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Paris travel guide — Paris tourism and travel information

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about Paris

Paris is the capital and largest city of France. The city is built on an arc of the River Seine, and is thus divided into two parts: the Right Bank to the north and the smaller Left Bank to the south. The river is well known for its tree-lined quais (walks along the river banks), open-air bookstalls and historic bridges that connect the Right and Left banks. Paris is also famous for its tree-lined boulevards such as the Champs-Élysées, and for its many architectural gems.

The city has about 2 million residents (1999 census: 2,147,857). The Greater Paris metropolitan area (in French: aire urbaine de Paris) has about 11 million residents (1999 census: 11,174,743).

The name of the city is pronounced like pah-ree in French, but many Anglophones pronounce it pay-riss.

Paris geography

The city of Paris itself is only approximately 105 square kilometres (41 square miles) in size. Paris is located at 48°52' North, 2°19'59" East (48.866667, 2.333056).

The altitude of Paris varies, with several prominent hills :

Paris history

The name of the city comes from the name of a Gallic tribe (parisis) inhabiting the region at the time of the Roman conquest.

The historical nucleus of Paris is the Île de la Cité, a small island largely occupied by the huge Palais de Justice and the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris. It is connected with the smaller Ile Saint-Louis (another island) occupied by elegant houses built in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Paris was occupied by a Gallic tribe until the Romans arrived in 52 BC. The invaders referred to the previous occupants as the Parisii, but called their new city Lutetia, meaning "marshy place". About fifty years later the city had spread to the left bank of the Seine, now known as the Latin Quarter, and had been renamed "Paris".

Roman rule had ceased by 508, when Clovis the Frank made the city the capital of the Merovingian dynasty of the Franks. Viking invasions during the 800s forced the Parisians to build a fortress on the Ile de la Cité. On March 28, 845 Paris was sacked by Viking raiders, probably under Ragnar Lodbrok, who collected a huge ransom in exchange for leaving. The weakness of the late Carolingian kings of France led to the gradual rise in power of the Counts of Paris; Odo, Count of Paris was elected king of France by feudal lords while Charles III was also claiming the throne. Finally, in 987 Hugh Capet, count of Paris, was elected king of France by the great feudal lords after the last Carolingian died.

During the 11th century the city spread to the Right Bank. In the 12th and 13th centuries, which included the reign of Philip II Augustus (1180-1223), the city grew strongly. Main thoroughfares were paved, the first Louvre was built as a fortress, and several churches, including the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, were constructed or begun. Several schools on the Left Bank were organized into the Sorbonne, which counts Albertus Magnus and St. Thomas Aquinas among its early scholars. In the Middle Ages Paris prospered as a trading and intellectual centre, interrupted temporarily when the Black Death struck in the 14th century. Under the reign of King Louis XIV, the Sun King, from 1643 to 1715, the royal residence was moved from Paris to nearby Versailles.

The French Revolution began with the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789. Many of the conflicts in the next few years were between Paris and the outlying rural areas.

In 1870 the Franco-Prussian War ended in a siege of Paris and the Paris Commune, which surrendered in 1871 after a winter of famine and bloodshed. The Eiffel Tower, the best-known landmark in Paris, was built in 1889 in a period of prosperity known as La Belle Époque (The Beautiful period).

In late August 1944 after the battle of Normandy, Paris was liberated when the German general Dietrich von Choltitz surrendered after skirmishes to the French 2nd Armored Division commanded by Philippe de Hauteclocque backed by the Allies.

Historical population

Metropolitan area of Paris:

(it should be noted that the limits of the metropolitan area vary year after year, furthermore only the last two data are official as provided by the French national statistics office INSEE, the other data are just estimates compiled from several sources)

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Paris".

This city is also known as: Paris.

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