France/Paris is twinned with only one city, Rome

Published on 17/08/2021 | La rédaction

France, Italie

"Solo Parigi è degna di Roma, solo Roma è degna di Parigi" (Only Paris is worthy of Rome; only Rome is worthy of Paris). This is the motto of the twinning between the two cities. Explanations.

When did the twinning between the two capitals start?

It was on 30 January 1956 that the two French and Italian capitals decided to (symbolically) unite their destinies. This is how the newspaper Le Monde reported the event in its edition of 1 February 1956.
"The session room of the Hôtel de Ville was the setting on Monday afternoon for the ceremony of the twinning oath of Paris and Rome.
Mr. Jacques Féron, President of the Paris City Council, before reading the text of the oath, emphasized the important role of twinning, "an effective instrument of material and moral collaboration between men".
Prefect of the Seine, Mr. Pelletier associated the administration to "this historical event*, then Mr. Rebecchini, mayor of Rome, exalted the prestigious history of the capitals of Latinity, pillars of the same civilization."

Why is this twinning original?

In general, big cities are twinned with several other cities. New York, for example, has 13 twinnings, including London, Madrid and Cairo.
But Paris and Rome are the only ones to have an exclusive twinning. Hence the famous motto "Only Paris is worthy of Rome, only Rome is worthy of Paris"...

What does a twinning mean?

A twinning has no "institutional" consequences. It is more symbolic. In general, the twinning aims to promote cultural events that honour each city in its "sister" city. Thus, concerts, festivals, exhibitions, etc. are regularly organised to promote the assets of each city.
To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the twinning, in 2016, the two cities illuminated each other's main monuments and palaces with the colours of their country's flag: the French flag in Rome, and the Italian flag in Paris
But the City of Light (Paris) and the Eternal City (Rome) have gone further, pushing their collaboration into the scientific field. For example, in 2014, Roman researchers were invited to the Institute for Advanced Studies in Paris (located on the Ile Saint-Louis in theFor example, in 2014, Roman researchers were invited to the Institute for Advanced Studies in Paris (located on the island of Saint-Louis in the Hôtel de Lauzun) and to the Brain and Spinal Cord Institute to work on neurodegenerative diseases. Meetings and symposiums between researchers from both cities are held regularly.
Of course, the twinning of the two cities is also intended to facilitate travel and exchanges, especially for schools.

Where can we find concrete traces of this twinning?

In 1959, Rome named a street in the Castro Pretorio district the "Via Parigi". There is also a commemorative plaque and an ancient column topped by a bronze nave, symbol of the city of Paris. Conversely, in the French capital, the symbol of Rome, a bronze she-wolf, identical to the one in the Musei Capitolini, was installed in 1962 in the middle of the Latin Quarter, in the Square Paul-Painlevé (5th arrondissement) opposite the Musée de Cluny. This she-wolf symbolizes the foundation of the Italian capital and the mythical legend of the two abandoned twins, Remus and Romulus.

What are the advantages for Parisians?

It is not widely known, but the twinning between Paris and Rome has happy consequences for Parisians who have the chance to stay in Rome. Indeed, they have the possibility - on simple presentation of an official document attesting to their Parisian residence - to enter free of charge many museums in Rome: Musei Capitolini, Galleria d'arte moderna, Museo civico di Zoologia, Museo di Roma... Of course, reciprocity is required: Romans have free access to the temporary exhibitions normally subject to a fee in the museums run by the City of Paris.
It should be noted that apart from the Notre-Dame crypt (currently closed) and the Catacombs, which are subject to a fee, the municipal museums of Paris have free access for everyone to their permanent exhibitions.

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