jpg_1247783François Vatel was a famous chef who worked at the Château de Chantilly.  In 1671, 2000 guests were attending a dinner in honour of King Louis XIV. François, known to be a perfectionist, was panicking as it seemed the fish he had ordered for the meal would not arrive on time.  Out of shame and to save himself the disgrace of serving a late meal, he ran himself through with a sword.   The fishmongers turned up as he was bleeding to death.

 

  1. EGOUTS-2In the 1850s, engineers worked hard to modernise Paris and to improve its sewer system.  Engineer Emmanuel Bruneseau had the task of mapping out the old system first. During his explorations in the sewers he found many interesting things ranging from expensive jewellery,  an orang-utan skeleton, a living crocodile and thousands of thriving rats.  In 1867, the first public tour was opened and visitors were taken through the sewers by wagon.  In the 1920s, the wagon was replaced by a boat tour and nowadays, visitors tour by foot. (www.parismuseumpass.com/musee-musee-des-egouts-de-paris-23.htm

 

  1. notre dameNotre Dame Cathedral, which was home to the legendary Hunchback and bell-ringer, Quasimodo, gets even more visitors than the Eiffel tower.  The main bell in the tower, called Emmanuel, weighs more than 3 Indian Elephants, tipping the scales at 13,000kg.

 

  1. pendulum3webThe Pantheon now houses an exact replica of Foucault’s pendulum which has been swinging in constant motion since 1995.  Jean Bernard Léon Foucault was the French Physicist who created the first practical demonstration to prove that the earth does indeed ‘move’.

 

  1. catacombs_mainThe Catacombs were created about 200 years ago because the graveyards had become overcrowded and smelly.  The bones were all moved by cart at night after being blessed by a priest.  They were carefully stacked and arranged in the old limestone mines beneath the city.  To visit today, you go down a spiral staircase which takes you 20m (65ft) beneath the City. It is interesting to note that it took over 70 years to move all the bones into the Catacombs.

 

  1. 0071_centre_pompidou_2006When the Pompidou Centre first opened in 1977, it was considered an eyesore amongst all the lovely, traditional architecture.  All its pipes, service ducts and escalators are all situated on the outside of the building.  The amount of visitors it received completely exceeded expectations and due to the amount of wear and tear, the entire building had to be renovated within 20 years.

 

  1. Eiffel_Tower_(72_names)The Eiffel Tower is 276m high and was created by Alexandre Gustav Eiffel in 1889.  He is the same person who built the internal frame of the Statue of Liberty in 1885. When the Eiffel tower first went up, people mocked it and called it hideous but otherwise paid it no attention as it was meant to be taken down after the World Fair of 1889.  It is weird to think that in hot weather it can expand in height by as much as 6 inches without popping or breaking any of its two and a half million rivets.

 

 

 

About Cammy Harley

Cammy Harley is a working mother, writer and journalist based in West Cork, author of "West Cork and Kerry for Kids" and the lady behind the website West Cork with Kids (http://www.westcorkwithkids.com/).