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Tripti Joshi

Paris

Country  France
Population  2.211 million (2008)
Region  Ile-de-France

Elevation  35 m
Area  2,844.8 km2
Mayor  Anne Hidalgo (PS)
Points of interest  Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, Notre Dame de Paris, Musee dOrsay, Arc de Triomphe
Colleges and Universities  Sciences Po, Pantheon-Sorbonne University, University of Paris, Paris-Sorbonne University, Paris Descartes University

Paris ( ) is the capital and most-populous city of France. Situated on the Seine River, in the north of the country, it is in the centre of the Ile-de-France region, also known as the region parisienne, "Paris Region". The City of Paris has an area of 105.4 square kilometres (40.7 square miles) and a population of 2,273,305 people within its city limits, It has the most populous urban area in the European Union. The Paris Region covers 12,012 square kilometres (4,638 square miles), and has its own regional council and president. It has a population of 12,005,077 as of January 2014, or 18.2 percent of the population of France.

Map of Paris

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

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

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Paris is the home of the most visited art museum in the world, the Louvre, as well as the Musee dOrsay, noted for its collection of French Impressionist art, and the Musee National dArt Moderne, a museum of modern and contemporary art. The notable architectural landmarks of Paris include the Notre Dame Cathedral (12th century); Sainte-Chapelle (13th century); the Eiffel Tower (1889); and the Basilica of Sacre-Cœur on Montmartre (1914). In 2013 Paris received 29.3 million visitors, making it one of the worlds top tourist destinations. Paris is also known for its fashion, particularly the twice-yearly Paris Fashion Week, and for its haute cuisine, and three-star restaurants. Most of Frances major universities and grandes ecoles are located in Paris, as are Frances major newspapers, including Le Monde, Le Figaro, and Liberation.

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Paris is home to the association football club Paris Saint-Germain and the rugby union club Stade Francais. The 80,000-seat Stade de France, built for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, is located in Saint-Denis. Paris hosts the annual French Open Grand Slam tennis tournament on the red clay of Roland Garros. Paris played host to the 1900 and 1924 Summer Olympics, the 1938 and 1998 FIFA World Cups, and the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

The city is a major rail, highway, and air-transport hub, served by the two international airports Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly. Opened in 1900, the citys subway system, the Paris Metro, serves 9 million passengers daily. Paris is the hub of the national road network, and is surrounded by three orbital roads: the Peripherique, the A86 motorway, and the Francilienne motorway in the outer suburbs.

History

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

Paris in the past, History of Paris

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

Inhabitants are known in English as "Parisians" and in French as Parisiens ([pa?izje?]), pejoratively also called Parigots ([pa?i?o]).

Geography

Paris Beautiful Landscapes of Paris

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. Paris is located in the north-bending arc of the river Seine and includes two islands, the Ile Saint-Louis and the larger Ile de la Cite, which form the oldest part of the city. Overall, the city is relatively flat, and the lowest point is 35 m (115 ft) above sea level. Paris has several prominent hills, the highest of which is Montmartre at 130 m (427 ft). The rivers mouth on the English Channel (La Manche) is about 233 mi (375 km) downstream of the city, established around 7600 BC. The city is spread widely on both banks of the river. It gained its name from the martyrdom of Saint Denis, first bishop of Paris, atop the Mons Martyrum, "Martyrs mound", in 250.

Excluding the outlying parks of Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes, Paris covers an oval measuring about 87 km2 (34 sq mi) in area, enclosed by the 35 km (22 mi) ring road, the Boulevard Peripherique. The citys last major annexation of outlying territories in 1860 not only gave it its modern form but also created the 20 clockwise-spiralling arrondissements (municipal boroughs). From the 1860 area of 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). The metropolitan area of the city is 2,300 km2 (890 sq mi).

Economy

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

Tourism

Paris Tourist places in Paris

In 2013, the city of Paris welcomed 29.3 million tourists, the largest number of whom came from the United States, followed by the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany and Spain. There were 550,000 visitors from Japan, a decrease from previous years, while there was a growth of 20 percent in the number of visitors from China (186,000) and the Middle East (326,000).

The Paris region received 32.3 million visitors in 2013, putting the region just ahead of London as the worlds top tourist destination region, measured by hotel occupancy. The largest numbers of foreign tourists to the Paris region came in order from the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, Italy and China.

In 2014, visitors to Paris spent $17 billion (€13.58 billion), the third-highest sum globally after London and New York. 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.

Culture

For centuries, Paris has attracted artists from around the world, who arrive in the city to educate themselves and to seek inspiration from its vast pool of artistic resources and galleries. As a result, Paris has acquired a reputation as the "City of Art". Italian artists were a profound influence on the development of art in Paris in the 16th and 17th centuries, particularly in sculpture and reliefs. Painting and sculpture became the pride of the French monarchy and the French royals commissioned many Parisian artists to adorn their palaces during the French Baroque and Classicism era. Sculptors such as Girardon, Coysevox and Coustou acquired reputations as the finest artists in the royal court in 17th-century France. Pierre Mignard became the first painter to King Louis XIV during this period. In 1648, the Academie 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 Frances top art school until 1793.

Paris Culture of Paris

Paris was in its artistic prime in the 19th century and early 20th century, when it had a colony of artists established in the city and in art schools associated with some of the finest painters of the times: Manet, Monet, Berthe Morisot, Gauguin, Renoir and others. The French Revolution and political and social change in France had a profound influence on art in the capital. Paris was central to the development of Romanticism in art, with painters such as Gericault. Impressionism, Art Nouveau, Symbolism, Fauvism Cubism and Art Deco movements all evolved in Paris. In the late 19th century, many artists in the French provinces and worldwide flocked to Paris to exhibit their works in the numerous salons and expositions and make a name for themselves. Artists such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cezanne, Jean Metzinger, Albert Gleizes, Henri Rousseau, Marc Chagall, Amedeo Modigliani and many others became associated with Paris. Picasso, living in Montmartre, painted his famous La Famille de Saltimbanques and Les Demoiselles dAvignon between 1905 and 1907. 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 Frederic Auguste Bartholdi (Statue of Liberty), Auguste Rodin, Camille Claudel, Antoine Bourdelle, Paul Landowski (statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro) and Aristide Maillol. The Golden Age of the School of Paris ended between the two world wars, but Paris remains extremely important to world art and art education, with schools ranging from the Ecole nationale superieure des Beaux-Arts (the former Academie royale de peinture et de sculpture) and Paris College of Art to the Paris American Academy, which specialises in teaching fashion and interior design.

Museums

The Louvre was the worlds most visited art museum in 2013 and is the home the Mona Lisa (La Joconde) and the Venus de Milo statue. Starkly apparent with its service-pipe exterior, the Centre Georges Pompidou, the second-most visited art museum in Paris, also known as Beaubourg, houses the Musee National dArt Moderne. The Musee dOrsay, in the former Orsay railway station, was the third-most visited museum in the city in 2013; it displays French art of the 19th century, including major collections of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists. The original building - a railway station - was constructed for the Universal Exhibition of 1900. The museum is known for its beauty, inside and out. An opulent glass awning serves as the entryway, while inside the second level overlooks much of the ground level terraces. The Musee du quai Branly was the fourth-most visited national museum in Paris in 2013; it displays art objects from Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. The Musee national du Moyen Age, or Cluny Museum, presents Medieval art, including the famous tapestry cycle of The Lady and the Unicorn. The Guimet Museum, or Musee 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 Musee national Eugene Delacroix.

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

Restaurants and cuisine

Paris Cuisine of Paris, Popular Food of Paris

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 Vefour in the Palais-Royal dates from the same period. The famous Paris restaurants of the 19th century, including the Cafe de Paris, the Rocher de Cancale, the Cafe Anglais, Maison Doree and the Cafe Riche, were mostly located near the theatres on the Boulevard des Italiens; they were immortalised in the novels of Balzac and Emile Zola. Several of the best-known restaurants in Paris today appeared during the Belle Epoque, including Maxims on Rue Royale, Ledoyen in the gardens of the Champs-Elysees, and the Tour dArgent on the Quai de la Tournelle.

Paris Cuisine of Paris, Popular Food of Paris

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. The Michelin Guide has been a standard guide to French restaurants since 1900, awarding its highest award, three stars, to the best restaurants in France. In 2015, of the 29 Michelin three-star restaurants in France, nine are located in Paris. These include both restaurants which serve classical French cuisine, such as LAmbroisie in the Place des Vosges, and those which serve non-traditional menus, such as LAstrance, which combines French and Asian cuisines. Several of Frances most famous chefs, including Pierre Gagnaire, Alain Ducasse, Yannick Alleno and Alain Passard, have three-star restaurants in Paris.

Paris food & wine


In addition to the classical restaurants, Paris has several other kinds of traditional eating places. The cafe arrived in Paris in the 17th century, when the beverage was first brought from Turkey, and by the 18th century Parisian cafes were centres of the citys 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 Cafe de la Rotonde and Le Dome Cafe in Montparnasse and Cafe de Flore and Les Deux Magots on Boulevard Saint Germain, all still in business, were important meeting places for painters, writers and philosophers. A bistro is a type of eating place loosely defined as a neighbourhood restaurant with a modest decor and prices and a regular clientele and a congenial atmosphere. Its name is said to have come in 1814 from the Russian soldiers who occupied the city; "bistro" means "quickly" in Russian, and they wanted their meals served rapidly so they could get back their encampment. Real bistros are increasingly rare in Paris, due to rising costs, competition from cheaper ethnic restaurants, and different eating habits of Parisian diners. 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.

Holidays and festivals

Paris Festival of Paris

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

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

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References

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