Paris: The City of Lights or Love?


From “Pantruche” to “Lutece” and “Paname,” the stunning city of Paris is among the many popular destinations that come in many nicknames. Apart from also being dubbed as the world’s fashion capital, Paris is perhaps more renowned for being the “City of Lights” or the “City of Love.” as the famous French writer Marylin Z Tomlins wrote.

However, you might be wondering why it bears those two names or which of the two perfectly fits Paris. Is it the city of lights because of the Eiffel Tower and the other landmarks that shine brightly after sunset? Is it the city of love as it’s vividly idealized in the movies? Can it be both, given that it’s a brilliant and romantic destination for any traveler?

In this article, let’s cross out all those question marks. Read on further to find out more about Paris’ true sobriquet!

Paris as the City of Lights

Here are three reasons why Paris is considered the City of Lights:

Paris, City of Lights

Gleaming Lights

One of the most apparent reasons people assume Paris to be the City of Lights is its gleaming lights. There are nearly 300 illuminated sites in Paris, ranging from fountains, statues, monuments, churches, hotels to national buildings. While it’s pretty enough for the city to glow, 33 of its 37 impressive bridges also gloriously light up at nighttime.

Thousands of light bulbs adorn the pavement and nearly 500 trees in the 2.4-kilometer stretch of Place de la Concorde to Arc de Triomphe during the festive season. It transforms into a magical destination, enticing many visitors, especially during Christmas.

Of course, its iconic landmark, the towering Eiffel tower, serves as the culmination, lighting up the Parisian skyline and sparkling golden lights and beams each night by using about 20,000 lamps that run over 40 kilometers on its frame.

Yet, all that splendor only says a little about the city’s nickname. Truth to be told, there are deeper reasons that date centuries ago why Paris has earned its name as the City of Light.

First Street Lights

One of the more profound reasons why Paris has called the City of Light traces back to 1667. On March 15th that year, Louis XIV, also known as Sun King or Louis the Great, aimed to regain public faith after long years of civil strife and war.

Apart from increasing the police force to decrease crime rates, keep bad elements at bay, and restore law and order, Louis XIV deemed it was suitable to install more lighting in every abbey and street. 

Residents were also encouraged to light up their homes using oil lamps and candles. Such measures made it more pretty difficult for lawbreakers and burglars to evade policemen, given that the dark alleys these criminals used to hide in were no longer around.

Paris was one of the first cities in Europe to introduce and adopt street lighting, allowing it to gain its nickname “La Ville-Lumière,” which means the City of Light.

Age of Enlightenment

Jumping the 18th century, Paris emerged as a central hub of education and ideas across Europe. During this time, the city experienced massive developments in terms of liberty, reason, democracy, tolerance, and scientific methods. Thus, heavily inspiring philosophers, poets, scientists, and engineers. Paris had become an instrument in enlightening people’s minds with the guiding intellectual movement, devoting its symbolic reference to the City of Lights.

Paris as the City of Love

Those reasons are ample enough to support why Paris is the City of Lights. But, says it can’t be the City of Love at the same time? Here are the reasons why Paris also ultimately fits that nickname.

Paris, City of Love

Romantic Attractions

Home to many romantic places and boasting an amorous atmosphere, anyone can easily fall in with the city. From the artsy cafes, chic boutique shops, and elegant restaurants to the stunning landmarks, such as Eiffel Tower, Seine River, Louvre, Luxembourg Gardens, and Arc de Triomphe, traveling to Paris seems like walking to a paradise filled with love. No wonder, that many guys are choosing to propose their marriage to their partners in Paris while it is also a favorite destination for honeymoon couples. Imagine an early morning in a hotel, breakfast in bed, pretty cut flowers, and an upcoming day full of romance. Of course, don’t forget the movies and books that turned the city’s charming sites more magical by picturing or illustrating them as perfect romantic settings.

Fine Dining

Adding to the awe-inspiring ambiance and aesthetics, Paris is also known as one of the best places to enjoy exquisite French cuisine. Whether from the food carts on the cobblestone streets or the luxurious and refined restaurants Paris has, the city will provide you with unique culinary pleasure. You’ll feel the passion of all the chefs as you taste these heavenly foods and relish the romantic setup – it will not be hard to find why French dining is romantic and why Paris is called the city of love for this reason.


Dubbed as the world’s sexiest language, French also contributes to why Paris is called the City of Love. It’s more syllable-timed, rather than being stress-timed, making the sound adorably symphonic. Adding the French speakers’ natural husky and breathy voice, it makes the language extremely pleasant and lovable to hear. With “Je time” reverberating in the air as you walk through streets, shops, and other famous attractions, you’ll quickly hear and immerse yourself with the language of love in Paris.


Lastly, the French people are also part of why Paris has its nickname. French are naturally passionate and sensual, treating the pronouncement of love as an art form. With love being expressed in a healthy way, it makes intimacy definitely beautiful. Blend this with the innate charm of the city; everything becomes a recipe for true romance. Dating a French man in Paris is really one of the most romantic thing you could experience in life!


Knowing more about Paris’ nicknames is a fun way to discover the city. Yet, nothing can match traveling to and experiencing everything firsthand to see why Paris is, indeed, the City of Lights and Love.


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