Paris, sometimes referred to as the "City of Love," the "City of Light," or even "Paname," is adorned with diverse nicknames. But what is their origin?
City of Light:
Let's begin with one of the most famous nicknames of Paris: the City of Light. Beyond merely referencing our sparkling Eiffel Tower or the international prominence of Paris, our beautiful city is simply called the "City of Light" due to its pioneering role in public lighting as early as 1665! During the reign of Louis XIV at that time, lanterns illuminated the city that was previously plunged into darkness at night. In 1844, Paris made history once again by introducing the first nocturnal lighting, this time electric. In 1881, it hosted the first international exhibition of electricity, and in 1900, during the Universal Exhibition, Paris officially proclaimed itself the "City of Light." Since then, the capital has illuminated the world with its beauty and culture!
As for "Paname," what does this divisive nickname mean? Two interpretations are directly related to the Panama Canal. The corruption scandal surrounding the digging of the Panama Canal implicated several Parisian politicians and wealthy investors, earning them the nickname "Panamists," according to journalist Claude Dubois. By extension, these Panamists became synonymous with Parisians, who were then living in "Panam." The other explanation also comes from Panama. Workers returning from the Panama Canal brought back local souvenirs, such as the famous "panama" hat. This hat became trendy, worn by affluent Parisians, and thus gave its derivative name to the capital: "Paname."
According to lexicologist Jean-Paul Colin, this nickname is primarily rooted in old French slang: "panama," meaning "huge." Paris, an immense city, a panama city: Paname.
The Romantic City:
Lastly, what about the "Capital of Love," one of the most popular nicknames of Paris? Two confusions and distortions have shaped this romantic image of the capital. First and foremost, the artistic movement of Romanticism is intimately linked to the city. Consequently, Paris became synonymous with the city of romanticism. With time and the charm Paris exerts on tourists, the term evolved to encompass love. The second reason is somewhat more controversial... In the 19th century, the capital was a hub for prostitution in Europe, with French morals being renowned for their liberation compared to their neighbors. This image has remained associated with Paris and love up to the present day...
To highlight the architecture and history of the city, Toit de Paris has developed an object made from a fragment of the City of Light. The goal is to showcase the expertise of roofers, metalworkers, and screen printers. Discover our brand new concept: HERE.