Paris lies in the midst of the Île de France and is the capital of France. With more than eleven million inhabitants in the city and the surrounding area, the densely populated Paris belongs to the metropolises of the world. The “city of the love”, as Paris is also called, annually receives more than 24 million visitors and is deemed to be the European capital of tourism.
The Seine metropolis is, likewise, world-famous for its innumerable museums and monuments and considered to be the ultimate city of culture. Ernest Hemingway wrote about Paris that she was a “celebration of the life”.History
The city is mentioned for the first time in 52 B.C. when the Romans discovered the fishing village on the island Île de la Cité. The name of the city is derived from the residential Celtic clan of the Parisii. Already during the Roman settlement, the city spreads to the left bank of the Seine. During the subsequent rule of the Merowinger, the city is for the first time named Paris and is appointed as the capital of the Frankish realm.
During the course of the Middle Ages, Paris develops steadfastly into the intellectual center. The foundation of the University of Sorbonne
in the year 1253 particularly leads thereto that many academics and clergyman come into the city. In the 12th Century, Paris also gains in importance commercially. The traders settle on the right Seine bank. During the Hundred Years' War the English occupy the city. In 1429 Jeanne d'Arc
tries to no avail to reconquer the city. It is seven years later before a French king can find his way into the city.
rule of the Bourbonen commences during the period of prosperity of the Renaissance. This absolutist method of government and, in particular king Ludwig XVI.
and his wife Marie Antoinette
with their excessive life-style, evoke the displeasure of the populace. This ends with the storming of the Bastille
on 14 July 1789 and the beginning of the French Revolution. This date therefore also justifies the current French national holiday on July 14th.
The first Republic of France is also known as the “reign of terror” because of the many executions by Guillotine. It ends in December 1804 with the self coronation of Napoléon Bonaparte
, the first emperor of France, in the cathedral Notre-Dame de Paris. This period is not of long duration and throughout the next century the empire and republic alternates constantly. In the mid-19th Century, whole quarters of Paris are knocked down and redeveloped as per a concept of the prefect Haussmann
. In this way the modern metropolis Paris, as it is known today, evolves.
During World War II, Paris is occupied by the German armed forces. After the delivery to the Allies in August 1944, the full dimension of the destruction becomes visible. During the following 5th. Republic under Charles de Gaulle
, the city is once again developed. With many ambitious building projects, it is tried to increase the position of Paris within Europe and to create a modern, multi-cultural and cosmopolitan city.A short historical overview3rd century B.C. - Settling of the Île de la Cité by the Parisii52 B.C. - Romans conquer the settlement, “Lutetia” develops355 AD - “Parisia” becomes a short-term capital of the disintegrating Roman realmBeginning of the 13th century - Paris is finally accepted as the capital of France1420-1436 - Occupation by Englishmen during the Hundred Years' War1682 - Relocation of the seat of government by Ludwig XIV. (post Versailles)1789 - French Revolution1814 - Paris is occupied by the Allies after the failed Russian campaign of Napoléon I.1940 - Occupation by German armed forces1944 - Release by the AlliesCountry and people
famous “Savoir vivre”, or the subtle way of life, best reflects the Parisian attitude to life. The Parisians themselves are, astonishingly, not too fine to partake during their lunch times of a Baguette on the stairs to the Grand Arche de la Défense, or on the lawn in one of the innumerable parks.
The female inhabitants are also always easily identifiable, because they personify the characteristic Paris Chic and are thus the best signboard for the famous Parisian Haute Couture.Statistical data
Paris is situated in the region Île de France. The city has an area of 10 540 km ² and, in 2005, consisted of about 2 144 700 inhabitants.
Paris is partitioned into 20 quarters, which are known in French as Arrondissements. These are arranged in a clockwise spiral and appear in the zip codes 75001 - 75020.The best web tips about Paris
The overview of the recommended Web links contains many informative links of the most unusual variety. In particular, the Internet page for the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau contains, in their own words, "all information for your journey to Paris”. Those who would like to rather learn about the city and the impressions gained by an inhabitant, will find many photos in the daily blog from Eric. For all persons who plan a longer stay in Paris and are interested in forays into the Parisian environment, there are many quality tips on the Internet page Paris Daytrips of the Belgian Jack.Places of interest
major landmark of Paris is the Eiffel Tower. This tower was designed on the occasion of the 1889 world exhibition by Gustave Eiffel
. At first it gained nasty nicknames, but today it is the main attraction for more than 3 million visitors annually. Up to the 2nd stage, where the Jules Vernes restaurant
is, you can access the Eiffel Tower by foot. During this ascent, the facts about the Eiffel Tower are displayed on information boards at the many small platforms between the stairs. These boards also indicate interesting events. Each stage (excluding the 3rd stage) is also accessible by elevator. In good weather one has, from the highest platform at a height of 274m, a view of up to 67km over Paris and its suburbs.
With the construction and the building of the Monuments, it is remarkable that all 12 000 prefabricated metal parts fit each other so precisely.
the middle of the Place Charles de Gaulle
you will discover a further landmark of Paris, the Arc de Triomphe. This monument was ordered from the architect Jean Chalgrinin
in 1806, the first to commemorate victories. The Arc de Triomphe was finished 1836. Visitors arrive at the museum, which illustrates the history of the building, via a spiral staircase in one of the four columns. Directly above the museum is a viewing platform. From here visitors have a good view to La Defénse, also to the Champs Elysées and along the avenue up to the Louvre.
The cathedral Notre-Dame de Paris is another important Parisian building. Built between 1163 (when construction was initiated by the bishop Maurice de Sully
) and 1345, the church, which is dedicated to the holy mother Maria, is a prime example of Gothic architecture. The rose window at the west front, with a diameter of 9.60 meter, was the largest rose window of the 13th Century. The rose windows of the transverse house, which were built later, even boast a diameter of 13 meter. The Notre-Dame cathedral attained global fame in literature due to Victor Hugo's
novel “the Hunchback of Notre-Dame”. On the forecourt of the church is a specific point which makes Notre-Dame the symbolic center of France, because from this point all French national routes originate and all distances in Paris are measured from it.
The Louvre is the largest museum in the world and houses more than 35 000 exhibits. Some of the exhibits are probably the most well-known works of art which have ever been created. The Mona Lisa of Leonardo da Vinci
, the Venus of Milo
, the Nike of Samothrake
, the self-portrait of Albrecht Dürer
and the 'liberty for the people' of Eugène Delacroix
, are only some of the famous exhibits. Besides
the works of art from Greek and Roman antiquity, the Italian Renaissance, the Dutch paintings from the 16th and 17th Century, the French paintings from the 15th to the 19th Century and the Egyptian collection, the museum also shows the development and history of the Louvre itself. The original building was constructed in the 12th Century as a protective ring for the internal city, remains of which can be viewed in the basement of the museum. Starting from the 14th Century, the Louvre was inhabited and as from the 16th Century the building was the domicile of the French monarch for some decades. After the French revolution in the year 1793, the Louvre was assigned another function and re-designed as the first public museum. From the beginning and well into the 19th Century, the building was repeatedly extended up to its current dimensions. The last large renovation took place in 1980 when the architect Ieoh Ming Pei
designed the glass pyramid, which is today the entrance to the museum.
probably most bizarre objects of interest are the Catacombs of Paris. Starting from the 13th Century, limestone was mined in the quarry and thus an underground system of corridors with a length of more than 330 kilometers was developed. As a result of famines and epidemics in the 18th Century, the cemeteries were overcrowded. In order to solve this problem, a group of people in the year 1786 began to transfer about a million bones from several cemeteries into the Catacombs at night over a 15 month period. At the entrance into the Catacombs a sign forewarns visitors with the words “stop, here you enter the empire of the dead ones”. Some of the bones look macabre as, for example, the craniums at one place have a heart-shaped arrangement.
Monceau park is recommended for a tranquil moment. Situated beside the large boulevards of the 8th Arrondissement, the park offers some idyllic corners in the middle of Paris. The good-civil landscape garden, which was established in 1769 by the duke Philippe d'Orléans
, clearly shows the architectural style before the French revolution, despite reorganization by Adolphe Alphand in the year 1862. Besides the statues, the pyramid and the rose garden, the fact that the trees can grow naturally is particularly charming. The park appeals to many visitors, despite its central situation in the proximity of the Arc de Triomphe, as the calmest and most beautiful park of the city.The best viewpoints
view of Paris from above is fascinating. For this some particularly beautiful viewpoints are suitable. From the third platform of the Eiffel Tower, or on the panorama terrace of the Montparnasse tower at the 56th Floor, visitors have the best panorama of Paris and its surroundings. Conveniently central, each visitor to the Arc de Triomphe receives interesting views of the restructuring of the city by the prefect Haussmann
. The new and modern architectural style in La Défense, which was initiated by the former president François Mitterrand
, is to be seen at its best at the Grand Arche de la Défense. Beyond the Arc de Triomphe it is possible to catch sight of the Louvre. It is also possible to look free of charge over the roofs of Paris from the roof of the department store Galeries Lafayette and from the viewing platform of the Centre Georges Pompidou.The most beautiful churches
the cathedral Notre-Dame de Paris, the Sacred-Heart Basilika of Montmatre belongs to an obligatory attendance in Paris. This church, located on the only elevation of Paris, is built in the Roman-Byzantine style and is visible from afar due to its elevated location and the bright color of the stone used to build it. In the midst of the quarter Les Halles
, you will find the Saint-Eustache church. The architecture is particularly interesting because of the mixture of Gothic and renaissance building styles. In the north of Paris in a suburb is the Basilique de Saint-Denis. This church is characterized particularly as the last home of most French monarchs.The most interesting museums
Paris, the culture city, has innumerable museums and frequently changing exhibitions. A stay in Paris
is incomplete without a visit to the Musée d'Orsay with its comprehensive collection of impressionists and artists from the end of the 19th Century to the beginning of the 20th. The works of art of Paul Cézanne
, Paul Gauguin
, Henri Matisse
, Claude Monet
, Pierre-Auguste Renoir
, Augusts Rodin
, Vincent Van Gogh
are outstanding, as is the extraordinary architecture of the former train station.
Every visitor should reserve time for the Louvre museum. The Centre Georges Pompidou is characterized particularly by modern architecture with the supply lines lying outside. The focus of the museum is on art of the 20th Century, in particular surrealism, cubism and Fauvism. Some exhibits of Henri Matisse
and Pablo Picasso
are displayed in the Centre Georges Pompidou.
Another unusual museum is the Cité of the Sciences and Industry. Apart from an original tactical aircraft, an original submarine is exhibited, which was brought via the Seine over the St. Martin channel to La Villette
. This museum is dedicated to technology and science with a view to teach visitors, in particular the children, about science in a practical way.Shopping and the best Prêt-à-porter addresses
There is probably nobody, who doesn't dream of a shopping expedition in Paris. Especially the Christmas decorations of the Avenue of the Champs Elysées, or the department store Galeries Lafayette Paris, are enticing. The department store Samaritaine, which is located directly next to the Seine, is an architectural Monument (just as the Galeries Lafayette) and therefore alone is worth a visit. Those who prefer it somewhat more cheaply will find something suitable at the four Tati department stores.
The large offer of Haute Couture is also exclusive to Paris. Here are the best and most well-known Prêt à porter addresses:Avenue des Champs Elysées:
Hugo BossAvenue George V:
Givenchy, Yves St LaurentAvenue Montaigne:
Christian Dior, Christian Lacroix, Escada, Nina Ricci, ValentinoBoulevard St. Germain:
Emporio ArmaniImpasse Bureau:
Karl LagerfeldPlace de la Madeleine:
Cerruti 1881Rue Cambon:
ChanelRue Faubourg St. Antoine:
Jean Paul GaultierRue du Faubourg St. Honoré:
Chloe, Gianni Versace, HermesWalkabout for one day
starting point could be the Invalides cathedral. Subsequently, after a short footpath, the Ecole Militaire
is reached. At this place one already can see the Eiffel Tower, which is situated at the end of the Champ de Mars
. On the other side of the Seine, on the terraces of the Palais de Chaillot
, one should look back beyond the gardens of the Trocadéro
at the panoramic picture of the Eiffel Tower. At the front of the palace is the Avenue Kléber
, which leads directly to the Place Charles de Gaulle
with the Arc de Triomphe. Past the Avenue of the Champs Elysées, the Place de la Concorde with the Obelisk
and the Jardin of the Tuileries
, the Louvre is reached. At the right side of the Louvre one continues for a short way next to the Seine. Via the bridge Pont Neuf one enters the island Île de France. Directly in front of the island, underneath the bridge, is a round trip by boat with the Vedettes du Pont-Neuf on the Seine. During the tour it is possible to view many well-known objects as well as some more unknown sights, like the narrowest house of Paris or the replica of the Statue of Liberty of New York
. Subsequently, after a short walk along the Palace of Justice
, the cathedral Notre-Dame de Paris is reached.
This is where the walkabout ends. Depending upon one's constitution, many of the footpaths can be bridged also with the Metro or by bus. If time allows, further places of interest can be accessed from this point by public transport.Regular events
From the end of May to the beginning of June, the stadium Roland Garros is for two weeks the meeting place of world-best tennis players. Then the French Open takes place in Paris west.
On 14 July, the national holiday of France, a large military parade is held on the Avenue of the Champs Elysées. The
banners and decorations for the national holiday of France stay up till the last Sunday in July. On this day the Tour de France, the world largest cycle race, arrives in Paris. Traditionally, after some rounds within the city, the race ends on the Avenue of the Champs Elysées.
During each second weekend in September the Fete de l'Humanité attracts several millions of visitors. In the context of this celebration numerous concerts, meetings and discussions take place.
Every Friday evening around 10 p.m. inline-skaters and roller-skaters meet each other for the organized Friday night Skate by the city. The meeting point is the Place Raoul Dautry in Montparnasse. This route is for advanced skaters. For beginners, the organized Sunday afternoon Skate is recommended. The meeting point for this is at 2 p.m. at the boulevard Bourdon nearby the Bastille
. Both routes are accompanied by medics. In rainy weather the routes are not attempted.Hotels and accommodations
Paris has one of the largest, if not indeed the largest, hotel density of the world. For each purpose, each taste and each purse it's possible to find a suitable accommodation.
Many visitors particularly value the Seine city for its variety of offers. More than 100 museums and innumerable buildings and monuments are available for visitors to select from. In order to be able to reside in proper style, the choice of one of the most popular designer and boutique hotels would be advantageous.
Paris, the “city of the love”, is not only a coveted destination for the newly in love who wish to walk arm in arm along the Seine or the shop windows of the Avenue of the Champs-Elysées. With the most popular hotels for honeymooners more than just honeymooners find a suitable arrangement.
Visitors of Paris have high requirements. The city lives up to many expectations. This resolution - to anticipate guests' every wish - is also applied at many hotels. Here, especially, the most popular luxury hotels are recommendable.
Some quarters in the Paris municipal area are particularly popular by visitors. Besides the Marais quarters or the area around the Trocadéro
, the districts around the large boulevards, e.g. the Boulevard Haussmann, enjoy great popularity.
If one thinks of hotels in Paris, at first consider some traditional houses which possess flair, luxury, a moving history or an exclusive location. The Ritz at the Place Vendôme
has everything and for some visitors it seems to be the perfect hotel.
Considerable personalities such as Coco Chanel
or Ernest Hemingway
, after which a bar in the hotel was named, were frequent guests in the hotel.
Those who would like to spend a night in a city palace from the 18th Century, directly at the Place De La Concorde, should opt for the Hotel De Crillon. The hotel is considered as comfortable and is steeped in luxury and tradition. Besides the nearby places of interest, e.g. the Obelisk
from Luxor is directly in front of the hotel, it is worth mentioning that the domicile of the FIA is in an adjacent building.
Not 200 meter from the foot of the Eiffel Tower is the Mercure Paris Tour Eiffel Suffren, located in a calm side road. Apart from this ideal situation, some rooms have the advantage of a direct view of the Eiffel Tower which, with the nightly lighting and flashing lights every hour, is very delightful. The garden terrace of the hotel restaurant is also noteworthy, inasmuch as it is real rarity in the Paris downtown.
The hotel Gotty Opéra is in close proximity to the Grands Boulevards. For the investigation of the quarter, it is an ideally located tourist hotel. Cinemas, theatres, bistros, restaurants and the Métro stop Grands Boulevard are in direct proximity. The hotel was reconditioned in 2004 and has typical French flair.