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Travel Guide 2   >   Europe   >   France   >   Towns and Cities   >   Paris



Paris is the capital and largest city of France. The city is located in the Île-de-France region on the river Seine and has an estimated population of 2,153,600 as of 2005.

Paris is an extremely popular tourist destination and is visited by approximately 30 million foreign tourists each year. There are numerous places to see in place including the Arc de Triomphe, the Basilica of the Sacré Cœur, the Champs-Elysées, the Eiffel Tower, the Grande Arche, the Invalides, the Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay, the Musée National d'Art Moderne, Notre Dame cathedral, the Opéra Garnier and the Panthéon.

Additionally, another place you will want to see, especially if you have a family is Disneyland Resort Paris. This is a holiday and recreation resort in Marne-la-Vallée, a new town suburb, approximately 20 miles (32 kilometers) from the center of the city. The resort includes:
  • Two theme parks - Disneyland Park (the main Disney park, based on Disneyland California, with five "lands" each based on a different theme or time period), and Walt Disney Studios Park (a theme park based on film and how movies are made).

  • An entertainment district - Disney Village - containing shops, bars and restaurants.

  • Golf Disneyland - A Disney-themed golf course, principally for adult visitors but also with a children's section.

  • Seven Disney-owned hotels.
Paris is of course also a very important center of business, industry and government. The Paris region produces approximately one quarter of France's GDP, and La Défense, which is the largest purpose-built business district in Europe contains the headquarters of many major French companies as well as 15 of the world's 100 largest companies. Many international organizations including UNESCO, the ICC and the OECD, also have offices in Paris.

Notre Dame Cathedral:
Notre Dame in Paris

Key Facts about Paris

Arc de Triomphe:
Arc de Triomphe
Here are some facts about Paris:
  1. Paris is the capital and largest city of France.

  2. Paris is located in the Île-de-France region on the river Seine.

  3. Paris had an estimated population of 2,153,600 as of 2005.

  4. Paris is an extremely popular tourist destination and is visited by approximately 30 million foreign tourists each year.

  5. There are numerous places of interest, historic sites, and tourist attractions in Paris, including, perhaps most famously, the Eiffel Tower.

  6. The Disneyland Resort Paris is also within easy reach of the city. It is located in Marne-la-Vallée, a new town suburb, approximately 20 miles (32 kilometers) from the center of the Paris

  7. Archaeological digs have revealed that the earliest permanent settlements in the Paris area, were probably around 4500 BCE.

  8. A Celtic tribe, the Parisii, inhabited the area from around 250 BCE. They are known to have constructed a settlement at Île de la Cité (a natural island in the River Seine in Paris).

  9. The Romans conquered the area in 52 BCE. The Roman settlement built in the area, which eventually grew to beconme a prosperous city, was known as Lutetia or Lutetia Parisorum. This later became known as Lutèce.

  10. Julian (331 to 363), Prefect of the Gauls, proclaimed himself Roman Emperor in Île de la Cité in 360. Julian remained in Paris until his death in 363, effectively making Paris de facto capital of the Western Roman Empire during this period.

  11. With the collapse of the Roman Empire, Paris was largely abandoned, but Clovis the Frank, first Merovingian dynasty, made Paris his capital in 508.

  12. The Carolingans moved the Frankish capital to Aachen, but in 987 AD, Hugh Capet, count of Paris, was elected King of France, and Paris again became the capital of France.

  13. During the Hundred Years War, Paris was occupied by the English, and for a time lost its position as French capital. However, after French victory in the war, the French capital again returned to Paris.

  14. Paris was the scene of many of the important events of the French Revolution (from 1789), as well the coup by Napoleonn which established the French Consulate, and later, the First French Empire.

  15. During the Franco-Prussian War (1870 to 1871), Paris was beseiged by the Prussians. After the war, it was also the scene of an attempted revolution, the Paris Commune, which was bloodily suppressed by the French army.

  16. In 1889, the Eiffel Tower opened in Paris. It was built for the Exposition Universelle, a World's Fair held in the city.

  17. The first Paris Métro Line (underground railway line) opened in 1900, to coincide with the 1900 Universal Exposition (another World's Fair held in Paris).

  18. During World War I, the advancing Germans came to within earshot of the city in 1914, before being driven back by Anglo-French forces at the First Battle of the Marne.

  19. In World War II, Paris was occupied by the Germans from June 1940 until August 1944. Central Paris survived the war relatively unscathed, as the Allies mostly only bombed targets in the suburbs, and the German commander Dietrich von Choltitz refused to obey direct orders from Adolf Hitler ordering the destruction of the city (Dietrich von Choltitz is sometimes known as the "Saviour of Paris" for this action).

  20. Since World War II, parts of Paris have suffered from deindustrialization, whilst other parts have shifted their economies to high-value services and high technology. In 2007, then French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, launched a massive urban renewal project known as Grand Paris, aimed better integrating the city and improving its economy.

Attractions and Places of Interest in Paris

Some attractions and places of interest in and near Paris include:

Weather in Paris

For current weather information, we recommend:

Related Links

Related Links:
  • Da Vinci Code Tour

  • Louvre Guided Tour

  • Paris Museum & Sightseeing Pass
    The Paris Pass is a sightseeing card which gives holders FREE ENTRY to over 60 sights and tourist attractions in Paris. Some of the most popular attractions which can be visited free with the Paris Pass are the Louvre Museum, the Arc de Triomphe, a Seine river cruise, an open top bus sightseeing tour, the Grevin Wax Museum and the Palace of Versailles - to name but a few.

Comments about Paris

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Books about Paris

Here are some books about Paris:

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Fodor's Paris 25 Best (Full-color Travel Guide)

By Fodor's Travel Guides

Fodor's Travel
Released: 2018-09-18
Paperback (176 pages)

Fodor s Paris 25 Best (Full-color Travel Guide)
List Price: $13.99*
Lowest New Price: $9.75*
Lowest Used Price: $6.99*
Usually ships in 24 hours*
*(As of 19:52 Pacific 15 Sep 2019 More Info)

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Product Description:

Compact and affordable, Fodor's 25 Best Paris 2019 is a great travel guide for those who want an easy-to-pack guidebook and map to one of the most exciting cities in France and Europe.

Fodor's 25 Best Guides offer highlights of major city destinations in a compact package that includes a sturdy, detailed street map you can bring along with you to help you navigate when cell service is not available. By focusing only on top sights―all divided by neighborhood―we make planning your days easy.

Save time and space by having Paris's top 25 sights and experiences in one convenient guidebook:

    •UPDATED FOR 2018: Fully updated coverage on the information you need to know.
    •DISCERNING RECOMMENDATIONS: Best bets from local writers for sightseeing, eating, drinking, sleeping, and shopping, for every budget.
    •GORGEOUS PHOTOS AND MAPS: Full-color photos and full-size street maps cover the best Paris has to offer, all in one easy-to-use package. A handy, weather-resistant PULLOUT CITY MAP will help you quickly orient yourself and plan your day.
    •INDISPENSABLE TRIP-PLANNING TOOLS: The “City Tours” section shows off the best of the city with self-guided tour ideas. Plan excursions outside the city with the “More to See” section.
    •PRACTICAL TIPS AND PHRASES: Travel like a local with our “Need to Know” section, filled with useful travel tips and essential French phrases.
    •COVERS: Notre-Dame, Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Versailles, Musee National du Moyen-Age, Pompidou, the Louvre, rue du Faubourge Saint-honore, avenue Montaigne, trendy restaurants, classic brasseries, cozy cafes and bistros, antique shops and art galleries, wine bars, jazz joints, nightclubs, and much more.

ABOUT FODOR'S AUTHORS: Each Fodor's Travel Guide is researched and written by local experts. Fodor's guidebooks have been offering expert advice for all tastes and budgets for 80 years.

Planning to visit other French destinations? Check out Fodor’s Essential France and Fodor’s Provence and the French Riviera. Explore neighboring countries with Fodor’s Essential Spain or Fodor’s Essential Italy.


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