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This article is about the capital of France. For other uses, see Paris (disambiguation).

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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{{#coordinates:48.8567|2.3508|type:city(2241346)_region:FR|||||| |primary |name= }}</td></tr><tr class="mergedtoprow"><th scope="row" style="text-align:left">Country</th><td> France</td></tr><tr class="mergedrow"><th scope="row" style="text-align:left">Region</th><td> Île-de-France</td></tr><tr class="mergedrow"><th scope="row" style="text-align:left">Department</th><td> Paris</td></tr><tr class="mergedtoprow"><th scope="row" style="text-align:left">Subdivisions</th><td> 20 arrondissements</td></tr><tr class="mergedtoprow"><th colspan="2" style="text-align:center;text-align:left">Government</th></tr><tr class="mergedrow"><th scope="row" style="text-align:left"> • Mayor (2014-present) </th><td> Anne Hidalgo (PS)</td></tr><tr class="mergedtoprow"><th scope="row" style="text-align:left">Area1 (2010)[1]</th><td> 105.4 km2 (40.7 sq mi)</td></tr><tr class="mergedrow"><th scope="row" style="text-align:left"> • Urban (2010)</th><td> 2,844.8 km2 (1,098.4 sq mi)</td></tr><tr class="mergedrow"><th scope="row" style="text-align:left"> • Metro (2010)</th><td> 17,174.4 km2 (6,631.1 sq mi)</td></tr><tr class="mergedtoprow"><th scope="row" style="text-align:left">Population (2014)2</th><td> 2,241,346</td></tr><tr class="mergedrow"><th scope="row" style="text-align:left"> • Rank</th><td> 1st in France</td></tr><tr class="mergedrow"><th scope="row" style="text-align:left"> • Density</th><td> 21,000/km2 (55,000/sq mi)</td></tr><tr class="mergedrow"><th scope="row" style="text-align:left"> • Urban (2011)</th><td> 10,516,110[3]</td></tr><tr class="mergedrow"><th scope="row" style="text-align:left"> • Metro (Jan. 2009)</th><td> 12,161,542[4][5]</td></tr><tr class="mergedtoprow"><th scope="row" style="text-align:left">Demonym</th><td> Parisian (en)
parisien(ne) (fr)</td></tr><tr class="mergedtoprow"><th scope="row" style="text-align:left">Time zone</th><td> CET (UTC +1)</td></tr><tr class="mergedtoprow"><th scope="row" style="text-align:left">INSEE/Postal code</th><td class="adr"> 75056 / 75001-75020, 75116</td></tr><tr class="mergedtoprow"><th scope="row" style="text-align:left">Website</th><td></td></tr><tr><td colspan="2" style="text-align:center;text-align:left; font-size:smaller"> 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.</td></tr></table>

Paris (UK: /ˈpærɪs/; US: Listeni/ˈpɛərɪs/; French: Template:IPA-fr) is the capital and most-populous city of France. Situated on the Seine River, in the north of the country, it is in the centre of the Île-de-France region, also known as the région parisienne, "Paris Region". The City of Paris has an area of 105.4 square kilometres (40.7 square miles) and a population of 2,241,346 people within its city limits (January 2014),[2] The Paris Region covers 12,012 square kilometres (4,638 square miles), and has its own regional council and president. It has a population of 12,005,077 as of January 2014, or 18.2 percent of the population of France.[6]

Paris was founded in the 3rd century BC by a Celtic people called the Parisii, who gave the city its name. By the 12th century, Paris was the largest city in the western world, a prosperous trading centre, and the home of the University of Paris, one of the first in Europe. In the 18th century, it was the centre stage for the French Revolution, and became an important centre of finance, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts, a position it still retains today.

The Paris Region had a GDP of €612 billion (US$760 billion) in 2012, accounting for 30.1 percent of the GDP of France, and ranking it as one of the wealthiest five regions in Europe; it is the banking and financial centre of France, and contains the headquarters of 30 companies in the Fortune Global 500.

Paris is the home of the most visited art museum in the world, the Louvre, as well as the Musée d'Orsay, noted for its collection of French Impressionist art, and the Musée National d'Art Moderne, a museum of modern and contemporary art. The notable architectural landmarks of Paris include the Notre Dame Cathedral (12th century); Sainte-Chapelle (13th century); the Eiffel Tower (1889); and the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur on Montmartre (1914). In 2014 Paris received 22.4 million visitors, making it one of the world's top tourist destinations. Paris is also known for its fashion, particularly the twice-yearly Paris Fashion Week, and for its haute cuisine, and three-star restaurants. Most of France's major universities and grandes écoles are located in Paris, as are France's major newspapers, including Le Monde, Le Figaro, and Libération.

Paris is home to the association football club Paris Saint-Germain 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 Cups, 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.
File:Charles Marville, Place de l'Opéra, 1878.jpg
In the 1860s Paris streets and monuments were illuminated by 56,000 gas lamps, making it literally "The City of Light."

The name "Paris" is derived from its early inhabitants, the Celtic Parisii tribe.[7]

Paris is often referred to as "The City of Light" (La Ville Lumière),[8] both because of its leading role during the Age of Enlightenment, and more literally because Paris was one of the first European cities to adopt gas street lighting. In the 1860s, the boulevards and streets of Paris were illuminated by 56,000 gas lamps.[9] Since the late 19th century, Paris is also known as Panam(e) (Template:IPA-fr) in French slang.[10]

Inhabitants are known in English as "Parisians" and in French as Parisiens (Template:IPA-fr), pejoratively also called Parigots (Template:IPA-fr).[note 1][11]


The Parisii, a sub-tribe of the Celtic Senones, inhabited the Paris area from around the middle of the 3rd century BC.[12][13] One of the area's major north-south trade routes crossed the Seine on the île de la Cité; this meeting place of land and water trade routes gradually became a town and an important trading centre.[14] The Parisii traded with many river towns as far away as Spain, and minted their own coins for that purpose.[15]

Gold coins minted by the Parisii (1st century BC)

The Romans conquered the Paris basin in 52 BC and,[16] after making the island a garrison camp, began extending their settlement in a more permanent way to Paris' Left Bank. The Gallo-Roman town was originally called Lutetia (more fully, Lutetia Parisiorum, "Lutetia of the Parisii"). It became a prosperous city with a forum, baths, temples, theatres, and an amphitheatre. .[17]

By the end of the Roman Empire, the town was known simply as Parisius in Latin and Paris in French.[18] Christianity was introduced in the middle of the 3rd century AD. According to tradition, it was brought by Saint Denis, the first Bishop of Paris. When he refused to renounce his faith, he was beheaded on the hill which became known as the "Mountain of Martyrs" (Mons Martyrum), eventually "Montmartre". His burial place became an important religious shrine; the Basilica of Saint-Denis was built there and became the burial place of the French Kings.[19]

Clovis the Frank, the first king of the Merovingian dynasty, made the city his capital from 508. Fortification of the Ile de France failed to prevent sacking by Vikings in 845 but Paris's strategic importance—with its bridges preventing ships from passing—was established by successful defence in the Siege of Paris (885–86). In 987 Hugh Capet, Count of Paris (comte de Paris), Duke of the Franks (duc des Francs) was elected King of the Franks (roi des Franks). Under the rule of the Capetian kings, Paris gradually became the largest and most prosperous city in France.[19]

Middle Ages to Louis XIV

For more details on this topic, see Paris in the Middle Ages.
File:Palais de la Cite.jpg
The Palais de la Cité and Sainte-Chapelle, viewed from the Left Bank, from the Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry (month of June) (1410)

By the end of the 12th century, Paris had become the political, economic, religious, and cultural capital of France. [20] The Île de la Cité was the site of the royal palace. In 1163, during the reign of Louis VII, Maurice de Sully, bishop of Paris, undertook the construction of the Notre Dame Cathedral at its eastern extremity. The Left Bank was the site of the University of Paris, a corporation of students and teachers formed in the mid-12th century to train scholars first in theology, and later in canon law, medicine and the arts.[21][20] The Right Bank became the centre of commerce and finance. The merchants who controlled the trade on the river formed a league and quickly became a powerful force. Between 1190 and 1202, Philip Augustus built the massive fortress of the Louvre, continued the construction of Notre Dame, rebuilt the two bridges, began paving Paris' main thoroughfares, and the construction of a fortified wall around the city.[22]

During the Hundred Years' War, The army of the Duke of Burgundy and a force of about two hundred English soldiers occupied Paris from May 1420 until 1436. They repelled an attempt to liberate the city by Joan of Arc in 1429.[23] A century later, during the French Wars of Religion, Paris was a stronghold of the Catholic League. On 24 August 1572, Paris was the site of the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre, when thousands of French Protestants were killed.[24][25] The last of these wars, the eighth one, ended in 1594, after Henri IV had converted to Catholicism and was finally able to enter Paris as king. The city had been neglected for decades; by the time of his assassination in 1610, Henry IV had rebuilt the Pont Neuf, the first Paris bridge with sidewalks and not lined with buildings, linked with a new wing the Louvre to the Tuileries Palace, and created the first Paris residential square, the Place Royale, now Place des Vosges.[26]

In the 17th century, Cardinal Richelieu, chief minister of Louis XIII, was determined to make Paris the most beautiful city in Europe. He built five new bridges, a new chapel for the College of Sorbonne, and a palace for himself, the Palais Cardinal, which he bequeathed to Louis XIII, and which became, after his own death in 1642, the Palais-Royal.[27]

Louis XIV distrusted the Parisians and moved his court to Versailles in 1682, but his reign also saw an unprecedented flourishing of the arts and sciences in Paris. The Comédie-Française, the Academy of Painting, and the French Academy of Sciences were founded and made their headquarters in the city. To show that the city was safe against attack, he had the city walls demolished, replacing them with Grands Boulevards.[28] To leave monuments to his reign, he built the Collège des Quatre-Nations, Place Vendôme, Place des Victoires, and began Les Invalides. [29]

The 18th and 19th century

File:Lallemand - Arrestation du gouverneur de la Bastille - 1790.jpg
The storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789 marked the beginning of the French Revolution.

Between 1640 and 1789, Paris grew in population from 400,000 to 600,000. A new boulevard, the Champs-Élysées, extended the city west to Étoile,[30] while the working-class neighbourhood of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine on the eastern site of the city grew more and more crowded with poor migrants from other regions of France.[31]

Paris was the centre of an explosion of philosophic and scientific activity known as the Age of Enlightenment. Diderot and d'Alembert published their Encyclopédie in 1751-52, and the Montgolfier Brothers launched the first manned flight in a hot-air balloon on 21 November 1783, from the gardens of the Château de la Muette. Paris was the financial capital of continental Europe, the primary European centre of book publishing, fashion, and the manufacture of fine furniture and luxury goods.[32]

In the summer of 1789, Paris became the centre stage of the French Revolution. On 14 July, a mob seized the arsenal at the Invalides, acquiring thousands of guns, and stormed the Bastille, a symbol of royal authority. The first independent Paris Commune, or city council, met in the Hôtel de Ville and, on 15 July, elected a Mayor, the astronomer Jean Sylvain Bailly.[33]

Louis XVI and the royal family were brought to Paris and made virtual prisoners within the Tuileries Palace. In 1793, as the revolution turned more and more radical, the king, queen, and the mayor were guillotined, along with more than 16,000 others (throughout France), during the Reign of Terror.[34] The property of the aristocracy and the church was nationalised, and the city's churches were closed, sold or demolished.[35] A succession of revolutionary factions ruled Paris until 9 November 1799 (coup d'état du 18 brumaire), when Napoléon Bonaparte seized power as First Consul.[36]

File:Palais Garnier.jpg
The Paris Opera was the centrepiece of Napoleon III's new Paris. The architect, Charles Garnier, described the style simply as "Napoleon the Third."

The population of Paris had dropped by 100,000 during the Revolution, but between 1799 and 1815, it surged with 160,000 new residents, reaching 660,000.[37] Bonaparte replaced the elected government of Paris with a prefect reporting only to him. He began erecting monuments to military glory, including the Arc de Triomphe, and improved the neglected infrastructure of the city with new fountains, the Canal de l'Ourcq, Père Lachaise Cemetery and the city's first metal bridge, the Pont des Arts.[37]

During the Restoration, the bridges and squares of Paris were returned to their pre-Revolution names, but the July Revolution of 1830 in Paris, (commemorated by the July Column on Place de la Bastille), brought a constitutional monarch, Louis Philippe I, to power. The first railway line to Paris opened in 1837, beginning a new period of massive migration from the provinces to the city.[37]

File:Construction tour eiffel5.JPG
The Eiffel Tower, under construction in August 1888, startled Parisians and the world with its modernity.

Louis-Philippe was overthrown by a popular uprising in the streets of Paris in 1848. His successor, Napoleon III, and the newly appointed prefect of the Seine, Georges-Eugène Haussmann, launched a gigantic public works project to build wide new boulevards, a new opera house, a central market, new aqueducts, sewers, and parks, including the Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes.[38] In 1860, Napoleon III also annexed the surrounding towns and created eight new arrondissements, expanding Paris to its current limits.[38]

During the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871), Paris was besieged by the Prussian army. After months of blockade, hunger, and then bombardment by the Prussians, the city was forced to surrender on 28 January 1871. On 28 March, a revolutionary government called the Paris Commune seized power in Paris. The Commune held power for two months, until it was harshly suppressed by the French army during the "Bloody Week" at the end of May 1871.[39]

Late in the 19th century, Paris hosted two major international expositions: the 1889 Universal Exposition, was held to mark the centennial of the French Revolution and featured the new Eiffel Tower; and the 1900 Universal Exposition, which gave Paris the Pont Alexandre III, the Grand Palais, the Petit Palais and the first Paris Métro line.[40] Paris became the laboratory of Naturalism (Émile Zola) and Symbolism (Charles Baudelaire and Paul Verlaine), and of Impressionism in art (Courbet, Manet, Monet, Renoir.)[41]

20th and 21st century

By 1901, the population of Paris had grown to 2,715,000.[42] At the beginning of the century, artists from around the world, including Picasso, Modigliani and Matisse made Paris their home; it was the birthplace of Fauvism, Cubism and abstract art,[43][44] and authors such as Marcel Proust were exploring new approaches to literature.[45]

During the First World War, Paris sometimes found itself on the front line; 600 to 1,000 Paris taxis played a small but highly important symbolic role in transporting 6,000 soldiers to the front line at the First Battle of the Marne. The city was also bombed by Zeppelins and shelled by German long-range guns.[46] In the years after the war, known as Les Années Folles, Paris continued to be a mecca for writers, musicians and artists from around the world, including Ernest Hemingway, Igor Stravinsky, Josephine Baker and the surrealist Salvador Dalí.[47]

File:The Liberation of Paris, 25 - 26 August 1944 HU66477.jpg
General Charles de Gaulle on the Champs-Élysées celebrating the liberation of Paris (26 August 1944).

On 14 June 1940, the German army marched into Paris, which had been declared an "open city".[48] On 16–17 July 1942, following German orders, the French police and gendarmes arrested 12,884 Jews, including 4,115 children, and confined them during five days at the Vel d'Hiv (Vélodrome d'Hiver), from which they were transported by train to the extermination camp at Auschwitz. None of the children came back.[49][50] On 25 August 1944, the city was liberated by the French 2nd Armoured Division and the 4th Infantry Division of the United States Army. General Charles de Gaulle led a huge and emotional crowd down the Champs Élysées towards Notre Dame de Paris, and made a rousing speech from the Hôtel de Ville.[51]

In the 1950s and the 1960s, Paris became one front of the Algerian War for independence; in August 1961, the pro-independence FLN targeted and killed 11 Paris policemen, leading to the imposition of a curfew on young Algerian men. On 17 October 1961, an unauthorised but peaceful protest demonstration of Algerians against the curfew led to violent confrontations between the police and demonstrators, in which at least 40 people were killed, including some thrown into the Seine. The anti-independence Organisation de l'armée secrète (OAS), for their part, carried out a series of bombings in Paris throughout 1961 and 1962.[52] [53]

File:Pompidou center.jpg
The Centre Georges Pompidou, a museum of modern art (1977), put all its internal plumbing and infrastructure on the outside.

In May 1968, protesting students occupied the Sorbonne and put up barricades in the Latin Quarter. Thousands of Parisian blue-collar workers joined the students, and the movement grew into a two-week general strike. Supporters of the government won the June elections by a large majority. The May 1968 events in France resulted in the breakup of the University of Paris into 13 independent campuses.[54]

In 1975, the National Assembly changed the status of Paris to that of other French cities and, on 25 March 1977, Jacques Chirac became the first elected mayor of Paris since 1793.[55] The Tour Maine Montparnasse, the tallest building in the city at 57 storeys and 210 metres high, was built between 1969 and 1973. It was highly controversial, and it remains the city's only skyscraper.[50]

The population of Paris dropped from 2,850,000 in 1954 to 2,152,000 in 1990, as middle-class families departed for the suburbs.[56] A suburban railway network, the RER (Réseau Express Régional), was built to complement the Métro, and the Périphérique expressway encircling the city, was completed in 1973.[57]

Each president of the postwar Fifth Republic wanted to leave his own monument in Paris; President Georges Pompidou started the Centre Georges Pompidou (1977), Valéry Giscard d'Estaing began the Musée d'Orsay (1986); President François Mitterrand, in power for 14 years, built the Opéra Bastille (1985-1989), the Bibliothèque nationale de France (1996), the Arche de la Défense (1985-1989), and the Louvre Pyramid and underground courtyard (1983-1989).[58]

In the early 21st century, the population of Paris began to increase slowly again, as more young people moved into the city. It reached 2.25 million in 2011. In March 2001, Bertrand Delanoë became the first socialist mayor of Paris. In 2007, in an effort to reduce car traffic in the city, he introduced the Vélib', a system which rents bicycles for the use of local residents and visitors. Bertrand Delanoë also transformed a section of the highway along the Left Bank of the Seine into an urban promenade and park, the Promenade des Berges de la Seine, which he inaugurated in June 2013.[59]

In 2007, President Nicolas Sarkozy launched the Grand Paris project, to integrate Paris more closely with the towns in the region around it. After much modification, the new area, named the Metropolis of Grand Paris, with a population of 6.7 million people, is scheduled for creation on 1 January 2016.[60]

In 2011, the City of Paris and the national government approved the plans for the Grand Paris Express, totalling 205 kilometres of automated metro lines to connect Paris, the innermost three departments around Paris, airports and high-speed rail (TGV) stations, at an estimated cost of €35 billion.[61] The system is scheduled to be completed by 2030.[62]

On 5 April 2014, Anne Hidalgo, a socialist, was elected the first female mayor of Paris.

File:Place de la République, 18h50, une foule silencieuse.jpg
Anti-terrorism demonstration on Place de la Republique after Charlie Hebdo shooting (11 January 2015)

On 7 January 2015, two Muslim extremists, both French citizens raised in the Paris region, attacked the Paris headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, a controversial satirical magazine that had poked ridicule at Mohammed, in what became known as the Charlie Hebdo shooting. They killed thirteen persons, including five prominent cartoonists and the director of the magazine and three police officers. On 9 January a third terrorist killed four hostages at a Jewish grocery store at Porte de Vincennes. The three terrorists were killed by the police the same day. Together, These were the most deadly terrorist attacks in Paris since 1961.[63] On 11 January, an estimated 1.5 million persons marched in Paris to show solidarity against terrorism and in defence of freedom of speech.[64]


Main article: Topography of Paris
File:Jms paris elevation hydrography.png
Parisian hills and hydrology

Paris is located in northern central France. By road it is Script error: No such module "convert". south-east of London, Script error: No such module "convert". south of Calais, Script error: No such module "convert". south-west of Brussels, Script error: No such module "convert". north of Marseille, Script error: No such module "convert". north-east of Nantes, and Script error: No such module "convert". south-east 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. The river's mouth on the English Channel (La Manche) is about Script error: No such module "convert". downstream of the city, established around 7600 BC. The city is spread widely on both banks of the river.[66] Overall, the city is relatively flat, and the lowest point is Script error: No such module "convert". above sea level. Paris has several prominent hills, the highest of which is Montmartre at Script error: No such module "convert".. [67] 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 covers an oval measuring about Script error: No such module "convert". in area, enclosed by the Script error: No such module "convert". 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 20 clockwise-spiralling arrondissements (municipal boroughs). From the 1860 area of Script error: No such module "convert"., the city limits were expanded marginally to Script error: No such module "convert". 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 Script error: No such module "convert"..[69] The metropolitan area of the city is Script error: No such module "convert"..[66]


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 Script error: No such module "convert"., and a fair amount of sunshine.[71] Each year, however, there are a few days where the temperature rises above Script error: No such module "convert".. Some years have even witnessed long periods of harsh summer weather, such as the heat wave of 2003 when temperatures exceeded Script error: No such module "convert". for weeks, surged up to Script error: No such module "convert". on some days and seldom cooled down at night.[72] More recently, the average temperature for July 2011 was Script error: No such module "convert"., with an average minimum temperature of Script error: No such module "convert". and an average maximum temperature of Script error: No such module "convert"..

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 Script error: No such module "convert"..[74] Light night frosts are however quite common, but the temperature will dip below Script error: No such module "convert". for only a few days a year. Snow falls every year, but rarely stays on the ground. The city sometimes sees light snow or flurries with or without accumulation.[75]

Paris has an average annual precipitation of Script error: No such module "convert"., and experiences light rainfall distributed evenly throughout the year. However the city is known for intermittent abrupt heavy showers. The highest recorded temperature is Script error: No such module "convert". on 28 July 1948, and the lowest is a Script error: No such module "convert". on 10 December 1879.[76]


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Clockwise from top: Pyramid of the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Palace of Versailles, skyline of Paris on the River Seine with the Pont des Arts bridge, and the Eiffel Tower - clickable image
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Motto: Fluctuat nec mergitur
(Latin: "Tossed but not sunk")
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This page is a soft redirect. Climate data for Paris (1981–2010 average)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year

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This page is a soft redirect.Source: Meteo France[77]


City government

The Hôtel de Ville, or city hall, has been at the same site since 1357.

For almost all of its long history, except for a few brief periods, Paris was governed directly by representatives of the king, emperor, or president of France. The city was not granted municipal autonomy by the National Assembly until 1974.[78] The first modern elected mayor of Paris was Jacques Chirac, elected 20 March 1977, becoming the city's first mayor since 1793. The current mayor is Anne Hidalgo, a socialist, elected 5 April 2014.[79]

The mayor of Paris is not elected directly by Paris voters; the voters of each arrondissement elect the Conseil de Paris (Council of Paris), composed of 163 members. Each arrondissement has a number of members depending upon its population, from 10 members for each of the least-populated arrondissements (1st through 9th) to 36 members for the most populated (the 15th). The elected council members select the mayor. Sometimes the candidate who receives the most votes city-wide is not selected if the other candidate has won the support of the majority of council members. Mayor Bertrand Delanoë (2001-2014) was elected by only a minority of city voters, but a majority of council members. Once elected, the council plays a largely passive role in the city government; it meets only once a month. The current council is divided between a coalition of the left of 91 members, including the socialists, communists, greens, and extreme left; and 71 members for the centre right, plus a few members from smaller parties.[80]

Each of Paris' 20 arrondissements has its own town hall and a directly elected council (conseil d'arrondissement), which, in turn, elects an arrondissement mayor.[81] The council of each arrondissement is composed of members of the Conseil de Paris and also members who serve only on the council of the arrondissement. The number of deputy mayors in each arrondissement varies depending upon its population. There are a total of 20 arrondissement mayors and 120 deputy mayors.[78]

The budget of the city for 2013 was €7.6 billion, of which 5.4 billion went for city administration, while €2.2 billion went for investment. The largest part of the budget (38 percent) went for public housing and urbanism projects; 15 percent for roads and transport; 8 percent for schools (which are mostly financed by the state budget); 5 percent for parks and gardens; and 4 percent for culture. The main source of income for the city is direct taxes (35 percent), supplemented by a 13-percent real estate tax; 19 percent of the budget comes in a transfer from the national government.[82]

The number of city employees, or agents, grew from 40,000 in 2000 to 73,000 in 2013. The city debt grew from €1.6 billion in 2000 to 3.1 billion in 2012, with a debt of €3.65 billion expected for 2014.[83] As a result of the growing debt, the bond rating of the city was lowered from AAA to AA+ in both 2012 and 2013. In September 2014, Mayor Hidalgo announced that the city would have budget shortfall of €400 million, largely because of a cut in support from the national government.[84]

Regional government

The Region of Île de France, including Paris and its surrounding communities, is governed by the Regional Council, which has its headquarters in the 7th arrondissement of Paris. It is composed of 209 members representing the different communes within the region, with a majority belonging to the socialists and their allies. The current president of the council is Jean-Paul Huchon, a socialist. The next elections for the Regional council will take place 6 and 13 December 2015.

In 2007, President Sarkozy proposed the creation of a Grand Paris, a new metropolitan area composed of the city of Paris and the towns in the neighbouring three departments. After much discussion and modification, in 2011 a plan was approved to create the Métropole du Grand Paris, or Metropolis of Greater Paris, which will have an area of 762 square kilometres and a population of 6.7 million people. It will also have its own automated metro system, the Grand Paris Express, with 205 kilometres of track and 72 new stations, linking Paris, the suburbs, the airports and the TGV stations. The new Metropolis is scheduled to come into existence on 1 January 2016.[60]

National government

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 the French Republic resides at the Élysée Palace in the 8th arrondissement,[85] while the Prime Minister's seat is at the Hôtel Matignon in the 7th arrondissement.[86][87] Government ministries are located in various parts of the city; many are located in the 7th arrondissement, near the Matignon.[88]

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.[89]

File:Conseil d'Etat Paris WA.jpg
The Palais-Royal, residence of the Conseil d'État

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,[90] 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.[91] 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.[92]

Paris and its region host the headquarters of several 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.

Following the motto "Only Paris is worthy of Rome; only Rome is worthy of Paris";[93][94] the only sister city of Paris is Rome, although Paris has partnership agreements with many other cities around the world.[93]

Police force

File:Police nationale France 6383.jpg
Officers of the Police Nationale in Paris
File:Patrouille féminine cavalerie Garde Républicaine Louvre.jpg
Female mounted Gendarmerie patrol near Louvre.

The security of Paris is mainly the responsibility of the Prefecture of Police of Paris, a subdivision of the Ministry of the Interior of France. It supervises the units of the National Police who patrol the city and the three neighbouring departments. It is also responsible for providing emergency services, including the Paris Fire Brigade. Its headquarters is on Place Louis Lépine on the Île de la Cité.[95] There are 30,200 officers under the prefecture, and a fleet of more than 6,000 vehicles, including police cars, motorcycles, fire trucks, boats and helicopters. In addition to traditional police duties, the local police monitors the number of discount sales held by large stores (no more than two a year are allowed) and verify that, during summer holidays, at least one bakery is open in every neighbourhood.[95] The national police has its own special unit for riot control and crowd control and security of public buildings, called the Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité (CRS), a unit formed in 1944 right after the liberation of France. Vans of CRS agents are frequently seen in the centre of the city when there are demonstrations and public events.

The police are supported by the National Gendarmerie, a branch of the French Armed Forces, though their police operations now are supervised by the Ministry of the Interior. The traditional kepis of the gendarmes were replaced in 2002 with caps, and the force modernised, though they still wear kepis for ceremonial occasions.[96]

Crime in Paris is similar to that in most large cities. Violent crime is relatively rare in the city centre.[97] Political violence is uncommon, though very large demonstrations may occur in Paris and other French cities simultaneously. These demonstrations, usually managed by a strong police presence, can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.[97]


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Panorama of Paris as seen from the Eiffel Tower as full 360-degree view (river flowing from north-east to south-west, right to left)

Urbanism and architecture

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.[citation needed] At its origin, before the Middle Ages, the city was composed around several islands and sandbanks in a bend of the Seine; of those, two remain today: the île Saint-Louis, the île de la Cité; a third one is the 1827 artificially created île aux Cygnes. Modern Paris owes much to its late 19th century Second Empire remodelling by the Baron Haussmann: many of modern Paris' 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.[98]

Paris' urbanism laws have been under strict control since the early 17th century,[99] particularly where street-front alignment, building height and building distribution is concerned. In recent developments, a 1974-2010 building height limitation of Script error: No such module "convert". was raised to Script error: No such module "convert". in central areas and Script error: No such module "convert". in some of Paris' peripheral quarters, yet for some of the city's more central quarters, even older building-height laws still remain in effect.[99] The Script error: No such module "convert". Montparnasse tower was both Paris and France's tallest building until 1973,[100] but this record has been held by the La Défense quarter Tour First tower in Courbevoie since its 2011 construction. A new project for La Defense, called Hermitage Plaza, launched in 2009, proposes to build two towers, 85 and 86 stories or 320 metres high, which would be the tallest buildings in the European Union, just slightly shorter than the Eiffel Tower. They were scheduled for completion in 2019 or 2020, but as of January 2015 construction had not yet begun, and there were questions in the press about the future of the project.[101][102]

Parisian examples of European architecture date back more than a millennium; including the Romanesque church of the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés (1014-1163); the early Gothic Architecture of the Basilica of Saint-Denis (1144), the Notre Dame Cathedral (1163-1345), the Flamboyant Gothic of Saint Chapelle (1239-1248), the Baroque churches of Saint-Paul-Saint-Louis (1627-1641) and Les Invalides (1670-1708). The 19th century produced the neoclassical church of La Madeleine (1808-1842); the Palais Garnier Opera House (1875); the neo-Byzantine Basilica of Sacré-Cœur (1875-1919), and the exuberant Belle Époque modernism of the Eiffel Tower (1889). Striking examples of 20th century architecture include the Centre Georges Pompidou by Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano (1977), and the Louvre Pyramid by I.M. Pei (1989). Contemporary architecture includes the Musée du Quai Branly by Jean Nouvel (2006) and the new contemporary art museum of the Louis Vuitton Foundation by Frank Gehry (2014).[103]


File:Social housing in Paris jms DRIHL 2012.png
Social housing in Paris as of 2012

Paris is the eighth most expensive city in the world for luxury housing:[104] €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)).[105] According to a 2012 study for the La Tribune newspaper, the most expensive street is the quai des Orfèvres in the 6th arrondissement, 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.[106]

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 percent) were main residences, 91,835 (6.8 percent) were secondary residences, and the remaining 7.3 percent were empty (down from 9.2 percent in 2006).[107]

Paris 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 percent were built between 1949 and 1974, and only 18 percent of the buildings remaining were built after that date.[108]

Two-thirds of Paris' 1.3 million residences are studio and two-room apartments. Paris averages 1.9 people per residence, a number that has remained constant since the 1980s, but it is much less than Île-de-France's 2.33 person-per-residence average. Only 33 percent of principal-residence Parisians own their habitation (against 47 percent for the entire Île-de-France): the major part of the city's population is a rent-paying one.[108]

Social housing represents a little more than 17 percent of the city'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' south-western to northern periphery arrondissements.[109]

In 2012 the Paris agglomeration (urban area) counted 28,800 people without a fixed residence, an increase of 84 percent since 2001; it represents 43 percent of the homeless in all of France. Forty-one percent were women, and 29 percent were accompanied by children. Fifty-six percent of the homeless were born outside of France, the largest number coming from Africa and Eastern Europe.[110] The city of Paris has sixty homeless shelters, called Centres d'hébergement et de réinsertion sociale or CHRS, which are funded by the city and operated by private charities and associations.[111]

Paris and its suburbs

Aside from the 20th century addition of the Bois de Boulogne, Bois de Vincennes and Paris heliport, Paris' administrative limits have remained unchanged since 1860. The Seine département had been governing Paris and its suburbs since its creation in 1790, but the rising suburban population had made it difficult to govern as a unique entity. This problem was 'resolved' when its parent "District de la région parisienne" (Paris region) was reorganised into several new departments from 1968: Paris became a department in itself, and the administration of its suburbs was divided between the three departments surrounding it. The Paris region was renamed "Île-de-France" in 1977, but the "Paris region" name is still commonly used today.[112]

Paris' disconnect with its suburbs, its lack of suburban transportation in particular, became all too apparent with the Paris agglomeration's growth. Paul Delouvrier promised to resolve the Paris-suburbs mésentente when he became head of the Paris region in 1961:[113] two of his most ambitious projects for the Region were the construction of five suburban villes nouvelles ("new cities")[114] and the RER commuter train network.[115] Many other suburban residential districts (grands ensembles) were built between the 1960s and 1970s to provide a low-cost solution for a rapidly expanding population:[116] these districts were socially mixed at first,[117] but few residents actually owned their homes (the growing economy made these accessible to the middle classes only from the 1970s).[118] Their poor construction quality and their haphazard insertion into existing urban growth contributed to their desertion by those able to move elsewhere and their repopulation by those with more limited possibilities.[118]

These areas, quartiers sensibles ("sensitive quarters"), are in northern and eastern Paris, namely around its Goutte d'Or and Belleville neighbourhoods. To the north of the city they are grouped mainly in the Seine-Saint-Denis department, and to a lesser extreme to the east in the Val-d'Oise department. Other difficult areas are located in the Seine valley, in Évry et Corbeil-Essonnes (Essonne), in Mureaux, Mantes-la-Jolie (Yvelines), and scattered among social housing districts created by Delouvrier's 1961 "ville nouvelle" political initiative.[119]

The Paris agglomeration's urban sociology is basically that of 19th century Paris: its fortuned classes are situated in its west and south-west, and its middle-to-lower classes are in its north and east. The remaining areas are mostly middle-class citizenry dotted with islands of fortuned populations located there due to reasons of historical importance, namely Saint-Maur-des-Fossés to the east and Enghien-les-Bains to the north of Paris.[120]


Main article: Demographics of Paris
</td></tr> <tr><td colspan=2>
2011 Census Paris Region[121][122]
Country/territory of birth Population
23x15px Metropolitan France 9,112,301
23x15px Algeria 285,703
23x15px Portugal 240,445
23x15px Morocco 224,787
23x15px Tunisia 107,549
22x20px Guadeloupe 80,265
22x20px Martinique 74,565
23x15px Turkey 68,703
23x15px China 59,734
23x15px Italy 55,443
23x15px Mali 54,525
23x15px Spain 46,486
23x15px Côte d'Ivoire 45,870
23x15px Senegal 44,356
23x15px Democratic Republic of Congo 41,497
23x15px Poland 39,307

The population of Paris in its administrative city limits was 2,241,346 in January 2014.[2] This makes Paris the fifth largest municipality in the European Union, following London, Berlin, Madrid and Rome. Comparing urban areas in the European Union, Eurostat, the statistical agency of the EU, places Paris (6.5 million people) second behind London (8 million) and ahead of Berlin (3.5 million), based on the 2012 populations of what Eurostat calls "urban audit core cities".[123]

The Paris Urban Area, or ‘’unité urbaine’', is a statistical area created by the French statistical agency INSEE to measure the population of built-up areas around the city. It is slightly smaller than the Paris Region. According to INSEE, the Paris Urban Area had a population of 10,516,110 in 2011,[3] the most populous in the European Union, and third most populous in Europe, behind Istanbul and Moscow.[124] The Paris metropolitan area is the second most populous in the European Union after London with a population of 12,161,542.[4][5]

The population of Paris today is 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 de-industrialisation, 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 came to an end in the 21st century; the population estimate of July 2004 showed a population increase for the first time since 1954, and the population reached 2,234,000 by 2009.[125]

File:Paris Historical Population (1801-2008).png
City proper, urban area, and metropolitan area population from 1800 to 2010

According to Eurostat, the EU statistical agency, in 2012 the Commune of Paris was the most densely populated city in the European Union, with 21,616 persons per square kilometre within the city limits (the NUTS-3 statistical area), ahead of Inner London West, which had 10,374 persons per square kilometre. According to the same census, three departments bordering Paris, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis and Val-de-Marne, had population densities of over ten thousand persons per square kilometre, ranking among the ten most densely populated areas of the EU.[126]

According to the 2011 census, 456,105 residents of the municipality of Paris, or 20.3 percent, and 2,117,901 residents of the Paris Region (Île-de-France), or 17.9 percent, were born outside of France.[127] A substantial number of German immigrants, mostly students and printers at first, began arriving in the 15th century, A major community of Italian immigrants, mostly artists and craftsmen, had arrived in the 17th century to work on the palaces and gardens of the city. By 1848 foreign immigrants accounted for between five and ten percent of the Paris population. The largest number, from a quarter to a third, came from Germany, while there were also large communities of Swiss, and Belgians, and the diverse countries of the Austrian Empire. A large wave of immigrants from Poland, including Frederic Chopin, arrived following the failed Polish revolutions of 1830 and 1848.[128] Waves of immigration followed continuously until today: Italians and Central European Jews during the later 19th century; Russians after the revolution of 1917 and Armenians fleeing genocide in the Ottoman Empire;[129] 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.[130]


Main article: Economy of Paris

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Top companies with world headquarters
in the Paris Region for 2014

(ranked by revenues)
with Region and World ranks
Paris corporation World
1 Total S.A. 11
2 AXA 16
3 Société Générale 33
4 BNP Paribas 40
5 GDF Suez 44
6 Carrefour 65
7 EDF 70
8 Crédit Agricole 83
9 Peugeot 119
10 Groupe BPCE 136
11 Foncière Euris 144
12 CNP Assurances 175
Full table at Economy of Paris
Financial services firms in green
Source: Fortune Global 500[132]
File:Jms pc median income 2010.png
Median income in Paris and its nearest departments (suburbs).

The economy of Paris stretches well beyond its administrative limits, as many of its manufacturing and service industries are in its closest suburbs. While economic figures are collected in the Paris region (Île-de-France) and its eight départements, employment numbers are expressed within Paris, the Paris agglomeration[133] and the Paris aire urbaine (an area similar to the North American metropolitan area).[134]

The Paris Region is France's premier centre of economic activity, with a 2012 GDP of 612 billion (US$760 billion).[135] In 2011, its GDP ranked second among the regions of Europe and its per-capita GDP was the 4th highest in Europe.[136][137] While the Paris region's population accounted for 18.8 percent of metropolitan France in 2011,[138] the Paris region's GDP accounted for 31 percent of metropolitan France's GDP.[135] It hosts the world headquarters of 29 Fortune Global 500 companies.[132]

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.).[139] In the 2013 European Green City Index, Paris was listed the 10th "greenest" city of the largest 30 cities in Europe.[140] The Paris region's most intense economic activity through the central Hauts-de-Seine department 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.[139] While the Paris economy is dominated by services, and employment in manufacturing sector has declined sharply, the region remains an important manufacturing centre, particularly for aeronautics, automobiles, and "eco" industries.[139]

In a 2015 worldwide cost of living survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Paris ranked as the world’s second most expensive city.[141] In the survey, it is joined among the most expensive European cities by Oslo, Zurich, Geneva and Copenhagen. The ranking compares more than 400 individual prices across 160 products and services, and is designed to calculate cost-of-living allowances and build compensation packages for expatriates and business travellers.


According to the 2011 census, 59.0 percent of the Paris metropolitan area workforce is in commerce, transportation, and market services: 26.8 percent worked in non-market services (public administration, education, human health and social work activities); 8.6 percent worked in manufacturing, mining, and utilities; 5.3 percent worked in construction; 0.3 percent worked in agriculture.[142]

The majority of Paris' salaried employees fill 370,000 businesses services jobs, concentrated in the north-western 8th, 16th and 17th arrondissements.[143] Paris' financial service companies are concentrated in the central-western 8th and 9th arrondissement banking and insurance district.[143] Paris' department store district in the 1st, 6th, 8th and 9th arrondissements employ 10 percent of mostly female Paris workers, with 100,000 of these registered in the retail trade.[143] Fourteen percent of Parisians work in hotels and restaurants and other services to individuals.[143] Nineteen percent of Paris employees work for the State in either in administration or education. The majority of Paris' healthcare and social workers work at the hospitals and social housing concentrated in the peripheral 13th, 14th, 18th, 19th and 20th arrondissements.[143] Outside Paris, the western Hauts-de-Seine department La Défense district specialising in finance, insurance and scientific research district, employs 144,600,[139] and the north-eastern Seine-Saint-Denis audiovisual sector has 200 media firms and 10 major film studios.[139]

Paris' manufacturing is mostly focused in its suburbs, and the city itself has only around 75,000 manufacturing workers, most of which are in the textile, clothing, leather goods and shoe trades.[139] Paris region manufacturing specialises in transportation, mainly automobiles, aircraft and trains, but this is in a sharp decline: Paris proper manufacturing jobs dropped by 64 percent between 1990 and 2010, and the Paris region lost 48 percent during the same period. Most of this is due to companies relocating outside the Paris region. The Paris region's 800 aerospace companies employed 100,000.[139] Four hundred automobile industry companies employ another 100,000 workers: many of these are centred in the Yvelines department around the Renault and PSA-Citroen plants (this department alone employs 33,000),[139] but the industry as a whole suffered a major loss with the 2014 closing of a major Aulnay-sous-Bois Citroen assembly plant.[139]

The southern Essone department specialises in science and technology,[139] and the south-eastern Val-de-Marne, with its wholesale Rungis food market, specialises in food processing and beverages.[139] The Paris region's manufacturing decline is quickly being replaced by eco-industries: these employ about 100,000 workers.[139] In 2011, while only 56,927 construction workers worked in Paris itself,[144] its metropolitan area employed 246,639,[142] in an activity centred largely around the Seine-Saint-Denis (41,378)[145] and Hauts-de-Seine (37,303)[146] departments and the new business-park centres appearing there.


The average net household income (after social, pension and health insurance contributions) in Paris was €36,085 for 2011.[147] It ranged from €22,095 in the 19th arrondissement[148] to €82,449 in the 7th arrondissement.[149] The median taxable income for 2011 was around €25,000 in Paris and €22,200 for Île-de-France.[150] 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. Unemployment in the Paris "immigrant ghettos" ranges from 20 to 40 percent, according to varying sources.[citation needed]

While Paris has some of the richest neighbourhoods in France, it also has some of the poorest, mostly on the eastern side of the city. In 2012, 14 percent of households in the city earned less than €977 per month, the official poverty line. Twenty-five percent of residents in the 19th arrondissement lived below the poverty line; 24 percent in the 18th, 22 percent in the 20th and 18 percent in the 10th. In the city's wealthiest neighbourhood, the 7th arrondissement, 7 percent lived below the poverty line; 8 percent in the 6th arrondissement; and 9 percent in the 16th arrondissement.[151]


File:Visiter le Louvre en été ! (4787187477).jpg
Tourists from around the world make the Louvre the most visited art museum in the world.

Greater Paris (the city plus surrounding departments) received 22,4 million visitors in 2014, making it one of the world's top tourist destinations. The largest numbers of foreign tourists in 2014 came from the United States (2.74 million), the U.K., Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain and China (532,000). Arrivals from the U.K, Germany, Russia and Japan dropped from 2013, while arrivals from the Near and Middle East grew by twenty percent.[152]

In 2014, visitors to Paris spent $17 billion (€13.58 billion), the third-highest sum globally after London and New York.[153] In 2012, according to the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau, 263,212 salaried workers in the city of Paris, or 18.4 percent of the total number, were engaged in tourism-related sectors: hotels, catering, transport and leisure.

Monuments and attractions

UNESCO World Heritage Site
Paris, Banks of the Seine
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Type Cultural
Criteria i, ii, iv
Reference 600
UNESCO region Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 1991 (15th Session)

There were 72.1 million visitors to the city's museums and monuments in 2013. The city's top tourist attraction was the Notre Dame Cathedral, which welcomed 14 million visitors in 2013. The Louvre museum had more than 9.2 million visitors in 2013, making it the most visited museum in the world. The other top cultural attractions in Paris in 2013 were the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur (10.5 million visitors); the Eiffel Tower (6,740,000 visitors); the Centre Pompidou (3,745,000 visitors) and Musée d'Orsay (3,467,000 visitors).[154] In the Paris region, Disneyland Paris, in Marne-la-Vallée, 32 km (20 miles) east of the centre of Paris, was the most visited tourist attraction in France, with 14.9 million visitors in 2013.[155]

The centre of Paris contains the most visited monuments in the city, including the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Louvre; Les Invalides, where the tomb of Napoleon is located, and the Eiffel Tower are located on the Left Bank south-west of the centre. The banks of the Seine from the Pont de Sully to the Pont d'Iena have been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1991.[156] Other landmarks are laid out east to west along the historic axis of Paris, which runs from the Louvre through the Tuileries Gardens, the Luxor Column in the Place de La Concorde, the Arc de Triomphe, to the Grande Arche of La Défense.

Several other much-visited landmarks are located in the suburbs of the city; the Basilica of St Denis, in Seine-Saint-Denis, is the birthplace of the Gothic style of architecture and the royal necropolis of French kings and queens.[157] The Paris region hosts three other UNESCO Heritage sites: the Palace of Versailles in the west,[158] the Château de Fontainebleau in the south[159] and the medieval fairs site of Provins in the east.[160]


As of 2013 the City of Paris had 1,570 hotels with 70,034 rooms, of which 55 were rated five-star, mostly belonging to international chains and mostly located close to the centre and the Champs-Élysées. Paris has long been famous for its grand hotels. The Hotel Meurice, opened for British travellers in 1817, was one of the first luxury hotels in Paris.[161] The arrival of the railroads and the Paris Exposition of 1855 brought the first flood of tourists and the first modern grand hotels; the Hôtel du Louvre (now an antiques marketplace) in 1855; the Grand Hotel (now the Intercontinental LeGrand) in 1862; and the Hôtel Continental in 1878. The Hôtel Ritz on Place Vendôme opened in 1898, followed by the Hôtel Crillon in an 18th-century building on the Place de la Concorde in 1909; the Hotel Bristol on rue de Fabourg Saint-Honoré in 1925; and the Hotel George V in 1928.[162]


Painting and sculpture

Main article: Art in Paris
Pierre Mignard, Self-portrait, between 1670 and 1690, oil on canvas, 235 × 188 cm, Louvre

For centuries, Paris has attracted artists from around the world, who arrive 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".[163] Italian artists were a profound influence on the development of art in Paris in the 16th and 17th centuries, particularly 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 reputations as the finest artists in the royal court in 17th-century France. Pierre Mignard became the first painter to King Louis XIV during this period. In 1648, the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture (Royal 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.[164]

Paris was in its artistic prime in the 19th century and early 20th century, when it had a colony of artists established in the city and in art schools associated with some of the finest painters of the times: Manet, Monet, Berthe Morisot, Gauguin, Renoir and others. 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.[164] Impressionism, Art Nouveau, Symbolism, Fauvism Cubism and Art Deco movements all evolved in Paris.[164] 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.[165] Artists such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, Jean Metzinger, Albert Gleizes, Henri Rousseau, Marc Chagall, Amedeo Modigliani and many others became associated with Paris. Picasso, living in Montmartre, painted his famous La Famille de Saltimbanques and Les Demoiselles d'Avignon between 1905 and 1907.[166] Montmartre and Montparnasse became centres for artistic production.

The most prestigious names of French and foreign sculptors, who made their reputation in Paris in the modern era, are Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi (Statue of Liberty), Auguste Rodin, Camille Claudel, Antoine Bourdelle, Paul Landowski (statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro) and Aristide Maillol. The Golden Age of the School of Paris ended between the two world wars, but Paris remains extremely important to world art and art education, with schools ranging from the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts (the former Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture) and Paris College of Art to the Paris American Academy, which specialises in teaching fashion and interior design.[167]


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.[164] The work of Étienne-Jules Marey in the 1880s contributed considerably to the birth of modern photography. Photography came to occupy a central role in Parisian Surrealist activity, in the works of Man Ray and Maurice Tabard.[168][169] 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.[164] Paris also become the hotbed for an emerging art form in the late 19th century, poster art, advocated by the likes of Gavarni.[164]


The Louvre was the world's most visited art museum in 2013[170] and is the home the Mona Lisa (La Joconde) and the Venus de Milo statue.[171] Starkly apparent with its service-pipe exterior, the Centre Georges Pompidou, the second-most visited art museum in Paris, also known as Beaubourg, houses the Musée National d'Art Moderne. The Musée d'Orsay, in the former Orsay railway station, was the third-most visited museum in the city in 2013;[170] it displays French art of the 19th century, including major collections of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists. The original building - a railway station - was constructed for the Universal Exhibition of 1900. The museum is known for its beauty, inside and out. An opulent glass awning serves as the entryway, while inside the second level overlooks much of the ground level terraces.[172] The Musée du quai Branly was the fourth-most visited national museum in Paris in 2013;[170] it displays art objects from Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. The Musée national du Moyen Âge, or Cluny Museum, presents Medieval art, including the famous tapestry cycle of The Lady and the Unicorn. The Guimet Museum, or Musée national des arts asiatiques, has one of the largest collections of Asian art in Europe. There are also notable museums devoted to individual artists, including the Picasso Museum the Rodin Museum, and the Musée national Eugène Delacroix.

Paris hosts one of the largest science museums in Europe, the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie at La Villette. The National Museum of Natural History, on the Left Bank, is famous for its dinosaur artefacts, mineral collections, and its Gallery of Evolution. The military history of France, from the Middle Ages to World War II, is vividly presented by displays at the Musée de l'Armée at Les Invalides, near the tomb of Napoleon. In addition to the national museums, run by the French Ministry of Culture, the City of Paris operates 14 museums, including the Carnavalet Museum on the history of Paris; Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Palais de Tokyo; the House of Victor Hugo and House of Balzac, and the Catacombs of Paris.[173] There are also notable private museums; The Contemporary Art museum of the Louis Vuitton Foundation, designed by architect Frank Gehry, opened on October 2014 in the Bois de Boulogne.[174]


The largest opera houses of Paris are the 19th-century Opéra Garnier (historical Paris Opéra) and modern Opéra Bastille; the former tends toward the more classic ballets and operas, and the latter provides a mixed repertoire of classic and modern.[175] 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).[176] Philharmonie de Paris, the modern symphonic concert hall of Paris, opened on January 2015.

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.[177] 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.[citation needed]


The first book printed in France, Epistolae ("Letters"), by Gasparinus de Bergamo (Gasparino da Barzizza), was published in Paris in 1470 by the press established by Johann Heynlin. Since then, Paris has been the centre of the French publishing industry, the home of some of the world's best-known writers and poets, and the setting for many classic works of French literature. Almost all the books published in Paris in the Middle Ages were in Latin, rather than French. Paris did not become the acknowledged capital of French literature until the 17th century, with authors such as Boileau, Corneille, La Fontaine, Molière, Racine, several coming from the provinces, and the foundation of the Académie française.[178] In the 18th century, the literary life of Paris revolved around the cafés and salons, and was dominated by Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Pierre de Marivaux, and Beaumarchais.

During the 19th century, Paris was the home and subject for some of France's greatest writers, including Charles Baudelaire, Stéphane Mallarmé, Mérimée, Alfred de Musset, Marcel Proust, Emile Zola, Alexandre Dumas, Gustave Flaubert, Guy de Maupassant and Honoré de Balzac. Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame inspired the renovation of its setting, the Notre-Dame de Paris.[179] Another of Victor Hugo's works, Les Misérables, written while he was in exile outside of France during the Second Empire, described the social change and political turmoil in Paris in the early 1830s.[180] One of the most popular of all French writers, Jules Verne, worked at the Theatre Lyrique and the Paris stock exchange, while he did research for his stories at the National Library.[181]

In the 20th century, the Paris literary community was dominated by André Malraux, Colette, André Gide, Albert Camus, and, after World War II, by Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre; Between the wars it was the home of many important expatriate writers, including Ernest Hemingway, Samuel Beckett, and, in the 1970s, Milan Kundera. The winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature, Patrick Modiano, was born in the Paris suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt, attended the Lycée Henri-IV, and lives in Paris today.[182]

Paris is a city of books and bookstores. In the 1970s, 80 percent of French-language publishing houses were found in Paris, almost all on the Left Bank in the 5th, 6th and 7th arrondissements. Since that time, because of high prices, some publishers have moved out to the less expensive suburbs.[183] It is also a city of small bookstores; There are about 150 bookstores in the 5th arrondissement alone, plus another 250 book stalls along the Seine. Small Paris bookstores are protected against competition from discount booksellers by French law; books, even e-books, cannot be discounted more than five percent below their publisher's cover price.[184]


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.[164] 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.[164] The Conservatoire de Musique de Paris was founded in 1795.[185] By 1870, Paris had become the most important centre for ballet music, and composers such as Debussy and Ravel contributed much to symphonic music.[164]

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.[186] 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,[187] 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 cafés.[188]

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.[187] 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 1940s.[189] Some of the finest manouche musicians in the world are found here playing the cafés of the city at night.[189] Some of the more notable jazz venues include the New Morning, Le Sunset, La Chope des Puces and Bouquet du Nord.[188][189] Several yearly festivals take place in Paris, including the Paris Jazz Festival(fr) and the rock festival Rock en Seine.[190] The Orchestre de Paris was established in 1967.[191]


File:Le Grand Rex Paris.jpg
Le Grand Rex tower

The movie industry was born in Paris when Auguste and Louis Lumière projected the first motion picture for a paying audience at the Grand Café on 28 December 1895.[192] 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,[193] whereas other cinemas all have fewer than 1,000 seats.

Parisians tend to share the same movie-going trends as many of the world's global cities, with cinemas primarily dominated by Hollywood-generated film entertainment. French cinema comes a close second, with major directors (réalisateurs) such as Claude Lelouch, Jean-Luc Godard, 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.[194] 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.[195]

Restaurants and cuisine

See also: French cuisine

Since the late 18th century, Paris has been famous for its restaurants and haute cuisine, food meticulously prepared and artfully presented. A luxury restaurant, La Taverne Anglaise, was opened in 1786 in the arcades of the Palais-Royal by Antoine Beauvilliers; it featured an elegant dining room, an extensive menu, linen tablecloths, a large wine list and well-trained waiters; it became a model for future Paris restaurants. The restaurant Le Grand Véfour in the Palais-Royal dates from the same period.[196] The famous Paris restaurants of the 19th century, including the Café de Paris, the Rocher de Cancale, the Café Anglais, Maison Dorée and the Café Riche, were mostly located near the theatres on the Boulevard des Italiens; they were immortalised in the novels of Balzac and Emile Zola. Several of the best-known restaurants in Paris today appeared during the Belle Epoque, including Maxim's on Rue Royale, Ledoyen in the gardens of the Champs-Élysées, and the Tour d'Argent on the Quai de la Tournelle.[197]

Today, thanks to immigration, every French regional cuisine and almost every national cuisine in the world can be found in Paris; the city has more than 9,000 restaurants.[198] The Michelin Guide has been a standard guide to French restaurants since 1900, awarding its highest award, three stars, to the best restaurants in France. In 2015, of the 29 Michelin three-star restaurants in France, nine are located in Paris. These include both restaurants which serve classical French cuisine, such as L'Ambroisie in the Place des Vosges, and those which serve non-traditional menus, such as L'Astrance, which combines French and Asian cuisines. Several of France's most famous chefs, including Pierre Gagnaire, Alain Ducasse, Yannick Alléno and Alain Passard, have three-star restaurants in Paris.[199][200]

Les Deux Magots café on Boulevard Saint Germain.

In addition to the classical restaurants, Paris has several other kinds of traditional eating places. The café arrived in Paris in the 17th century, when the beverage was first brought from Turkey, and by the 18th century Parisian cafés were centres of the city's political and cultural life. The Cafe Procope on the Left Bank dates from this period. In the 20th century, the cafés of the Left Bank, especially Café de la Rotonde and Le Dôme Café in Montparnasse and Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots on Boulevard Saint Germain, all still in business, were important meeting places for painters, writers and philosophers.[197] A bistro is a type of eating place loosely defined as a neighbourhood restaurant with a modest decor and prices and a regular clientele and a congenial atmosphere. Its name is said to have come in 1814 from the Russian soldiers who occupied the city; "bistro" means "quickly" in Russian, and they wanted their meals served rapidly so they could get back their encampment. Real bistros are increasingly rare in Paris, due to rising costs, competition from cheaper ethnic restaurants, and different eating habits of Parisian diners.[201] A brasserie originally was a tavern located next to a brewery, which served beer and food at any hour. Beginning with the Paris Exposition of 1867; it became a popular kind of restaurant which featured beer and other beverages served by young women in the national costume associated with the beverage, particular German costumes for beer. Now brasseries, like cafés, serve food and drinks throughout the day.[202]


Paris has been an international capital of high fashion since the 19th century, particularly in the domain of haute couture, clothing hand-made to order for private clients. It is home of some of the largest fashion houses in the world, including Dior and Chanel, and of many well-known fashion designers, including Karl Lagerfeld, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Christophe Josse and Christian Lacroix. Paris Fashion Week, held in January and July in the Carrousel du Louvre and other city locations, is among the top four events of the international fashion calendar, along with the fashion weeks in Milan, London and New York.[203][204] Paris is also the home of the world's largest cosmetics company, L’Oréal, and three of the five top global makers of luxury fashion accessories; Louis Vuitton, Hermés and Cartier.[205]

Holidays and festivals

Bastille Day, a celebration of the storming of the Bastille in 1789, the biggest festival in the city, is a military parade taking place every year on 14 July on the Champs-Élysées, from the Arc de Triomphe to Place de la Concorde. It includes a flypast over the Champs Élysées by the Patrouille de France, a parade of military units and equipment, and a display of fireworks in the evening, the most spectacular being the one at the Eiffel Tower. [206]

Other yearly festivals are Paris-Plages, a festive event that lasts from mid-July to mid-August when the Right Bank of the Seine is converted into a temporary beach with sand, deck chairs and palm trees;[206] Journées du Patrimoine, Fête de la Musique, Techno Parade, Nuit Blanche, Cinéma au clair de lune, Printemps des rues, Festival d'automne and Fête des jardins. Carnaval de Paris, one of the oldest festivals in Paris, dates back to the Middle Ages.


Main article: Education in Paris
The former main building of the University of Paris is now used by classes from Paris-Sorbonne University and other autonomous campuses

Paris is the département with the highest proportion of highly educated people. In 2009, around 40 percent of Parisians held a licence-level diploma or higher, the highest proportion in France,[207] while 13 percent have no diploma, the third lowest percentage in France.

Education in Paris and the Île-de-France region employs approximately 330,000 people, 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.[208]

The University of Paris, founded in the 12th century, is often called the Sorbonne after one of its original medieval colleges. It was broken up into thirteen autonomous universities in 1970, following the student demonstrations in 1968. Most of the campuses today are in the Latin Quarter where the old university was located, while others are scattered around the city and the suburbs.[209]

The Paris region hosts France's highest concentration of the 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.[210] There are a high number of engineering schools, led by the Paris Institute of Technology 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' 7th arrondissement. The Parisian school of journalism CELSA department of the Paris-Sorbonne University is located in Neuilly-sur-Seine.[211] Paris is also home to several of France's most famous high-schools such as Lycée Louis-le-Grand, Lycée Henri-IV, Lycée Janson de Sailly and Lycée Condorcet. The National Institute of Sport and Physical Education, located in the 12th arrondissement, is both a physical education institute and high-level training centre for elite athletes.


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.[212] 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.[213] 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.[213]

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.[214] Other academic libraries include Interuniversity Pharmaceutical Library, Leonardo da Vinci University Library, Paris School of Mines Library, and the René Descartes University Library.[215]



The Notre Dame Cathedral is the seat of the Archdiocese of Paris.

Like the rest of France, Paris has been predominantly Roman Catholic since the early Middle Ages, though religious attendance is now low. A majority of Parisians are still nominally Roman Catholic. According to 2011 statistics, there are 106 parishes and curates in the city, plus separate parishes for Spanish, Polish and Portuguese Catholics. There are an additional 10 Eastern Orthodox parishes, and bishops for the Armenian and Ukrainian Orthodox Churches. In addition there are eighty male religious orders and 140 female religious orders in the city, as well as 110 Catholic schools with 75,000 students.[216]

The principal Roman Catholic church in Paris is the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris, the seat of the Archbishop of Paris.[217] There are two officially recognised pilgrimage sites in Paris: the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur on Montmartre and the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. Cardinal André Vingt-Trois became the Archbishop of Paris in March 2005.[218]

Almost all Protestant denominations are represented in Paris, with 74 evangelical churches from various denominations,[219] including 21 parishes of the United Protestant Church of France<-- The Reformed Church of France and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of France merged in 2013--> and two parishes of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints. There are several important churches for the English-speaking community: the American Church in Paris, founded in 1814, was the first American church outside the United States; the current church was finished in 1931.[220] The Saint George's Anglican Church in the 16th arrondissement is the principal Anglican church in the city.[221]

Other religions

The Grand Mosque of Paris (1926) is the oldest mosque in France.

The Grand Mosque of Paris in the 5th arrondissement, founded in 1926, is the oldest Muslim mosque in France; Mufti Dalil Boubakeur has been its rector since 1992.[222] Paris has about seventy-five smaller mosques and communal-building places of prayer.[223]

The Parisian Jewish community suffered harsh persecution from the Middle Ages onward; during World War II, half the city's Jewish population perished in Nazi concentration camps, while others fled abroad.[224] A large migration of North Africa Sephardic Jews settled Paris in the 1960s, and represent most of the Paris Jewish community today. There are currently 83 synagogues in the city;[225] The Marais-quarter Agoudas Hakehilos Synagogue, built in 1913 by architect Hector Guimard, is a Paris landmark.[226]

The Pagode de Vincennes Buddhist temple, near Lake Daumesnil in the Bois de Vincennes, is the former Cameroon pavilion from the 1931 Paris Colonial Exposition. It hosts several different schools of Buddhism, and does not have a single leader. It shelters the biggest Buddha statue in Europe, more than nine metres high. There are two other small temples located in the Asian community in the 13th arrondissement. A Hindu temple, dedicated to Ganesh, on Rue Pajol in the 18th arrondissement, opened in 1985.


Paris' most popular sport clubs are the association football club Paris Saint-Germain F.C. 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.[227] It is used for football, rugby union and track and field athletics. It hosts the French national football team for friendlies and major tournaments qualifiers, annually hosts the French national rugby team's home matches of the Six Nations Championship, and hosts several important matches of the Stade Français rugby team.[227] 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.

File:Tour de france 2010 - Champs Elysées n10.jpg
2010 Tour de France, Champs Élysées

Paris played host to the 1900 and 1924 Olympic Games and was a candidate city for the Olympics in 1992, 2008 and 2012. The city also played host to the finals of the 1938 FIFA World Cup (at the Stade Olympique de Colombes), as well as the 1998 FIFA World Cup and the 2007 Rugby World Cup Final (both at the Stade de France). Also hosted at the Stade de France, two UEFA Champions League Finals in the current century: 2000 and 2006 editions.[228]

The final stage of the most famous bicycle racing in the world, Tour de France, always finishes in Paris, and, since 1975, the race has finished on the Champs-Elysées.[229]

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,[230] is one of the four Grand Slam events of the world professional tennis tour. The basketball team Paris-Levallois Basket play at the 4,000 capacity Stade Pierre de Coubertin.[231]

The 17,000-seat Bercy Arena (formerly known as the Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy) is the venue for the annual Paris Masters ATP Tour tennis tournament and has been a frequent site of national and international tournaments in basketball, boxing, cycling, handball, ice hockey, show jumping and other sports.



Main article: Transport in Paris
File:Gare du Nord night Paris FRA 002.JPG
The Gare du Nord railway station is the busiest in Europe


File:ParisRingRoads A104.svg
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 more than Script error: No such module "convert". 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 two hours and 15 minutes away.[232]

There are Script error: No such module "convert". of cycle paths and routes in Paris. These include piste cyclable (bicycle 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 Script error: No such module "convert". of specially marked bus lanes are free to be used by cyclists, with a protective barrier protecting against encroachments from vehicles.[233] Cyclists have also been given the right to ride in both directions on certain one-way streets. Paris offers a bicycle sharing system called Vélib' with more than 20,000 public bicycles distributed at 1,800 parking stations,[234] which can be rented for short and medium distances including one way trips.

Air and sea

Paris has 14 airports and airstrips serving the city, including international airports Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Paris-Orly, Paris-Le Bourget and Beauvais-Tillé. 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.[235]

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.[236]


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.[235] It comprises 300 stations (384 stops) connected by Script error: No such module "convert". 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, and E), connects to more distant parts of the urban area, with 257 stops and Script error: No such module "convert". of rails.[235] More than €26.5 billion will be invested over the next 15 years to extend the Métro network into the suburbs.[235] 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,[237] all of which are run by the Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens,[238] and line T4 runs from Bondy RER to Aulnay-sous-Bois, which is operated by the state rail carrier SNCF.[235] Six new light rail lines are currently in various stages of development.[citation needed]

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). The Syndicat des transports d'Île-de-France (STIF), formerly Syndicat des transports parisiens (STP) oversees the transit network in the region.[239] 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.[citation needed]

Parks and gardens

Paris today has more than 421 municipal parks and gardens, covering more than 3,000 hectares and containing more than 250,000 trees.[240] Two of Paris' 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, [241] and the Luxembourg Garden, for the Luxembourg Palace, built for Marie de' Medici in 1612, which today houses the French Senate. [242] 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.[243] 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' quarters.[244] Since 1977, the city has created 166 new parks, most notably the Parc de la Villette (1987), Parc André Citroën (1992), and Parc de Bercy (1997).[245] One of the newest parks, the Promenade des Berges de la Seine (2013), 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.

Water and sanitation

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.[246] 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.[247] 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 more than Script error: No such module "convert". of underground passageways[248] dedicated to the evacuation of Paris' liquid wastes.

In 1982, Mayor Chirac introduced the motorcycle-mounted Motocrotte to remove dog faeces from Paris streets.[249] 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 for not removing their dog faeces.[250] The air pollution in Paris, from the point of view of particulate matter (PM10), is the highest in France with 38 µg/m³.[251]


File:Catacombes De Paris.jpg
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.[252][253] The process of moving bones from Cimetière des Innocents to the catacombs took place between 1786 and 1814;[254] 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.[255] 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 neighbouring 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 Pantin (also known as Cimetière parisien de Pantin-Bobigny, the Cimetière parisien d'Ivry, and the Cimetière parisien de Bagneux).[citation needed] Some of the most famous people in the world are buried in Parisian cemeteries, including musicians Frédéric Chopin, Édith Piaf and Jim Morrison; writers Alexandre Dumas, Honoré de Balzac, Marcel Proust, Molière and Oscar Wilde; and dancers Isadora Duncan and Vaslav Nijinsky.[256]


File:Hôtel-Dieu de Paris, February 7, 2013.jpg
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.[257] 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. The hospitals receive more than 5.8 million annual patient visits.[257]

One of the most notable hospitals is the Hôtel-Dieu, founded in 651, the oldest hospital in the city.[258] 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.


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.[259] France's two most prestigious newspapers, Le Monde and Le Figaro, are the centrepieces of the Parisian publishing industry.[260] 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.[261] France 24 is a television news channel owned and operated by the French government, and is based in Paris.[262] 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.[263]

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.[264] 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.[265] 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.[266]

See also



  1. ^ The word was most likely created by Parisians of the lower popular class who spoke *argot*, then *parigot* was used in a provocative manner outside the Parisian region and throughout France to mean Parisians in general.


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Further reading

Main article: Bibliography of Paris

External links

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