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La Ville-Lumière - The City of Light!

Unmistakably Paris, as anyone will tell you, irrespective of whether you’ve been there or not. It’s just one of those places, the Paris Tourism Department has never needed to advertise.  There’s no dearth of things to do in Paris, places to eat in Paris or shopping in Paris.

Some of us might refer to it as “The City of Lights”, as opposed to “The city of Light”. Big difference, let me tell ya. (I think it all staretd when Bono sang “Oh you look so beautiful tonight, in the city of blinding lights”, way back in 2005; some people felt he was referring to Paris, although there’s no proof of any such actual reference by U2. When it was used as background for a montage of Paris in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’, everyone just assumed it was indeed, Paris.

So why is Paris called so?

All Possible Reasons

Here are some really interesting, ‘enlightening’, ‘illuminating’ facts about the French capital:

  • There are over 296 illuminated sites in Paris covering hotels, churches, statues, fountains and national buildings and monuments.
  • Out of the 37 bridges in Paris, 33 bridges are illuminated at nightfall.
  • Of all the places to see in Paris, there’s nothing quite like this one. It takes 40 km of illuminated garlands made up of 20,000 sparkling light bulbs to light up the Eiffel Tower.
  • The world’s most beautiful and romantic boulevard, Champs-Elysées lights up during Christmas. Truly a sight to behold with over 2.4 km of lights from the Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe, including 450 decorated trees – 330 trees sparkle along the avenue and 120 trees on the pavement.
  •  Illuminations at the Grands Magazins – The façade of Galeries Lafayette on the Grands Boulevards is decorated in 2,000m² of light during the festive season, using some 250,000 light bulbs.
  • In the south of Paris, all along the Boulevard des Maréchaux, over 4,000 luminous points set off the new tramway at night.
  • Public lightings contribute to 113,251 above ground light sources, 14,443 underground light sources and over 50,000 street lights.
  • Paris is synonymous with cinema and cinema lights add to Paris’ night lights.

The Actual Reason

A true Parisian will tell you that all of the above is irrelevant. Paris’ original reputation as ‘The City of Light’ is credited to its position as the intellectual centre of the world during the Age of Enlightenment. “La Ville-Lumière” as it was then called; Paris was the birthplace of the Age of Enlightenment and it was famous as a centre of education and ideas throughout Europe.

You can pick any reason you want. As for Paris being called ‘La Ville d’Amour’ (The City of Love), it can’t be attributed to reason. They say, you just feel it the air!


As the newest member of the content team, Shivangi Rajendran comes from the world of professional dancing. With a passion for travel and a flair for writing, the Masters in Mass Communication is just an added advantage. A gypsy at heart, she doesn’t believe in planning and is always ready to pack her bags and leave.

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