Which cities are known as the Paris of the North?
Unlike Paris of the South, the title of which is given to very few cities, the label of the Paris of the North has been very liberally bestowed — more than eight cities across the world are known by this monicker — from Aalborg (Denmark) and Budapest, to Tromsø (Norway) and Dawson City (Canada).
Listed below are eight Paris of the North cities. Read them and find out if you got them all.
Cities that are known as The Paris of the North
1. Aalborg, Denmark
The fourth largest city in Denmark, Aalborg is known as ‘Paris of the North’, and ‘Little Paris of the North’.
Situated along the Limfjord, a la Seine, the city has a deep history. It’s a deeply cultural city, with numerous museums, concerts, and theatrical performances to keep you busy. They even have an annual Aalborg carnival! The architecture, the tree-lined boulevards, a vibrant, bustling nightlife, and shopping facilities gives it the monicker. Like the Seine in Paris, you can walk along the Limfjord, the fjord on which numerous maritime activities can take place — including swimming. You can satiate your appetite on a floating restaurant as well.
Don’t miss: Cathedral of St. Budolf, Lindholm Høje Museet (a Viking cultural museum and burial site), Kunsten – Museum of modern Art Aalborg, Aalborghus Castle, Aalborg’s Old Town.
Fun fact 1: Copenhagen and Stockholm are also called Paris of the North!
Fun fact 2: The city was touted as the happiest city in the whole of Europe!
2. Budapest, Hungary
The stunning architecture and structures — baroque style and art nouveau — in the capital of Hungary have earned it the moniker of being Paris of the North. Bisected by the Danube, the city has charming architecture.
The Castle Hill district, with its narrow, cobblestoned streets and baroque houses; and the Andrássy Avenue, the wide avenues which are similar to Champs Elysées, both closely resemble Paris. These similarities are not coincidental. When Budapest was remade in the 19th century, it took a lot of stylistic inspiration from Paris.
In fact, this city has even doubled as Paris for shooting films! For instance, Steven Spielberg’s Munich, which portrays 19th century Paris, was shot here. With its old-school building and nostalgic atmosphere, it seems natural to pick this city. Curiously, Budapest also has the distinction of being called the Paris of the East.
Don’t miss: Heroes’ Square, Buda Castle, Hungarian Parliament Building, Fisherman’s Bastion, Széchenyi Thermal Bath, Central Market Hall and Hungarian State Opera.
3. Dawson City, Canada
Gritty, Glamorous, Gold: these three Gs describe the Dawson City of 1890s, when people from all over came to the city to find their fortune.
Between 1896 and 1899, approximately $29 million in gold was taken from the ground! People living here were richer than most living in other Canadian cities. People became millionaires and the best food, drinks, clothes were available for purchase. They took pains to keep up with the latest fashion. For this reason, the city was termed the Paris of the North.
Sally Park, a Canadian playwright, in an interview also called Dawson an, “Artistic community where ideas really flow(ed)”. The Klondike gold rush however, ended as quickly as it had began when Alaska became the next preferred place to strike gold. Those who left behind though, took great pains to restore the buildings and today, the city still retains the charm of its gold-digging days with facades that are larger than life, dirt roads and wooden sidewalks.
Don’t miss: Diamond Tooth Gerties Gambling Hall, Midnight Dome Viewpoint, Klondike Spirit, Bonanza Creek and Dawson City Museum.
4. Riga, Latvia
Riga, the capital city of Latvia, is a worthy comparison to Paris, with its vaulting spires, steeples, art nouveau architecture, wide squares and cobblestone street. Riga is cleaved in two by River Daugava. The city, that has the sobriquet of the Paris of the North and the Paris of the Baltics, has the best of both worlds: it has concert halls and churches that play enchanting music, and it has a happening nightlife, with a young, chic, fashion-conscious cosmopolitan crowd. The Old Town is a UNESCO world heritage site, where you can find stunning art deco structures.
Don’t miss: House of the Black Heads, St Peter’s church, The Freedom Monument, Three Brothers, Art Nouveau Building, Cat House, Swedish Gate, and Bastejkalna Park.
5. Tromsø, Norway
Tromsø is the world’s northernmost university town. Famed as a viewing point for Northern Lights, and with midnight-sun summer and no-sun winter, it seems an unlikely place to compared to the City of Lights. But it’s true.
Tromsø was called Paris of the North in the 19th century. The city received its fabrics and fashion from Paris, and so, visitors to Tromsø were mighty impressed with fashionable women’s clothes and sophisticated food. Norwegian writer Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson is said to have told his wife that the city was, “all Champagne and spectacle”. This, along with the existence of an intellectual and vibrant life, including cultural events, a buzzing nightlife, art exhibitions and concerts, gave Tromsø the sobriquet of being the Paris of the North.
Don’t miss: Arctic Cathedral that has midnight sun concerts in summers and northern light concerts during winters; The Polar Museum; Polaria, Fjellheisen, Tromsdalstinden, Tromso Wilderness Center – Dog sledding, and City Center.
6. Warsaw, Poland
With architecture that can only be called elegant, extensive boulevards and baroque architecture, Warsaw was compared to the City of Love. Warsaw also has a cafe culture, a vibrant life, and a space to relax on the bank of Vistula. Split by this waterbody, the city is divided into the west and east bank. The west bank is the fashionable side, where chic youngsters partake and keep alive a happening nightlife. The east bank, on the other hand, is where you go to for artistic inspiration, with theatres and street art.
Don’t miss: The Royal Castle, Frederick Chopin museum, Castle Square, Old Town Market Square, POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Museum of King Jan III’s Palace and Warsaw Citadel.
7. Szczecin, Poland
In Poland, a second city has the monicker of Paris of the North — Szczecin. This is because it is, quite literally, a miniature version of Paris.
When Szczecin was rebuilt in the 1880s, it was made on a design by Georges-Eugène Haussmann — the same man who redesigned Paris under Napoleon. Three of the city’s main squares are connected via radial pattern, and have wide boulevards that resemble Paris. Stunning architecture and gorgeous structures make this a beautiful place to visit.
Don’t miss: Rampart of Brave, Kasprowicz Park, Emerald Lake, Central Cemetery, Old Town Hall, Landscape Park, Wały Chrobrego, and Szczecin Philharmonic.
8. Newcastle, England, United Kingdom
Some refer Newcastle on Tyne as the Paris of the North. This could be in part due to the wide streets and architecture in certain parts of Newcastle. And much like the love locks on the Pont des Arts in Paris, this culture also took off in Newcastle, with lovers attaching locks at the High Level Bridge. Of course, the locks in Paris were removed because they started interfering with the structural integrity of the bridge. Newcastle is popular for its brown ale and a vibrant nightlife.
Don’t miss: Beamish, the Living Museum of the North, Gateshead Millennium Bridge, Newcastle Castle, The Cathedral Church of St. Nicholas, WWT Washington and Victoria Tunnel.
How many of them did you know? Have you visited these places? Let us know in the comments below how your experience has been. We would love to hear from you. Click here to read more about the Paris of the West and Paris of the East.