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Clockwise: Pyramid of the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Palace of Versailles, Skyline of Paris on the Seine river with the Pont des Arts bridge, and the Eiffel Tower - clickable image
Flag of Paris
Coat of arms of Paris
Coat of arms
Motto: Fluctuat nec mergitur (Latin: "It is tossed by the waves, but does not sink")
Paris is located in France
Coordinates: 48°51′24″N 2°21′03″E / 48.8567°N 2.3508°E / 48.8567; 2.3508Coordinates: 48°51′24″N 2°21′03″E / 48.8567°N 2.3508°E / 48.8567; 2.3508
Country France
Region Île-de-France
Department Paris
Subdivisions 20 arrondissements
 • Mayor (2008–2014) Bertrand Delanoë (PS)
Area1 [2] 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 (Jan. 2009[3])2 2,234,105
 • Rank 1st in France
 • Density 21,000/km2 (55,000/sq mi)
 • Urban (Jan. 2009) 10,413,386[4]
 • Metro (Jan. 2009) 12,161,542[5][6]
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/, Listeni/ˈpɛrɪs/; French: [paʁi]) 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 in several business districts, notably La Défense, the largest dedicated business district in Europe.

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" derives from that of its earliest inhabitants, the Gaulish 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 (360–363), the city was renamed Paris.[7] It is believed that the name of the Parisii tribe comes from the Celtic Gallic word parisio, meaning "the working people" or "the craftsmen".[8]

Paris has many nicknames, but its most famous is "La Ville-Lumière" ("The City of Light"),[9] a name it owes first to its fame as a centre of education and ideas during the Age of Enlightenment, and later to its early adoption of street lighting. Paris became known as Ville Lumière in the second half of the 19th century, when Baron Haussmann, who had been put in charge by Emperor Napoleon III of the drastic transformation of Paris into a modern city, tore down whole quartiers of houses and narrow streets dating back to the Middle Ages, opening large avenues which let light (lumière) come into the former medieval city.[10]

Since the mid-19th century, Paris has been known as Paname ([panam]) in the Parisian slang called argot (Ltspkr.pngMoi j'suis d'Paname, i.e. "I'm from Paname").[11] The singer Renaud repopularised the term among the young generation with his 1976 album Amoureux de Paname ("In love with Paname").[12]

Inhabitants are known in English as "Parisians" and in French as Parisiens ([paʁizjɛ̃]) and Parisiennes. Parisians are often pejoratively called Parigots ([paʁiɡo]) and Parigotes, a term first used in 1900 by those living outside the Paris region.[13]


Main article: History of Paris
The Gallo-Roman baths Thermes de Cluny at the Musée national du Moyen Âge, in Paris's Latin Quarter


The earliest archaeological signs of permanent settlements in the Paris area date from around 4500–4200 BC,[14] with some of the oldest evidence of canoe-use by hunter-gatherer peoples being uncovered in Bercy in 1991.[15] The Parisii, a sub-tribe of the Celtic Senones, inhabited the area near the river Seine from around 250 BC,[16][17] building a trading settlement on the island, later the Île de la Cité, the easiest place to cross.[18] The Romans conquered the Paris basin around 52 BC,[14] with a permanent settlement by the end of the same century on the left bank Sainte Geneviève Hill and the Île de la Cité. The Gallo-Roman town was originally called Lutetia, or Lutetia Parisorum but later Gallicised to Lutèce.[19] It expanded greatly over the following centuries, becoming a prosperous city with a forum, palaces, baths, temples, theatres, and an amphitheatre.[20]

The collapse of the Roman empire, along with the Germanic invasions of the 5th-century, sent the city into a period of decline. By 400 AD, Lutèce was largely abandoned by its inhabitants, little more than a garrison town entrenched into a hastily fortified central island.[14] The city reclaimed its original appellation of "Paris" towards the end of the Roman occupation, around 360 AD, when Julian the Apostate, Prefect of the Gauls, was proclaimed emperor.[21] The proclamation was made on the Île de la Cité. Julian remained based there for three years, making Paris the de facto capital of the Western Empire.[22]

Merovingian and Feudal eras[edit]

Clovis I, the first king of the Merovingian dynasty

The Paris region was under full control of the Salian Franks by the late 5th century. The Frankish king Clovis the Frank, the first king of the Merovingian dynasty, made the city his capital from 508 and was responsible for converting the city back to Christianity.[23] The late 8th century Carolingian dynasty displaced the Frankish capital to Aachen; this period coincided with the beginning of Viking invasions that had spread as far as Paris by the early 9th century.[23]

One of the most remarkable Viking raids was on 28 March 845, when Paris was invaded by some 200 Norse ships along the Seine and sacked and held ransom,[24] probably by Ragnar Lodbrok, who left only after receiving a large bounty paid by the crown. Repeated invasions forced Eudes, Count of Paris, to build a fortress on the Île de la Cité in 885 AD. However, the city soon suffered a siege lasting almost a year, eventually relieved by the Carolingian king, Charles "The Fat", who instead of attacking allowed the besiegers to sail up the Seine and lay waste to Burgundy.[23] Eudes then took the crown for himself, plunging the French crown into dynastic turmoil lasting over a century until 987 AD when Hugh Capet, count of Paris, was elected king of France. Paris, under the Capetian kings, became a capital once more, and his coronation was seen by many historians as the moment marking the birth of modern France.[23]

Middle Ages to 18th century[edit]

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

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.[23] The guilds gradually became more powerful and were instrumental in inciting the first revolt after the king was captured by the English in 1356.[25] Paris's population was around 200,000[26] when the Black Death arrived in 1348, killing as many as 800 people a day; and 40,000 died from the plague in 1466.[27] During the 16th and 17th centuries, plague visited the city for almost one year out of three.[28] 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 would remain in the Loire Valley[29] 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.[30][31]

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.[25] The Bourbons, Henri's family, spend vast amounts of money keeping the city under control, building the Ile St-Louis as well as bridges and other infrastructure.[25] However, 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,[25] in 1682. The following century was an "Age of Enlightenment" – Paris's reputation grew on the writings of its intellectuals such as the philosopher Voltaire, and Diderot, the first volume of his Encyclopédie being published in Paris in 1751.[32]

French Revolution[edit]

Main article: French Revolution
Left: Storming of the Bastille, by Jean-Pierre Houël (1789); right: Map of Paris and its vicinity around 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 unprecedented levels.[33] 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,[34] starting revolution and rejecting the divine right of monarchs in France. Jean-Sylvain Bailly, the first Mayor, was elected on 15 July 1789,[35] 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.[36]

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[37] as emperor of the First French Empire.[38]

19th century[edit]

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.[39] The ensuing Restoration period, or the return of the monarchy under Louis XVIII (1814–1824) and Charles X, ended with the July Revolution Parisian uprising of 1830.[40] The new constitutional monarchy under Louis-Philippe ended with the 1848 "February Revolution" that led to the creation of the Second Republic.[41]. Cholera epidemics in 1832 and 1850 ravaged the population of Paris; the 1832 epidemic alone claimed 20,000 of the population of 650,000.[42]

The greatest development in Paris's history began with the Industrial Revolution creation of a network of railways that brought an unprecedented flow of migrants to the capital from the 1840s. The city's largest transformation came with the 1852 Second Empire under Napoleon III; his préfet, Baron Haussmann, levelled entire districts of Paris's narrow, winding medieval streets to create the network of wide avenues and neo-classical façades that still make up much of modern Paris; the reason for this transformation was twofold, as not only did the creation of wide boulevards beautify and sanitise the capital, it also facilitated the effectiveness of troops and artillery against any further uprisings and barricades for which Paris was so famous.[43]

Drilling (opening/alignment/widening) of numerous streets under the Second Empire and the Third Republic

The Second Empire ended in the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871), and a besieged Paris under heavy bombardment surrendered on 28 January 1871. The discontent of Paris's populace with the new armistice-signing government seated in Versailles resulted in the creation of the Paris Commune government, supported by an army created in large part of members of the city's former National Guard who would both continue resistance against the Prussians and oppose the army of the "Versaillais" government.[44] The Paris Commune ended with the Semaine Sanglante ("Bloody Week"), during which roughly 20,000 "Communards" were executed before the fighting ended on 28 May 1871.[45] The ease with which the Versaillais army overtook Paris owed much to Baron Haussmann's renovations.[46]

France's late 19th-century Universal Expositions made Paris an increasingly important centre of technology, trade, and tourism.[47] Its most famous were the 1889 Exposition universelle to which Paris owes its "temporary" display of architectural engineering progress,[48] the Eiffel Tower, which remained the world's tallest structure until 1930,[49] and the 1900 Universal Exposition saw the opening of the first Paris Métro line.[50]

20th century[edit]

During World War I, Paris was at the forefront of the war effort, having been spared a German invasion by the French and British victory at the First Battle of the Marne in 1914 within earshot of the city.[51] In 1918–1919, it was the scene of Allied victory parades and peace negotiations. In the inter-war period, Paris was famed for its cultural and artistic communities and its nightlife. The city became a gathering place of artists from around the world, from the exiled Russian composer Stravinsky and Spanish painters Picasso and Dalí to the American writer Hemingway.[52]

The Liberation of Paris, August 1944

On 14 June 1940, five weeks after the start of the Battle of France, an undefended Paris fell to German occupation forces.[53] The Germans marched past the Arc de Triomphe on the 140th anniversary of Napoleon's victory at the Battle of Marengo.[54] German forces remained in Paris until the city was liberated in August 1944 after a resistance uprising, two and a half months after the Normandy invasion.[55] Central Paris endured World War II practically unscathed, as there were no strategic targets for Allied bombers (railway stations in central Paris are terminal stations; major factories were located in the suburbs), and despite orders to destroy the city and all historic monuments the German commander Dietrich von Choltitz refused, gaining the popular title "Saviour of Paris" for his defiance of the Führer.[56]

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, while a network of freeways was developed in the suburbs, centred on the Périphérique expressway encircling the city, completed in 1973.[57]

Since the 1970s, many inner suburbs of Paris (especially the northern and eastern ones) 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.[58][59] 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.[60]

21st century[edit]

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.[61] Nevertheless, the Paris metropolitan area is still divided into numerous territorial collectivities and their fusion into a more integrated metropolis government, although sometimes discussed, is not on the agenda.[62] An ad-hoc structure, Paris Métropole, has however been established in June 2009 to coordinate the action of 184 "Parisian" territorial collectivities.[63]

In an effort to boost the global economic image of metropolitan Paris, several skyscrapers 300 metres (984 ft) and higher have been approved since 2006 in the business district of La Défense, to the west of the city proper, and are scheduled to be completed by the early 2010s. Paris authorities also stated publicly that they are planning to authorise the construction of skyscrapers within the city proper by relaxing the cap on building height for the first time since the construction of the Tour Montparnasse in the early 1970s.[64]


Main article: Topography of Paris
Map showing location in relation to London and Calais

Paris is located in northern central France. By road it is 450 kilometres (280 mi) southeast of London, 287 kilometres (178 mi) south of Calais, 305 kilometres (190 mi) southwest of Brussels, 774 kilometres (481 mi) north of Marseilles, 385 kilometres (239 mi) northeast of Nantes, and 135 kilometres (84 mi) southeast of Rouen.[65] Paris is located in the north-bending arc of the river Seine and includes two islands, the Île Saint-Louis and the larger Île de la Cité, which form the oldest part 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),[66]. The river’s mouth on the English Channel (La Manche) is about 233 mi (375 km) downstream of the city, established around 7600 BC. The city is spread widely on both banks of the river.[67] It 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 covers an oval measuring about 87 km2 (34 sq mi) in area, enclosed by the 35 km (22 mi) ring road, the Boulevard Périphérique.[68] 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).[69] The metropolitan area of the city is 2,300 km2 (890 sq mi).[67]


Left: Paris, with the Eiffel Tower in the foreground and the skyscrapers of La Défense in the background; right: 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.[70] Summer days are usually warm and pleasant with average temperatures hovering between 15 and 25 °C (59 and 77 °F), and a fair amount of sunshine.[71] Each year, however, there are a few days where the temperature rises above 32 °C (90 °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 40 °C (104 °F) on some days and seldom cooled down at night.[72] 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.[73] In winter, sunshine is scarce; days are cold but generally above freezing with temperatures around 7 °C (45 °F).[74] Light night frosts are however quite common, but the temperature will dip below −5 °C (23 °F) for only a few days a year. Snowfall is uncommon, but the city sometimes sees light snow or flurries with or without accumulation.[75]

Rain falls throughout the year, and although Paris is not a very rainy city, it is known for intense sudden showers. 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 (−11.0 °F) on December 10, 1879.[76]

Climate data for Paris (1971–2000)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 16.1
Average high °C (°F) 6.9
Average low °C (°F) 2.5
Record low °C (°F) −14.6
Average precipitation mm (inches) 53.7
Avg. precipitation days 10.2 9.3 10.4 9.4 10.3 8.6 8 6.9 8.5 9.5 9.7 10.7 111.5
Mean monthly sunshine hours 55.8 86.8 130.2 174.0 201.5 219.0 238.7 220.1 171.0 127.1 75.0 49.6 1,748.8
Percent possible sunshine 21 30 35 42 43 45 49 50 45 38 27 20 37.1
Source: Meteo France[77]


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,[78] while the Prime Minister's seat is at the Hôtel Matignon in the 7th arrondissement.[79][80] 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 second-highest public official in France (the President of the Republic being the sole superior), resides in the "Petit Luxembourg", a smaller palace annex to the Palais du Luxembourg.[81]

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,[82] 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.[83] The Constitutional Council, an advisory body with ultimate authority on the constitutionality of laws and government decrees, also meets in the Montpensier wing of the Palais Royal.[84] Each of Paris's twenty arrondissements has its own town hall and a directly elected council (conseil d'arrondissement), which, in turn, elects an arrondissement mayor.[85] 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.[86] Paris has numerous partner cities,[87][88] but according to the motto "Only Paris is worthy of Rome; only Rome is worthy of Paris";[87][89] the only sister city of Paris is Rome[88] and vice-versa.

City government[edit]

Paris Coat of Arms
20 arrondissements
of Paris
17th 18th 19th
  8th 9th 10th 11th 20th
16th 2nd 3rd
1st 4th 12th
River Seine
  7th 6th 5th 13th
15th 14th

The city's growth over the centuries has not altered its initial circular shape.[67] Paris, located in the middle of the Île-de-France region (drained by the Seine, Oise, and Marne rivers, 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 arrondisements,[90] 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.


Main article: Demographics of Paris
City proper, urban area, and metropolitan area population from 1800 to 2010

The population of the city of Paris was 2,234,105 at the 2009 census,[91] lower than its historical peak of 2.9 million in 1921. The principal factors in the process are a significant decline in household size, and a dramatic migration of residents to the suburbs between 1962 and 1975. Factors in the migration include deindustrialisation, high rent, the gentrification of many inner quarters, the transformation of living space into offices, and greater affluence among working families. The city's population loss was one of the most severe among international municipalities and as a result the city administration is trying to reverse them with some success, as the population estimate of July 2004 showed a population increase for the first time since 1954, reaching a total of 2,144,700 inhabitants, which reached 2,234,000 by 2009.[3]

Paris is one of the most densely populated cities in the world.[92] Its density, excluding the outlying woodland parks of Boulogne and Vincennes, was 24,448 inhabitants per square kilometre (63,320/sq mi) in the 1999 official census, which could be compared only with some Asian megapolises and the New York City borough of Manhattan. Even including the two woodland areas, its population density was 20,169/km2 (52,240/sq mi),[91] the fifth-most-densely populated commune in France after Le Pré-Saint-Gervais, Vincennes, Levallois-Perret, and Saint-Mandé—all of which border the city proper. The most sparsely populated quarters are the western and central office and administration-focused arrondissements. The city's population is densest in the northern and eastern arrondissements; the 11th arrondissement had a density of 40,672 inhabitants per square kilometre (105,340/sq mi) in 1999, and some of the same arrondissement's eastern quarters had densities close to 100,000/km2 (260,000/sq mi) in the same year.

At the 1999 census, 19.4 per cent of its total population was born outside of metropolitan France. At the same census, 4.2 per cent of the Paris aire urbaine's population were recent immigrants (people who had immigrated to France between 1990 and 1999), the majority from Asia and Africa. 37 per cent of all immigrants in France live in the Paris region.[93] The first wave of international migration to Paris started as early as 1820 with the arrivals of German peasants fleeing an agricultural crisis in their homeland. Several waves of immigration followed continually until today: Italians and central European Jews during the 19th century; Russians after the revolution of 1917 and Armenians fleeing genocide in the Ottoman Empire;[94] colonial citizens during World War I and later; Poles between the two world wars; Spaniards, Italians, Portuguese, and North Africans from the 1950s to the 1970s; North African Jews after the independence of those countries; Africans and Asians since then.[95]


Main article: Economy of Paris

The Paris Region is France's premier centre of economic activity, and with a 2011 GDP of 607 billion[96] (US$845 billion), the Paris region is not only the wealthiest area of France, but has one of the highest GDPs in the world, after Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles and London, 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 the Indonesian economy.[97] While its population accounted for 18.8 per cent of the total population of metropolitan France in 2011,[98] its GDP accounted for 31.0 per cent of metropolitan France's GDP.[96] Wealth is heavily concentrated in the western suburbs of Paris notably Neuilly-sur-Seine, which is one of the wealthiest areas of France.[99] 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.[100]

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.[101] The Paris region's most intense economic activity through the central Hauts-de-Seine département and suburban La Défense business district places Paris's 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 33 of the Fortune Global 500 companies.[102]

La Défense, the largest dedicated business district in Europe.[1]

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; 13.0 per cent in commerce (retail and wholesale trade); 12.3 per cent in manufacturing; 10.0 per cent in public administrations and defence; 8.7 per cent in health services; 8.2 per cent in Transport and communications; 6.6 per cent in education, and the remaining 24.7 per cent 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 68.1 per cent of the manufacturing workforce distributed among many other industries. Tourism and tourist related services employ 6.2 per cent of Paris's 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.[93]

Paris receives around 28 million tourists per year,[103] of which 17 million are foreign visitors,[104] 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.[105] 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's most famous monument, receives on average over six million visitors per year[106] 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's hotel, restaurant and night entertainment trades have become heavily dependent on tourism.


Panorama of Paris as seen from the Eiffel Tower as full 180-degree view (river flowing from north-east to south-west, right to left)


Boulevard Montmartre, by Camille Pissarro (1897)

Most French rulers since the Middle ages made a point of leaving their mark on a city that, contrary to many other of the world's capitals, has never been destroyed by catastrophe or war. In modernising its infrastructure through the centuries, Paris has preserved even its earliest history in its street map.

Before the Middle ages, the city was composed around several islands and sandbanks in a bend of the Seine. Three remain today: the île Saint-Louis, the île de la Cité and the île aux Cygnes. Modern Paris owes much to its late 19th century Second Empire remodelling by the Baron Haussmann: many of modern Paris's busiest streets, avenues and boulevards today are a result of that city renovation. Paris also owes its style to its aligned street-fronts, building-unique upper-level stone ornamentation, aligned top-floor balconies, and its tree-lined boulevards. The high residential population of its city centre makes it much different from most other western global cities.

Paris's urbanism laws have been under strict control since the early 17th century,[107] particularly where streetfront alignment, building height and building distribution is concerned. In recent developments, a 1974-2010 building height limitation of 37 metres (121 ft) was raised to 50 m (160 ft) in central areas and 180 metres (590 ft) in some of Paris's peripheral quarters, yet for some of Paris's more central quarters, even older building-height laws still remain in effect. The 210 metres (690 ft) Montparnasse tower was both Paris and France's tallest building until 1973,[108] but this record has been held by the La Defense quarter tour First tower in Courbevoie since its 2011 construction. Skyscrapers are appearing in many of Paris's closest suburbs, particularly in La Defense where there are projects to build towers between 265 metres (869 ft) and 323 metres (1,060 ft) high[citation needed].

Churches are the oldest intact buildings in the city, and show high Gothic architecture at its best—Notre Dame cathedral and the Sainte-Chapelle are two of the most striking buildings in the city.[109] The latter half of the 19th-century was an era of architectural inspiration, with buildings such as the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, built between 1875 and 1919 in a neo-Byzantine design.[110] Paris's 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.[111]

Major monuments and attractions[edit]

The Banks of the Seine, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The banks of the Seine from the Pont de Sully to the Pont d'Iena are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1991.[112] From the Middle Ages to the 21st century, the banks have been enriched with successive monuments over time on a large area extending from the Île de la Cité, hosting Notre-Dame (1163-1345) and Sainte-Chapelle (1242-1248), to the Eiffel Tower (1887-1889) and Musée du Quai Branly (2006). Between both ends can be found from east to west the Louvre (1202-1989), Musée d'Orsay (1900-1986), Les Invalides (1671-1678) and the Grand Palais (1897-1900).[112]

The Axe historique, here from Concorde to La Défense.

The Axe historique of Paris has inspired many major cities worldwide.[113] The east-west perspective starts in the centre of Paris at the Louvre Palace, follows then through the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, the Tuileries Garden, the Luxor Obelisk at place de la Concorde, continues along the avenue des Champs-Elysées, the Arc de Triomphe at place de l'Étoile, crosses the périphérique at Porte Maillot, the Seine river at Pont de Neuilly, then follows the central esplanade of the business district of La Défense, dominated by its skyscrapers, and ends finally at the Grande Arche.[113]

Louis Vuitton Foundation, inaugurated in October 2014.

Major monuments and attractions from the 20th and 21st centuries are scattered all over the city: consecrated in 1919, the basilica of the Sacré-Cœur is built atop Butte Montmartre;[114] Centre Pompidou (1971-1977) and the Forum des Halles (currently under reconstruction and due to be completed by 2016[115]) have been built in the heart of the city; Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie (1986), the largest science museum in Europe,[116] and Cité de la Musique (1995) are both located in the Parc de la Villette. The Contemporary Art museum of the Louis Vuitton Foundation, designed by architect Frank Gehry, opened on October 2014 in the Bois de Boulogne.[117]

The entertainment resort of Disneyland Paris is the most visited attraction in the Paris Region, with 15.3 million visitors in 2008.[118] In Seine-Saint-Denis, the Basilica of St Denis is the royal necropolis of French kings and queens.[119] The Paris region also hosts 3 other UNESCO Heritage sites: the Palace of Versailles in the west,[120] the Château de Fontainebleau in the south[121] and the medieval fairs site of Provins in the east.[122]

Parks and gardens[edit]

The Grand bassin in the Tuileries Garden, the oldest garden in the city.
The lawns of the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont on a sunny day

Paris today has more than 421 municipal parks and gardens, covering more than three thousand hectares and containing more than 250,000 trees.[123] Two of Paris's oldest and most famous gardens are the Tuileries Garden, created in 1564 for the Tuileries Palace, and redone by André Le Nôtre between 1664 and 1672, [124] and the Luxembourg Garden, for the Luxembourg Palace, built for Marie de' Medici in 1612, which today houses the French Senate. [125] The Jardin des Plantes was the first botanical garden in Paris, created in 1626 by Louis XIII's doctor Guy de La Brosse for the cultivation of medicinal plants.[126] Between 1853 and 1870, the Emperor Napoleon III and the city's first director of parks and gardens, Jean-Charles Alphand, created the Bois de Boulogne, the Bois de Vincennes, Parc Montsouris and the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, located at the four points of the compass around the city, as well as many smaller parks, squares and gardens in the Paris's quarters.[123] One hundred sixty-six new parks have been created since 1977, most notably the Parc de la Villette (1987-1991), Parc André Citroën (1992), and Parc de Bercy (1997).[123] One of the newest park in Paris, the Promenade des Berges de la Seine, built on a former highway on the left bank of the Seine between the Pont de l'Alma and the Musée d'Orsay, has floating gardens and gives a view of the city's landmarks.


Social housing in Paris as of 2012

Paris is the 8th most expensive city in the world for luxury housing:[127] €12,105 per square metre (€1,124.6/sq ft) in 2007 (with London at the most expensive with €36,800 per square metre (€3,420/sq ft)).[128] According to a 2012 study for the La Tribune newspaper, the most expensive street is the quai des Orfèvres in Paris's 6th, with an average price of €20,665 per square metre (€1,919.8/sq ft), against €3,900 per square metre (€360/sq ft) for the 18th arrondissement rue Pajol.[129]

The total number of residences in the City of Paris in 2011 was 1,356,074, up from a former high of 1,334,815 in 2006. Among these, 1,165,541 (85,9%) were main residences, 91,835 (6,8%) were secondary residences, and the remaining 7.3% were empty (down from 9,2% in 2006).[130]

Paris's urban tissue began to fill and overflow its 1860 limits from around the 1920s, and because of its density, it has seen few modern constructions since then. Sixty-two percent of its buildings date from 1949 and before, 20% were built between 1949 and 1974, and only 18% of the buildings remaining were built after that date.[131]

Two-thirds of Paris's 1.3 million residences are studio and two-room apartments. Paris averages 1.9 residents per residence, a number that has remained constant since the 1980s, but it is much less than the Île-de-France's 2.33 person-per-residence average. Only 33% of principal-residence Parisians own their habitation (against 47% for the entire Île-de-France): the major part of Paris's population is a rent-paying one.[131]

Social housing represents a little more than 17% of Paris's total residences, but these are rather unevenly distributed throughout the capital: the vast majority of these are concentrated in a crescent formed by Paris's south-western to northern periphery arrondissements.[132]


Main article: Culture of Paris


Main article: Art in Paris

Painting and sculpture[edit]

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".[133] 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, Coysevoux 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.[134]

An 1886 Van Gogh painting "Pont du Carrousel", now in the Louvre

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 Gericault.[134] Impressionism, Expressionism, Fauvism and Cubism movements evolved in Paris.[134] 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.[135] Painters such as Pablo Picasso, Henry Matisse, Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Cezanne, Marie Blanchard, Emilie Charmy, Jacqueline Marval, Henri Rousseau, Modigliani and many others became associated with Paris. The Golden Age of the Paris School ended with World War II when surrealism became the trend, but Paris remains extremely important to world art and art schooling, with schools ranging from the Paris College of Art to the Paris American Academy, which specialises in teaching fashion and interior design.[136]


The Louvre is the world's largest and most famous museum, housing many works of art, including the Mona Lisa (La Joconde) and the Venus de Milo statue.[137] There are hundreds of museums in Paris. Works by Pablo Picasso and Auguste Rodin are found in the Musée Picasso[138] and the Musée Rodin,[139] respectively, while the artistic community of Montparnasse is chronicled at the Musée du Montparnasse.[140] Starkly apparent with its service-pipe exterior, the Centre Georges Pompidou, also known as Beaubourg, houses the Musée National d'Art Moderne.[141]

Art and artefacts from the Middle Ages and Impressionist eras are kept in the Musée de Cluny and the Musée d'Orsay,[142] respectively, the former with the prized tapestry cycle The Lady and the Unicorn. Paris's 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.[143]

The Louvre


Like painting and sculpture, Paris has also attracted communities of photographers, and was an important centre for the development of photography; the inventor Nicephore Niepce produced the first permanent photograph on a polished pewter plate in Paris in 1825, and then developed the process with Louis Daguerre.[134] Paris become the home of a form of photography, Surrealist photography.[144] Numerous photographers achieved renown for their photography of Paris, including Eugene Atget, noted for his depictions of street scenes, Robert Doisneau, noted for his playful pictures of people and market scenes, Marcel Bovis, noted for his night scenes, and others such as Jacques-Henri Lartigue and Cartier-Bresson.[134] Paris also become the hotbed for an emerging art form in the late 19th century, poster art, advocated by the likes of Gavarni.[134]


Victor Hugo, one of Paris's 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.[145] Another of Victor Hugo's works, Les Misérables is set in Paris, against the backdrop of slums and penury.[146] Another immortalized French author, Honoré de Balzac, completed a good number of his works in Paris, including his masterpiece La Comédie Humaine.[147] 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),[148]

A painting detailing a Parisian literary salon

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.[149] 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.[150] Another Irish author to have emigrated to Paris is Samuel Beckett, referred to as either the last modernist or the first postmodernist.[151]

Entertainment and performing arts[edit]


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.[152] 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's major theatres include Bobino, the Théâtre Mogador, and the Théâtre de la Gaîté-Montparnasse.[153] 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.


Main article: Music in Paris
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.[134] 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.[134] The Conservatoire de Musique de Paris was founded in 1795.[154] By 1870, Paris had become the most important centre for ballet music, and composers such as Debussy and Ravel contributed much to symphonic music.[134]

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.[155] 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,[156] 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.[157]

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.[156] 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.[158] Some of the finest manouche musicians in the world are found here playing the cafes of the city at night.[158] Some of the more notable jazz venues include the New Morning, Le Sunset, La Chope des Puces and Bouquet du Nord.[157] [158] Several yearly festivals take place in Paris, including the Paris Jazz Festival and the rock festival Rock en Seine.[159] The Orchestre de Paris was established in 1967.[160]


Le Grand Rex tower

Antoine Lumière launched the world's first projection, the Cinematograph, in Paris on 28 December 1895,.[161] Many of Paris's 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's largest cinema today is by far Le Grand Rex theatre with 2,800 seats,[162] 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.[163] 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.[164]


See also: French cuisine

Paris is world-renowned for its Haute cuisine and gourmet, characterized by expensive high-end restaurants and hotels with meticulous preparation and presentation of food, often accompanied by rare wines. A city of culinary finesse, as of 2013 Paris has 70 Michelin-starred restaurants, more than any other city in the world, and many of the world's leading chefs operate restaurants serving French cuisine in Paris such as Alain Ducasse and Joël Robuchon.[165] As of 2013, Paris has five 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 Hotel Le Meurice, Eric Frechon's restaurant at Hotel le Bristol, and Pierre Gagnaire.[165] 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.[165] Many aspiring chefs come to Paris to learn how to cook from the best of the best, and Paris has numerous academies and schools for chefs to learn with hands-on experience.

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.[166] Hotel building was another result of widespread travel and tourism in the 19th century, especially Paris's late-19th-century Expositions Universelles (World's Fairs). Of the most luxurious of these, the Hôtel Ritz appeared in the Place Vendôme in 1898,[167][168] 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

Paris is a global hub of fashion and has been referred to as the "international capital of style",[169] with stylish clothes referred to as "Parisian chic".[170] 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.[171] International Fashion Academy Paris is an international fashion school, established in 1982 and headquartered in Paris, with branches in Shanghai and Istanbul.[172]

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.[170] Printemps has the largest shoe and beauty departments in Europe.[170]Sonia Rykel is considered to the "grand dame of French fashion" and "synonymous with Parisian fashion", with clothes which are embraced by "left bank fashionistas".[170] Petit Bateau is cited as one of the most popular high street stores in the city, and the Azzedine Alaïa store on the Rue de Moussy has been cited as a "shoe lover's haven".[170] Colette is noted for its "brick-and-click" clothing and fashion accessories, and Cartier the jeweller is also based in Paris. Cartier has a long history of sales to royalty and celebrities,[173] and King Edward VII of England once referred to Cartier as "the jeweller of kings and the king of jewellers."[174] Guerlain, one of the world's oldest existing perfumeries, has its headquarters in the northwestern 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 Festival of Liberty in 1774, 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.[175] 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.[176] 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.[176]


Chapel of the Invalides

From the late 18th century, Christianity, particularly Roman Catholicism, has played a significant role in the political, societal and institutional aspects of life in France. Political instability in the Third Republic was a reflection of fundamental differences between the Church and the society.[177] 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.[178] However, the state is still involved in the funding of Christian schools.[179] A 2012 study revealed that the religious affiliation of people to Catholicism was only 51% as against 67% in 1994, while the people not practising any religion went up from 23% in 1994 to 31% in 2012.[180] There is a significant population of Muslims in Paris, partly attributed to the many Algerian and Tunisian immigrants who practice Islam, and a sizeable Jewish population, with the Grand Synagogue of Paris being the central location for worship.

Some of the notable churches in Paris are: The Notre-Dame de Paris, the most famous Gothic structure (the cathedral where Napoleon declared himself emperor in 1804);[181] Église Sainte-Marie-Madeleine (Church of St. Mary Magdalene) built in 1806 in the form of a Roman temple;[182] Sainte-Chapelle originally built in 1247-50 it was refurbished in the 19th century, a Gothic structure built by Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc;[183] Church of Saint-Louis, built between 1671-91;[184] Sacred Heart Basilica (Basilique du Sacré-Coeur), built from 1876-1912;[185] Saint-Sulpice (Paris) (1646-1776); Panthéon, Paris (1756 to 1797) in French Baroque style; Basilique Saint-Denis (1136); and Cathedral of Chartres (1140).[186]


Paris's most popular sport clubs are the association football club Paris Saint-Germain FC, the basketball team Paris-Levallois Basket, 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.[187] 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.[187] 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.

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.[188] The 2006 UEFA Champions League Final between Arsenal and FC Barcelona was played in the Stade de France.[189] Paris hosted the 2007 Rugby World Cup final at Stade de France on 20 October 2007.[190] 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,[191] is one of the four Grand Slam events of the world professional tennis tour.


Main article: Education in Paris

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,[192] 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's scholastic Latin Quarter best represented by the Sorbonne university.[193] 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.[194]

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 – 55 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.[195] There are a high number of engineering schools, led by the prestigious Paris Institute of Technology (ParisTech) which comprises several colleges such as École Polytechnique, École des Mines, AgroParisTech, Télécom Paris, Arts et Métiers, 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's 7th arrondissement. The Parisian school of journalism CELSA department of the Paris-Sorbonne University is located in Neuilly-sur-Seine.[196]


Main article: Libraries in Paris

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.[197] There are three public libraries in the 4th arrondissement. The Forney Library, in the Marais district, 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 in Le Marais, contains the Paris historical research service. The Sainte-Geneviève Library is in 5th arrondissement; designed by Henri Labrouste and built in the mid-1800s, it contains a rare book and manuscript division.[198] 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. The François Mitterrand Library (nicknamed Très Grande Bibliothèque) in the 13th arrondissement was completed in 1994 to a design of Dominique Perrault and contains four glass towers.[198]

The 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.[199] Other academic libraries include Interuniversity Pharmaceutical Library, Leonardo da Vinci University Library, Paris School of Mines Library, and the René Descartes University Library.[200]


Agence France-Presse Headquarters in Paris

Paris is home to numerous newspapers, magazines and publications including Le Monde, Le Figaro, Libération, Le Nouvel Observateur, Le Canard enchaîné, La Croix, Pariscope, Le Parisien, Les Échos, Paris Match, Réseaux & Télécoms, Reuters France, and L'Officiel des Spectacles.[201] France's two most prestigious newspapers, Le Monde and Le Figaro, are the centrepieces of the Parisian publishing industry.[202] 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.[203] France 24 is a television news channel owned and operated by the French government, and is based in Paris.[204] 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.[205]

The most-viewed network in France, TF1, is based in Paris, along with a plentiful number of others, including France 2, France 3, Canal+, France 5, M6, Arte, D8, W9, NT1, NRJ 12, La Chaîne parlementaire, France 4, BFM TV, and Gulli, along with a plentitude of others.[206] 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.[207] The national postal carrier of France, including overseas territories, is known as La Poste. La Poste is responsible for postal service in France and Paris.[208]


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

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.[209] 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.[209]

One of the most notable hospitals is the Hôtel-Dieu, founded in 651, the oldest hospital in the city.[210] Other hospitals include the General Hospital of Paris, the American Hospital of Paris, Beaujon Hospital, Bicêtre Hospital, Hôpital de la Charité, Hôpital Cochin, the Curie Institute, Hôpital Européen Georges-Pompidou, Lariboisière Hospital, Necker-Enfants Malades Hospital, Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital and Hôpital Saint-Louis.


Main article: Transport in Paris
Thalys trains with service to Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany
The Gare du Nord railway station is the busiest in Europe

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.[211] 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.[212] It comprises 300 stations (384 stops) connected by 214 km (133.0 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.[212] Over €26.5 billion will be invested over the next 15 years to extend the Métro network into the suburbs.[212] In addition, the Paris region is served by a light rail network of four lines, the tramway: Line T1 runs from Saint-Denis to Noisy-le-Sec, line T2 runs from La Défense to Issy-Val de Seine, line T3 runs from Pont du Garigliano to Porte d'Ivry,[213] all of which are run by the Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens,[214] and line T4 runs from Bondy RER to Aulnay-sous-Bois, which is operated by the state rail carrier SNCF.[212] Six new light rail lines are currently in various stages of development.

Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport, the busiest of Paris's airports

Paris is a central hub of the national rail network. The seven major railway stations — Gare du Nord, Gare Montparnasse, Gare de l'Est, Gare de Lyon, Gare d'Austerlitz, Gare Saint-Lazare and 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.[212]

Ring roads of Paris

The city is also the most important hub of France's motorway network, and is surrounded by three orbital freeways: the Périphérique,[68] 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.[215]

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.[216] 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,[217] 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 the Autonomous Port 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.[218]

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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

[[Category:Paris| ]]<!--Paris is the "Catmain", it must stay blank--> [[Category:3rd-century BC establishments]] [[Category:Capitals in Europe]] [[Category:Companions of the Liberation]] [[Category:European Capitals of Culture]] [[Category:World Heritage Sites in France]] [[Category:Prefectures in France]]