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From top left: Louvre Pyramid, Arc de Triomphe, looking towards La Défense, skyline of Paris on the Seine river with the Pont des Arts bridge, and the Eiffel Tower
Flag of Paris
Coat of arms of Paris
Coat of arms
Motto: "Fluctuat nec mergitur"
(Latin: "She is tossed by the waves but does not sink")
Paris is located in France
Country France
Region Île-de-France
Department Paris
Subdivisions 20 arrondissements
 • Mayor (since 5 April 2014) Anne Hidalgo (PS)
Area1 (2010)[1] 105.4 km2 (40.7 sq mi)
 • Urban 2,844.8 km2 (1,098.4 sq mi)
 • Metro 17,174.4 km2 (6,631.1 sq mi)
Population (2011[2])2 2,249,975
 • Rank 1st in France[2]
 • Density 21,000/km2 (55,000/sq mi)
 • Urban 10,516,110[3]
 • Metro 12,292,895[4]
Demonym Parisian
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
INSEE/Postal code 75056 / 75001-75020, 75116

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Paris (UK: ; US: ; French:  ( )) is the capital and most populous city of France. Situated on the Seine River, in the north of the country, it is at the heart of the Île-de-France region, also known as the région parisienne[5] (Paris Region in English).[6][7] The city of Paris has a population of 2,249,975 inhabitants (January 2011),[2] while its metropolitan area is one of the largest population centres in Europe, with 12,292,895 inhabitants at the January 2011 census.[4] About 2.7 million of this total were born outside Metropolitan France and represent a multitude of different countries and territories from around the world.[8]

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, the home of the University of Paris, and one of the most influential centres of learning in Europe. In the eighteenth century, it was the centre stage for the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, and an important centre of commerce, fashion, science, and the arts.[9]

The Paris Region has one of the largest GDPs in the world, €612 billion (US$760 billion) in 2012.[10] It hosts the world headquarters of twenty-nine of the largest companies in the world listed in the Fortune Global 500.[11] Paris is today one of the world's leading business and cultural centres and has a global influence in politics, education, entertainment, media, science, and the arts.[12] Paris is also one the world's leading tourist destinations; the City of Paris welcomed 29.3 million tourists in 2013.[13] The Paris Region, which includes Disneyland Paris, the most visited tourist attraction in France, welcomed 32.3 million visitors.[14] Paris is the third largest earner from tourism worldwide, after London and New York.[15]

Paris in 2013 was home to three of the ten most visited art museums in the world: the Notre-Dame-de-Paris (12th century); Sainte-Chapelle (13th century); the Eiffel Tower (1889); and the Basilica of Sacre-Coeur on Montmartre (1919).[16]

Paris is known for its fashion designers, high-end boutiques, and the twice-yearly Paris Fashion Week. It is world-renowned for its haute cuisine, and celebrated three-star restaurants. Most of France's major universities and Grandes Écoles are in Paris or its suburbs, and most of France's major newspapers, including Le Monde, Le Figaro, and Libération, are based in the city, while Le Parisien in the suburb Saint-Ouen.

Paris is home to the association football club Paris Saint-Germain FC and the rugby union club Stade Français. Paris hosts the annual French Open Grand Slam tennis tournament on the red clay of Roland Garros. Paris played host to the 1900 and 1924 Summer Olympics, the 1938 and 1998 FIFA World Cup, and the 2007 Rugby World Cup. The 80,000-seat Stade de France in Saint-Denis was built for the 1998 FIFA 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 5.23 million passengers daily. Paris is the hub of the national road network, and is surrounded by three orbital roads: the Boulevard Périphérique, the A86 motorway, and the Francilienne motorway in the outer suburbs.


  • History 1
    • Toponymy 1.1
    • Origins 1.2
    • Middle Ages and the Renaissance 1.3
    • 18th century and the French Revolution 1.4
    • 19th century 1.5
    • 20th century 1.6
    • 21st century 1.7
  • Geography 2
    • Climate 2.1
  • Architecture 3
    • Major monuments and attractions 3.1
    • Parks and gardens 3.2
    • Housing 3.3
  • Demographics 4
    • Population evolution 4.1
    • Migration 4.2
  • Economy 5
    • Economic sectors 5.1
      • Commerce, transportation, and market services 5.1.1
      • Non-market services 5.1.2
      • Manufacturing and utilities 5.1.3
      • Construction 5.1.4
    • Incomes 5.2
  • Administration 6
    • City government 6.1
    • Regional government 6.2
    • National government 6.3
    • The Police 6.4
  • Infrastructure 7
    • National and international transport 7.1
      • Rail 7.1.1
      • Air 7.1.2
      • Motorways 7.1.3
      • Waterways 7.1.4
    • Local transport 7.2
      • Métro, RER, and tramway 7.2.1
      • Cycling 7.2.2
    • Water and sanitation 7.3
    • Healthcare 7.4
    • Cemeteries 7.5
  • Tourism 8
    • Hotels 8.1
    • Security and safety 8.2
  • Education 9
  • Media 10
  • Culture 11
    • Art 11.1
      • Painting and sculpture 11.1.1
      • Photography 11.1.2
    • Literature 11.2
    • Libraries 11.3
    • Museums 11.4
    • Entertainment and performing arts 11.5
      • Theatre 11.5.1
      • Music 11.5.2
      • Cinema 11.5.3
    • Cuisine 11.6
    • Fashion 11.7
      • Festivals 11.7.1
  • Religion 12
  • Sports 13
  • See also 14
  • Notes 15
  • References 16
    • Footnotes 16.1
    • Bibliography 16.2
    • Further reading 16.3
  • External links 17



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

Paris is often referred to as "The City of Light" ("La Ville-Lumière"),[17] 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 fifty-six thousand gas lamps.[18]

Since the late 19th century, Paris is also known as Panam(e) (pronounced: ) in French slang.[19]

Inhabitants are known in English as "Parisians" and in French as Parisiens ( ( )), pejoratively also called Parigots ( ( )).[note 1][20]


The Parisii, a sub-tribe of the Celtic Senones, inhabited the Paris area from around the mid-third century BCE.[21][22] One of the area's major north-south trade routes crossed the Seine river on the île de la Cité; this meeting place of land and water trade routes gradually became a town and an important trading center. [23] The Parisii traded with many river towns as far away as Spain, and minted their own coins for that purpose.[24]

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

The Romans conquered the Paris basin in 52 BC[25] and, 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.[26] By the end of the Roman Empire, the town was known simply as Parisius in Latin and Paris in French.[27] 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.[28]

After the collapse of the Roman empire in the late 5th century, the city was frequently besieged by invading Germanic tribes. In 451 AD, the city was threatened by the army of

  • Official Paris website
  • [ Paris Île-de-France Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry]
  • IAU - Institute for urban Planning and Development of the Paris Ile-de-France region
  • Official tourism site
  • Paris at DMOZ

External links

  • Bernard, Léon (1970). The emerging city: Paris in the age of Louis XIV.. Duke University Press. 
  • Blum, Carol (2002). Strength in Numbers: Population, Reproduction, and Power in Eighteenth-Century France. JHU Press.  
  • Compayré, Gabriel (2004). Abelard and the Origin and Early History of Universities. Kessinger Publishing.  
  • Cronin, Vincent (1994). Paris: City of Light, 1919–1939. New York: Harper Collins.  
  • Favier, Jean (1997). Paris (in French).  
  • Grimminger, Daniel Jay (2010). Paris. Arcadia Publishing.  
  • Garrioch, David (2002). The making of revolutionary Paris [electronic resource]. University of California Press.  
  • Goodman, David C. (1999). The European Cities and Technology Reader: Industrial to Post-industrial City. Routledge.  
  • Hargreaves, Alec Gordon; Kelsay, John; Twiss, Sumner B. (2007). Politics and Religion in France and the United States. Rowman & Littlefield Pub Incorporated.  
  • Higonnet, Patrice L. R. (2009). Paris: Capital of the World. Harvard University Press.  
  • Hillairet, Jacques (2005). Connaissance du Vieux Paris (in French). Rivages.  
  • Jones, Colin (2004). Paris: The Biography of a City. New York:  
  • Marchand, Bernard (1993). Paris, histoire d'une ville : XIXe-XXe siècle (in French). Paris: Le Seuil.  
  • Mehra, Ajay K.; Levy, Rene (2011). The Police, State and Society: Perspectives from India and France. Pearson Education India.  
  • Modood, Tariq; Triandafyllidou, Anna; Zapata-Barrero, Ricard (2012). Multiculturalism, Muslims and Citizenship: A European Approach. Routledge.  
  • Perry, Marvin; Chase, Myrna; Jacob, James R.; Jacob, Margaret C.; Von Laue, Theodore H. (2011). Western Civilization: Ideas, Politics, and Society: from 1600: Ideas, Politics, and Society: From the 1600s (10th ed.). Cengage Learning.  
  • Robb, Graham (2010). Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris. Pan Macmillan.  
  • Wakeman, Rosemary (2009). The Heroic City: Paris, 1945–1958. University of Chicago Press.  

Further reading

  • Andia, Béatrice de; Brialy, Jean-Claude (2001). Larousse Paris. Larousse.  
  • Arbois de Jubainville, Henry; Dottin, George (1889). Les premiers habitants de l'Europe. E. Thorin. 
  • Ayers, Andrew (2004). The Architecture of Paris. Axel Mendes.  
  • Beevor, Antony; Cooper, Artemis (2007). Paris After the Liberation: 1944 - 1949: 1944 - 1949. Penguin Books Limited.  
  • Bell, Daniel A.; de-Shalit, Avner (2011). The Spirit of Cities: Why the Identity of a City Matters in a Global Age. Princeton University Press.  
  • Berg, Leo van den; Braun, Erik (2012). National Policy Responses to Urban Challenges in Europe. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.  
  • Blackmore, Ruth; McConnachie, James (2004). Rough Guide Paris Directions. Rough Guides.  
  • Boogert, Kate van der (2012). Frommer's Paris 2013. John Wiley & Sons.  
  • Broadwell, Valerie (2007). City of Light, City of Dark: Exploring Paris Below. Valerie Broadwell.  
  • Burchell, S. C. (1971). Imperial Masquerade: The Paris of Napoleon III. Atheneum. 
  • Byrne, Jim (1987). Conflict and Change: Europe 1870-1966. Educational Company. 
  • Byrne, Joseph P. (2012). Encyclopedia of the Black Death. ABC-CLIO.  
  • Clark, Linda L. (2008). Women and Achievement in Nineteenth-Century Europe. Cambridge University Press.  
  • Combeau, Yvan (2013). Histoire de Paris. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.  
  • Cunliffe, Barry (2004). Iron Age communities in Britain : an account of England, Scotland and Wales from the seventh century BC until the Roman conquest (4th ed.). London: Routledge.  
  • Damschroeder, David; Williams, David Russell (1990). Music Theory from Zarlino to Schenker: A Bibliography and Guide. Pendragon Press.  
  • De Moncan, Patrice (2007). Les jardins du Baron Haussmann. Paris: Les Éditions du Mécène.  
  • De Moncan, Patrice (2012). Le Paris d'Haussmann. Paris: Les Editions du Mecene.  
  • Dosch, Dee Davidson (2010). A Summer in '69. Strategic Book Publishing.  
  • Dottin, George (1920). La Langue Gauloise : Grammaire, Textes et Glossaire (in French). Paris: C. Klincksieck.  
  • Dregni, Michael (2004). Django : The Life and Music of a Gypsy Legend: The Life and Music of a Gypsy Legend. Oxford University Press.  
  • Dregni, Michael (2008). Gypsy Jazz : In Search of Django Reinhardt and the Soul of Gypsy Swing: In Search of Django Reinhardt and the Soul of Gypsy Swing. Oxford University Press.  
  • Dutton, Paul Edward (1994). The Politics of Dreaming in the Carolingian Empire. U of Nebraska Press.  
  • Evans, Graeme (2002). Cultural Planning: An Urban Renaissance?. Routledge.  
  • Fallon, Steve; Williams, Nicola (2008). Paris (7 ed.). Lonely Planet.  
  • Favier, Jean (1997). Paris - deux mille ans d'histoire. Fayard.  
  • Fierro, Alfred (1996). Histoire et dictionnaire de Paris (in French). Robert Laffont.  
  • Forsyth, David (1867). Marie Antoinette in the Conciergerie, a lecture. 
  • Fraser, Benjamin; Spalding, Steven D. (2011). Trains, Culture, and Mobility: Riding the Rails. Lexington Books.  
  • Frommer's (2012). AARP Paris 2012. John Wiley & Sons.  
  • Girard, Louis (1986), Napoléon III, Paris: Fayard,  
  • Goldstein, Natalie (2005). Droughts And Heat Waves: A Practical Survival Guide. The Rosen Publishing Group.  
  • Haine, W. Scott (1998). The World of the Paris Café: Sociability Among the French Working Class, 1789-1914. JHU Press.  
  • Harding, Vanessa (2002). The Dead and the Living in Paris and London, 1500-1670. Cambridge University Press.  
  • Harriss, Joseph (2004). The Tallest Tower. Unlimited Publishing LLC.  
  • Hart, Alan (2004). Going to Live in Paris: How to Live and Work in France's Great Capital. How To Books Ltd.  
  • Hassell, James E. (1991). Russian Refugees in France and the United States Between the World Wars. American Philosophical Society.  
  • Hazan, Eric (2011). The Invention of Paris: A History in Footsteps. Verso Books.  
  • Héron de Villefosse, René (1959). HIstoire de Paris. Bernard Grasset. 
  • Hervé, Peter (1818). A Chronological Account of the History of France. 
  • Horne, Alistair (2003). Seven Ages of Paris. Knopf.  
  • d'Istria, Robert Colonna (2002). Paris and Versailles. Editions Marcus.  
  • Jefferson, David (2009). Through the French Canals (12th ed.).  
  • Jones, Colin (2006). Paris: Biography of a City. Penguin Adult.  
  • Kaberry, Rachel; Brown, Amy K. (2001). Paris. Rough Guides.  
  • Korgen, Kathleen Odell; White, Jonathan Michael (2008). The Engaged Sociologist: Connecting the Classroom to the Community. Pine Forge Press.  
  • Knapp, Andrew; Wright, Vincent (2006). The Government and Politics of France. Routledge.  
  • Labourdette, Jean-Paul; Auzias, Dominique; Chapalain, Chloé (12 November 2009). Petit Futé Paris sorties. Petit Futé.  
  • Lawrence, Rachel; Gondrand, Fabienne (2010). Paris (City Guide) (12th ed.). London: Insight Guides.  
  • Leclanche, Maria Spyropoulou (1998). Le refrain dans la chanson française: de Bruant à Renaud. Presses Univ. Limoges.  
  • Lester, Paul Martin (2006). Visual Communication: Images with Messages. Cengage Learning.  
  • Madge, Charles; Willmott, Peter (2006). Inner City Poverty in Paris and London. Routledge.  
  • Maréchal, Henri (1894). L'éclairage à Paris. Librairie Polytechnique Baudry.  
  • Martin, Michel (2013). Windows 8: Le guide de référence. Pearson Education France.  
  • Merritt, Giles (1982). World out of Work. Collins.  
  • Metzelthin, Pearl Violette Newfield (1981). Gourmet. Condé Nast Publications. 
  • Michelin (2011). Paris Green Guide Michelin 2012-2013. Michelin.  
  • Milza, Pierre (2006), Napoléon III, Paris: Tempus,  
  • Milza, Pierre (2009), L'Année Terrible- La guerre franco-prussienne (septembre 1870-mars 1871), Perrin,  
  • Mroue, Haas (2006). Frommer's Memorable Walks in Paris. John Wiley & Sons.  
  • Muirhead, Findlay; Monmarché, Marcel (1927). Paris and Its Environs. Macmillan & Company Limited. 
  • Nevez, Catherine Le (2010). Paris Encounter. Lonely Planet.  
  • Newman, Peter; Thornley, Andy (2002). Urban Planning in Europe: International Competition, National Systems and Planning Projects. Taylor & Francis.  
  • Oscherwitz, Dayna (2010). Past Forward: French Cinema and the Post-Colonial Heritage. SIU Press. p. 135.  
  • Overy, Richard (2006). Why the Allies Won. Pimlico.  
  • Paine, Thomas (1998). Rights of Man, Common Sense, and Other Political Writings. Oxford University Press.  
  • Papayanis, Nicholas (2004). Planning Paris Before Haussmann. JHU Press.  
  • Pérouse de Montclos, Jean-Marie (2003). Paris, City of Art. Harry N. Abrams.  
  • Perry, Gillian (1995). Women Artists and the Parisian Avant-garde: Modernism and `feminine Art' Art, 1900 to the Late 1920s. Manchester University Press.  
  • Phillips, Betty Lou (2005). The French Connection. Gibbs Smith.  
  • Porter, Darwin; Prince, Danforth (20 August 2010). Frommer's Paris 2011. John Wiley & Sons.  
  • Rand, Tom (2010). Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit: 10 Clean Technologies to Save Our World. Greenleaf Book Group.  
  • Reeves, Tom. Paris Insights - An Anthology. Discover Paris!.  
  • Robertson, Jamie Cox (2010). A Literary Paris: Hemingway, Colette, Sedaris, and Others on the Uncommon Lure of the City of Light. Krause Publications.  
  • Rodgers, Eamonn J. (1999). Encyclopedia of Contemporary Spanish Culture. CRC Press.  
  • Rossiter, Stuart; Muirhead, Litellus Russell (1968). Paris. E. Benn. 
  • Rousseau, George Sebastian (2004). Yourcenar. Haus Bublishing.  
  • Ryersson, Scot D.; Yaccarino, Michael Orlando (2004). Infinite variety: the life and legend of the Marchesa Casati. University of Minnesota Press.  
  • Rynn, Margie (16 March 2009). Pauline Frommer's Paris. John Wiley & Sons.  
  • Sarmant, Thierry (2012). Histoire de Paris: Politique, urbanisme, civilisation. Editions Jean-Paul Gisserot.  
  • Schmidt, Joël (2009). Lutèce: Paris, des origines à Clovis. Perrin.  
  • Shales, Melissa (2007). Paris. New Holland Publishers.  
  • Simmer (1997). Innovation Networks and Learning Regions?. Routledge.  
  • Singleton, Esther (1912). Paris as Seen and Described by Famous Writers .... Dodd, Mead & Company. 
  • Steele, Valerie (1998). Paris Fashion: A Cultural History. Berg.  
  • Sutherland, Cara (2003). The Statue of Liberty. Barnes & Noble Publishing.  
  • Tallett, Frank; Atkin, Nicholas (1991). Religion, Society and Politics in France Since 1789. Continuum.  
  • Tellier, Luc-Normand (2009). Urban World History: An Economic and Geographical Perspective. PUQ.  
  • Vlotides, Nina (2006). A Hedonist's Guide to Paris. A Hedonist's guide to...  
  • Weingardt, Richard (2009). Circles in the Sky: The Life and Times of George Ferris. ASCE Publications.  
  • Whaley, Joachim (2012). Mirrors of Mortality (Routledge Revivals): Social Studies in the History of Death. Routledge.  
  • Woolley, Reginald Maxwell (1915). Coronation Rites. Cambridge University Press. 
  • Zarka, Yves Charles; Taussig, Sylvie; Fleury, Cynthia (2004). "Les contours d'une population susceptible d'être musulmane d'après la filiation". L'Islam en France. Presses universitaires de France.  


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  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.


See also

Although the starting point and the route of the famous Tour de France varies each year, the final stage always finishes in Paris, and, since 1975, the race has finished on the Champs-Elysées.[274] The 2006 UEFA Champions League Final between Arsenal and FC Barcelona was played in the Stade de France.[275] Paris hosted the 2007 Rugby World Cup final at Stade de France on 20 October 2007.[276] 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,[277] 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. The city has hosted the Paris City Chess Championship since 1925, and has also hosted the Paris 1867 chess tournament and Paris 1900 chess tournament.

Paris hosted the UEFA. It is scheduled to be held in France from 10 June to 10 July 2016.[273]

2010 Tour de France, Champs Elysées


  • Islam: The Muslim community in Paris is centered around the Grand Mosque of Paris, founded in 1926, the oldest mosque in France, located in the 5th arrondissement. The city has about seventy-five smaller mosques and places of prayer, found for the most part in communal buildings.[268] A prominent leader of the Paris Muslim community is Dalil Boubakeur, a Mufti and rector of the Rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris since 1992.
  • Judaism: There are currently 96 synagogues in the city.[269] The Agoudas Hakehilos Synagogue, also known as the Rue Pavee Synagogue, in Le Marais is a Paris landmark, built in 1913 by architect Hector Guimard.* [270]
  • Buddhism: A Buddhist temple, the Pagode de Vincennes, operates today in a former pavilion of Cameroon from the Paris Colonial Exposition of 1931, near Lake Daumesnil in the Bois de Vincennes. 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 meters high. There are two other small temples located in the Asian community in the 13th arrondissement.[271]
  • Hinduism: A Hindu temple, dedicated to Ganesh, on rue Pajol in the 18th arrondissement, opened in Paris in 1985.
  • Other: Jehovah's witnesses have seven churches in the city. Other churches can be found in the List of churches in Paris.

[267] There are several important churches for the English-speaking community: the

  • Protestantism: Almost all Protestant denominations are represented in Paris. They include sixty-four evangelical churches from various denominations;[262] fifteen parishes of the Reformed Church of France;[263] six parishes of the evangelical Lutheran church of France[264] and two parishes of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints.[265]

Under a 1905 law, the seventy churches in Paris built before 1905 are owned by the French State.[259] Notre Dame Cathedral, for instance, is owned by the State, while the Church is the beneficiary, having the exclusive right to use it, for religious purpose, in perpetuity. While the State owns the building, the Catholic Church is responsible for paying the employees, security, heating and cleaning, and assuring that the Cathedral is open for free to visitors. The church does not receive subsidies from the French State.[261]

The principal Roman Catholic church in Paris is the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris, the seat of the Archbishop of Paris.[260] There are two officially recognized pilgrimage sites in Paris: the Basilica of Sacre-Coeur on Montmartre; and the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. (For other notable churches, see List of churches in Paris.)

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

Like the rest of France, Paris has been predominantly Roman Catholic since the 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 ten 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. André Vingt-Trois became the Archbishop of Paris in March 2005. He is also a Cardinal of the French church.[259]

The Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris is the seat of the Archdiocese of Paris.
  • Roman Catholicism:

Due to its numerous immigrant communities,[255] all major religions are represented in Paris: Christianity (in particular Catholicism, for centuries the predominant religion in the city), Islam (particularly Sunni Islam), Judaism (both Ashkenazic and Sephardic), Buddhism (various schools), and Hinduism. Since the French government does not collect data on religious preferences, the exact religious make-up of the city is unknown. All quoted figures are based on informal surveys and should be considered with caution. The last French census which asked questions about religion took place in 1872.[256] At this census, Catholics comprised 95.1% of the population in the City of Paris; Protestants were 2.2% of the population (Calvinists 1.0%; Lutherans 0.7%; other Protestant denominations 0.5%), Jews 1.3%, other religions 0.1%, and 1.3% had no known religion.[257][258]


The earliest grand festival held on 14 July 1790 was the Federation of July festival at the Champ de Mars. Since then many festivals have been held such as the Festival of Liberty in 1774, the Festival for the Abolition of Slavery in 1793, the festival of Supreme Being in 1794, and the 1798 funeral festival on the death of Hoche. On every anniversary of the Republic, the Children of the Fatherland festival is held.[253] Bastille day, a celebration of the storming of the Bastille in 1789, is the biggest festival in the city, held every year on 14 July. This includes a parade of colourful floats and costumes along with armed forces march in the Champs Élysées which concludes with a display of fireworks.[254] The Paris Beach festival known as the "Paris Plage" is a festive event, which lasts from the middle of July to the middle of August, when the bank of the River Seine is converted into a temporary beach with sand and deck chairs and palm trees.[254]


Paris has a large number of high-end fashion boutiques, and many top designers have their flagship stores in the city, such as Louis Vuitton's store, Christian Dior's 1200 square foot store and Sephora's 1500 square foot store.[250] Printemps has the largest shoe and beauty departments in Europe.[250] Sonia Rykiel is considered to the "grand dame of French fashion" and "synonymous with Parisian fashion", with clothes which are embraced by "left bank fashionistas".[250] Petit Bateau is cited as one of the most popular high street stores in the city,[250] the Azzedine Alaïa store on the Rue de Moussy has been cited as a "shoe lover's haven",[250] and Colette is noted for its "brick-and-click" clothing and fashion accessories. The jeweller Cartier, with its flagship boutique near Paris's place Vendôme, has a long history of sales to royalty and celebrities:[251] King Edward VII of England once referred to Cartier as "the jeweller of kings and the king of jewellers."[252] Guerlain, one of the world's oldest existing perfumeries, has its headquarters in the north-western suburb of Levallois-Perret.

Paris is a global hub of fashion and has been referred to as the "international capital of style".[247] It ranks alongside New York, Milan and London as a major centre for the fashion industry. Paris is noted for its [248] International Fashion Academy Paris is an international fashion school, established in 1982 and headquartered in Paris, with branches in Shanghai and Istanbul.[249]

IFA Paris Fashion show, 2012


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.[246]

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 cafes, serve food and drinks throughout the day. .[245]

A bistrot is a type of eating place loosely defined as a neighborhood restaurant with a modest decor and prices and a regular clientele and a congenial atmosphere. It’s 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 bistrots are increasingly rare in Paris, due to rising costs, competition from cheaper ethnic restaurants, and different eating habits of Parisian diners.[244]

The café arrived in Paris in the 17th century, when the beverage was first brought from Turkey, and by the 18th century Paris cafes were centers of the city's political and cultural life. The Cafe Procope on the Left Bank dates from this period. In the 20th century, the cafes 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.[242]

In addition to the classical restaurants, Paris has several other kinds of traditional eating places:

Les Deux Magots cafe on Boulevard Saint Germain.

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 2014, of the 27 Michelin three-star restaurants in France, eight 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 and Alain Passard, have three-star restaurants in Paris.[243]

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.[241] 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 theaters on the Boulevard des Italiens; they were immortalized in the novels of Balzac and Emile Zola. Several of the best-known Paris 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.[242]

Dining room of La Tour d'Argent


Parisians tend to share the same movie-going trends as many of the world's global cities, that is to say with a dominance of Hollywood-generated film entertainment. French cinema comes a close second, with major directors (réalisateurs) such as Claude Lelouch, François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol, and Luc Besson, and the more slapstick/popular genre with director Claude Zidi as an example. European and Asian films are also widely shown and appreciated.[237] 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.[238][239][240]

[236] theatre and 14 projection rooms.IMAX whereas Paris' other cinemas all have fewer than 1,000 seats. There has been a recent trend towards modern multiplexes like the recently opened "Pathé quai d'Ivry" cinema, with its [235] theatre with 2,800 seats,Le Grand Rex When cinema was becoming popular in the 1930s, its concert/dance hall venues were waning, and many of the latter were transformed into movie theatres. Appearing first in the form of large halls, most of the larger cinemas were later divided into multiple, smaller rooms, giving birth to the "multiplex" concept. Paris's by far largest cinema today is [234][233][232] Paris hosted the first projection of a motion picture on the 28th of December 1895. The film, a creation of the

Le Grand Rex cinema


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.[227] Django Reinhardt rose to fame in Paris, having moved to the 18th arrondissement in a caravan as a young boy, and performed with violinist Stéphane Grappelli and their Quintette du Hot Club de France in the 1930s and 40s.[229] Some of the finest manouche musicians in the world are found here playing the cafes of the city at night.[229] Some of the more notable jazz venues include the New Morning, Le Sunset, La Chope des Puces and Bouquet du Nord.[228][229] Several yearly festivals take place in Paris, including the Paris Jazz Festival and the rock festival Rock en Seine.[230] The Orchestre de Paris was established in 1967.[231]

Paris has a long musical history: Notre-Dame had a polyphony school as early as the late 12th century. Parisian aristocrats called ''trouvères'' (the origin of our English "troubadours"), known for their poetry and songs, flourished in the capital between the late 12th and 14th century. During the reign of François I, the lute became popular in the French court, and a national musical printing house was established.[206] 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.[206] The Conservatoire de Musique de Paris was founded in 1795.[225] By 1870, Paris had become the most important centre for ballet music, and composers such as Debussy and Ravel contributed much to symphonic music.[206] 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.[226] 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,[227] and the romantic sounds of the accordion has since become one of the musical icons of the city. Paris became a major centre for jazz, and still attracts jazz musicians from all around the world to its clubs and cafes.[228]


Theatre traditionally has occupied a large place in Parisian culture. This still holds true today, and many of its most popular actors today are also stars of French television. Some of Paris's major theatres include Charles Aznavour, found their fame in Parisian concert halls such as Le Lido, Bobino, l'Olympia and le Splendid.

The largest opera houses of Paris are the 19th-century Opéra Garnier (historical Paris Opéra) and modern Opéra Bastille; the former tends towards the more classic ballets and operas, and the latter provides a mixed repertoire of classic and modern.[223] In the 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).

The Opéra Bastille


Entertainment and performing arts

In addition to the national museums, run by the French Ministry of Culture, the City of Paris operates fourteen museums, including the Carnavalet Museum on the history of Paris; the Modern Art Museum of the City of Paris; the House of Victor Hugo and House of Balzac, and the Catacombs of Paris.[222]

Paris hosts the largest science museum 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 dinosaurs, 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.

Musée National d'Art Moderne. The Musée D'Orsay, in a former railway station, was the third-most visited museum in the city in 2013;[16] it displays French art of the nineteenth century, including major collections of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists. The Musée du quai Branly was the fourth most visited national museum in Paris in 2013.[16] 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, while the artistic community of Montparnasse is chronicled at the Musée du Montparnasse.

The Louvre


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.[219]
Other academic libraries include the Inter-university Pharmaceutical Library, the Leonardo da Vinci University Library, the Ecole des Mines Library, and the René Descartes University Library.[220]

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.[217]

There are 74 public libraries in Paris, including specialised collections spread throughout the city. In the 4th arrondissement, the Forney Library is dedicated to the decorative arts; the Arsenal Library occupies a former military building, and has a large collection on French literature; and the Bibliothèque historique de la ville de Paris, also located in Le Marais, contains the Paris historical research service.
Designed by Henri Labrouste and built in the mid-1800s, the Sainte-Geneviève Library hosts a rare books and manuscripts section.[218] Bibliothèque Mazarine, in the 6th arrondissement, is the oldest public library in France. The Médiathèque Musicale Mahler in the 8th arrondissement opened in 1986 and contains collections related to music while the four glass towers of the François Mitterrand Library (nicknamed Très Grande Bibliothèque) stand out in the 13th arrondissement thanks to a design by Dominique Perrault.[218]


Paris is a city of books and bookstores. In the 1970s, eighty 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.[215] It is also a city of small bookstores; There are about one hundred fifty bookstores in the 5th arrondissement alone, plus another two hundred fifty 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.[216]

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.

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.

Jean-Paul Sartre

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.[213] 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.[214] 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.

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.[212] In the 18th century, the literary life of Paris revolved around the cafes and salons, and was dominated by Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Pierre de Marivaux, and Beaumarchais.


Paris was the birthplace of modern photography, with the invention of the Daguerreotype by Louis Daguerre in the 1830s, and through the work of Étienne-Jules Marey in the 1880s. Since then it has attracted communities of photographers, and was an important centre for the development of photography. Numerous photographers achieved renown for their photography of Paris, including Eugène Atget, noted for his depictions of early-19th-century street scenes; the early 20th-century surrealist movement's Man Ray; Robert Doisneau, noted for his playful pictures of 1950s Parisian life; Marcel Bovis, noted for his night scenes, and others such as Jacques-Henri Lartigue and Cartier-Bresson.[206] Paris also become the hotbed for an emerging art form in the late 19th century, poster art, advocated by the likes of Gavarni.[206]


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, Paul Landowski (statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro) and Aristide Maillol. The Golden Age of the Paris School ended with World War I, but Paris remains extremely important to the art world and art schooling, with institutions ranging from the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, the former Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture, to the American Paris College of Art.[211]

In the late 19th and early 20th century, Paris had a colony of artists established in the city, with art schools associated with some of the finest painters of the times - Manet, Monet, Berthe Morisot, Gauguin, Renoir and so many more - when Impressionism, Expressionism, Fauvism and Cubism movements evolved. [206] In the late 19th century, artists from the French provinces and worldwide flocked to Paris to exhibit their works in the numerous salons and expositions, and to make a name for themselves.[209] Painters such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, Jean Metzinger, Albert Gleizes, Henri Rousseau, Marc Chagall, Amedeo Modigliani (painter and sculptor) 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.[210]

At the end of the 18th century, the French Revolution, which brought political and social changes in France, had a profound influence on art in the capital. Paris was in its artistic prime in the 19th century and central to the development of Romanticism in art, with painters such as Géricault, [206] Ingres, Jean-Baptiste Isabey and Eugène Isabey, father and son, Fantin-Latour.[208]

For centuries, Paris has attracted foreign artists arriving in the city to share their creativity, educate themselves, or seek inspiration from its vast pool of artistic resources and galleries. As a result, Paris has acquired a reputation as the "City of Art".[205] Italian artists were a profound influence on the development of art in Paris in the 16th and 17th centuries, particular in sculpture and reliefs. 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.[206] Painting and sculpture became the pride of the French monarchy, and the French royals and wealthy aristocrats commissioned French (and foreign) artists to adorn their palaces during the French Baroque and Classicism era. Sculptors such as François Girardon, Antoine Coysevox, Nicolas Coustou, Edmé Bouchardon, were among the finest at the royal court in 17th and 18th centuries France. Nicolas Poussin, Charles Le Brun and Pierre Mignard succeeded one another as Premier peintre du Roi ("First Painter to the King") to Louis XIV.[207]

Pierre Mignard, self-portrait

Painting and sculpture



The most-viewed network in France, TF1, is based in Boulogne-Billancourt, near Paris, along with a plentiful number of others, including France Télévisions, Canal+, M6, Arte, D8, W9, NT1, NRJ 12, La Chaîne parlementaire and BFM TV, along with a multitude of others.[202] 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.[203] The national postal carrier of France, including overseas territories, is known as La Poste. Headquartered in the 15th arrondissement, it is responsible for postal service in France and Paris.[204]

The Paris area is home to numerous newspapers, magazines and publications including Le Monde, Le Figaro, Libération, Le Nouvel Observateur, Le Canard enchaîné, L'Express, Le Point, Le Parisien, Les Inrockuptibles, Paris Match, Télérama, Le Journal du Dimanche and Courrier International.[198] 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.[199] France 24 is a television news channel owned and operated by the French government, and is based in Paris.[200] 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.[201]

Agence France-Presse headquarters in Paris


Paris is home to several of France's best-known high-schools such as Lycée Louis-le-Grand, Lycée Henri-IV, Lycée Janson de Sailly and Lycée Condorcet. The Paris region hosts France's highest concentration of the grandes écoles – specialised centres of higher-education outside the public university structure. The prestigious public universities are usually considered grands établissements. Most of the grandes écoles were relocated to the suburbs of Paris in the 1960s and 1970s, in new campuses much larger than the old campuses within the crowded city of Paris, though the École Normale Supérieure has remained on rue d'Ulm in the 5th arrondissement.[196] There are a high number of engineering schools, led by the Paris Institute of Technology (ParisTech) which comprises several colleges such as Arts et Métiers ParisTech, École Polytechnique, École des Mines, AgroParisTech, Télécom Paris, and École des Ponts et Chaussées. There are also many business schools, including INSEAD, ESSEC, HEC and ESCP Europe. The administrative school such as ENA has been relocated to Strasbourg, the political science school Sciences-Po is still located in Paris's 7th arrondissement. The Parisian school of journalism CELSA department of the Paris-Sorbonne University is located in Neuilly-sur-Seine.[197]

In the early 9th century, the emperor Charlemagne mandated all churches to give lessons in reading, writing and basic arithmetic to their parishes, and cathedrals to give a higher-education in the finer arts of language, physics, music, and theology; at that time, Paris was already one of France's major cathedral towns and beginning its rise to fame as a scholastic centre. By the early 13th century, the Île de la Cité Notre-Dame cathedral school had many famous teachers, and the controversial teachings of some of these led to the creation of a separate left bank Sainte-Genevieve University that would become the centre of Paris's scholastic Latin Quarter best represented by the Sorbonne university.[194] Twelve centuries later, education in Paris and the Île-de-France region employs approximately 330,000 persons, 170,000 of whom are teachers and professors teaching approximately 2.9 million children and students in around 9,000 primary, secondary, and higher education schools and institutions.[195]

Paris is the département with the highest proportion of highly educated people. In 2009, around 40 per cent of Parisians hold a diploma licence-level diploma or higher, the highest proportion in France,[193] while 13 per cent have no diploma, the third lowest percentage in France.


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.[191]

Thieves favor popular sites and congested areas, such as major department stores, to mask their pickpocketing and snatch-and-grab activities. Elevators at the Eiffel Tower, escalators at museums, and the vicinity of the Sacré Coeur in Montmartre are particularly targeted.[191] Robberies and assaults have occurred near around the Moulin Rouge, at Pigalle (an adult entertainment area known for sex shows, prostitution, and illegal drugs), where visitors have run up exorbitant bar bills. Victims of such crimes have been forcedly detained until the bill is payed. Other areas where extra vigilance is required are Les Halles and the Bois de Boulogne.[191]

The majority of crimes in Paris involve pick-pocketing, bicycle theft, residential break-ins, usually with minimal violence, though physical assault does occur. Visitors to museums, monuments, train stations, airports, and subways should be attentive to their surroundings.[191] Purses, wallets, smart phones and other electronic devices are targeted. Pickpockets are often children under the age of 16, making them difficult to prosecute. They are active on the RER B train from Charles de Gaulle Airport to the center of the city, and on Metro Line 1, traversing the city center. There are a wide variety of schemes used by robbers, most of which are associated with an attempt to distract the victim; asking to sign a petition, fake survey, or other means to disturb the victim while an accomplice pickpockets. Thieves commonly strike while the automatic doors on the metro are closing, leaving the victim on the departing train.[191]

Despite police force activity in Paris, a high number of visitors are targeted by pickpockets or swindlers. To help deal with this situation the Préfecture de police de Paris published a pamphlet (in English) with tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of theft or assault, and what to do in case such does occur.[192]

As in many large cities, crime in Paris is relatively rare; however, caution is advised when in congested areas of the city, in remote areas and when traveling at night.[191]

Security and safety

In 2013 the City of Paris had 1,570 hotels with 70,034 rooms, classified from one star to five star. The city today has over fifty five-star hotels, mostly belonging to international chains and mostly located close to the center and the Champs-Élysées.[190]

[189] Wealthy visitors preferred to stay in convents, which offered clean rooms to guests. The [189] Paris has long been a city of hotels; there were 24 hotels recorded in the city in 1292, though they had few comforts.


There were 72.1 million visitors to the city's museums and monuments in 2012.[186]The city's top tourist attraction was the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, 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 (10,500,000 visitors); the Eiffel Tower (6,740,000 visitors); the Centre Pompidou (3.745.000 visitors) and Musée d'Orsay (3,467.000 visitors).[187] In the Paris Region, Disneyland Paris, in Marne-la-Vallée, 32 km (20 miles) east of centre of Paris, was the most visited tourist attraction in France, with 14.9 million visitors in 2013.[188]

In 2014 visitors to Paris spent 17 billion dollars (13.58 billion Euros), the third highest sum globally after London and New York.[15] 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.[185]

In 2013, the city of Paris welcomed 29.3 million tourists, the largest number of whom came from the United States, followed by Britain, Italy, Germany and Spain.[183] 550,000 visitors arrived from Japan, a decrease from previous years, while there was a growth of twenty percent in the number of visitors from China (186,000) and the Middle East (326,000).[184] The Paris Region received 32.3 million visitors in 2013, putting the region just ahead of London as the world's top tourist destination region, measured by hotel occupancy.[14] In the Paris region, the largest numbers of foreign tourists came in order from Britain, the United States, Germany, Italy and China.[14]

Tourists from around the world make the Louvre the most visited art museum in the world


In Paris's 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's 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's parish cemeteries were transferred to a renovated section of Paris's stone mines outside the "Porte d'Enfer" city gate, today place Denfert-Rochereau in the 14th arrondissement.[178][179] The process of moving bones from Cimetière des Innocents to the catacombs took place between 1786 and 1814;[180] 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.[181] 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.[182]

The Paris Catacombs hold the remains of approximately 6 million people


One of the most notable hospitals is the Hôpital Lariboisière, Hôpital Necker - Enfants Malades, Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, Hôpital Saint-Antoine, Hôpital Saint-Louis, Hôpital Tenon and Val-de-Grâce.

Most health care and emergency medical service in the city of Paris and its suburbs are provided by the Assistance publique - Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP), a public hospital system that employs more than 90,000 people (including practitioners, support personnel, and administrators) in 44 hospitals.[176] It is the largest hospital system in Europe. It provides health care, teaching, research, prevention, education and emergency medical service in 52 branches of medicine. It employs more than 90,000 people (including 15,800 physicians) in 44 hospitals and receives more than 5.8 million annual patient visits.[176]

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


In 1982, the then mayor, Jacques Chirac, introduced the motorcycle-mounted Motocrotte to remove dog faeces from Paris streets.[173] The project was abandoned in 2002 for a new and better enforced local law, under the terms of which dog owners can be fined up to 500 euros for not removing their dog faeces.[174] The air pollution in Paris, from the point of view of particulate matter (pm10), is the highest in France, with 38 µg/m³.[175]

Today Paris has over 2,400 km (1,491 mi) of underground passageways[172] dedicated to the evacuation of Paris's liquid wastes.

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.[170] 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.[171] From then on, the new reservoir system became Paris's 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's streets. This system is still a major part of Paris's modern water-supply network.

Water and sanitation

There are 440 km (270 mi) of cycle paths and routes in Paris. These include piste cyclable (bike lanes separated from other traffic by physical barriers such as a kerb) and bande cyclable (a bicycle lane denoted by a painted path on the road). Some 29 km (18 mi) of specially marked bus lanes are free to be used by cyclists, with a protective barrier protecting against encroachments from vehicles.[168] Cyclists have also been given the right to ride in both directions on certain one-way streets. Paris offers a bike sharing system called Vélib' with more than 20,000 public bicycles distributed at 1,800 parking stations,[169] which can be rented for short and medium distances including one way trips.


In addition, the Paris region is served by a light rail network of seven lines, the tramway: Line T1 runs from Asnières-Gennevilliers to Noisy-le-Sec, line T2 runs from Pont de Bezons to Porte de Versailles, line T3a runs from Pont du Garigliano to Porte de Vincennes, line T3b runs from Porte de Vincennes to Porte de la Chapelle, line T5 runs from Saint-Denis to Garges-Sarcelles, line T7 runs from Villejuif to Athis-Mons, all of which are operated by the Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens,[167] and line T4 runs from Bondy RER to Aulnay-sous-Bois, which is operated by the state rail carrier SNCF.[161] Six new light rail lines are currently in various stages of development.

Over €26.5 billion will be invested over the next 15 years to extend the Métro network into the suburbs.[161]

The city's subway system, the Métro, was opened in 1900 and is the most widely used Transport system within the city proper, carrying 5.23 million passengers daily.[166] It comprises 303 stations (385 stops) connected by 220 km (136.7 mi) of rails, and 16 lines, identified by numbers from 1 to 14, with two minor lines, 3bis and 7bis. An additional express network, the RER, with five lines (A, B, C, D, & E), connects to more-distant parts of the urban area, with 257 stops and 587 km (365 mi) of rails.[161]

Paris Métro is the busiest subway network in the European Union

Métro, RER, and tramway

Local transport

The Paris region is the most active water transport area in France, with most of the cargo handled by Ports of Paris in facilities located around Paris. The Loire, Rhine, Rhone, Meuse and Scheldt rivers can be reached by canals connecting with the Seine, which include the Canal Saint-Martin, Canal Saint-Denis, and the Canal de l'Ourcq.[165]


The city is also the most important hub of France's motorway network, and is surrounded by three orbital freeways: the Périphérique,[69] which follows the approximate path of 19th-century fortifications around Paris, the A86 motorway in the inner suburbs, and finally the Francilienne motorway in the outer suburbs. Paris has an extensive road network with over 2,000 km (1,243 mi) of highways and motorways.


Paris Ring roads: Périphérique (yellow), A86 (blue), Francilienne (green).

Internationally, air traffic has increased markedly in recent years between Paris and the Gulf airports, the emerging nations of Africa, Russia, Turkey, Portugal, Italy, and mainland China, whereas noticeable decline has been recorded between Paris and the British Isles, Egypt, Tunisia, India, and Japan.[163][164]

Domestically, air travel between Paris and some of France's largest cities such as Lyon, Marseille, or Strasbourg has been in a large measure replaced by high-speed rail due to the opening of several high-speed TGV rail lines from the 1980s. For example, after the LGV Méditerranée opened in 2001, air traffic between Paris and Marseille declined from 2,976,793 passengers in 2000 to 1,689,900 passengers in 2013.[162] After the LGV Est opened in 2007, air traffic between Paris and Strasbourg declined from 1,006,327 passengers in 2006 to 188,015 passengers in 2013.[162]

Busiest destinations from Paris (CDG, ORY, BVA)
Rank Domestic
Rank International
1 Toulouse 3,186,291 1 Italy 7,476,516
2 Nice 3,005,490 2 Spain 6,775,329
3 Marseille 1,689,900 3 United States 6,406,081
4 Bordeaux 1,598,183 4 Germany 4,628,913
5 Pointe-à-Pitre 1,215,145 5 United Kingdom 4,036,672
6 Saint-Denis (Réunion) 1,107,059 6 Morocco 3,193,684
7 Fort-de-France 1,070,514 7 Portugal 2,697,006
8 Montpellier 792,245 8 Algeria 2,161,354
9 Biarritz 690,722 9 China 2,112,530
10 Lyon 586,659 10 Switzerland 1,751,803
In 2013 the main domestic and international destinations served by the three commercial airports of Paris were the following:

Orly Airport, located in the southern suburbs of Paris, replaced Le Bourget as the principal airport of Paris from the 1950s to the 1980s.[159] Charles de Gaulle Airport, located on the edge of the northern suburbs of Paris, opened to commercial traffic in 1974 and became the busiest Parisian airport in 1993.[160] Today it is the 4th busiest airport in the world by international traffic, and is the hub for the nation's flag carrier Air France. [161] Beauvais-Tillé Airport, located 69 km (43 mi) north of Paris's city centre, is used by charter airlines and low-cost carriers such as Ryanair.

Paris is a major international air transport hub with the 5th busiest airport system in the world. The city is served by three commercial international airports: Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Paris-Orly and Beauvais-Tillé. Together these three airports recorded traffic of 94.1 million passengers in 2013.[158] There is also one general aviation airport, Paris-Le Bourget, historically the oldest Parisian airport and closest to the city centre, which is now used only for private business flights and air shows.

Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (Terminal 2F pictured) is the busiest airport in continental Europe.[157]


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


Paris is a major rail, highway, and air transport hub. The Syndicat des transports d'Île-de-France (STIF), formerly Syndicat des transports parisiens (STP) oversees the transit network in the region.[156] The syndicate coordinates public transport and contracts it out to the RATP (operating 654 bus lines, the Métro, six 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.

Gare du Nord railway station is the busiest in Europe, home to the Eurostar train service to London and home of the Thalys trains (left) with service to Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

National and international transport


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. Their headquarters is on rue Saint Didier in the 16th arrondissement. They patrol the main roads and highways and protect the Presidential Palace. They include in their ranks the French Republican Guard, best known for its horse-mounted musicians in the 14 of July Parade. The traditional kepis of the Gendarmes were replaced in 2002 with caps, and the force modernized, though they still wear kepis for ceremonial occasions.[155]

The national police have their own special unit for riot control and crowd control and security of public buildings, called the Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité, or CRS; a unit formed in 1944 right after the liberation of France. Buses of CRS agents are frequently seen in the center of the city when there are demonstrations and public events.

The national police issue ID cards, drivers’ licenses, passports, residence and work permits, and register associations. They also verify the dates of discount sales at large stores, to assure that they don’t hold more than two a year, and issue permits to bakeries for their summer vacations, so that not all the bakeries in a neighborhood are closed at the same time. There are 30,200 officers under the prefecture, and a fleet of more than six thousand vehicles, including police cars, motorcycles, fire trucks, boats and helicopters.[154]

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 French National Police who patrol the city and the three neighboring departments. It is also responsible for providing emergency services, including the Paris Fire Brigade. Its headquarters is on Place Louis-Lepine on the Île-de-la-Cité.[154]

Officers of the Police Nationale in Paris

The Police

Paris and its region host the headquarters of many international organisations including European Union Institute for Security Studies, the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, the International Exhibition Bureau and the International Federation for Human Rights.

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,[151] 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.[152] The Constitutional Council, an advisory body with ultimate authority on the constitutionality of laws enacted by Parliament, also meets in the Montpensier wing of the Palais Royal.[153]

The two houses of the French Parliament are located on the left bank. The upper house, the Senate, meets in the Palais du Luxembourg in the 6th arrondissement, while the more important lower house, the Assemblée Nationale, meets in the Palais Bourbon in the 7th arrondissement. The President of the Senate, the third-highest public official in France,[149] resides in the Petit Luxembourg, a smaller palace annex to the Palais du Luxembourg.[150]

As the capital of France, Paris is the seat of France's national government. For the executive, the two chief officers each have their own official residences, which also serve as their offices. The President of France resides at the Élysée Palace (Palais de l'Élysée) in the 8th arrondissement,[146] while the Prime Minister's seat is at the Hôtel Matignon in the 7th arrondissement.[147][148] Government ministries are located in various parts of the city; many are located in the 7th arrondissement, near the Matignon.

The Élysée Palace, residence of the French President

National government

In 2007 President Nicolas Sarkozy proposed the creation of a Grand Paris, a new metropolitan area composed of the city of Paris and the towns in the neighboring three departments. After much discussion and modification, in 2011 a plan was approved to create the Metropole de Grand Paris, or Metropolis of Greater Paris, which will have an area of 762 square kilometers and a population of 6.7 million persons. It will also have its own automated metro system, the Grand Paris Express, with 205 kilometers 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.[64]

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 in 2015. The regional government has very limited powers, since the City of Paris, the departments and towns within the region, and the national government are all reluctant to share their powers and budgets with it. It mostly functions as a coordinating body.

Regional government

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 Euros in 2000 to 3.1 billion in 2012, with a debt of 3.65 billion Euros expected for 2014.[144] 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 Euros, largely because of a cut in support from the national government.[145]

The budget of the city for 2013 was 7,6 billion Euros, of which 5.4 billion went for city administration, while 2.2 billion Euros 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.[143]

Each of Paris's twenty arrondissements has its own town hall and a directly elected council (conseil d'arrondissement), which, in turn, elects an arrondissement mayor.[141] 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 twenty arrondissement mayors and one hundred twenty deputy mayors.[142]

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 ten members for each of the least-populated arrondissements (1st through 9th) to thirty-six 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 Dalanoë was elected by a minority of city voters, but a majority of council members. Once elected, the Council plays a largely passive role in the city government; they meet 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 a 71 members for the Center Right, plus a few members from smaller parties.

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.[140] The first modern elected Mayor of Paris was Jacques Chirac, elected 20 March 1977.

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

City government


While Paris has some of the richest neighborhoods 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 Euros 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; 18 percent in the 10th. In the city's wealthiest neighborhood, the 7th arrondissement, seven percent lived below the poverty line; 8 percent in the 6th arrondissement; and 9 percent in the 16th arrondissement.[139]

In the City of Paris, the largest fortunes are found in the 7th arrondissement (the households paying the wealth tax in this arrondissement had average net assets of €4.88 million/US$6.48 million in 2013), the 16th arrondissement (€4.01 million/US$5.33 million) and the 8th arrondissement (also €4.01 million/US$5.33 million).[138] In the suburbs, the largest fortunes are found in Neuilly-sur-Seine (the households paying the wealth tax in this commune had average net assets of €4.68 million/US$6.21 million in 2013), Palaiseau (€3.76 million/US$4.99 million), and Saint-Cloud (€3.09 million/US$4.11 million).[138]

Since the Middle Ages, Paris has attracted the wealthy and the economically dominant classes from France and the neighboring countries.[136] In 2011, 115,238 households in the Paris Region paid France's wealth tax (levied on households with total net assets in excess of €1.3 million, roughly US$1.6 million).[137] These 115,238 households made up 39.5% of all French households paying the wealth tax. 47.5% of these lived in the City of Paris, and 52.5% in the suburbs of the city (particularly the western suburbs, with 20.2% of them in the Hauts-de-Seine and 12.7% in the Yvelines).[137]

The average net household income (after social, pension and health insurance contributions) was 36,085 euros in Paris for 2011.[132] It ranges from €22,095 in the 19th[133] arrondissement to €82,449 in the 7th[134] arrondissement. The median taxable income for 2011 was around 25,000 euros in Paris and 22,200 for Île-de-France.[135] 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.

Median income in the petite couronne inner Paris suburb departements of the Île-de-France.


According to the 2011 census, 303,566 people worked in construction in the Paris metropolitan area, making up 5.3% of the metropolitan area's workforce.[127] 56,927 of these worked in the City of Paris proper and 246,639 in the suburbs and commuter belt of Paris,[127] in particular in Seine-Saint-Denis (41,378)[130] and Hauts-de-Seine (37,303),[131] where many business parks are under construction due to the increasing relocation of business offices from central Paris to the suburbs.


In the Yvelines department, the automotive industry is the main manufacturing sector, with 33,000 employees and major plants of Renault and PSA-Citroen. The Essonne department specializes in science and technology, while the main manufacturing sector of Val-de-Marne, where the wholesale market of Rungis is located, is food processing and beverages.[129]

In the Paris Region, the major manufacturing industry is the manufacture of materials for transport, mainly automobiles, aircraft and trains. In the region 800 companies and 100,000 salaried workers are engaged in aerospace, though this number has been falling in recent years as jobs moved outside the region. Automobile manufacturing engages another 100,000 workers in 400 firms, though this number has also been declining in recent years; a major Citroen assembly plant in Aulnay-sous-Bois closed in 2014, with the loss of 3,300 jobs. Another important employer in the Paris Region is a new sector, the eco-industry, which also employs about one hundred thousand workers.[129]

Between 1990 and 2010, the number of salaried employees in manufacturing in the City of Paris fell by 64 percent, and in the Paris Region by 48 percent. Most of the 75,000 manufacturing workers in the City of Paris are engaged in making textiles, clothing, leather goods and shoes.[129]

Manufacturing and utilities

Nineteen percent of Paris employees work for the State, either in administration or education. Workers in health care and social action are concentrated in the outer arrondissements (13th, 14th, 18th, 19th, 20th) where the hospitals and social housing are located.[128]

Non-market services

The Department of Hauts-de-Seine, where La Défense is located, is the major center for finance and insurance, as well as scientific research. 144,600 employees are concentrated in La Défense alone. The audiovisual sector is centered in the Seine-Saint-Denis department, with 200 firms and the ten major film studios.

Within the city of Paris, the largest number of salaried employees, 370,000 persons, provide services to businesses; they are concentrated in the 8th, 16th and 17th arrondissements. Financial services are concentrated in the 8th and 9th arrondissements, where the major banks and insurance companies are located. Ten percent of Paris workers, mostly women, are in commerce, with one hundred thousand persons in the retail trade. They are concentrated in the 1st, 6th, 8th and 9th arrondissements, where the major department stores are located. Fourteen percent of Parisian workers are engaged in providing services to individuals, including hotels and restaurants.

Commerce, transportation, and market services

According to the 2011 census, 59.0% of the labour force in the Paris metropolitan area worked in commerce, transportation, and market services; 26.8% worked in non-market services (public administration, education, human health and social work activities); 8.6% worked in manufacturing, mining, and utilities; 5.3% worked in construction; 0.3% worked in agriculture.[127]

Economic sectors

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.). In the 2013 European Green City Index, Paris was listed the tenth most "green" city of the largest thirty cities in Europe.[126] The Paris region's most intense economic activity through the central Hauts-de-Seine département and suburban La Défense business district places Paris's economic centre to the west of the city, in a triangle between the Opéra Garnier, La Défense and the Val de Seine. While the Paris economy is dominated by services, and employment in manufacturing sector has declined sharply, the region remains an important manufacturing center, particularly for aeronautics, automobiles, and "eco" industries.

The Paris Region is France's premier centre of economic activity, with a 2012 GDP of 612 billion (US$760 billion).[10][122] In 2011, its GDP ranked second among the regions of Europe, after North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany; and its per-capita GDP was the 4th highest in Europe, after Luxembourg and the regions of Brussels and Hamburg.[123][124] Its population accounted for 18.8 percent of the total population of metropolitan France in 2011,[125] its GDP accounted for 31.0 per cent of metropolitan France's GDP.[122] It hosts the world headquarters of twenty-nine Fortune Global 500 companies.[11]

The economy of Paris stretches well beyond its administrative limits, and many of its manufacturing and service industries are in its closest suburbs. The Paris region (Île-de-France) employment statistics, while collected in the region's communes and départements, are arranged to express numbers within the Paris agglomeration[120] and aire urbaine (an area similar to the North American metropolitan area).[121]

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[11]
La Défense, the largest dedicated business district in Europe.[119]


Though international migration rate is positive, population flows from the rest of France are more intense, and negative. They are heavily age dependent: while many retired people leave Paris for the southern and western parts of France, migration flows are positive in the 18-30 age range.[118] About one half of Île-de-France population was not born in the region.

About one-third of persons who have recently moved to Metropolitan France from foreign countries settle in the Paris Region, about a third of whom in the city of Paris proper.[117] 20% of the Paris population are first-generation immigrants, and 40% of children have at least one immigrant parent. Recent immigrants tend to be more diverse in terms of qualification: more of them have no qualification at all and more of them have tertiary education.[117]

The Paris Region is one of the most multi-cultural regions in Europe: at the 2011 census, 23.1% of the total population was born outside of Metropolitan France, up from 22.2% at the 2006 census, and 19.7% at the 1999 census.[116]


Paris is one of the most densely populated cities in the world.[115] Its population density, excluding the outlying woodland parks of Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes, was 25,864 inhabitants per square kilometre (66,986 /sq mi) at the 2011 census, which could be compared only with some Asian megapolises and the New York City borough of Manhattan. Even including the two woodland areas, its population density was 21,347 /km2 (55,288 /sq mi),[4] the fifth-most-densely populated commune in France after Levallois-Perret, Le Pré-Saint-Gervais, Vincennes, Saint-Mandé, and Montrouge—all of which border the city proper. The most sparsely populated quarters are the western and central office and administration-focused arrondissements. The city's population is densest in the northern and eastern arrondissements; the 11th arrondissement had a density of 42,138 inhabitants per square kilometre (109,137 /sq mi) in 2011, and some of its eastern quarters had densities close to 100,000 /km2 (260,000 /sq mi) in the same year.

Since the beginning of 21st century, the population of the city of Paris proper has started once again to rise, gaining 125,000 inhabitants between 1999 and 2011,[2] despite persistent negative net migration and a fertility rate well below 2.[112] The population growth is explained by the high proportion of people in the 18-40 age range who are most likely to have children.[113] The Paris Metropolitan Area, whose population has grown uninterruptedly since the end of World War II, gained 937,000 inhabitants between 1999 and 2011.[4] Contrary to the city of Paris proper, the fertility rate of the overall metropolitan area is above 2 children per woman.[114]

The population of the city proper reached a maximum shortly after World War I, with nearly 3 million inhabitants, and then decreased for the rest of the 20th century to the benefit of the suburbs. Most of the decline occurred in the 1960s and 1970s, when it fell from 2.8 to 2.2 million.[111] This trend toward de-densification of the centre was also observed in other large cities like London and New York City.

Population evolution

As of the January 2011 census, the population of the city of Paris proper stood at 2,249,975,.[2] The population of the Paris Metropolitan Area (the city, its suburbs and the commuter belt around them) stood at 12,292,895.[4] Though substantially lower than at its peak in the early 1920s, the density of the city proper is one of the highest in the developed world. Compared to the rest of France, the main features of the Parisian population are a high average income, relatively young median age, high proportion of international migrants and high economic inequalities. Similar characteristics are found in other large cities throughout the world.

2011 Census Paris Region[109][110]
Country/territory of birth Population
Metropolitan France 9,112,301
Algeria 285,703
Portugal 240,445
Morocco 224,787
Tunisia 107,549
Guadeloupe 80,265
Martinique 74,565
Turkey 68,703
China 59,734
Italy 55,443
Mali 54,525
Spain 46,486
Côte d'Ivoire 45,870
Senegal 44,356
Democratic Republic of Congo 41,497
Poland 39,307
City proper, urban area, and metropolitan area population since the 1801 census.
Extent of the urban and metropolitan areas of Paris at the 1999 census.


In 2012 the Paris agglomeration (urban area) counted 28,800 persons 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 twenty-nine 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.[107] The city of Paris has sixty homeless shelters, called Centres d'hébergement et de réinsertion social or CHRS, which are funded by the city and operated by private charities and associations.[108]

Social housing represents a little more than 17% of Paris's total residences, but these are rather unevenly distributed throughout the capital: the vast majority of these are concentrated in a crescent formed by Paris's south-western to northern periphery arrondissements.[106]

Two-thirds of Paris's 1.3 million residences are studio and two-room apartments. Paris averages 1.9 residents per residence, a number that has remained constant since the 1980s, but it is much less than the Île-de-France's 2.33 person-per-residence average. Only 33% of principal-residence Parisians own their habitation (against 47% for the entire Île-de-France): the major part of Paris's population is a rent-paying one.[105]

Paris's urban tissue began to fill and overflow its 1860 limits from around the 1920s, and because of its density, it has seen few modern constructions since then. Sixty-two percent of its buildings date from 1949 and before, 20% were built between 1949 and 1974, and only 18% of the buildings remaining were built after that date.[105]

The total number of residences in the City of Paris in 2011 was 1,356,074, up from a former high of 1,334,815 in 2006. Among these, 1,165,541 (85,9%) were main residences, 91,835 (6,8%) were secondary residences, and the remaining 7.3% were empty (down from 9,2% in 2006).[104]

Paris is the 8th most expensive city in the world for luxury housing:[101] €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)).[102] According to a 2012 study for the La Tribune newspaper, the most expensive street is the quai des Orfèvres in Paris's 6th, with an average price of €20,665 per square metre (€1,919.8/sq ft), against €3,900 per square metre (€360/sq ft) for the 18th arrondissement rue Pajol.[103]

Social housing in Paris as of 2012


Paris today has more than 421 municipal parks and gardens, covering more than three thousand hectares and containing more than 250,000 trees.[97] Two of Paris's oldest and most famous gardens are the Tuileries Garden, created in 1564 for the Tuileries Palace, and redone by André Le Nôtre between 1664 and 1672, [98] and the Luxembourg Garden, for the Luxembourg Palace, built for Marie de' Medici in 1612, which today houses the French Senate. [99] 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.[100] Between 1853 and 1870, the Emperor Napoleon III and the city's first director of parks and gardens, Jean-Charles Alphand, created the Bois de Boulogne, the Bois de Vincennes, Parc Montsouris and the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, located at the four points of the compass around the city, as well as many smaller parks, squares and gardens in the Paris's quarters.[97] One hundred sixty-six new parks have been created since 1977, most notably the Parc de la Villette (1987-1991), Parc André Citroën (1992), and Parc de Bercy (1997).[97] The Promenade des Berges de la Seine (2013), is built on a former highway on the left bank of the Seine between the Pont de l'Alma and the Musée d'Orsay. It has floating gardens and recreation and playground areas, and is designed so that all the equipment of the park can be moved to higher ground in less than 24 hours if the Seine rises too high.

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

Parks and gardens

The entertainment resort of Disneyland Paris is the most visited attraction in the Paris Region, with 14.9 million visitors in 2013.[92] In the Seine-Saint-Denis department, the Basilica of St Denis is the royal necropolis of French kings and queens, as well as princes and princesses of the blood.[93] The Paris region also hosts 3 other UNESCO Heritage sites: the Palace of Versailles in the west,[94] the Château de Fontainebleau in the south[95] and the medieval fairs site of Provins in the east.[96]

Major monuments and attractions from the 20th and 21st centuries are scattered all over the city: consecrated in 1919, the basilica of the Sacré-Cœur is built atop Butte Montmartre;[88] Centre Pompidou (1971-1977) and the Forum des Halles (currently under reconstruction and due to be completed by 2016[89]) have been built in the heart of the city; Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie (1986), the largest science museum in Europe,[90] and Cité de la Musique (1995) are both located in the Parc de la Villette. The Contemporary Art museum of the Louis Vuitton Foundation, designed by architect Frank Gehry, opened on October 2014 in the Bois de Boulogne.[91]

Louis Vuitton Foundation, inaugurated in October 2014.

The Axe historique of Paris has inspired many major cities worldwide.[87] The east-west perspective starts in the centre of Paris at the Louvre Palace, follows then through the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, the Tuileries Garden, the Luxor Obelisk (erected in the centre of place de la Concorde), continues along the avenue des Champs-Elysées, the Arc de Triomphe at place de l'Étoile, crosses the périphérique at Porte Maillot, the Seine river at Pont de Neuilly, then follows the central esplanade of the business district of La Défense, dominated by its skyscrapers, and ends at the Grande Arche.[87]

The Axe historique, here from Concorde to La Défense.

The banks of the Seine from the Pont de Sully to the Pont d'Iéna are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1991.[86] From the Middle Ages to the 21st century, the banks have been enriched with successive monuments over time on a large area extending from the Île de la Cité, hosting Notre-Dame (1163-1345) and Sainte-Chapelle (1242-1248), to the Eiffel Tower (1887-1889) and Musée du Quai Branly (2006). Between both ends can be found from east to west the Louvre (1202-1989), Musée d'Orsay (1900-1986), Les Invalides (1671-1678) and the Grand Palais (1897-1900).[86]

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

Major monuments and attractions

Churches are the oldest intact buildings in the city, and show high Gothic architecture at its best — Notre Dame cathedral and the Sainte-Chapelle are two of the most striking buildings in the city.[83] The latter half of the 19th-century was an era of architectural inspiration, with buildings such as the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, built between 1875 and 1919 in a neo-Byzantine design.[84] Paris's most famous architectural piece, the Eiffel Tower, was built as a temporary exhibit for the 1889 World Fair and remains an enduring symbol of the capital with its iconic structure and position, towering over much of the city.[85]

Paris's urbanism laws have been under strict control since the early 17th century,[80] particularly where streetfront alignment, building height and building distribution is concerned. In recent developments, a 1974-2010 building height limitation of 37 metres (121 ft) was raised to 50 m (160 ft) in central areas and 180 metres (590 ft) in some of Paris's peripheral quarters, yet for some of Paris's more central quarters, even older building-height laws still remain in effect. The 210 metres (690 ft) Montparnasse tower was both Paris and France's tallest building until 1973,[81] but this record has been held by the La Défense quarter Tour First tower in Courbevoie since its 2011 construction. Skyscrapers are appearing in many of Paris's closest suburbs, particularly in La Défense where there are projects to build towers between 265 metres (869 ft) and 323 metres (1,060 ft) high.[82]

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

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.

Boulevard Montmartre, by Camille Pissarro (1897)


Climate data for Paris (1981–2010 averages)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 16.1
Average high °C (°F) 7.2
Daily mean °C (°F) 5.0
Average low °C (°F) 2.7
Record low °C (°F) −14.6
Precipitation mm (inches) 51.0
Avg. precipitation days 9.9 9.0 10.6 9.3 9.8 8.4 8.1 7.7 7.8 9.6 10.0 10.9 111.1
Mean monthly sunshine hours 62.5 79.2 128.9 166.0 193.8 202.1 212.2 212.1 167.9 117.8 67.7 51.4 1,661.6
Source: Météo-France[79]

Rain falls throughout the year. Average annual precipitation is 652 mm (25.7 in) with light rainfall fairly distributed throughout the year. The highest recorded temperature is 40.4 °C (104.7 °F) on 28 July 1948, and the lowest is a −23.9 °C (−11.0 °F) on 10 December 1879.[78]

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.[75] In winter, sunshine is scarce; days are cold but generally above freezing with temperatures around 7 °C (45 °F).[76] Light night frosts are however quite common, but the temperature will dip below −5 °C (23 °F) for only a few days a year. Snowfall is uncommon, but the city sometimes sees light snow or flurries with or without accumulation.[77]

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.[72] Summer days are usually moderately warm and pleasant with average temperatures hovering between 15 and 25 °C (59 and 77 °F), and a fair amount of sunshine.[73] Each year, however, there are a few days where the temperature rises above 30 °C (86 °F). Some years have even witnessed long periods of harsh summer weather, such as the heat wave of 2003 where temperatures exceeded 30 °C (86 °F) for weeks, surged up to 39 °C (102 °F) on some days and seldom cooled down at night.[74] More recently, the average temperature for July 2011 was 17.6 °C (63.7 °F), with an average minimum temperature of 12.9 °C (55.2 °F) and an average maximum temperature of 23.7 °C (74.7 °F).


Excluding the outlying parks of Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes, Paris occupies an oval measuring about 87 km2 (34 sq mi) in area, enclosed by the 35 km (22 mi) ring road, the Boulevard Périphérique.[69] The city's last major annexation of outlying territories in 1860 not only gave it its modern form but also created the twenty clockwise-spiralling arrondissements (municipal boroughs). From the 1860 area of 78 km2 (30 sq mi), the city limits were expanded marginally to 86.9 km2 (33.6 sq mi) in the 1920s. In 1929, the Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes forest parks were officially annexed to the city, bringing its area to about 105 km2 (41 sq mi).[70] The metropolitan area of the city is 2,300 km2 (890 sq mi).[71]

Paris is located in northern central France. By road it is 450 kilometres (280 mi) south-east of London, 287 kilometres (178 mi) south of Calais, 305 kilometres (190 mi) south-west of Brussels, 774 kilometres (481 mi) north of Marseille, 385 kilometres (239 mi) north-east of Nantes, and 135 kilometres (84 mi) south-east of Rouen.[67] Paris is located in the north-bending arc of the river Seine, spread widely on both banks of the river, and includes two inhabited islands, the Île Saint-Louis and the larger Île de la Cité, which forms the oldest part of the city. The river’s mouth on the English Channel (Manche) is about 233 mi (375 km) downstream of the city. Overall, the city is relatively flat, and the lowest point is 35 m (115 ft) above sea level. Paris has several prominent hills, of which the highest is Montmartre at 130 m (427 ft) .[68] Montmartre gained its name from the martyrdom of Saint Denis, first bishop of Paris atop the "Mons Martyrum" (Martyr's mound) in 250.

The Paris agglomeration as seen from the LandSat Satellite


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

In 2011, Paris and national government approved the plans for the Grand Paris Express, totaling 205 kilometers of automated metro lines to connect Paris, the innermost three departments around Paris, airports and TGV stations, at an estimated cost of 35 billion Euros.[65] The system is scheduled to be completed by 2030.[66]

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 persons, is scheduled for creation on January 1, 2016.[64]

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.

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 2013, part of the highway along the left bank was transformed into a park and floating gardens, called the Promenade des Berges de la Seine

21st century

Each President of the postwar Valéry Giscard d'Estaing began the Musée d'Orsay (1986); President François Mitterrand, in power for fourteen 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).[56]

The population of Paris dropped from 2,850,000 in 1954 to 2,152,000 in 1990, as middle-class families moved to the suburbs.[62] 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.[63]

The tallest building in the city, the Tour Maine Montparnasse, 57 stories and 210 metres high, was built between 1969 and 1973. It was highly controversial, and it remains the city's only skyscraper.[56]

In 1975, the National Assembly changed the status of Paris to that of other French communes and, on 25 March 1977, Jacques Chirac became the first elected Mayor of Paris since 1793.[61]

In May 1968, protesting students occupied the Sorbonne and put up barricades in the Latin Quarter. Thousands of Paris 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 thirteen independent campuses.[60]

The Pompidou Center, a museum of modern art (1977), put all its internal plumbing and infrastructure on the outside.

[59][58] On 14 June 1940, the German army marched into Paris, which had been declared "

General Charles de Gaulle on the Champs-Élysées celebrating the liberation of Paris (26 August 1944).

During the First World War, Paris sometimes found itself on the front line. On 6 and 7 September 1914, two convoys of 600 and 750 Paris taxis were requisitioned by order of General Gallieni to tranport six thousand soldiers to front at the First Battle of the Marne. The city was bombed by Zeppelins and shelled by German long-range guns.[52] 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.[53]

By 1901, the population of Paris had grown to 2,715,000.[50] 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, and authors such as Marcel Proust were exploring new approaches to literature.[51]

20th century

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 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.[49] Paris became the laboratory of Naturalism (Emile Zola) and Symbolism (Charles Baudelaire and Paul Verlaine), and of Impressionism in art (Courbet, Manet, Monet, Renoir.)

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 March 28, 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.[48]

Louis-Philippe was overthrown by a popular uprising in the streets of Paris in 1848. His successor, Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes.[47] In 1860, Napoleon III also annexed the surrounding towns to the city of Paris and created eight new arrondissements, expanding Paris to its current limits.[47]

The Eiffel Tower under construction in August 1888, startled Parisians and the world with its modernity

During the Restoration, the bridges and squares of Paris were given back their pre-Revolution names. 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 province to the city.[46]

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.[46] 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.[46]

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

19th century

In the summer of 1789 Paris it became the center 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. [42] 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 sixteen thousand others (throughout France), during the Reign of Terror.[43] The property of the aristocracy and the church was nationalised, and the Paris churches were closed, sold or demolished.[44] A succession of revolutionary factions ruled Paris until 9 November 1799, when Napoléon Bonaparte seized power as First Consul.[45]

Paris was the center 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.[41]

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,[39] while the working-class neighborhood 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.[40]

The storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789

18th century and the French Revolution

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 by boulevards, first Grands Boulevards.[37] To leave monuments to his reign, he built the Collège des Quatre-Nations, Place Vendôme, Place des Victoires, and began Les Invalides. [38]

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.[36]

The English and Burgundians occupied Paris in 1356 during the Hundred Years' War, not leaving until 1436. 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.[33][34] 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.[35]

By the end of the 12th century, Paris had become the political, economic, religious, and cultural capital of France. [30] 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 cathedral Notre-Dame 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.[31][30] 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.[32]

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)

Middle Ages and the Renaissance

Clovis the Frank, the first king of the Merovingian dynasty, made the city his capital from 508. In 987 AD Hugh Capet, Duke of Paris, was elected king of France. Under the rule of the Capetian kings, Paris gradually became the largest and most prosperous city in France.[28]


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