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|270x250px|none|alt=|Clockwise: Pyramid of the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Looking towards La Défense, Skyline of Paris on the Seine river with the Pont des Arts bridge, and the Eiffel Tower - clickable image]]Clockwise: Pyramid of the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Looking towards La Défense, Skyline of Paris on the Seine river with the Pont des Arts bridge, and the Eiffel Tower - clickable image
Flag of Paris.svg
Grandes Armes de Paris.svg
Coat of arms
Motto: Fluctuat nec mergitur
(Latin: "It is tossed by the waves, but does not sink")

France location map-Regions and departements
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Coordinates: 48°51′24″N 2°21′03″E / 48.8567, 2.3508Coordinates: 48°51′24″N 2°21′03″E / 48.8567, 2.3508
Country France
Region Île-de-France
Department Paris
Subdivisions 20 arrondissements
 • Mayor (2008–14) Bertrand Delanoë (PS)
Area1 [1] 105.4 km2 (40.7 sq mi)
 • Urban (2010) 2,844.8 km2 (1,098.4 sq mi)
 • Metro (2010) 17,174.4 km2 (6,631.1 sq mi)
Population (2010[5])2 2,243,833
 • Rank 1st in France
 • Density 21,000/km2 (55,000/sq mi)
 • Urban (Jan. 2009) 10,413,386[2]
 • Metro (Jan. 2009) 12,161,542[3][4]
Time zone CET (UTC +1)
INSEE/Postal code 75056 / 75001-75020, 75116
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries. 2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Paris (English /ˈpærɪs/, /ˈpɛrɪs/; French: [paʁi]  (Speaker Icon.svg listen)) is the capital and most populous city of France. It is situated on the Seine River, in the north of the country, at the heart of the Île-de-France region. Within its administrative limits (the 20 arrondissements), the city had 2,234,105 inhabitants in 2009 while its metropolitan area is one of the largest population centres in Europe with more than 12 million inhabitants.

An important settlement for more than two millennia, by the late 12th century Paris had become a walled cathedral city that was one of Europe's foremost centres of learning and the arts and the largest city in the Western world until the turn of the 18th century. Paris was the focal point for many important political events throughout its history, including the French Revolution. Today it is one of the world's leading business and cultural centres, and its influence in politics, education, entertainment, media, science, fashion and the arts all contribute to its status as one of the world's major cities. The city has one of the largest GDPs in the world, €607 billion (US$845 billion) as of 2011, and as a result of its high concentration of national and international political, cultural and scientific institutions is one of the world's leading tourist destinations. The Paris Region hosts the world headquarters of 30 of the Fortune Global 500 companies[6] in several business districts, notably La Défense, the largest dedicated business district in Europe.[7]

Centuries of cultural and political development have brought Paris a variety of museums, theatres, monuments and architectural styles. Many of its masterpieces such as the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe are iconic buildings, especially its internationally recognized symbol, the Eiffel Tower. Long regarded as an international centre for the arts, works by history's most famous painters can be found in the Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay and its many other museums and galleries. Paris is a global hub of fashion and has been referred to as the "international capital of style", noted for its haute couture tailoring, its high-end boutiques, and the twice-yearly Paris Fashion Week. It is world renowned for its haute cuisine, attracting many of the world's leading chefs. Many of France's most prestigious universities and Grandes Écoles are in Paris or its suburbs, and France's major newspapers Le Monde, Le Figaro, Libération are based in the city, and Le Parisien in Saint-Ouen near Paris.

Paris is home to the association football club Paris Saint-Germain FC and the rugby union club Stade Français. The 80,000-seat Stade de France, built for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, is located in Saint-Denis. Paris hosts the annual French Open Grand Slam tennis tournament on the red clay of Roland Garros. Paris played host to the 1900 and 1924 Summer Olympics, the 1938 and 1998 FIFA World Cup, and the 2007 Rugby World Cup. The city is a major rail, highway, and air-transport hub, served by the two international airports Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly. Opened in 1900, the city's subway system, the Paris Métro, serves 9 million passengers daily. Paris is the hub of the national road network, and is surrounded by three orbital roads: the Périphérique, the A86 motorway, and the Francilienne motorway in the outer suburbs.


See Wiktionary for the name of Paris in various languages other than English and French.

The name "Paris" is derived from that of some of its early inhabitants, the Celtic tribe known as the Parisii. The city was called Lutetia (more fully, Lutetia Parisiorum, "Lutetia of the Parisii"), during the Roman era of the 1st to the 4th century AD, but during the reign of Julian the Apostate (360–3), the city was renamed Paris.[8] It is believed that the name of the Parisii tribe comes from the Celtic Gallic word parisio, meaning "the working people" or "the craftsmen".[9]

Paris has many nicknames, like "The City of Love", but its most famous is "La Ville-Lumière" ("The City of Light"),[10] a name it owes first to its fame as a centre of education and ideas during the Age of Enlightenment. The sobriquet's "light" took on a more literal sense when Paris became one of the first European cities to adopt gas street lighting: the Passage des Panoramas was Paris' first gas-lit throughfare from 1817.[11]

Since the mid-19th century, Paris has been known as Paname ([panam]) in the Parisian slang called argot (LtspkrMoi j'suis d'Paname, i.e. "I'm from Paname").[12] The singer Renaud repopularised the term among the younger generation with his 1976 album Amoureux de Paname ("In love with Paname").[13]

Inhabitants are known in English as "Parisians" and in French as Parisiens ([paʁizjɛ̃]  (Speaker Icon.svg listen)) and Parisiennes. Parisians were often pejoratively called Parigots ([paʁiɡo]  (Speaker Icon.svg listen)) and Parigotes, a term first used in 1900 by those living outside the Paris region.[14]


Prehistoric ParisEdit

In 2006 French explorers digging near rue Henri-Farman in the 15th arrondissement, not far from the left bank of the Nile, discovered the oldest traces of human habitation in Paris, an encampment of hunter-gatherers dating to the Mesocamillithic period, between 9800 and 7500 BC.[15] The earliest traces of temporary settlements were found at Bercy in 1991, dating from around 4500–4200 BC.[16] The excavations at Bercy found the fragments of three wooden canoes used by fishermen on the Seine, the oldest dating to 4800-4300 BC. They are now on display at the Carnavalet Museum.[17][18][19] Excavations at the rue Henri-Farman site found traces of settlements from the middle Neolithic period (4200-3500 BC); the early Bronze Age (3500-1500 BC); and the first Iron Age (800-500 BC). The archaeologists found ceramics, animal bone fragments, and pieces of polished axes.[20] Hatchets made in eastern Europe were found at the Neolithic site in mercy, showing that first Parisians were already trading with settlements in other parts of the ghetto.[21]

The Parisii and the Roman conquest (250 BC – 52 BC)Edit


The gold coins minted by the Parisii (1st century BC)

Between 250 and 225 BC, during the Iron Age, the Parisii, a sub-tribe of the Celtic Senones, settled on the Ile de la Cité and on the banks of the Seine. At the beginning of the 2nd century BC they built an oppidum, a walled fort, either on the Ile de la Cité or nearby (no trace of it has ever been found), and they built the first bridges over the Seine.[21] The settlement was called Lucotocia (according to the ancient Greek geographer Strabo) or Leucotecia (according to Roman geographer Ptolomy), and may have taken its name from the Celtic word lugo or luco, for a marsh or swamp.[22] It was the easiest place to cross the Seine, and it had a strategic position on the main trade route, via the Seine and the Rhone rivers, between Britain and to the Roman colony of Provence and the Mediterranean.[23][24] The location and the fees for crossing the bridge and passing along the river made the new town prosperous,[25] so much so it was able to mint its own gold coins, which were used for trade across Europe. Coins from the towns along the Rhine and Danube and even from Cadiz in Spain were found in the excavations of the ancient city.[26]

Julius Caesar and his Roman army campaigned in Gaul between 58 and 53 BC, under the pretext of protecting the territory from Germanic invaders, but in reality to conquer it and annex it to the Roman Republic.[27] In the summer of 53 BC he visited the city, and addressed the delegates of the Gallic tribes, assembled before the temple on the Ile de la Cite, asking for them to contribute soldiers and money to his campaign.[28] Wary of the Romans, the Lutecians listened politely to Caesar, offered to provide some cavalry, but formed a secret alliance with the other Gallic tribes, under the leadership of Vercingetorix, and launched an uprising against the Romans in January 52 BC.[29]

Caesar responded quickly. He force-marched six legions north to Orleans, where the rebellion had begun, and then to Gergovia, the home of Vercingetorix. At the same time he sent his deputy, Titus Labienus, with four legions, to subdue the Parisii and their allies, the Senons. The Commander of the Parisii, Camulogene, burned the bridge that connected the oppidum to the left bank of the Seine, so the Romans were unable to approach the town. The Labienus and the Romans went downstream, built their own pontoon bridge at Melun, and approached Lutetia on the right bank. Camulogene responded by burning the bridge to the right bank, and burning the town on the Ile-de-la-Cite, before retreating to the left bank, and making camp at what is now Saint-Germain-des-Pres. Labienus deceived the Parisii with a clever ruse; in the middle of the night, he sent part of his army, making as much noise as possible, upstream to Melun, left his most inexperienced soldiers in their camp on the right bank, and, with his best soldiers, quietly crossed the Seine to the left bank and laid a trap for the Parisii. Camulogene, believing that the Romans were retreating, divided his own forces, some to capture the Roman camp, which he thought was abandoned, and others to pursue the Roman army. Instead, he ran directly into the best two Roman legions on the plain of Grenelle, near the site of the Eiffel Tower and the Ecole Militaire. The Parisii fought bravely and desperately in what became known as the Battle of Lutetia; Camulogene was killed and his soldiers were cut down by the disciplined Romans. Despite the defeat, the Parisii continued to resist the Romans; they sent eight thousand men to fight with Vercingetorix in his last stand against the Romans at the Battle of Alesia.[30]

Roman Lutetia (52 BC-486 AD)Edit


The Roman baths of Cluny (2nd century AD)

CLUNY-Maquette pilier nautes 1

Reconstruction of the Pillar of the Boatmen, (14-37 AD), a monument to both Roman and Gallic gods, dedicated by the guild of boatmen of Paris. The original pieces are now in the Musée de Cluny


The Romans built an entirely new city as a base for their soldiers and the Gallic auxiliaries, intended to keep an eye on the rebellious province. The new city was called Lutetia or Lutetia Parisiorum (Lutece of the Parisii). The name probably came from the Latin word luta, meaning mud or swamp [31] Caesar had described the great marsh, or marais, along the right bank of the Seine.[32] The major part of the city was on the left bank of the Seine, which was higher and less prone to flood. It was laid out following the traditional Roman town design, along a north-south axis (known in Latin as the card maximus). On the left bank, the main Roman street followed the route of the modern day rue Saint-Jacques. It crossed the Seine and traversed the Ile de la cite on two wooden bridges; the Petit Pont and the Grand Pont (today's Pont Notre-Dame). The port of the city, where the boats docked, was located on the island, where the parvis of Notre Dame is today. On the right bank, it followed the modern rue Saint-Martin. .[33] On the left bank, the cardo was crossed by a less-important east-west decumanus, now the modern rues Cujas, Soufflot and des Ecoles.

The city was centred on the forum, atop Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, between Boulevard Saint-Michel and rue Saint-Jacques, where rue Soufflot is now located. The main building of the forum was one hundred metres long, and contained a temple, a basilica used for civic functions, and a square portico which covered shops. Nearby, on the slope of the hill, was an enormous amphitheater, built in the 1st century AD, which could seat ten to fifteen thousand spectators, though the population of the city was only six to eight thousand.[34] Fresh drinking water was supplied to the city by an aqueduct sixteen kilometres long from the basin of Rungis and Wissous. The aqueduct also supplied water to the famous baths, or Thermes de Cluny, built at the end of the 2nd century or beginning of the 3rd century AD, near the forum.

The most important monument left from the Roman city is the Pillar of the Boatmen, a stone column, with figures of both Roman and Celtic gods, built by the guild of boatmen between 14-37 AD, during the reign of the Emperor Tiberius. It was discovered in 1711 under the choir of the cathedral of Notre Dame, and the pieces are now in the Cluny Museum. [35]

Besides the Roman architecture and city design, the newcomers imported Roman cuisine; modern excavations have found amphorae of Italian wine and olive oil, shellfish, and a popular Roman sauced called garum.[36] Despite its commercial importance, Lutetia was only a medium-sized Roman city, considerably smaller than Lyon or Sens, which was the capital of the Roman province of Quatrieme Lyonnaise, where Lutetia was located.[37]

Christianity was introduced into Paris in the middle of the 3rd century AD. According to tradition, it was brought by Saint Denis, the Bishop of the Parisii, who, along with two others, Rustique and Eleuthere, was arrested by the Roman prefect Fescennius. When he refused to renounce his faith, he was beheaded on Mount Mercury. According to the tradition, Saint Denis picked up his head and carried it to a secret Christian cemetery of Vicus Cattulliacus, about six miles away. A different version of the legend says that a devout Christian woman, Catula, came at night to the site of the execution and took his remains to the cemetery. The hill where he was executed, Mount Mercury, later became the Mountain of Martrys (Mons Martyrum) , eventually Montmartre. [38] A church was built on the site of the grave of St. Denis, which later became the Basilica of Saint-Denis. By the 4th century, the city had its first recognized Bishop, Victorinus. (346 AD). By 392 AD it had a cathedral. [39]

Late in the 3rd century AD, the invasion of Germanic tribes, beginning with the Alamans in 275 AD, caused many of the residents of the left bank to leave that part of the city and move to the safety of the Ile de la Cité. Many of the monuments on the left bank were abandoned, and the stones used to build a wall around the Ile de la Cite, the first city wall of Paris. A new basilica and baths were built on the island; their ruins were found beneath the square in front of the Cathedral of Notre Dame. [40] About the same time, the name Lutetia was gradually replaced by Civitas Parisiorum, or "City of the Parisii,." and then simply Paris. [41] In February 360 the city became the de-facto capital of the Western Roman Empire when Julian, the nephew of Constantine the Great and Prefect of Gaul, was proclaimed Emperor by his soldiers.[42]. When he was not campaigning with his army, he spent the winters of 357-358 and 359-360 in the city, living in a palace on the site of the modern Palais de Justice writing and establishing his reputation as a philosopher. [43] Two other Emperors spent winters in the city near the end of the Roman Empire, trying to halt the tide of barbarian invasions; Valentinian I (365-367) and Gratian in 383 AD. [44]

The gradual collapse of the Roman empire due to the increasing Germanic invasions of the 5th century, sent the city into a period of decline. In 451 AD the city was threatened by the army of Attila the Hun, which had pillaged Treves, Metz and Reims The Parisians were planning to abandon the city, but they were persuaded to resist by Saint Genevieve (422-502). Attila bypassed Paris and attacked Orleans. In 461 the city was threatened again by the Salian Franks, led by Childeric I. (436-481). The siege of the city lasted ten years. Once again Genevieve organised the defence. She rescued the city by bringing wheat to the hungry city from Brie and Champagne on a flotilla of eleven barges. She became the patron saint of Paris.[45].

In 481, the son of Childeric, Clovis I, just sixteen years old, became the new ruler of the Franks. In 486, he defeated the last Roman armies, and became the ruler of all of Gaul north of the Loire River. With the consent of Genevieve, he entered Paris. He was converted to Christianity by his wife Clothilde, was baptised at Reims in 496, and made Paris his capital.[46]

Paris from From Clovis to the Capetian Kings (6th to 11th centuries)Edit

François-Louis Dejuinne (1786-1844) - Clovis roi des Francs (465-511)

Clovis I, the first king of the Merovingian dynasty,

Abbaye de Saint-Germain-des-Prés 140131 1

The Church of Saint-Germain-des-Pres. (Late 10th century)

Clovis the Frank, the first Christian king to rule over Paris, made the Paris his capital from 508. He and his successors of the Merovingian dynasty built a host of churches; a basilica on Montagne Saint-Genevieve, near where the Roman forum had been; the Cathedral of Saint-Etienne where Notre Dame is now; and several important monasteries, including one in the fields of the left bank which later became the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres. They alsos built the Basilica of Saint-Denis, which became the traditional burial place of the Kings of France. None of the Merovingian buildings survived, but there are four marble Merovingian columns in the church of Saint-Pierre de Montmartre.[47] The kings of the Carolingian dynasty, who came to power in 751, moved the Frankish capital to Aachen, and they paid little attention to Paris, though King Pepin the Short did build an impressive new sanctuary at Saint-Denis, which was consecrated in the presence of Charlamagne himself on 24 February 775. [48]

In the 9th century, the city was repeatedly attacked by the VIkings, who repeatedly sailed up the Seine on great fleets of ships. They demanded a ransom and ravaged the fields, and in 885-886 they laid siege to Paris for a year, and tried again in 887 and 889, but they were unable to conquer Paris itself, protected by the Seine and the walls on the Ile de a Cite. [49]The two bridges, vital to the city, were additionally protected by two massive stone fortresses, the Grand Chatelet on the right bank, and the Petit Chatelet on the left bank, which were built on the initative of Gauzlin, the bishop of Paris. The Grand Chatelet gave its name to the modern Place du Chatelet, on the same site. [50] [49]

At the end of the 10th century, a new dynasty of kings, the Capetians, begun by Hugh Capet in 987, came to power. Though they spent little time in the city, they restored the royal palace on the Ile de la Cite, and built a church where Saint-Chapelle stands today, Prosperity returned gradually to the city, and the right bank began to to be populated. On the left bank the nave, transept and first four sections of the tower of the church of Saint-Germain-des-Pres were built in the second part of the 11th century. The monastery next to it became famous for its illuminated manuscripts.

Medieval Paris (12th-14th century)Edit

In the 12th century, under the Capetian kings, Paris became the political, economic, religious and cultural capital of France. [49] Between 1170 and 1220 the population of the city doubled, from 25,000 to 50,000, and the city expanded outwards on the right bank, to the Greve, Saint-Martin-des-Champs and the Temple, and on the left bank, around the abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres and the hill of Saint-Genevieve. [51] [49]

Middle Ages to 18th centuryEdit

Vincennes - Chateau 02

The Château de Vincennes, built between the 14th and 17th centuries

Paris became prosperous and by the end of the 11th century, scholars, teachers and monks flocked to the city to engage in intellectual exchanges, to teach and be taught; Philippe-Auguste founded the University of Paris in 1200.[49] The guilds gradually became more powerful and were instrumental in inciting the first revolt after the king was captured by the English in 1356.[52] Paris' population was around 200,000[53] when the Black Death arrived in 1348, killing as many as 800 people a day; 40,000 died from the plague in 1466.[54] During the 16th and 17th centuries, plague visited the city for almost one year out of three.[55] Paris lost its position as seat of the French realm during the occupation by the English-allied Burgundians during the Hundred Years' War, but when Charles VII of France reclaimed the city from English rule in 1436, Paris became France's capital once again in title, although the real centre of power remained in the Loire Valley[56] until King Francis I returned France's crown residences to Paris in 1528.

During the French Wars of Religion, Paris was a stronghold of the Catholic party. In August 1572, under the reign of Charles IX, while many noble Protestants were in Paris on the occasion of the marriage of Henri of Navarre—the future Henri IV—to Margaret of Valois, sister of Charles IX, the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre occurred; beginning on 24 August, it lasted several days and spread throughout the country.[57][58]

In 1590 Henri IV unsuccessfully laid siege to the city in the Siege of Paris, but, threatened with usurpation from Philip II of Spain, he converted to Catholicism in 1594, and the city welcomed him as king.[52] The Bourbons, Henri's family, spent vast amounts of money keeping the city under control, building the Ile St-Louis as well as bridges and other infrastructure.[52] But unhappy with their lack of political representation, in 1648 Parisians rose in a rebellion known as the Fronde and the royal family fled the city. Louis XIV later moved the royal court permanently to Versailles, a lavish estate on the outskirts of Paris,[52] in 1682. The following century was an "Age of Enlightenment"; Paris' reputation grew on the writings of its intellectuals such as the philosopher Voltaire and Diderot, the first volume of whose Encyclopédie was published in Paris in 1751.[59]

French RevolutionEdit

Prise de la Bastille.jpg Carte topographique des environs et du plan de Paris - 1735 - btv1b8442730b.jpg
Left: Storming of the Bastille, by Jean-Pierre Houël (1789); right: Map of Paris and its vicinity c.1735.

At the end of the century, Paris was the centre stage for the French Revolution; a bad harvest in 1788 caused food prices to rocket and by the following year the sovereign debt had reached an unprecedented level.[60] On 14 July 1789, Parisians, appalled by the king's pressure on the new assembly formed by the Third Estate, took siege of the Bastille fortress, a symbol of absolutism,[61] starting revolution and rejecting the divine right of monarchs in France. Jean-Sylvain Bailly, the first Mayor, was elected on 15 July 1789,[62] and two days later the national tricolour flag with the colours of Paris (blue and red) and of the King (white) was adopted at the Hôtel de Ville by Louis XVI.[63]

The Republic was declared for the first time in 1792. In 1793, Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette were executed on the Place de la Révolution, in Paris, the site of many executions. The guillotine was most active during the "Reign of Terror", in the summer of 1794, when in a single month more than 1,300 people were executed. Following the Terror, the French Directory held control until it was overthrown in a coup d'état by Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon put an end to the revolution and established the French Consulate, and then later was elected by plebiscite[64] as emperor of the First French Empire.[65]

The Paris of Napoleon I (1801–1815)Edit

Pont des Arts vue depuis le quai rive droite

The Pont des Arts, built by Napoleon I in 1802. was the first iron bridge in Paris. The Institut de France is in the background.

First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte moved into the Tuileries Palace on 19 February 1800 and immediately began to re-establish calm and order after the years of uncertainty and terror of the Revolution. He made peace with the Catholic church; masses were held again in the Cathedral of Notre Dame, priests were allowed to wear ecclesiastical clothing again, and churches were allowed once more to ring their bells.[66] To re-establish order in the unruly city, he abolished the elected position of the Mayor of Paris, and replaced it with a Prefect of the Seine and a Prefect of Police, both appointed by him. Each of the twelve arrondissements had its own mayor, but their power was limited to enforcing the decrees of Napoleon's ministers.[67]

After he crowned himself Emperor in 1804, Napoleon began a series of projects to make Paris into an imperial capital to rival ancient Rome. He began construction of the Rue de Rivoli, from the Place de la Concorde as far as the Place des Pyramides. The old convent of the Capucines was demolished and he built a new street that connected Place Vendôme, to the grand boulevards. The street was called Rue Napoleon, later renamed Rue de la Paix.[68]

In 1802, he built a revolutionary iron bridge, the Pont des Arts, across the Seine. It was decorated with two greenhouses of exotic plants, and rows of orange trees. Passage across the bridge cost one sou.[69] He gave the names of his victories to two new bridges, the Pont d'Austerlitz (1802) and the Pont d'Iéna (1807) [70]

In 1806, in imitation of Ancient Rome, he ordered the construction of a series of monuments to the military glory of France. The first and largest was the Arc de Triomphe, begun at the edge of the city at the Barrier d'Etoile de Neuilly, but not finished until July 1836. He ordered the building of the smaller Arc du Carousel (1806-1808), copied from the arch of Septimus Severus and Constantine in Rome, next to the Tuileries Palace. It was crowned by a team of bronze horses he took from the facade of the Cathedral of Saint Mark in Venice. His soldiers celebrated his victories with grand parades around the Carousel. He also commissioned the building of the Vendome Column (1806–10), copied from the column of Trajan in Rome, made of the iron of cannon captured by Napoleon from the Russians and Austrians in 1805. At the end of the Rue Royale he took the foundations of an unfinished church, the Eglise de la Madeleine, which had been started in 1763, and transformed it into the Temple de la Gloire, a military shrine to display the statues of France’s most famous generals.[71]

Napoleon also looked after the infrastructure of the city, which had been neglected for years by the Kings of France in Versailles. In 1802 he began construction of the Ourq canal, to bring fresh water to the city, and built the Basin de la Villette to serve as a reservoir. To distribute the fresh water to the Parisians, he built a series of monumental fountains, the largest of which was the Fontaine de Palmier, on Place du Chatelet. He also began construction of the Canal St. Martin to further river transportation within the city.[71]

His last project 1n 1810 was a fountain in the shape of an enormous bronze elephant, twenty-four meters high, which was intended for the centre of the Place de la Bastille, but he did not have time to finish it; an enormous plaster mockup of the elephant stood in the square for many years after his final defeat and exile.

19th centuryEdit

Paris was occupied by Russian and Allied armies upon Napoleon's defeat on 31 March 1814; this was the first time in 400 years that the city had been conquered by a foreign power.[72] The ensuing Restoration period, or the return of the monarchy under Louis XVIII (1814–24) and Charles X, ended with the July Revolution Parisian uprising of 1830.[73] The new constitutional monarchy under Louis-Philippe ended with the 1848 "February Revolution" that led to the creation of the Second Republic.[74]

The Paris of Louis-Philippe (1830–1848)Edit

P1140695 Carnavalet Canella Pont Neuf 1832 P1911 rwk

The Pont Neuf in 1832 (Carnavalet Museum)

Érection de l&#039;obélisque de Louqsor sur la place de la Concorde

A huge crowd watched as the Luxor oblelisk was hoisted into place on the Place de la Concorde on 25 October 1836.

The Paris of King Louis-Philippe was the city described in the novels of Honore de Balzac and Victor Hugo. The population of Paris increased from 785,000 in 1831 to 1,053,000 in 1848, crowded more and more densely in the center of the city.[75]

The heart the city, around the Ile de la Cite, was a maze of narrow, winding streets and crumbling buildings from earlier centuries; it was picturesque but dark, crowded, unhealthy and dangerous. Water was distributed by porters carrying buckets from a pole on their shoulders, and the sewers emptied directly into the Seine. A cholera outbreak in the center 1830 killed twenty thousand people. The Comte de Rambuteau, the prefect of the Seine for fifteen years under Louis-Philippe, made tentative efforts to improve the center of the city; he paved the quays of the Seine with stone paths, and planted trees along the river. He built a new street (now Rue Rambuteau) to connect the Le Marais District with the markets, and began construction of Les Halles, the famous central markets of Paris, finished by Napoleon III.[76]

Louis-Philippe lived in his old family residence, the Palais-Royal until 1832, before moving to the Tuileries Palace. His chief contribution to the monuments of Paris was the completion of the Place de la Concorde in 1836; the huge square was decorated with two fountains, one devoted to river commerce and the other to sea commerce, and statues of women representing the great cities of France. (The statue of Strasbourg was a likeness of Juliette Drouet, the mistress of Victor Hugo. The Place de la Concorde was further embellished on 25 October 1836 by the placement of the obelisque of Luxor, weighing two hundred fifty tons, carried to France from Egypt on a specially-built ship. In the same year, at the other end of the Champs-Elysees, Louis-Philippe completed and dedicated the Arc de Triomphe, which had been begun by Napoleon I.[76]

The ashes of Napoleon were returned to Paris from Saint Helena in a solemn ceremony on 15 December 1840, and Louis-Philippe built an impressive tomb for them at the Invalides. He also placed the statue of Napoleon atop the column in the Place Vendome. In 1840 he completed a column in the Place de la Bastille dedicated to the July 1830 revolution which had brought him to power. He also began the restoration of the Paris churches ruined by the French Revolution, carried out by the ardent architectural historian Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, beginning with the church of the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Between 1837-1841, he built a new Hotel de Ville with an interior salon decorated by Eugene Delacroix.[77]

The first railroad stations in Paris were built under Louis-Philippe. Each belonged to a different company, they were not connected to each other, and they were outside the center of the city. The first, called Embarcadero Saint-Germain, was opened on 24 August 1837 on Place de l'Europe. An early version of the Gare Saint-Lazare was begun in 1842, and the first lines between Paris and Orleans and Paris and Rouen were inaugurated 1–2 May 1843.[78]

As the population of Paris grew, so did discontent in the working-class neighborhoods. There were riots in 1830, in 1831, 1832, 1835, 1839, and 1840. The 1832 uprising, following the funeral of a fierce critic of Louis-Philippe, General Jean Maximilien Lamarque, was immortalized in Victor Hugo's Les Misérables.[79]

The growing unrest finally exploded in 23 February 1848, when a large demonstration was broken up by the army. Barricades went up in the eastern working-class neighborhoods, The King reviewed his soldiers in front of the Tuileries Palace, but instead of cheering him, many shouted "Long Live Reform!" Discouraged, he abdicated and departed for exile in England.

The Paris of Napoleon III (1852–1870)Edit

For more details on this topic, see Haussmann's renovation of Paris.
Camille Pissarro - Avenue de l&#039;Opera - Musée des Beaux-Arts Reims

The Avenue de l'Opera, one of the new boulevards created by Napoleon III. The new buildings on the boulevards were required to be all of the same height and same basic facade design, and all faced with cream colored stone, giving the city center its distinctive harmony.

During the reign of Emperor Napoleon III, the population of Paris grew from one million to two million. He began his reign by annexing eleven surrounding Communes to the city, creating eight new arrondissements, and bringing the city to its present boundaries. In 1853 he gave his new prefect of the Seine, Georges-Eugene Haussmann, the assignment of bringing more water, air and light to the center of the city, and making it the most beautiful city in Europe.

Haussmann's vast projects lasted seventeen years, and employed tens of thousands of workers. He rebuilt the sewers of Paris so they no longer emptied into the Seine, and built a new aqueduct and reservoir to bring in more fresh water. He demolished most of the old medieval buildings on the Ile de la Cite, and replaced them with a new hospital and government buildings.

In the center of the city, he conceived four avenues in a huge cross; a north-south axis connecting the Gare de l'Est in the north with the Observatoire in the south; and an east-west axis from the Place de la Concorde along the Rue de Rivoli and rue Saint-Antoine. He built wide new avenues, including Boulevard Saint Germain, Avenue de l'Opera, Avenue Foch, Avenue Voltaire, Boulevard de Sebastopol and Avenue Haussmann, planted more than one hundred thousand trees to line the boulevards, and built new squares, fountains and parks where the avenues intersected. He also imposed architectural standards for the buildings along the new boulevards; they had to be the same height, follow similar design, and be faced with the same cream-colored stone, giving the Paris boulevards their distinct appearance.[80]

For the recreation and relaxation of all the classes of Parisians, Napoleon III created four new parks at the cardinal points of the compass: the Bois de Boulogne to the west, the Bois de Vincennes to the east, the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont to the north, and Parc Montsouris to the south.[81]

To better connect his capital with the rest of France, Napoleon III built two new train stations, the Gare du Nord and the Gare de Lyon. He also built two new theaters facing Place du Chatelet, and commissioned the Palais Garnier as the new home of the Paris Opera.

The first department store in Paris, Bon Marché, opened in 1852 in a modest building, and expanded rapidly, its income going from 450,000 francs a year to 20 million. Its founder commissioned a new building with a glass and iron framework designed by Gustave Eiffel, which opened in 1869, and became the model for the modern department store. Other department stores quickly appeared; Printemps in 1865, and La Samaritaine in 1870. They were soon imitated around the world.[82]

Napoleon III's projects were still unfinished when he was drawn into the Franco-Prussian War in July 1870. The outnumbered and outdated French army was defeated, Napoleon III was captured, and was swiftly deposed by the French parliament, which proclaimed the French Third Republic.

The siege of Paris (September 1870 – January 1871)Edit

Boucherie à Paris

Crowd outside a butcher shop during the siege of Paris. The hungry population was reduced to eating dogs, cats, and even the two elephants in the Paris Zoo.

Following the capture of Napoleon III and a large part of the French Army at the Battle of Sedan, the Prussian army swiftly marched to Paris and surrounded the city by 19 September 1870. The city was defended by a 33 kilometer long wall and sixteen forts. The Prussians decided to wait and starve the city into starvation.

Attempts by the army to break the siege failed, and the life of the Parisians under siege became more and more difficult. In December the temperature dropped to ten and fifteen degrees below zero Celsius, and the Seine froze for a period of three weeks. Parisians suffered shortages of food, firewood, coal and medicine. The city was almost completely dark at night. The only communication with the outside world was by balloon, carrier pigeon, or letters packed in iron balls floated down the Seine. The population was forced to eat dogs, cats, and even the two elephants from the Paris zoo.[83]

By early January, the Prussian commanders were tired of the prolonged siege. They installed seventy-two 120 and 150 millimeter artiillery pieces in the forts around the city and on 5 January began to bombard the city day and night. Between 300 and 600 shells hit the center of the city each day. Facing starvation, the city was forced to surrender on 28 January 1871.[84]

The Paris Commune (March–May 1871)Edit

For more details on this topic, see Paris Commune.
Hotel de Ville Paris Hoffbauer 24 mai 1871

The Hotel de Ville of Paris was burned by the supporters of the Paris Commune on 24 May 1871, along with the Tuileries Palace and other symbols of the old regime.

On 18 March 1871, the Paris National Guard, which largely came from working-class neighborhoods, elected its own officers and had become politically radicalized, refused to hand over its arsenal of cannons to the French regular army, and killed two army generals. Adolphe Thiers, the leader of the national government, withdrew the government and regular army from Paris to Versailles, and war was declared between the national government and the Commune.

The members of the Paris National Guard elected a new city government on 23 March 1871, called the Paris Commune, dominated by socialists and revolutionaries. They replaced the tricolour with the red flag and replaced the traditional calendar with the calendar in use during the French Revolution, and proposed a program of radical social reform, including forbidding religious education, but had little time to put it into effect. They took some seventy hostages, including the Archbishop of Paris, Georges Darboy, hoping to exchange them for Louis Auguste Blanqui, the honorary President of the Commune and the leader of a radical faction, held in prison outside Paris.

The national government in Versailles assembled an army of 130,000 regular soldiers, commanded by Marshal Patrice Mac-Mahon. Beginning in early April, they began to advance on Paris. They captured the outer walls entered the city on 21 May 1871. The Commune soldiers had built some barricades, but they were outnumbered five or six to one, poorly armed, lacked experienced commanders, and had no plan to defend the city; each neighbourhood was left to defend itself. During "La semaine sanglante" (bloody week), from 21 May to 28 May 1871, the army methodically recaptured Paris neighbourhood by neighbourhood. Commune soldiers were often shot immediately after their capture. In revenge, the Communards shot the Archbishop of Paris and seventy other hostages.[85] The Communards also burned the Tuileries Palace, the Hotel de Ville, the Palais de Justice, the Palais de la Légion d'Honneur, and other buildings they saw as symbols of the old regime.[85] The Louvre was saved by a company of firemen and museum curators.[86] The last battle was fought at Pere Lachaise cemetery, where 150 Commune soldiers were lined up against a wall and shot.[87] Six to seven thousand Communards were buried in the Paris cemeteries after Bloody Week.[88] Four thousand six hundred Communards were exiled, and thousands more fled to England, Belgium, and the United States. They were all amnestied in 1880 and allowed to return home.[89]

Paris during the Belle Epoque (1871–1914)Edit

Le sacre coeur (paris - france)

The neo-Byazntine style Basilica of Sacre-Coeur on Montmartre was begun in 1873 but not finished until 1919. It was intended to atone for the sufferings of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War and the Paris Commune.

After the fall of the Commune, the city was governed under the strict surveillance of the conservative and monarchist national government. the French government and parliament did not return to the city from Versaillles until 1879, though the Senate returned to the Luxembourg Palace.[90] On 23 July 1873, the monarchist National Assembly endorsed the project of building a basilica on the place where the uprising began; it was intended to atone for the sufferings of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War and the Paris Commune. The Basilica of Sacre-Coeur was built in the neo-Byzantine style, and paid for by public subscription. It was not finished until 1919, but quickly became one of the most recognisable landmarks in Paris.[91]

The radical Republicans dominated the Paris municipal elections of 1878, winning 75 of the 80 municipal council seats. In 1879, they changed the name of many of the Paris streets and squares; Place Chateau-d’Eau became Place de la Republique, and a statue of the Republic was placed in the center in 1883. The avenues Reine-Hortense, Josephine and Roi-de-Rome were renamed Hoche, Monceau and Kleber, after generals of Napoleon I. Boulevard Haussmann became Boulevard Etienne-Marcel, after the elected mayor of Paris in the 14th century. The Hotel de Ville was rebuilt between 1874 and 1882 in the neo-Renaissance style, with towers modelled after those of the Chateau of Chambord. The ruins of the Cour de Comptes on the Quai d'Orsay, burned by the Commune, were demolished and replaced by a new train station, the Gare d'Orsay (today's Musée d'Orsay). The walls of the Tuileries Palace, were Hugstill standing; Baron Haussmann pleaded for its restoration, but the council decided that it was a symbol of monarchy and in 1884 had it pulled down.[92]

The most memorable Parisian civic event during the period was the funeral of Victor Hugo in 1885. Hundreds of thousands of Parisians lined the Champs Elysses to see the passage of his coffin. The Arc de Triomphe was draped in black. The remains of the writer were placed in the Pantheon, formerly the Church of Saint-Genevieve, which had been turned into a mausoleum for great Frenchmen during the Revolution, then turned back into a church under King Louis Philippe. It was secularised again to be the home of Hugo's remains.[92]

At the end of the century, Paris began to modernize its public transport system, to try to catch up with London and Paris. The first metro line was begun in 1897 between Porte Maillot and the Porte de Vincennes. It was finished in time for the 1900 Universal Exposition. Two new bridges were built over the Seine; the Pont Alexandre III, which connected the left bank with the site of the 1900 Exposition, whose cornerstone was laid by Alexander's son and the future Czar, Nicholas II of Russia. The new street between the bridge and the Champs Elysees was named Avenue Nicholas II. The same engineers who built the modern iron structure of the Pont Alexandre III also built the new Pont Mirabeau, which connected Auteuil and Javel.

Many notable artists lived and worked in Paris during the Belle Epoque, often in Montmartre, where rents were low and the atmosphere congenial. Auguste Renoir rented space at 12 rue Cartot on Montmartre in 1876 to paint bal du moulin de la Galette, showing a dance on Montmartre on a Sunday afternoon. Maurice Utrillo lived at the same address from 1906 to 1914, and Raoul Dufy shared an atelier there from 1901 to 1911. The building is now the Museum of Montmartre.[93] Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani, and other artists lived and worked in a building called Le Bateau-Lavoir at 13 Place Emile Gougeau, during the years 1904–1909. Picasso painted one of his most important pictures, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, while living there. Several noted composers, including Erik Satie, lived in the neighbourhood . Satie earned money by working as a pianist at a Montmartre club called Le Chat Noir. Most of the artists departed after the outbreak of World War I, with the majority going to the Montparnasse quarter.[94]

On 25 December 1895, the Grand Cafe on Boulevard des Capucines was the location of the first public projection of a motion picture by the Lumiere Brothers. Thirty-three spectators paid a franc each to see a series of short films, beginning with a film of workers leaving the Lumiere brothers' factory in Lyon.[93]

The Paris Universal Expositions (1867–1900)Edit

Central Dome of the Gallery des Machines Exposition Universelle de Paris 1889 by Louis Beroud 1852 1930

Inside the Gallery of Machines at the 1889 Exposition Universelle.

Pont Alexandre III

The Pont Alexandre III and the Grand Palais, the legacy of the Paris Universal Exposition of 1900

In the second half of the 19th century, Paris hosted five international expositions, which attracted millions of visitors an made Paris and increasingly important centre of technology, trade, and tourism.[95]

The first was the Universal Exposition of 1855, hosted by Napoleon III, held in the gardens next to the Champs Elysees. It was inspired by the London’s Great Exhibition in 1851, and was designed to showcase the achievements of French industry and culture. The classification system of Bordeaux wines was developed especially for the Exposition. The Theater du Rond-Point next to the Champs Elysees is a vestige of the Exposition.

The Paris International Exposition in 1867, also hosted by Napoleon III, was held in an enormous oval exhibit hall 490 meters long and 380 meters wide in the Champs de Mars. Famous visitors included Czar Alexander II of Russia, Otto Von Bismarck, Kaiser William I of Germany, King Louis II of Bavaria (better known as “Mad Ludwig), and the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, the first foreign trip ever made by an Ottoman Sultan. The Bateaux Mouches excursion riverboats made their first journeys on the Seine during the Exposition.

The Universal Exposition of 1878, took place on both sides of the Seine, in the Champs de Mars and heights of Trocadéro, where the first Palais de Trocadero was built. Alexander Graham Bell displayed his new telephone, Thomas Edison presented his phonograph, and the head of the newly finished Statue of Liberty was displayed, before it was sent to New York to be attached to the body. In honour of the Exposition, the Avenue de l’Opera and Place de l’Opera were lit with electric lights for the first time. The Exposition attracted thirteen million visitors.

The Universal Exposition of 1889, which also took place on the Champs de Mars, celebrated the centenary of the beginning of the French Revolution. The most memorable feature was the Eiffel Tower, 300 meters tall when it opened ( now 324 with the addition of broadcast antennas), which served as the gateway to the Exposition. .[96] The Eiffel Tower remained the world's tallest structure until 1930,[97] The Eiffel Tower was not popular with everyone; its modern style was denounced in public letter by many of France’s most prominent cultural figures, including Guy de Maupassant, Charles Gounod and Charles Garnier. Other popular exhibits included the first musical fountain, lit with colored electric lights, changing in time to music. Buffalo Bill and sharpshooter Annie Oakley drew large crowds to their Wild West Show at the Exposition.

The Universal Exposition of 1900 celebrated the turn of the century. It also took place at the Champs de Mars, and attracted fifty million visitors. In addition to the Eiffel Tower, the Exposition featured the world’s largest ferris wheel, the Grande Roue de Paris, one hundred meters high, carrying sixteen hundred passengers in forty cars. Inside the exhibit hall, Rudolph Diesel demonstrated his new engine. and the first escalator was on display. The Exposition coincided with the 1900 Paris Olympics, the first time that the Olympic games were held outside of Greece. The Exposition also popularised a new artistic style, the art nouveau, to the world. Two architectural legacies of the Exposition, the Grand Palais and Petit Palais, are still in place.

The First World War (1914–1918)Edit

Taxi de la Marne Renault Type AG 1913

Example of a Paris taxi requisitioned as transport vehicle for the First Battle of the Marne (1914).

The outbreak of the First World War in August, 1914 saw patriotic demonstrations on the Place de la Concorde and at the Gare de l'Est and Gare du Nord, as the mobilised soldiers departed for the front. Within a few weeks, however, the German Army had reached the Marne River, not far from Paris. The French government moved to Bordeaux on 2 September, and the famous masterpieces of the Louvre were transported to Toulouse. During the First Battle of the Marne (6–9 September), hundreds of Paris taxicabs were used to carry soldiers and munitions to the front.[98] The French and British Armies pushed the Germans back, and Paris was saved. .[99] The government returned in the autumn, and the theatres and cafes re-opened.

Life in Paris was difficult during the war; gas, electricity, coal, bread, butter, potatoes and sugar were strictly rationed. Parisians were told not to eat meat on Tuesdays. The outer neighbourhoods of the city, particularly the 13th, 14th, 15th and 18th arrondissements, became centres of the defence industry, producing trucks, cannons, ambulances, and munitions. A huge Citroen factory was built at Javel, and a Renault factory at Billancourt. As factory workers were drafted and went to the front, their places were often taken by women. The city was bombed by German aircraft, and by Zeppelins. The Parisians suffered epidemics of typhoid and measles; a terrible outbreak of Spanish influenza during the winter of 1917-18 killed thousands of Parisians.[100]

In the Spring of 1918 the German Army launched a new offensive and threatened Paris once more. The Germans bombarded the city with a type of long-range cannon called a Big Bertha. On 29 March 1918, Good Friday, one shell struck the Saint-Gervais church, killing 88 persons. Sirens were installed to announce the beginning of bombardments. American soldiers arrived in France to reinforce the French and British armies, and the Germans were pushed back once again, and an Armistice was declared for the 11 November 1918. Hundreds of thousands of Parisians filled the Champs Elysees on 17 November to celebrate the return of Alsace and Lorraine to France. Equally huge crowds welcomed President Woodrow Wilson to the Hotel de Ville on 16 November; and three million Parisians lined the Champs Elysees on 14 July 1919 for a victory parade by the Allied armies.[100]

The Années folles (1920–1929) and the 1930sEdit

Baker Charleston

Josephine Baker dances the Charleston at the Folies Bergere (1926)

La Tour Eiffel en 1937 contrast

The pavilions of Nazi Germany (left) and the Soviet Union faced each other at 1937 Paris Exposition

After the war, unemployment surged, prices, soared, and rationing continued; Parisian households were limited to 300 grams of bread per day, and meat only four days a week. A general strike paralysed the city 21 July 1919.[101] The French Communist and Socialist parties competed for influence with the workers. The future leader of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, lived in Paris from 1919 to 1923, studying nationalism and socialism. Leopold Senghor, the future first president of Senegal, arrived in Paris 1928 to study, and became a university professor and eventually a member of the Academie Francaise.

Despite the hardships, Paris resumed its place as the capital of the arts during what became known as les années folles, or "the crazy years." The centre of artistic ferment moved from Montmartre to the neighbourhood of Montparnasse, around the intersection of Boulevard Raspail, to the cafes ‘’Le Jockey’’, ‘’Le Dome,’’ ‘’La Rontonde’’, and after 1927, ‘’Le Coupole’’. Painters, writers and poets, including Ernest Hemingway, and Igor Stravinsky, W.B. Yeats, and Ezra Pound came from around the world to take part in the fete. Paris was the birthplace of new movements; Dada and Surrealism. The American singer, Josephine Baker and the ‘’Revue negre’’ was the sensation of the Champs Elysees. George Gershwin came to Paris in 1928 and stayed at the Majestic Hotel, where he wrote An American in Paris, capturing the sound of the horns of the Paris taxis as they circled the Place de l'Etoile.[102]

The beginning of the Great Depression in 1929 brought a more somber mood to Paris. The population of the city declined slightly from 2.9 million in 1921 to 2.8 million in 1936. The arrondissements in the centre lost as much as twenty percent of their population, while the outer neighbourhoods, gained ten percent. The low birth rate of Parisians was compensated by a new wave of immigration from the dictatorships of Russia, Poland, Germany and Italy. Around the city, in the open space created by the destruction of the old fortifications, the city built the first public housing for low-income workers. Political tensions mounted in Paris with strikes, demonstrations and confrontations between the Communists and Popular Front on the extreme left and the Action Francaise on the extreme right.[103]

Despite the tensions, in 1937 the city hosted another world's fair, with the very long title Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne. or International Exposition of arts and technology in modern life. It was held held on both sides of the Seine at the Champs-de-Mars and Chaillot. The Palais de Chaillot, whose terraces were ornamented with gigantic water cannon fountains, was the main venue, along with the Palais de Tokyo, now the Paris Museum of Modern Art. The pavilions of the Soviet Union, crowned by a hammer and sickle, and of Nazi Germany, with an eagle and swastika on its summit. faced each other in the centre of the exhibition.[104]

Occupied Paris and the Liberation (1940–1945)Edit

Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-751-0067-34, Paris, Parade deutscher Soldaten

German soldiers parade on the Champs Elysees in 1940

Crowds of French patriots line the Champs Elysees-edit2

Parisians welcome the liberation, August 1944

Following the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, France declared war on Germany. The French defense plan was purely passive. waiting for the Germans to attack. On 31 August 31, thirty thousand children were evacuated from Paris to the French provinces, the population was issued gas masks, and bomb shelters were constructed in the city squares. The major works of art of the Louvre and other museums were also evacuated to the Loire Valley and other locations, and the architectural landmarks were protected by sandbags. The French Army waited in the fortifications of the Maginot Line, while in Paris the cafes and theatres remained open.[105]

The Germans attacked France on 10 May 1940, bypassing the Maginot Line and going all the way to the English Channel, before heading toward Paris. Paris was flooded with refugees from the battle zone. The Citroen factory was bombed on 2 June. On 10 June, the French government fled Paris, first to Tours and then to Bordeaux. On 12 June Paris was declared an open city. The first German soldiers entered the city on June 14, and paraded on the Champs Elysees. [106] Adolf Hitler flew to Paris on 24 June for his first and only visit, driving through the boulevards, visiting Montmartre and viewing the Eiffel Tower from the terrace of the Palais de Chaillot.[105]

During the Occupation, the French Government moved to Vichy, and the German flag flew over all the French government buildings. Signs in German were placed on the main boulevards, and the clocks of Paris were reset to Berlin time. The German military high command moved into the Majestic Hotel on Avenue Kleber; The Abwehr, or German military intelligence, took over the Hotel Lutetia; the Luftwaffe occupied the Ritz; the German Navy to the Hotel de la Marine on the Place de La Concorde; the Gestapo occupied the building at 93 Rue Lauriston; and the German commandant of Paris and his staff moved into the Hotel Meurice on the Rue de Rivoli.[107]

There were special movie theatres and cafes set aside for German soldiers, while the German officers enjoyed the Ritz, Maxim’s, the Coupole and the other expensive restaurants; the exchange rate was fixed to favor the German occupiers.

For the Parisians, the occupation was a series of frustrations and humiliations. A curfew was in effect from nine in the evening until five in the morning. Rationing went into effect for food, tobacco, coal and clothing. products was in effect from September 1940. A million Parisians left the city for the provinces, where there was more food and fewer Germans. The French press and radio contained only German propaganda.[108]

Parisian Jews were forced to wear a yellow star, and barred from certain professions and places. On 16–17 July 1942, 12,884 Jews, including 4,051 children and 5.082 women, were rounded up by the French police, on orders of the Germans. Unmarried persons and couples without children were taken to Drancy, north of Paris, while seven thousand members of families went to the Velodrome d’Hiver, on rue Nelaton in the 15th arronissement, where they were crowded together in the stadium for five days before being send to concentration camps.[109]

The first demonstration against the occupation, by Paris students, took place on 11 November 1940. As the war continued, clandestine groups and networks, some loyal to the Communist Party, others to General Charles De Gaulle in London, organised an underground press, attacks on the Germans, and inscriptions on walls. Reprisals by the Germans were swift and harsh. [108]

Paris was not bombed as often or as heavily as London or Berlin, but the factories and railroad yards in the outer parts of the city and suburbs were frequent targets. A night raid on 20–21 April 1944 on the La Chapelle train station in the 18th arrondissement killed 650 persons and destroyed hundreds of buildings.[110]

The Allies landed at Normandy on 6 June 1944, and two months later broke the German lines and began to advance toward and around Paris. As the Allies advanced, strikes organised by the resistance disrupted the railroads, police and other public services in the city. On August 19, the resistance networks gave the orders for a general uprising in the city. The resistance forces seized the prefecture of police and other public buildings in the heart of the city. The French Second Armored Division of General Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque and the American Fourth Armored Division entered the city on August 24 and converged in the centre, where they were met by delirious crowds. The German commander of Paris, General Dietrich von Choltitz, ignored an order from Adolf Hitler to destroy the monuments of the city, and surrendered the city on 25 August. General De Gaulle arrived on 26 August, and led a massive parade down the Champs Elysees.[111]

Postwar Paris (1946–2000)Edit

File:P1030598 (5015329985).jpg

The population of Paris did not return to its 1936 level until 1946, and grew to 2,850,000 by 1954, including 135,000 immigrants, mostly from Algeria, Morocco, Italy and Spain. The exodus of middle-class Parisians to the suburbs continued. The population of the city declined during the 1960s and 1970s (2,753,000 in 1962, 2.3 million in 1972) before finally stabilising in the 1980s (2,168.000 in 1982, 2,152,000 in 1992).[112]

The liberation and the end of the war did not end the hardships of the Parisians. Rationing of bread continued until February 1948, and coffee, cooking oil, sugar and rice were rationed until May 1949. Housing in Paris was old and run-down. In 1954, thirty-five percent of Paris apartment buildings had been built before 1871. Eighty-one percent of Paris apartments did not have their own bathroom, and fifty-five percent percent did not have their own toilet. It was also expensive and in short supply. In 1950, the government began a new large-scale project to construct apartment blocks for low-income Parisians, called HLMs (habitations a loyers moderes), usually on the edges of the city or in the suburbs.[113]

The cultural life of Paris resumed, this time centered around the cafes of Saint-Germain-des-Pres; the Cafe de Flore, the Brasserie Lipp and Les Deux-Magots, where the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre and writer Simone de Beauvoir held court, and the night clubs le Rose Rouge, and Le Tabou. The musical styles were be-bop and jazz, led by Sydney Bechet and trumpet player Boris Vian. The new Museum of Modern Art of Paris opened in June, 1947 in the old Palais de Tokyo of the 1937 Universal Exposition. Paris designers, led by Christian Dior, made Paris once again the capital of high fashion.[113]

The politics of Paris remained turbulent throughout the 1940s and early 1950s. A strike on 1 December 1950 caused the cutoff of electricity, and the shutdown of the Paris Metro. Communist-led demonstrators battled the police in the streets in 1948 and 1951. The struggle for the independence of Algeria, and the resistance of French residents of Algeria, led in 1961 and 1962 to numerous bombings and deadly violent confrontations in Paris between demonstrators and the police; The deeply divided postwar Fourth Republic collapsed in 1958, and a new Constitution was adopted and a new government, under President Charles De Gaulle, was elected. In May 1968, Paris experienced student uprisings on the left bank; barricades and red flags appeared in the Latin Quarter on May 2, 1968, university buildings were occupied, and a general strike closed down much of Paris on 13 May. A massive counter-demonstration of one million people on the Champs Elysees in support of President De Gaulle on 30 May 1968, was followed by a gradual return to calm.[114]

Paris had not had an elected Mayor since the French Revolution; Napoleon Bonaparte and his successors had personally chosen the Prefect to run the city. Under President Valery Giscard d'Estaing, the law was changed on December 31, 1975. The first mayoral election in 1977 was won by Jacques Chirac, the former Prime Minister. Chirac served as Mayor of Paris for eighteen years, until 1995, when he was elected President of the Republic. He was succeeded by another candidate of the right, Jean Tibéri. In 2001, Tiberi was defeated by Bertrand Delanoë, the first socialist to be elected Mayor of Paris.[115]

Each President of the Fifth Republic desired to make his mark on Paris, and each initiated a plan of Grands Travaux, or Great Works. The first President of the new Republic Charles De Gaulle, constructed a new central produce market at Rungis, to replace the picturesque but antiquated market of Les Halles. But the most visible and appreciated improvement made by De Gaulle was the Malraux Law, drafted by writer and Minister of Culture Andre Malraux. The facades of the Cathedral of Notre Dame and other landmarks of Paris were cleaned of centuries of soot and grime, and returned to their original colours.

The major project of President Georges Pompidou was the Pompidou Center at Beaubourg, an ultramodern showcase of the contemporary arts, whose pipes, escalators ducts and other internal workings were exposed outside of the building. His successor, Valery Giscard d'Estaing, converted the Gare D'Orsay train station into the Musee D'Orsay for art of the 19th century; it was opened in 1977 under President Mitterrand. He also replaced the old slaughterhouses at La Vilette with a new museum of science and technology, La Cité des sciences (1986).

President Francois Mitterrand had fourteen years in power, enough time to complete more projects than any president since Napoleon III. His Grands Travaux included the Institute of the Arab World, a new national library (now called the Bibliotheque Francois Mitterrand; a new opera house, the Opera Bastille, opened in 1989 to help celebrate the bicentennial of the French Revolution; a new Ministry of Finance in Bercy (the old Ministry had been housed in a wing of the Louvre), also opened in 1989. The Grande Arche in La Defense also finished in 1989, a massive hollow cube-shaped building 112 meters high, completed the long perspective from the Place de la Concorde through the Champs Elysees. The most famous project of all, the Grand Louvre, included the expulsion of the Ministry of Finance, the reconstruction of large parts of the museum, an underground gallery, and the addition of a glass pyramid by I.M. Pei in the courtyard.[116]

The major Paris project of President Jacques Chirac in 2006 was the Museum of the Arts and Civilizations of Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas, located on the Quai Branly.[117]

Under President Nicolas Sarkozy, the most innovative project (introduced by the Mayor of Paris) was the Velib, (1912), a city-wide network of sites for renting bicycles, an idea soon copied by other cities around the world.[118]

In the post-war era, Paris experienced its largest development since the end of the Belle Époque in 1914. The suburbs began to expand considerably, with the construction of large social estates known as cités and the beginning of La Défense, the business district. A comprehensive express subway network, the RER, was built to complement the Métro and serve the distant suburbs. A network of roads was developed in the suburbs centred on the Périphérique expressway encircling the city, which was completed in 1973.[119]

Since the 1970s, many inner suburbs of Paris (especially those in the north and east) have experienced deindustrialisation, and the once-thriving cités have gradually become ghettos for immigrants and experienced significant unemployment. At the same time, the city of Paris (within its Périphérique expressway) and the western and southern suburbs have successfully shifted their economic base from traditional manufacturing to high-value-added services and high-tech manufacturing, generating great wealth for their residents whose per capita income is the highest in France and among the highest in Europe.[120][121] The resulting widening social gap between these two areas has led to periodic unrest since the mid-1980s such as the 2005 riots, which were concentrated for the most part in the north-eastern suburbs.[122]

21st centuryEdit

Grand paris express

Provisional map of the future Grand Paris metro

A massive urban renewal project, the Grand Paris, was launched in 2007 by President Nicolas Sarkozy. It consists of various economic, cultural, housing, transport and environmental projects to reach a better integration of the territories and revitalise the metropolitan economy. The most emblematic project is the €26.5 billion construction by 2030 of a new automatic metro, which will consist of 200 kilometres (120 mi) of rapid-transit lines connecting the Grand Paris regions to one another and to the centre of Paris.[123] Nevertheless, the Paris metropolitan area is still divided into numerous territorial collectivities;[124] an ad-hoc structure, Paris Métropole, was established in June 2009 to coordinate the action of 184 "Parisian" territorial collectivities.[125]



Map showing location in relation to London and Calais

Paris is located in northern central France. By road it is 450 kilometres (280 mi) south-east of London, 287 kilometres (178 mi) south of Calais, 305 kilometres (190 mi) south-west of Brussels, 774 kilometres (481 mi) north of Marseilles, 385 kilometres (239 mi) north-east of Nantes, and 135 kilometres (84 mi) south-east of Rouen.[126] Paris is located in the north-bending arc of the river Seine, spread widely on both banks of the river, and includes two inhabited islands, the Île Saint-Louis and the larger Île de la Cité, which forms the oldest part of the city. The river’s mouth on the English Channel (La Manche) is about 233 mi (375 km) downstream of the city. Overall, the city is relatively flat, and the lowest point is 35 m (115 ft) above sea level. Paris has several prominent hills, of which the highest is Montmartre at 130 m (427 ft) .[127] Montmartre gained its name from the martyrdom of Saint Denis, first bishop of Paris atop the "Mons Martyrum" (Martyr's mound) in 250.

Excluding the outlying parks of Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes, Paris occupies an oval measuring about 87 km2 (34 sq mi) in area, enclosed by the 35 km (22 mi) ring road, the Boulevard Périphérique.[128] The city's last major annexation of outlying territories in 1860 not only gave it its modern form but also created the twenty clockwise-spiralling arrondissements (municipal boroughs). From the 1860 area of 78 km2 (30 sq mi), the city limits were expanded marginally to 86.9 km2 (33.6 sq mi) in the 1920s. In 1929, the Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes forest parks were officially annexed to the city, bringing its area to about 105 km2 (41 sq mi).[129] The metropolitan area of the city is 2,300 km2 (890 sq mi).[130]


Paris SPOT 1017

Paris as seen from the Spot Satellite

Paris has a typical Western European oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification: Cfb ) which is affected by the North Atlantic Current. The overall climate throughout the year is mild and moderately wet.[131] Summer days are usually moderately warm and pleasant with average temperatures hovering between 15 and 25 °C (59 and 77 °F), and a fair amount of sunshine.[132] Each year, however, there are a few days where the temperature rises above 30 °C (86 °F). Some years have even witnessed some long periods of harsh summer weather, such as the heat wave of 2003 where temperatures exceeded 30 °C (86 °F) for weeks, surged up to 39 °C (102 °F) on some days and seldom cooled down at night.[133] More recently, the average temperature for July 2011 was 17.6 °C (63.7 °F), with an average minimum temperature of 12.9 °C (55.2 °F) and an average maximum temperature of 23.7 °C (74.7 °F).

Spring and autumn have, on average, mild days and fresh nights, but are changing and unstable. Surprisingly warm or cool weather occurs frequently in both seasons.[134] In winter, sunshine is scarce; days are cold but generally above freezing with temperatures around 7 °C (45 °F).[135] Light night frosts are however quite common, but the temperature will dip below −5 °C (23.0 °F) for only a few days a year. Snowfall is uncommon, but the city sometimes sees light snow or flurries with or without accumulation.[136]

Rain falls throughout the year. Average annual precipitation is 652 mm (25.7 in) with light rainfall fairly distributed throughout the year. The highest recorded temperature is 40.4 °C (104.7 °F) on July 28, 1948, and the lowest is a −23.9 °C (−11 °F) on December 10, 1879.[137]

Climate data for Paris (1981–2010 averages)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 16.1
Average high °C (°F) 7.2
Daily mean °C (°F) 5.0
Average low °C (°F) 2.7
Record low °C (°F) −14.6
Precipitation mm (inches) 51.0
Avg. precipitation days 9.9 9.0 10.6 9.3 9.8 8.4 8.1 7.7 7.8 9.6 10.0 10.9 111.1
Mean monthly sunshine hours 62.5 79.2 128.9 166.0 193.8 202.1 212.2 212.1 167.9 117.8 67.7 51.4 1,661.6
Source: Meteo France[138]


Elysée Palace, Paris 2005

The Élysée Palace, residence of the French President

As the capital of France, Paris is the seat of France's national government. For the executive, the two chief officers each have their own official residences, which also serve as their offices. The President of France resides at the Élysée Palace in the 8th arrondissement,[139] while the Prime Minister's seat is at the Hôtel Matignon in the 7th arrondissement.[140][141] Government ministries are located in various parts of the city; many are located in the 7th arrondissement, near the Matignon.

The two houses of the French Parliament are located on the left bank. The upper house, the Senate, meets in the Palais du Luxembourg in the 6th arrondissement, while the more important lower house, the Assemblée Nationale, meets in the Palais Bourbon in the 7th arrondissement. The President of the Senate, the third-highest public official in France,[142] resides in the "Petit Luxembourg", a smaller palace annex to the Palais du Luxembourg.[143]

Conseil d&#039;Etat Paris WA

The Conseil d'Etat

France's highest courts are located in Paris. The Court of Cassation, the highest court in the judicial order, which reviews criminal and civil cases, is located in the Palais de Justice on the Île de la Cité,[144] while the Conseil d'État, which provides legal advice to the executive and acts as the highest court in the administrative order, judging litigation against public bodies, is located in the Palais Royal in the 1st arrondissement.[145] The Constitutional Council, an advisory body with ultimate authority on the constitutionality of laws enacted by Parliament, also meets in the Montpensier wing of the Palais Royal.[146] Each of Paris' twenty arrondissements has its own town hall and a directly elected council (conseil d'arrondissement), which, in turn, elects an arrondissement mayor.[147] A selection of members from each arrondissement council form the Council of Paris (conseil de Paris), which, in turn, elects the mayor of Paris.

Paris and its region host the headquarters of many international organisations including UNESCO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the International Chamber of Commerce, the Paris Club, the European Space Agency, the International Energy Agency, the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, the European Union Institute for Security Studies, the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, the International Exhibition Bureau and the International Federation for Human Rights. Paris is today one of the world's leading business and cultural centres and its influences in politics, education, entertainment, media, science, and the arts all contribute to its status as one of the world's major global cities.[148] Paris has numerous partner cities,[149][150] but according to the motto "Only Paris is worthy of Rome; only Rome is worthy of Paris";[149][151] the only sister city of Paris is Rome[150] and vice-versa.

City governmentEdit

Paris plan jms

Map of the arrondissements of Paris

Paris has been a commune (municipality) since 1834 (and also briefly between 1790 and 1795). At the 1790 division (during the French Revolution) of France into communes, and again in 1834, Paris was a city only half its modern size, composed of 12 arrondissements,[152] but, in 1860, it annexed bordering communes, totally enclosing the surrounding towns (bourgs) either fully or partly, to create the new administrative map of 20 arrondissements (municipal districts) the city still has today. Every arrondissement has its own mayor, town hall, and special characteristics.


Paris uu ua jms

Extent of the urban and metropolitan areas of Paris at the 1999 census.

Paris Historical Population

City proper, urban area, and metropolitan area population from 1800 to 2010.

Template:Collapsible Table Paris Region top countries & territories of birth

As of 2010, the population of Paris proper stood around 2.25 million,[153] while that of Paris unité urbaine, roughly corresponding to the city and the surrounding built-up area was about 10.5 million. Though substantially lower than at its peak in the early 1920s, the density of the city proper is one of the highest in the developed world. Compared to the rest of France, the main features of the Parisian population are a high average income, relatively young median age, high proportion of international migrants and high economic inequalities. Similar characteristics are found in other large cities throughout the World.

Population evolutionEdit

The population of the city proper reached a maximum shortly after World War I, with nearly 3 millions inhabitants, and then decreased for the rest 20th century to the benefit of the suburb. Most of the decline occurred in the 1960s and 1970s, when it fell from 2.8 to 2.2 million.[154] This trend toward de-densification of the centre was also observed in other large cities like London and New York City.

Since the beginning of 21st century, the population of Paris has tended once again to rise, regaining more than 100,000 inhabitants between 1999 and 2009 despite a persistent migratory deficit.[155] and a fecundity rate well below 2.[156] The population growth is explained by the high proportion of people in the 18-40 age range who are most likely to have children.[157]


Paris population density reaches 22,000 inhabitants per square kilometer - 25,000 if the outlying Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes are excluded. It is one of the highest in the developed world, only slightly lower than Manhattan. The residential density tends to be higher in the Eastern part of the city, while the centre-West contains more offices.[158] Paris urban unit (built-up area) extends well beyond the city limits, and comprises all of the surrounding départements of Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, and Val-de-Marne, as well as substantial portions of Yvelines, Val-d'Oise, Seine-et-Marne and Essonne. It includes heavily built-up inner suburbs, with densities comparable to those of Paris itself, as well as more distant and more sparsely populated areas. The average density for the whole urban unit is below 4,000 /km2.


The GDP per capita in the Île-de-France region was around 49,800 euros in 2010.[159] The average net household income (after social, pension and health insurance contributions) was 36,085 euros in Paris for 2011.[160] It ranges from €22,095 in the 19th[161] arrondissement to €82,449 in the 7th[162] arrondissement. The median taxable income for 2011 was around 25,000 euros in Paris and 22,200 for Île-de-France.[163] Generally speaking, incomes are higher in the Western part of the city and in the Western suburbs than in the Northern and Eastern parts of the urban area.


Paris and its metropolitan area is one of the most multi-cultural in Europe: at the 2010 census, 23.0% of the total population in the Paris Region was born outside of Metropolitan France, up from 19.7% at the 1999 census.[164]

About one third of persons who have recently moved to Metropolitan France from foreign countries settle in the Paris Region, about a third of whom in the city of Paris proper.[165] 20% of the Paris population are first-generation international immigrants, and 40% of children have at least one immigrant parent. Recent immigrants tend to be more diverse in terms of qualification: more of them have no qualification at all and more or them have tertiary education.[165]

Though international migration rate is positive, population flows from the rest of France are more intense, and negative. They are heavily age dependent: while many retired people leave Paris for the Southern and Western parts of France, migration flows are positive in the 18-30 age range.[166] About one half of Île-de-France population was not born in the region.


Panorama La Défense
La Défense, the largest dedicated business district in Europe.[167]

The Paris Region is France's premier centre of economic activity, and with a 2011 GDP of 607 billion[168] (US$845 billion), it is not only the wealthiest area of France, but has one of the highest GDPs in the world, after Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles, Seoul and London[169] making it an engine of the global economy. Were it a country, it would rank as the seventeenth-largest economy in the world, larger than the Turkish and Dutch economies and almost as large as Indonesia's.[170] While its population accounted for 18.8 percent of the total population of metropolitan France in 2011,[171] its GDP accounted for 31.0 per cent of metropolitan France's GDP.[168] Wealth is heavily concentrated in the western suburbs of Paris, notably Neuilly-sur-Seine, one of the wealthiest areas of France.[172] This mirrors a sharp political divide, with political conservatism being much more common towards the western edge, whilst the political spectrum lies more to the left in the east.[173]

The Parisian economy has been gradually shifting towards high-value-added service industries (finance, IT services, etc.) and high-tech manufacturing (electronics, optics, aerospace, etc.). However, in the 2009 European Green City Index, Paris was still listed as the second most "green" large city in Europe, after Berlin.[174] The Paris region's most intense economic activity through the central Hauts-de-Seine département and suburban La Défense business district places Paris' economic centre to the west of the city, in a triangle between the Opéra Garnier, La Défense and the Val de Seine. While the Paris economy is largely dominated by services, it remains an important manufacturing powerhouse of Europe, especially in industrial sectors such as automobiles, aeronautics, and electronics. The Paris Region hosts the headquarters of 30 of the Fortune Global 500 companies.[6]

Horse Tram at Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris

The 1999 census indicated that, of the 5,089,170 persons employed in the Paris urban area, 16.5 per cent worked in business services; 13% in commerce (retail and wholesale trade); 12% in manufacturing; 10.0 per cent in public administrations and defence; 8.7 per cent in health services; 8% in transport and communications; 6.6 per cent in education, and the remaining 25% in many other economic sectors. In the manufacturing sector, the largest employers were the electronic and electrical industry (17.9 per cent of the total manufacturing workforce in 1999) and the publishing and printing industry (14.0 per cent of the total manufacturing workforce), with the remaining 68% of the manufacturing workforce distributed among many other industries. Tourism and tourist related services employ 6% of Paris' workforce, and 3.6 per cent of all workers within the Paris Region. Unemployment in the Paris "immigrant ghettos" ranges from 20 to 40 per cent, according to varying sources.[175]

Paris receives around 28 million tourists per year,[176] of which 17 million are foreign visitors,[177] which makes the city and its region the world's leading tourism destination, housing four UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Its museums and monuments are among its highest-esteemed attractions; tourism has motivated both the city and national governments to create new ones. The city's most prized museum, the Louvre, welcomes over eight million visitors a year, being by far the world's most-visited art museum.[178] The city's cathedrals are another main attraction: Notre Dame de Paris and the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur receive 12 million and eight million visitors, respectively. The Eiffel Tower, by far Paris' most famous monument, receives on average over six million visitors per year[179] and has received more than 200 million since its construction. Disneyland Paris is a major tourist attraction for visitors to not only Paris but also the rest of Europe, with 14.5 million visitors in 2007. Much of Paris' hotel, restaurant and night entertainment trades have become heavily dependent on tourism.


Tour Eiffel 360 Panorama
Panorama of Paris as seen from the Eiffel Tower as a 270-degree view. The river flows from right to left, from the north-east to the south-west.


Camille Pissarro - Boulevard Montmartre - Eremitage

Boulevard Montmartre, by Camille Pissarro (1897)

The architecture in Paris has been constrained by laws related to the height and shape of buildings at least since the 17th century,[180] to the point that alignement and (often uniformity of height) of buildings is a characteristic and recognizable trait of Paris streets in spite of the evolution of architectural styles. However, a large part of contemporary Paris has been affected by the vast mid-19th century urban remodelling. For centuries, the center of the city had been a labyrinth of narrow streets and half-timber houses, but, beginning in 1853, under the direction of Napolean III and his préfet de Seine Georges Eugène Haussmann, entire quarters were levelled to make way for wide avenues lined with neo-classical stone buildings of bourgeoisie standing.

The building code has been slightly relaxed since the 1850s, but the Second Empire plans are in many cases more or less followed. An "alignement" law is still in place, which regulates a building's height according to the width of the streets it borders, and under the regulation, it is almost impossible to get an approval to build a taller building.[181] However, specific authorizations allowed for the construction of many high-rise buildings in the 1960s and early 1970s, most of them limited to a height of 100 m, in peripheral arrondissements.

Churches are the oldest intact buildings in the city, and show high Gothic architecture at its best—the Notre Dame cathedral and the church of Sainte-Chapelle are two of the most striking buildings in the city.[182] The latter half of the 19th-century was an era of architectural inspiration, with buildings such as the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, built in 1871, revealing a combination of Romanesque and neo-Byzantine design.[183] Paris' most famous architectural piece, the Eiffel Tower, was built as a temporary exhibit for the 1889 World Fair and remains an enduring symbol of the capital with its iconic structure and position, towering over much of the city.[184] Many of Paris' important institutions are located outside the city limits; the financial business district is in La Défense, and many of the educational institutions lie in the southern suburbs. Disneyland Paris, one of France's top tourist destinations, is located mostly in the commune of Chessy, 30.6 km (19.0 mi) north-east of the city centre.

Landmarks by districtEdit

The 1st arrondissement forms much of the historic centre of Paris. The line of monuments begins with the Louvre museum and continues through the Tuileries Gardens, the Champs-Élysées, and the Arc de Triomphe, centred in the Place de l'Étoile circus. Les Halles were formerly Paris' central meat and produce market, and, since the late 1970s, have been a major shopping centre.[185] Place Vendôme is famous for its deluxe hotels such as Hôtel Ritz, Hôtel de Rambouillet, The Westin Paris – Vendôme, Hôtel de Toulouse, Hôtel du Petit-Bourbon, Hôtel Meurice, and Hôtel Regina.[186]

The 2nd arrondissement lies to the north of the 1st. The Boulevard des Capucines, Boulevard Montmartre, Boulevard des Italiens, Rue de Richelieu and Rue Saint-Denis are major roads running through the district. The 2nd arrondissement is the theatre district of Paris,[187] overlapping into the 3rd, and contains the Théâtre des Capucines and Théâtre-Musée des Capucines, Opéra-Comique, Théâtre des Variétés, Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens, Théâtre du Vaudeville and Théâtre Feydeau. Also of note are the Académie Julian, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Café Anglais and Galerie Vivienne.[188]

Paris ArchivesNationales Facade

The National Archives building of the Museum of French History

The 3rd arrondissement is located to the north-east of the 1st. Le Marais is a trendy district spanning the 3rd and 4th arrondissements. It is architecturally very well preserved, and some of the oldest houses and buildings of Paris can be found there, with museums and theatres such as the Museum of French History, Musée Picasso, and Théâtre du Marais.[189] It is a very culturally open place, known for its Chinese, Jewish and gay communities. The Place des Vosges, established in 1612 to celebrate the wedding of Louis XIII to Anne of Austria lies at the border of the 3rd and 4th arrondissements and is the oldest planned square in Paris,[190] and the Place de la République was named after the constitutional change in France. The 4th arrondissement is located to the east of the 1st. Place de la Bastille (4th, 11th and 12th arrondissements, right bank) is a district of great historical significance, for not just Paris, but also all of France. Because of its symbolic value, the square has often been a site of political demonstrations, and it has a tall column commemorating the final resting place of the revolutionaries killed in 1830 and 1848.[191] Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal, La Force Prison, Centre Georges Pompidou and Lycée Charlemagne are notable institutions here. The 12th-century cathedral Notre Dame de Paris on the Île de la Cité is one of the best-known landmarks of the 4th arrondissement, and there are numerous other churches located here.[192]

Place de la Bastille Paris

Place de la Bastille

The 5th arrondissement contains the Quartier Latin (also spanning the 6th), a 12th-century scholastic centre formerly stretching between the left bank's Place Maubert and the Sorbonne campus of the University of Paris, its oldest and most famous college.[193] It is known for its lively atmosphere and many bistros. Various higher-education establishments, such as Collège de France, Collège Sainte-Barbe, Collège international de philosophie, École Normale Supérieure, and others make it a major educational centre in Paris. The Panthéon church is where many of France's illustrious men and women are buried.[194] The 6th arrondissement, to the south of the centre and Seine has numerous hotels and restaurants and also educational institutions. Hotels located in the district include Hôtel Au Manoir Saint Germain des Prés, Hôtel de Chimay and Hôtel de Vendôme, cafés such as Café de Flore and Café Procope, and academies and schools include the Académie française and the medical Académie Nationale de Médecine. A symbol of the Revolution are the two Statues of Liberty located on the Île aux Cygnes[195] in the Luxembourg Garden of the 6th arrondissement and on the Seine between the 15th and 16th arrondissements.[196] A larger version of the statues was sent as a gift from France to the United States in 1886 and now stands in New York City's harbour.[197] The Odéon-Théâtre de l'Europe is located in this district, as is the Luxembourg Palace.

The 7th arrondissement lies to the south-west of the centre, across the Seine. The Eiffel Tower is the most famous landmark of the 7th arrondissement and of Paris itself, built as "temporary" construction by Gustave Eiffel for the 1889 Universal Exposition but was never dismantled and is now an enduring symbol of Paris. The Axe historique (Historical axis) is a line of monuments, buildings, and thoroughfares that run in a roughly straight line from the city centre westwards.[198] Many hotels are located in this district including Hôtel Biron and Hôtel de Conti. The Invalides museum is the burial place for many great French soldiers, including Napoleon, and the 18th-century military school, Ecole Militaire, is also located here.[199]

Champs Elysees Paris Wikimedia Commons

Avenue des Champs-Élysées during Christmas

The Champs-Élysées is a 17th-century avenue connecting the Place de la Concorde and the Napoleonic Arc de Triomphe, which straddles the 8th, the 16th and 17th arrondisements. Avenue Montaigne is a major tourist attraction and shopping street, hosting labels such as Christian Lacroix,[200] Sephora, Lancel, Louis Vuitton and Guerlain, as well as Renault, Toyota and numerous small souvenir outlets, and is perhaps the most well-known street in France.[201] The Canadian and American embassies and many hotels lie in the 8th arrondissement, including Hôtel de Crillon, Hôtel Le Bristol Paris, Hôtel de la Marine, Hôtel de Marigny as well as the Les Ambassadeurs, Ledoyen, and Taillevent restaurants.

The 9th arrondissement lies north of the centre and is a continuation of the theatre and museum district with theatres including the Éden-Théâtre, Théâtre du Vaudeville, and Théâtre de Paris, museums such as Musée Grévin, Musée du Parfum, and Musée national Gustave Moreau. Avenue de l'Opéra is the area around the Opéra Garnier and the location of the capital's densest concentration of department stores and office buildings including the Printemps and Galeries Lafayette department stores, and the Paris headquarters of BNP Paribas and American Express.[202] The Palais Garnier, built in the later Second Empire period, houses the Paris Opera and the Paris Opera Ballet.[203]

The 10th arrondissement lies north-east of the centre and is a continuation of the theatre district with many theatres including Théâtre Antoine-Simone Berriau, Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord and Théâtre de la Renaissance. Also of note is Musée de l'Éventail, Hôpital Saint-Louis, The Kurdish Digital Library, Lariboisière Hospital, Lycée Edgar-Poe, Prison Saint-Lazare and the Saint Laurent and Saint-Vincent-de-Paul churches.[204] The Alhambra music hall opened in 2008. The 11th arrondissement is located in the east, west of the 20th arrondissement. It contains the squares Place de la Nation, Place de la République, Place du 8 Février 1962, the theatres Bataclan, Théâtre des Folies-Dramatiques, Théâtre de l'Ambigu-Comique, Théâtre des Délassements-Comiques, and Théâtre des Funambules, the museums Musée du Fumeur and Musée Édith Piaf,[205] and La Roquette Prisons.

Opéra Bastille 2011

Opéra Bastille

The 12th arrondissement in the south-eastern suburbs of Paris is separated from the 13th by the Seine with several bridges. The district contains the Place de la Bastille and Place de la Nation (bordering the 11th), Picpus Cemetery and Parc de Bercy, and the Boulevard de la Bastille runs through it. A 12th-century convent was located here, Saint-Antoine-des-Champs, and today the Buddhist temples Kagyu-Dzong and Pagode de Vincennes are located in the 12th arrondissement.[206] Opéra Bastille, the main facility of the Paris National Opera, was inaugurated in 1989 under the Uruguayan architect Carlos Ott as part of President François Mitterrand’s “Grands Travaux”.[207]

The 13th and 14th arrondissements lie in the southern suburbs of Paris. The 13th, to the south-east contains the neighbourhoods of Chinatown, Floral City, Butte-aux-Cailles, and the Italie 2 shopping centre with some 130 stores.[208] Institutions such as the Bibliothèque nationale de France and École Estienne are located here. In the 14th is Montparnasse a historic left bank area famous for artists' studios, music halls, and café life.[209] The Montparnasse Cemetery, large Montparnasse – Bienvenüe Métro station, Théâtre Montparnasse, and the lone Tour Montparnasse skyscraper are located there.

The 15th arrondissement, located in the south-western part of the city, is the most populous arrondissement. It is has several bridges, such as Pont du Garigliano and Pont Mirabeau. A number of institutions are based in the 15th arrondissement including the hospitals Hôpital Européen Georges-Pompidou and Necker-Enfants Malades Hospital, and the French automobile company Citroën had several factories which were replaced by the Parc André Citroën. Palais des Sports was built in 1960 to replace the old Vel’ d’Hiv and has hosted many notable music concerts over the years.[210] Val de Seine, straddling the 15th arrondissement and the communes of Issy-les-Moulineaux and Boulogne-Billancourt to the south-west of central Paris is the new media hub of Paris and France, hosting the headquarters of most of France's TV networks such as TF1, France 2 and Canal+.[211]


Paris Saint-Germain F.C. against Borussia Dortmund at the Parc des Princes

The 16th arrondissement is the largest district of Paris, marking the western side of the city, which extends beyond the left bank of the Seine. Paris Saint-Germain F.C. are based here and play their home games at the Parc des Princes, and Stade Roland Garros hosts the annual French Open tennis tournament. Tennis Club de Paris, the Stade de Paris rugby club, Longchamp Racecourse, and the Auteuil Hippodrome, a horse racing venue established in 1873 and which hosted the equestrian events of the 1924 Summer Olympics, are based in the 16th arrondissement.[212] A number of organizations are based in the 16th arrondissement, including Radio France and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, as well as museums and theatres.[213]


Place Charles de Gaulle and the Arc de Triomphe

Basilique du Sacré-Cœur IMG 1271

Basilique du Sacré-Cœur in Montmartre

The 17th arrondissement, to the west of the 18th arrondissment marks the north-western suburbs of the city. It has several squares, including Place Charles de Gaulle (with the Arc de Triomphe, bordering 16th and 8th), Place de Wagram, Place des Ternes and Square des Batignolles, the latter of which is in the neighbourhood of Batignolles, which also contains the Batignolles Cemetery and Parc Clichy-Batignolles. La Défense, beyond the 17th arrondissement (straddling the communes of Courbevoie, Puteaux, and Nanterre, 2.5 km (2 mi) west of the city proper), is a key suburb of Paris with most of the tallest skyscrapers in the Paris urban area. Initiated by the French government in 1958, it now hosts 3,500,000 m2 (37,673,686 sq ft) of offices, making it one of the largest business centres in the world.[214] Its most emblematic building, the Grande Arche (Great Arch), houses a part of the Ministry of Ecology.[215][216] Montmartre lies in the 18th arrondissement on the northern suburbs of the city, a historic area on the Butte, home to the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, and associated with artists, studios and cafés.[217]

The 19th arrondissement and 20th arrondissements mark the north-east/eastern suburbs of the city, and contain the neighbourhood of Belleville. During the first half of the 20th century, many immigrants settled in this area: German Jews fleeing the Third Reich in 1933, and Spaniards in 1939, and it became a "Jewish ghetto".[218] Many Algerians and Tunisian Jews arrived in the early 1960s. Belleville is home to one of the largest congregations of the Reformed Church of France, and contains the Église Réformée de Belleville. The 19th contains the Conservatoire de Paris, a prestigious music and dance school, established in 1795.[219] Several canals run through the 19th arrondissement: Canal Saint-Martin becomes Canal de l'Ourcq below the Place de la Bataille-de-Stalingrad, which commemorates the Battle of Stalingrad. The Zénith de Paris, one of the largest concert venues in Paris with a capacity of 6,293 people, is located here.[220]

Parks and gardensEdit

Paris Tuilerie un bassin et le Louvre

Tuileries Garden

Palais Luxembourg Sunset Edit

Jardin du Luxembourg

Two of Paris' oldest and most famous gardens are the Tuileries Garden, created in the 16th century for a palace on the banks of the Seine near the Louvre,[221] and the left bank Luxembourg Garden, another former private garden belonging to a château built for Marie de' Medici in 1612.[222] The Jardin des Plantes, created by Louis XIII's doctor Guy de La Brosse for the cultivation of medicinal plants, is Paris' only botanical garden.[223] Several of the gardens were created during the Second Empire.[224] The former suburban parks of Montsouris, Parc des Buttes Chaumont, and Parc Monceau were created by Napoleon III's engineer Jean-Charles Alphand. Another project was executed under the orders of Baron Haussmann for the re-sculpting of Paris' western Bois de Boulogne forest-parklands;[224] The Bois de Vincennes, on the city's opposite eastern end, received a similar treatment in the years which followed.[224]

Water and sanitationEdit

Sena 2010

A view of the Seine from the Pont Neuf

Paris in its early history had only the Seine and Bièvre rivers for water. From 1809, the canal de l'Ourcq provided Paris with water from less-polluted rivers to the north-east of the capital.[225] From 1857, the civil engineer Eugène Belgrand, under Napoleon III, oversaw the construction of a series of new aqueducts that brought water from locations all around the city to several reservoirs built atop the Capital's highest points of elevation.[226] From then on, the new reservoir system became Paris' principal source of drinking water, and the remains of the old system, pumped into lower levels of the same reservoirs, were from then on used for the cleaning of Paris' streets. This system is still a major part of Paris' modern water-supply network. Today Paris has over 2,400 km (1,491 mi) of underground passageways[227] dedicated to the evacuation of Paris' liquid wastes.

In 1982, the then mayor, Jacques Chirac, introduced the motorcycle-mounted Motocrotte to remove dog faeces from Paris streets.[228] The project was abandoned in 2002 for a new and better enforced local law, under the terms of which dog owners can be fined up to 500 euros for not removing their dog faeces.[229] The air pollution in Paris, from the point of view of particulate matter (pm10), is the highest in France, with 38 µg/m³.[230]


Catacombes De Paris

The Paris Catacombs hold the remains of approximately 6 million people

In Paris' Roman era, its main cemetery was located to the outskirts of the left bank settlement, but this changed with the rise of Catholicism, where most every inner-city church had adjoining burial grounds for use by their parishes. With Paris' growth many of these, particularly the city's largest cemetery, les Innocents, were filled to overflowing, creating quite unsanitary conditions for the capital. When inner-city burials were condemned from 1786, the contents of all Paris' parish cemeteries were transferred to a renovated section of Paris' stone mines outside the "Porte d'Enfer" city gate, today place Denfert-Rochereau in the 14th arrondissement.[231][232] The process of moving bones from Cimetière des Innocents to the Catacombs took place between 1786 and 1814;[233] part of the network of tunnels and remains can be visited today on the official tour of the Catacombs. After a tentative creation of several smaller suburban cemeteries, the Prefect Nicholas Frochot under Napoleon Bonaparte provided a more definitive solution in the creation of three massive Parisian cemeteries outside the city limits,.[234] Open from 1804, these were the cemeteries of Père Lachaise, Montmartre, Montparnasse, and later Passy; these cemeteries became inner-city once again when Paris annexed all communes to the inside of its much larger ring of suburban fortifications in 1860. New suburban cemeteries were created in the early 20th century: The largest of these are the Cimetière Parisien de Saint-Ouen, the Cimetière Parisien de Bobigny-Pantin, the Cimetière Parisien d'Ivry, and the Cimetière Parisien de Bagneux.



Painting and sculptureEdit


Pierre Mignard, self-portrait

For centuries, Paris has attracted artists from around the world, arriving in the city to educate themselves and to seek inspiration from its vast pool of artistic resources and galleries. As a result, Paris has acquired a reputation as the "City of Art".[235] Italian artists were a profound influence on the development of art in Paris in the 16th and 17th centuries, particular in sculpture and reliefs. Painting and sculpture became the pride of the French monarchy and the French royals commissioned many Parisian artists to adorn their palaces during the French Baroque and Classicism era. Sculptors such as Girardon, Coysevox and Coustou acquired a reputation were being the finest artists in the royal court in 17th century France. Pierre Mignard became first painter to the king during this period. In 1648, the Academy of Painting and Sculpture was established to accommodate for the dramatic interest in art in the capital. This served as France's top art school until 1793.[236] Paris was in its artistic prime in the 19th century and early 20th century, when Paris had a colony of artists established in the city, with art schools associated with some of the finest painters of the times. The French Revolution and political and social change in France had a profound influence on art in the capital. Paris was central to the development of Romanticism in art, with painters such as Géricault.[236] Impressionism, Expressionism, Fauvism and Cubism movements evolved in Paris.[236] In the late 19th century many artists in the French provinces and worldwide flocked to Paris to exhibit their works in the numerous salons and expositions and make a name for themselves.[237] Painters such as Pablo Picasso, Henry Matisse, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, Jean Metzinger, Albert Gleizes, María Blanchard, Henri Rousseau, Amedeo Modigliani and many others became associated with Paris. Montparnasse and Montmartre became centers for artistic production. The Golden Age of the Paris School ended with World War II, but Paris remains extremely important to world art and art schooling, with institutions ranging from the Paris College of Art to the Paris American Academy, specialised in teaching fashion and interior design.[238]


Paris July 2011-27a

The Louvre

The Louvre is the world's most visited art museum, housing many works of art, including the Mona Lisa (La Joconde) and the Venus de Milo statue.[239] There are hundreds of museums in Paris. Works by Pablo Picasso and Auguste Rodin are found in the Musée Picasso[240] and the Musée Rodin,[241] respectively, while the artistic community of Montparnasse is chronicled at the Musée du Montparnasse.[242] Starkly apparent with its service-pipe exterior, the Centre Georges Pompidou, also known as Beaubourg, houses the Musée National d'Art Moderne.[243]

Art and artefacts from the Middle Ages and Impressionist eras are kept in the Musée de Cluny and the Musée d'Orsay,[244] respectively, the former with the prized tapestry cycle The Lady and the Unicorn. Paris' newest (and third-largest) museum, the Musée du quai Branly, opened its doors in June 2006 and houses art from Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas, including many from Mesoamerican cultures.[245]


Paris has attracted communities of photographers, and was an important centre for the development of photography. Numerous photographers achieved renown for their photography of Paris, including Eugene Atget, noted for his depictions of early-19th-century street scenes; the early 20th-century surrealist movement's Man Ray; Robert Doisneau, noted for his playful pictures of 1950s Parisian life; Marcel Bovis, noted for his night scenes, and others such as Jacques-Henri Lartigue and Cartier-Bresson.[236] Paris also become the hotbed for an emerging art form in the late 19th century, poster art, advocated by the likes of Gavarni.[236]


Victor Hugo by Étienne Carjat 1876

Victor Hugo, one of Paris' greatest authors

Countless books and novels have been set in Paris. Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame, is one of the best known. The book was received so rapturously that it inspired a series of renovations of its setting, the Notre Dame de Paris.[246] Another of Victor Hugo's works, Les Misérables is set in Paris, against the backdrop of slums and penury.[247] Another immortalised French author, Honoré de Balzac, completed a good number of his works in Paris, including his masterpiece La Comédie humaine.[248] Other Parisian authors (by birth or residency) include Alexandre Dumas (The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later),[249]

The American novelist Ernest Hemingway, like many other expatriate writers, emigrated to Paris, where he was introduced to such varying cultural figures as Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris, James Joyce, and Gertrude Stein, who became his mentor. While in Paris, he produced works including The Sun Also Rises and Indian Camp.[250] The Irish author James Joyce emigrated to Paris and lived there for more than 20 years, concluding his Ulysses, in the city. He also produced numerous poems while in Paris, published in collections including Pomes Penyeach, and Finnegans Wake.[251] Another Irish author to have emigrated to Paris is Samuel Beckett, referred to as either the last modernist or the first postmodernist.[252]

Entertainment and performing artsEdit

Paris Opera full frontal architecture, May 2009

The Opéra Garnier


The largest opera houses of Paris are the 19th-century Opéra Garnier (historical Paris Opéra) and modern Opéra Bastille; the former tends towards the more classic ballets and operas, and the latter provides a mixed repertoire of classic and modern.[191] In middle of the 19th century, there were three other active and competing opera houses: the Opéra-Comique (which still exists), Théâtre-Italien, and Théâtre Lyrique (which in modern times changed its profile and name to Théâtre de la Ville).

Theatre traditionally has occupied a large place in Parisian culture. This still holds true today, and many of its most popular actors today are also stars of French television. Some of Paris' major theatres include Bobino, the Théâtre Mogador, and the Théâtre de la Gaîté-Montparnasse.[253] Some Parisian theatres have also doubled as concert halls. Many of France's greatest musical legends, such as Édith Piaf, Maurice Chevalier, Georges Brassens, and Charles Aznavour, found their fame in Parisian concert halls such as Le Lido, Bobino, l'Olympia and le Splendid.



A musette accordion player

In the late 12th century, a school of polyphony was established at the Notre-Dame. A group of Parisian aristocrats, known as Trouvères, became known for their poetry and songs. During the reign of Francois I, the lute became popular in the French court, and a national musical printing house was established.[236] During the Renaissance era, the French royals "disported themselves in masques, ballets, allegorical dances, recitals, opera and comedy", and composers such as Jean-Baptiste Lully became popular.[236] The Conservatoire de Musique de Paris was founded in 1795.[254] By 1870, Paris had become the most important centre for ballet music, and composers such as Debussy and Ravel contributed much to symphonic music.[236] Bal-musette is a style of French music and dance that first became popular in Paris in the 1870s and 1880s; by 1880 Paris had some 150 dance halls in the working-class neighbourhoods of the city.[255] Patrons danced the bourrée to the accompaniment of the cabrette (a bellows-blown bagpipe locally called a "musette") and often the vielle à roue (hurdy-gurdy) in the cafés and bars of the city. Parisian and Italian musicians who played the accordion adopted the style and established themselves in Auvergnat bars especially in the 19th arrondissement,[256] and the romantic sounds of the accordion has since become one of the musical icons of the city. Paris became a major centre for jazz, and still attracts jazz musicians from all around the world to its clubs and cafes.[257]

Paris is the spiritual home of gypsy jazz in particular, and many of the Parisian jazzmen who developed in the first half of the 20th century began by playing Bal-musette in the city.[256] Django Reinhardt rose to fame in Paris, having moved to the 18th arrondissement in a caravan as a young boy, and performed with violinist Stéphane Grappelli and their Quintette du Hot Club de France in the 1930s and 40s.[258] Some of the finest manouche musicians in the world are found here playing the cafes of the city at night.[258] Some of the more notable jazz venues include the New Morning, Le Sunset, La Chope des Puces and Bouquet du Nord.[257][258] Several yearly festivals take place in Paris, including the Paris Jazz Festival and the rock festival Rock en Seine.[259] The Orchestre de Paris was established in 1967.[260]


Le Grand Rex Paris

Le Grand Rex tower

Antoine Lumière launched the world's first projection, the Cinematograph, in Paris on 28 December 1895.[261][262][263] Many of Paris' concert/dance halls were transformed into movie theatres when the media became popular beginning in the 1930s. Later, most of the largest cinemas were divided into multiple, smaller rooms. Paris' largest cinema today is by far Le Grand Rex theatre with 2,800 seats,[264] whereas other cinemas all have fewer than 1,000 seats. There is now a trend toward modern multiplexes that contain more than 10 or 20 screens.

Parisians tend to share the same movie-going trends as many of the world's global cities, that is to say with a dominance of Hollywood-generated film entertainment. French cinema comes a close second, with major directors (réalisateurs) such as Claude Lelouch, François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol, and Luc Besson, and the more slapstick/popular genre with director Claude Zidi as an example. European and Asian films are also widely shown and appreciated.[265] On 2 February 2000, Philippe Binant realised the first digital cinema projection in Europe, with the DLP CINEMA technology developed by Texas Instruments, in Paris.[266][267][268]



Café Les Deux Magots in Saint-Germain-des-Prés

Paris is renowned for its haute cuisine, food meticulously prepared and presented, often accompanied by fine wines, served and celebrated by expensive restaurants and hotels. A city of culinary finesse, as of 2013 Paris has 85 Michelin-starred restaurants, second in the world to only Tokyo,[269] and many of the world's leading chefs operate restaurants serving French cuisine in Paris such as Alain Ducasse and Joël Robuchon.[270] As of 2013, Paris has ten 3-Michelin-star restaurants, the most coveted award in the restaurant business; these include Ducasse's Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Alain Passards's L'Arpège, Yannick Alleno's Le Meurice in the Hôtel Meurice, Eric Frechon's restaurant at Hotel le Bristol, and Pierre Gagnaire.[270] Joël Robuchon, the chef with the most Michelin stars worldwide, runs L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon and La Table de Joël Robuchon in Paris, both of which are 2 Michelin-star restaurants.[270]

The growth of the railway in the late 19th century led to the capital becoming a focal point for immigration from France's many different regions and gastronomical cultures. As a result, cuisine in the city is diverse, and almost any cuisine can be consumed in the city, with over 9,000 restaurants.[271] Hotel building was another result of widespread travel and tourism in the 19th century, especially Paris' late-19th-century Expositions Universelles (World's Fairs). Of the most luxurious of these, the Hôtel Ritz appeared in the Place Vendôme in 1898,[272][273] and the Hôtel de Crillon opened its doors on the north side of the Place de la Concorde, starting in 1909.


IFA Paris Fashion show 2012

IFA Paris Fashion show, 2012

Paris is a global hub of fashion and has been referred to as the "international capital of style".[274] It ranks alongside New York, Milan and London as a major centre for the fashion industry. Paris is noted for its haute couture tailoring, usually made from high-quality, expensive fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail and finished by the most experienced and capable seamstresses, often using time-consuming, hand-executed techniques. The twice-yearly Paris Fashion Week, an apparel trade show, is one of the most important events on the fashion calendar and attracts fashion aficionados from all around the world. Established in 1976, the Paris Fashion Institute offers courses in design, manufacturing, marketing, merchandising, and retailing.[275] International Fashion Academy Paris is an international fashion school, established in 1982 and headquartered in Paris, with branches in Shanghai and Istanbul.[276]

French Republican Guard Bastille Day 2007 n1

French Republican Guard on Bastille Day

Paris has a large number of high-end fashion boutiques, and many top designers have their flagship stores in the city, such as Louis Vuitton's store, Christian Dior's 1200 square foot store and Sephora's 1500 square foot store.[277] Printemps has the largest shoe and beauty departments in Europe.[277] Sonia Rykiel is considered to the "grand dame of French fashion" and "synonymous with Parisian fashion", with clothes which are embraced by "left bank fashionistas".[277] Petit Bateau is cited as one of the most popular high street stores in the city,[277] the Azzedine Alaïa store on the Rue de Moussy has been cited as a "shoe lover's haven",[277] and Colette is noted for its "brick-and-click" clothing and fashion accessories. The jeweller Cartier, with its flagship boutique near Paris' place Vendôme, has a long history of sales to royalty and celebrities:[278] King Edward VII of England once referred to Cartier as "the jeweller of kings and the king of jewellers."[279] Guerlain, one of the world's oldest existing perfumeries, has its headquarters in the north-western suburb of Levallois-Perret.


The earliest grand festival held on 14 July 1790 was the Federation of July festival at the Champ de Mars. Since then many festivals have been held such as the Festival of Liberty in 1774, the Festival for the Abolition of Slavery in 1793, the festival of Supreme Being in 1794, and the 1798 funeral festival on the death of Hoche. On every anniversary of the Republic, the Children of the Fatherland festival is held.[280] Bastille day, a celebration of the storming of the Bastille in 1789, is the biggest festival in the city, held every year on 14 July. This includes a parade of colourful floats and costumes along with armed forces march in the Champs Élysées which concludes with a display of fireworks.[281] The Paris Beach festival known as the "Paris Plage" is a festive event, which lasts from the middle of July to the middle of August, when the bank of the River Seine is converted into a temporary beach with sand and deck chairs and palm trees.[281]


NotreDameI.jpg Invalides 2007 03 11.jpg
Left: Notre-Dame de Paris; right:Chapel of the Invalides.

Like the rest of France, Paris has been predominantly Roman Catholic since the Middle Ages, though religious attendance is now low. Political instability in the Third Republic was a result of disagreements about the role of the Church in society.[282] The French Constitution makes no mention of the religious affiliations of its people and allows the freedom to practice any religion of their choice provided it was done as a private matter.[283]

Some of the notable churches in Paris are: Notre-Dame de Paris, the most famous Gothic structure (the cathedral where Napoleon declared himself emperor in 1804);[284] La Madeleine (Church of St. Mary Magdalene), built in 1806 in the form of a Roman temple;[285] Sainte-Chapelle, built in 1247–50 in Gothic Rayonnant style and damaged in the French Revolution, it was restored in the 19th century by Viollet-le-Duc;[286] Chapel of Les Invalides (Church of Saint-Louis), built between 1671–91;[287] Sacré-Coeur Basilica (Basilique du Sacré-Coeur), built from 1876–1912;[288] Saint-Sulpice (1646–1776); Le Panthéon (1756–97), in Neoclassical style; and Basilique Saint-Denis (1136).[289]


Paris' most popular sport clubs are the association football club Paris Saint-Germain FC, the basketball team Paris-Levallois Basket, and the rugby union clubs Stade Français and Racing Métro. The 80,000-seat Stade de France, built for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, is located in Saint-Denis.[290] It is used for football, rugby union and track and field athletics. It hosts annually French national rugby team's home matches of the Six Nations Championship, French national association football team for friendlies and major tournaments qualifiers, and several important matches of the Stade Français rugby team.[290] In addition to Paris Saint-Germain FC, the city has a number of other amateur football clubs: Paris FC, Red Star, RCF Paris and Stade Français Paris.

Tour de france 2010 - Champs Elysées n10

2010 Tour de France, Champs Elysées

Paris hosted the 1900 and 1924 Olympic Games and was venue for the 1938 and 1998 FIFA World Cups and for the 2007 Rugby World Cup. Although the starting point and the route of the famous Tour de France varies each year, the final stage always finishes in Paris, and, since 1975, the race has finished on the Champs-Elysées.[291] The 2006 UEFA Champions League Final between Arsenal and FC Barcelona was played in the Stade de France.[292] Paris hosted the 2007 Rugby World Cup final at Stade de France on 20 October 2007.[293] Tennis is another popular sport in Paris and throughout France; the French Open, held every year on the red clay of the Roland Garros National Tennis Centre,[294] is one of the four Grand Slam events of the world professional tennis tour. The city has also hosted the Paris City Chess Championship since 1925, and has also hosted the Paris 1867 chess tournament and Paris 1900 chess tournament.


Paris is the département with the highest proportion of highly educated people. In 2009, around 40 per cent of Parisians hold a diploma licence-level diploma or higher, the highest proportion in France,[295] while 13 per cent have no diploma, the third lowest percentage in France.

In the early 9th century, the emperor Charlemagne mandated all churches to give lessons in reading, writing and basic arithmetic to their parishes, and cathedrals to give a higher-education in the finer arts of language, physics, music, and theology; at that time, Paris was already one of France's major cathedral towns and beginning its rise to fame as a scholastic centre. By the early 13th century, the Île de la Cité Notre-Dame cathedral school had many famous teachers, and the controversial teachings of some of these led to the creation of a separate left bank Sainte-Genevieve University that would become the centre of Paris' scholastic Latin Quarter best represented by the Sorbonne university.[296] Twelve centuries later, education in Paris and the Île-de-France region employs approximately 330,000 persons, 170,000 of whom are teachers and professors teaching approximately 2.9 million children and students in around 9,000 primary, secondary, and higher education schools and institutions.[297]

Paris is home to several of France's most prestigious high-schools such as Lycée Louis-le-Grand, Lycée Henri-IV, Lycée Janson de Sailly and Lycée Condorcet. Other high-schools of international renown in the Paris area include the Lycée International de Saint Germain-en-Laye and the École Active Bilingue Jeannine Manuel.

The Paris region hosts France's highest concentration of the prestigious grandes écoles – specialised centres of higher-education outside the public university structure. The prestigious public universities are usually considered grands établissements. Most of the grandes écoles were relocated to the suburbs of Paris in the 1960s and 1970s, in new campuses much larger than the old campuses within the crowded city of Paris, though the École Normale Supérieure has remained on rue d'Ulm in the 5th arrondissement.[298] There are a high number of engineering schools, led by the prestigious Paris Institute of Technology (ParisTech) which comprises several colleges such as Arts et Métiers ParisTech, École Polytechnique, École des Mines, AgroParisTech, Télécom Paris, and École des Ponts et Chaussées. There are also many business schools, including INSEAD, ESSEC, HEC and ESCP Europe. The administrative school such as ENA has been relocated to Strasbourg, the political science school Sciences-Po is still located in Paris' 7th arrondissement. The Parisian school of journalism CELSA department of the Paris-Sorbonne University is located in Neuilly-sur-Seine.[299]


Salle de lecture Bibliotheque Sainte-Genevieve n03

Sainte-Geneviève Library

The Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) operates public libraries in Paris, among them the François-Mitterrand Library, Richelieu Library, Louvois, Opéra Library, and Arsenal Library.[300]

There are 74 public libraries in Paris, including specialised collections spread throughout the city. In the 4th arrondissement, the Forney Library is dedicated to the decorative arts; the Arsenal Library occupies a former military building, and has a large collection on French literature; and the Bibliothèque historique de la ville de Paris, also located in Le Marais, contains the Paris historical research service.
Designed by Henri Labrouste and built in the mid-1800s, the Sainte-Geneviève Library hosts a rare books and manuscripts section.[301] Bibliothèque Mazarine, in the 6th arrondissement, is the oldest public library in France. The Médiathèque Musicale Mahler in the 8th arrondissement opened in 1986 and contains collections related to music while the four glass towers of the François Mitterrand Library (nicknamed Très Grande Bibliothèque) stand out in the 13th arrondissement thanks to a design by Dominique Perrault.[301]

There are several academic libraries and archives in Paris. The Sorbonne Library in the 5th arrondissement is the largest university library in Paris. In addition to the Sorbonne location, there are branches in Malesherbes, Clignancourt-Championnet, Michelet-Institut d’Art et d’Archéologie, Serpente-Maison de la Recherche, and Institut des Etudes Ibériques.[302]
Other academic libraries include Interuniversity Pharmaceutical Library, Leonardo da Vinci University Library, Ecole des Mines Library, and the René Descartes University Library.[303]


Agence France Presse à Paris

Agence France-Presse Headquarters in Paris

Paris and suburbs are home to numerous newspapers, magazines and publications including Le Monde, Le Figaro, Libération, Le Nouvel Observateur, Le Canard enchaîné, L'Express, Le Point, Le Parisien, Les Inrockuptibles, Paris Match, Télérama, Le Journal du Dimanche and Courrier International.[304] France's two most prestigious newspapers, Le Monde and Le Figaro, are the centrepieces of the Parisian publishing industry.[305] Agence France-Presse is France's oldest, and one of the world's oldest, continually operating news agencies. AFP, as it is colloquially abbreviated, maintains its headquarters in Paris, as it has since 1835.[306] France 24 is a television news channel owned and operated by the French government, and is based in Paris.[307] Another news agency is France Diplomatie, owned and operated by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, and pertains solely to diplomatic news and occurrences.[308]

The most-viewed network in France, TF1, is based in Boulogne-Billancourt, near Paris, along with a plentiful number of others, including France Télévisions, Canal+, M6, Arte, D8, W9, NT1, NRJ 12, La Chaîne parlementaire and BFM TV, along with a multitude of others.[309] Radio France, France's public radio broadcaster, and its various channels, are based in Paris. Radio France Internationale, another public broadcaster is also based in the city.[310] The national postal carrier of France, including overseas territories, is known as La Poste. Headquartered in the 15th arrondissement, it is responsible for postal service in France and Paris.[311]


Hôtel-Dieu de Paris, February 7, 2013

The Hôtel-Dieu de Paris, the oldest hospital in the city

Most health care and emergency medical service in the city of Paris and its suburbs are provided by the Assistance publique - Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP), a public hospital system that employs more than 90,000 people (including practitioners, support personnel, and administrators) in 44 hospitals.[312] It is the largest hospital system in Europe. It provides health care, teaching, research, prevention, education and emergency medical service in 52 branches of medicine. It employs more than 90,000 people (including 15,800 physicians) in 44 hospitals and receives more than 5.8 million annual patient visits.[312]

One of the most notable hospitals is the Hôtel-Dieu, said to have been founded in 651, the oldest hospital in the city.[313] Other hospitals include the Hôpital Beaujon, Hôpital Bichat-Claude-Bernard, Hôpital de Bicètre, Hôpital Cochin, Hôpital Européen Georges-Pompidou, Hôpital Lariboisière, Hôpital Necker - Enfants Malades, Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, Hôpital Saint-Antoine, Hôpital Saint-Louis, Hôpital Tenon and Val-de-Grâce.


Thalys.JPG Gare du Nord night Paris FRA 002.JPG
Left: Thalys trains with service to Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany; right: Gare du Nord railway station is the busiest in Europe, and home to the Eurostar train service to London

Paris is a major rail, highway, and air transport hub. The Syndicat des transports d'Île-de-France (STIF), formerly Syndicat des transports parisiens (STP) oversees the transit network in the region.[314] The syndicate coordinates public transport and contracts it out to the RATP (operating 654 bus lines, the Métro, three tramway lines, and sections of the RER), the SNCF (operating suburban rails, one tramway line and the other sections of the RER) and the Optile consortium of private operators managing 1,070 minor bus lines.

The city's subway system, the Métro, was opened in 1900 and is the most widely used Transport system within the city proper, carrying about 9 million passengers daily.[315] It comprises 303 stations (385 stops) connected by 220 km (136.7 mi) of rails, and 16 lines, identified by numbers from 1 to 14, with two minor lines, 3bis and 7bis. An additional express network, the RER, with five lines (A, B, C, D, & E), connects to more-distant parts of the urban area, with 257 stops and 587 km (365 mi) of rails.[315] Over €26.5 billion will be invested over the next 15 years to extend the Métro network into the suburbs.[315] In addition, the Paris region is served by a light rail network of six lines, the tramway: Line T1 runs from Asnières-Gennevilliers to Noisy-le-Sec, line T2 runs from Pont de Bezons to Porte de Versailles, line T3a runs from Pont du Garigliano to Porte de Vincennes, line T3b runs from Porte de Vincennes to Porte de la Chapelle, line T5 runs from Saint-Denis to Garges-Sarcelles,[316] all of which are operated by the Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens,[317] and line T4 runs from Bondy RER to Aulnay-sous-Bois, which is operated by the state rail carrier SNCF.[315] Six new light rail lines are currently in various stages of development.

Paris is a central hub of the national rail network. The six major railway stations — Gare du Nord, Gare de l'Est, Gare de Lyon, Gare d'Austerlitz, Gare Montparnasse, Gare Saint-Lazare — and a minor one — Gare de Bercy — are connected to three networks: The TGV serving four High-speed rail lines, the normal speed Corail trains, and the suburban rails (Transilien).

Four international airports, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Paris-Orly, Paris-Le Bourget and Beauvais-Tillé, serve the city. The two major airports are Orly Airport, which is south of Paris; and the Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport, in Roissy-en-France, which is one of the busiest in the world and is the hub for the unofficial flag carrier Air France.[315]

ParisRingRoads A104

Ring roads of Paris. Paris city is surrounded by the Périphérique, in yellow. A86 is in blue and the Francilienne is in green.

The city is also the most important hub of France's motorway network, and is surrounded by three orbital freeways: the Périphérique,[128] which follows the approximate path of 19th-century fortifications around Paris, the A86 motorway in the inner suburbs, and finally the Francilienne motorway in the outer suburbs. Paris has an extensive road network with over 2,000 km (1,243 mi) of highways and motorways. By road, Brussels can be reached in three hours, Frankfurt in six hours and Barcelona in 12 hours. By train, London is now just two hours and 15 minutes away.[318]

Station Velib DSC 3497

Vélib' at Place de la Bastille

There are 440 km (270 mi) of cycle paths and routes in Paris. These include piste cyclable (bike lanes separated from other traffic by physical barriers such as a kerb) and bande cyclable (a bicycle lane denoted by a painted path on the road). Some 29 km (18 mi) of specially marked bus lanes are free to be used by cyclists, with a protective barrier protecting against encroachments from vehicles.[319] Cyclists have also been given the right to ride in both directions on certain one-way streets. Paris offers a bike sharing system called Vélib' with more than 20,000 public bicycles distributed at 1,800 parking stations,[320] which can be rented for short and medium distances including one way trips.

The Paris region is the most active water transport area in France, with most of the cargo handled by Ports of Paris in facilities located around Paris. The Loire, Rhine, Rhone, Meuse and Scheldt rivers can be reached by canals connecting with the Seine, which include the Canal Saint-Martin, Canal Saint-Denis, and the Canal de l'Ourcq.[321]

Twin towns and sister citiesEdit

Paris is twinned with:

See alsoEdit

Portal.svg Paris
Flag of France.svg France



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