Paris is the perfect place to live your La vie en Rose dream. 

Known as Lutetia Parisiorum by the Romans, boasting a flourishing history as a crossroad of cultures, the heart of the ancient city developed around the Seine, on the Île de la Cité. Over the centuries, it grew from the roots of the ancient Parisii tribe into a modern beacon of culture, fashion and lifestyle. 

Today, la Ville Lumière is home to the majestic Eiffel Tower, the most visited paid-for monument (with over 7,000,000 visitors a year, 75% of which are foreigners) and the tallest iron structure in the world. 

Inaugurated just before the 1889 Exposition Universelle, measuring 330 m (1,083 ft), to this day La Dame de Fer overlooks the city and has forever changed its skyline.

But Paris holds many records: some widely famous, some others hidden gems ready to be discovered.

Let’s take a stroll around the boulevard and gardens, from the high fashion catwalks to the museums and restaurants, and let’s explore the records of the most elegant city in the world.

The most elegant city in the world

There are plenty of beautiful cities in the world, but the record for the overall most elegant city goes to none other than the French capital. 

How would one be able to establish the most elegant city ever, you ask? 

According to research led by Berlin-based shopping platform Zalando, the score stems from a combination of three major points: 

  • Fashion Factors 
  • Urban Factors
  • Accessibility

For a total of 0 to 5 points summing the three categories.  

The unusual record has been approved since 2014, when Zalando sized-up 400 cities, forming a Top 100 of beacons of elegance. Paris led the game thanks to its history, fashion-savvy environment and urban lifestyle, with a spokesperson of Zalando saying that "true elegance never goes out of style".

A panel of over 5,000 experts in fashion and architecture judged the capital as a true haven for elegance, and it was rated 2.5 points for Fashion, 01.52 for Urban Score and 0.52 for Accessibility. Thus, with a total result of 4.37, Paris was officially crowned as the most elegant city in the world.

London placed as runner-up with a respectable 4.16, followed on the podium by Vienna. The Austrian capital collected a total of 4.13 points for its high accessibility level and architectural beauty.

Louvre exterior by day

Largest art museum

Visiting Paris without enjoying its breathtaking museums and collections is just unthinkable. 

Although there is plenty of choice, one art museum towers above all others: we are, of course, talking about the Louvre.

Just mentioning it evokes images of art-filled galleries, lush Napoleonic apartments and the iconic Salon Carré.

Originally a royal palace and converted into a museum in 1793, the landmark of Rue de Rivoli is the largest palace used as a museum, sporting a majestic total size of 210,000 m² (2,260,421 ft²). The famous glass pyramid was added to the Louvre courtyard only recently, in 1989.

Plenty of record-holders hide in plain sight in this temple of beauty.

For example, among the paintings, you could find the most expensive painting by Rembrandt in a private sale.

Formerly owned by the Rothschild family, the two life-sized arts depict Maerten Soolmans and his wife Oopjen Coppit (painted 1634) and were painted by Rembrandt Harmen-szon van Rijn in 1634. 

The art pieces broke the record in 2016, when they were acquired jointly by the Louvre in Paris, France, and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The private sale raised a total of €160 million (£121.6 million; $173.2 million) -  the most expensive Rembrandt ever.

Also known as La Gioconda, Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa (allegedly depicting Francesco del Giocondo’s wife, Lisa) is, perhaps, the first painting that comes to mind when we mention the Louvre. 

However, you may not know that Da Vinci also holds several other records. 

For example, his igneous pen produced the oldest design for a humanoid robot: mind-blowing sketches dating back to approximately 1495. 

Leonardo's oil-on-walnut-panel Salvator Mundi (meaning "Saviour of the World", dating back to the early 1500) is also the most expensive painting in the world

The record was established in 2017, when the painting was sold for $450,312,500 (£343,033,000; €383,867,000), including buyer's premium, at an auction held by Christie's in New York, USA.

Having been displayed at the Louvre ever since 1797, Da Vinci's La Gioconda also holds a peculiar record: in 1912, the painting was stolen from the Louvre, becoming the most valuable object ever stolen!

After its mysterious disappearance on 21 August 1911, the artwork was finally recovered in Florence, Italy, two years later in 1913. 

The thief, Vincenzo Peruggia, had tried to contact an art gallery in Florence, expecting a reward for “returning the painting to its homeland”. 

Little did he know (or care) that the Mona Lisa was never stolen from its home: in fact, the painting was taken as a gift by Leonardo da Vinci himself when the artist moved to the court of Francis I of France, patron of the arts and humanist. 

To this day, the cryptic smile of Lisa del Giocondo can be admired in the ever-majestic walls of the biggest art museum in the world.

Man cutting cheese

Wine and Cheese

After a tour of the Louvre, we’re craving a snack.

France is well-known for its cheese selection and is, incidentally, home to the record-breaking location that offers the most varieties of cheese commercially available in a restaurant. Thanks to its gargantuan selection of 111 kinds of cheese, Narbonne-based hot-spot “Les Grands Buffets” smashed the record on 5 December 2019.

However, while in the capital, you can perhaps try a bite of the smelliest cheese in the world: a local delicacy that has held this unusual record since 2004.

Originated in Pas-de-Calais, France’s very own Vieux Boulogne has been crowned as the king of smelly cheeses by a research conducted by Cranfield University in Bedfordshire, UK.

The unique soft French cheese is obtained from unpressed cow milk, which undergoes a maturation process that lasts between 7-9 weeks. 

The fromage was first created by Antoine Bernard and Philippe Olivier and, once compared to 14 other kinds of cheese, its pungent smell proved stronger than any other contender.

The verdict was reached by a panel of 19 human noses and one electronic: the machine, especially, tested the gaseous molecules being released by the sealed cheeses.

Fastest wine bottle opener

Vinification is another historical symbol of France and, each year, the capital hosts global fairs and exhibitions for winemakers (and wine enjoyers) worldwide.

While you sip on a delicious glass of French wine, would you like to try and beat the record for most wine bottles opened one minute

Alain Dorotte’s long-standing record for uncorking most bottles in a row was established in Paris more than 20 years ago, in 2021. 

The record was smashed in the French capital during the TV show L'Émission des Records, in April 2001: on that occasion, Alain opened 13 wine bottles in just 60 seconds. 

He broke the record with the aid of a 'T-handled' corkscrew (non-leverage) and, although it may sound easy at first, no one has managed to dethrone Alain yet. 

Line of Can Can dancers

Record-breaking Moulin Rouge

Embodying the fin-de-siècle excitement, a must-see of the city is the Moulin Rouge.

Celebrated worldwide as the birthplace of Can Can dances, you may recognise the cabaret and its iconic red windmill also thanks to the musical starring Ewan McGregor: in 2018, the actor became the highest-grossing leading star for musical films at the global box office thanks to the joint success of Moulin Rouge! (Australia, USA, 2001) and Beauty and the Beast (USA, 2017).

To this day, Rue Blanche's Moulin Rouge is the perfect place to breathe in a good mouthful of bohemian lifestyle… in full Guinness World Records style!

In 2010, Moulin Rouge performer Mario Berousek (Czech Republic) achieved the most rotations whilst juggling in one minute, racking up an incredible number of 735 rotations.

The record was achieved in the Parisian landmark on 16 November 2010, as part of the celebrations for Guinness World Records Day 2010.

On the same day, performers at the Moulin Rouge also achieved the ambitious title for the most simultaneous high kicks in 30 seconds by a single chorus line. Overall, the team reached a total of 24 kicks in only 30 seconds!

Four years later, in November 2014, the dancers of the Moulin Rouge also broke the record for most simultaneous demi-grand rond de jambe cancan kicks by a single chorus line in 30 seconds, achieving the whopping number of 29.

So sit back, relax, grab your drink of choice and enjoy the record-breaking show.

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