This article is about the capital of France. For other uses, see Paris (disambiguation).
Le Louvre Champs de Mars Eiffel Tower Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile La Défense Palais de Justice Tribunal de Commerce Sainte-Chapelle Notre Dame Cathedral Institut de France Pont Neuf Pont des Arts Île de la Cité Seine

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Clockwise: 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 – clickable image

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


Coordinates: 48°51′24″N 2°21′03″E / 48.8567°N 2.3508°E / 48.8567; 2.3508Coordinates: 48°51′24″N 2°21′03″E / 48.8567°N 2.3508°E / 48.8567; 2.3508
Country France
Region Île-de-France
Department Paris
Subdivisions 20 arrondissements
 • Mayor (since 5 April 2014) Anne Hidalgo (PS)
 • Urban (2010) 2,844.8 km2 (1,098.4 sq mi)
 • Metro (2010) 17,174.4 km2 (6,631.1 sq mi)
 • Land1 105.4 km2 (40.7 sq mi)
Population (Jan. 2011[4])
 • Rank 1st in France
 • Urban (Jan. 2011) 10,516,110[2]
 • Metro (Jan. 2011) 12,292,895[3]
 • Population2 2,249,975
 • Population2 density 21,000/km2 (55,000/sq mi)
Demonym Parisian(s)
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: /ˈpærɪs/; US: Listeni/ˈpɛərɪs/; French: [paʁi] ( )) 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]). Within its administrative limits largely unchanged since 1860 (the 20 arrondissements), the city of Paris has a population of 2,249,975 inhabitants (January 2011),[4] but its metropolitan area is one of the largest population centres in Europe, with 12,292,895 inhabitants at the January 2011 census.[3]

Archeological evidence shows that the site of Paris has been occupied by man since between 9800 and 7500 BC.[8] In the 3rd century BC, it became the site of a town of a Celtic people called the Parisii, for whom the modern city is named.[9] In the 1st century BC, it was conquered by the Romans and became a Gallo-Roman garrison town called Lutetia.[10] It was Christianised in the 3rd century and became the capital of Clovis the Frank in the 5th century. In 987, under King Hugh Capet, it became the capital of France.[11]

In the 12th century, Paris was the largest city in the western world, a prosperous trading center, the home of the University of Paris, one of the most influential centers of learning in Europe; and the birthplace of the style that later became known as Gothic architecture. In the eighteenth century, it was the center stage for many important events in French history, including the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, and an important center of commerce, fashion, science, and the arts, a position it still holds today.

Paris has one of the largest GDPs in the world, €607 billion (US$845 billion) in 2011, and is one of the world’s leading tourist destinations. In 2013-2014, it received an estimated 15.57 million international overnight visitors, making it third most popular destination for international travelers, after London and Bangkok.[12] The Paris Region hosts the world headquarters of 30 of the Fortune Global 500 companies[13] in several business districts, notably La Défense, the largest dedicated business district in Europe.[14]

Paris is the home of the Louvre, the most visited art museum in the world, with outstanding collections of European and ancient art; the Musee d’Orsay, devoted to 19th century French art, including the works of the French impressionists; the Centre Georges Pompidou, a museum of international modern art, and the Musée du quai Branly, a new museum devoted to the arts and cultures of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania; and many other notable art museums and galleries. It also is the home of several masterpieces of Gothic architecture, most notably the Cathedral of Notre-Dame-de-Paris (12th century) and Sainte-Chapelle (13th century). Other notable and much-visited landmarks include the Eiffel Tower, built in 1889 to celebrate the centennial of the French Revolution; the Basilica of Sacre-Coeur on Montmartre, a neo-Byzantine style church built between 1875 and 1919; and Les Invalides, a 17th-century hospital and chapel built for disabled soldiers, where the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte is located.

Paris is a global hub of fashion, noted for its haute couture tailoring, its high-end boutiques, and the twice-yearly Paris Fashion Week. It is world renowned for its haute cuisine, attracting many of the world’s leading chefs. Many of France’s most prestigious universities and Grandes Écoles are in Paris or its suburbs, and France’s major newspapers Le Monde, Le Figaro, Libération are based in the city, and Le Parisien in Saint-Ouen near Paris.

Paris is home to the association football club Paris Saint-Germain FC and the rugby union club Stade Français. The 80,000-seat Stade de France, built for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, is located in Saint-Denis. Paris hosts the annual French Open Grand Slam tennis tournament on the red clay of Roland Garros. Paris played host to the 1900 and 1924 Summer Olympics, the 1938 and 1998 FIFA World Cup, and the 2007 Rugby World Cup. The city is a major rail, highway, and air-transport hub, served by the two international airports Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly. Opened in 1900, the city’s subway system, the Paris Métro, serves 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.


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 tribe known as the Parisii. The city was called Lutetia (more fully, Lutetia Parisiorum, “Lutetia of the Parisii”), during the Roman era of the 1st to the 4th century AD, but during the reign of Julian the Apostate (360–3), the city was renamed Paris.[15] It is believed that the name of the Parisii tribe comes from the Celtic Gallic word parisio, meaning “the working people” or “the craftsmen”.[16]

Paris is often referred to as “La Ville-Lumière” (“The City of Light”).[17] The name may come from its reputation as a centre of education and ideas during the Age of Enlightenment. The name took on a more literal sense when Paris became one of the first European cities to adopt gas street lighting: the Passage des Panoramas was Paris’ first gas-lit throughfare from 1817.[18] Beginning in the 1860s, Napoleon III had the boulevards and streets of Paris illuminated by fifty-six thousand gas lamps, and the Arc de Triomphe, the Hôtel de Ville and Champs-Élysées were decorated with garlands of lights.[19]

Since the mid-19th century, Paris is also known as Paname (“panam”) in the Parisian slang called argot (Ltspkr.pngMoi j’suis d’Paname, i.e. “I’m from Paname”).[20] The singer Renaud repopularised the term among the younger generation with his 1976 album Amoureux de Paname (“In love with Paname”).[21]

Inhabitants are known in English as “Parisians” and in French as Parisiens ([paʁizjɛ̃] ( )) and Parisiennes. Parisians are also pejoratively called Parigots ([paʁiɡo] ( )) and Parigotes, a term first used in 1900 by those living outside the Paris region.[22]


The frigidarium of the Gallo-Roman baths Thermes de Cluny


The oldest known site of human habitation in Paris, a settlement of hunter-gatherers dating to between 9000 and 7500 BC, was found in 2006 near the Seine on rue Henri-Farman in the 15th arrondissement.[23] Other signs of settlements in the Paris area date from around 4500–4200 BC,[24] with some of the oldest evidence of canoe-use by hunter-gatherer peoples being uncovered in Bercy in 1991[25] (The remains of three canoes can be seen at the Carnavalet Museum[26] · [27]). The Parisii, a sub-tribe of the Celtic Senones, inhabited the area near the river Seine from around 250 BC,[28][29] building a trading settlement on the island, later the Île de la Cité, the easiest place to cross. [30] They minted their own coins and traded by river with towns on the Rhine and Danube, and with Spain.[31] The Romans conquered the Paris basin in 52 BC,[32] building a new town on the left bank around the present site of the Pantheon, and on the Île de la Cité. The Gallo-Roman town was originally called Lutetia, or Lutetia Parisorum but later Gallicised to Lutèce.[33] It expanded greatly over the following centuries, becoming a prosperous city with a forum, palaces, baths, temples, theatres, and an amphitheatre.[34]

In 305 AD the city began to be called Civitas Parisiorum, (“The City of the Parisii”), and that name was inscribed on the milestones. By the end of the Roman Empire, it was known simply as Parisius in Latin and Paris in French.[35] Christianity was introduced into Paris in the middle of the 3rd century AD. According to tradition, it was brought by Saint Denis, the Bishop of the Parisii, who was arrested on orders of the Roman prefect Fescennius. When he refused to renounce his faith, he was beheaded on Mount Mercury. According to the tradition, Saint Denis picked up his head and carried it to a secret Christian cemetery of Vicus Cattulliacus, about six miles away. The hill where he was executed, Mount Mercury, later became the “Mountain of Martyrs” (Mons Martyrum), eventually “Montmartre“.[36]

In 360 AD, Julian, the nephew of Constantine the Great, governor of the western Roman provinces and a noted scholar and philosopher, who spent his winters in Paris, was proclaimed emperor by his soldiers at the Thermes de Cluny. Julian tried to stop the spread of Christianity among the Parisians and for a time successfully stopped the invasion of Germanic tribes. In 363 Julian departed for the eastern Empire, where he was killed in battle with the Persians. [37] The collapse of the Roman empire, along with the Germanic invasions of the 5th-century, sent the city into a period of decline. By 400 AD, Lutèce was largely abandoned by its inhabitants, little more than a garrison town entrenched into a hastily fortified central island.[24]

Merovingian and Feudal eras

Clovis I, the first king of the Merovingian dynasty

The Paris region was under full control of the Salian Franks by the late 5th century. The Frankish king Clovis the Frank, the first king of the Merovingian dynasty, made the city his capital from 508 and was responsible for converting the city back to Christianity.[38] The late 8th century Carolingian dynasty displaced the Frankish capital to Aachen; this period coincided with the beginning of Viking invasions that had spread as far as Paris by the early 9th century.[38]

One of the most remarkable Viking raids was on 28 March 845, when Paris was invaded by some 200 Norse ships along the Seine and sacked and held ransom,[39] probably by Ragnar Lodbrok, who reputedly left only after receiving a large bounty paid by the crown. Repeated invasions forced Eudes, Count of Paris, to build a fortress on the Île de la Cité in 885 AD. However, the city soon suffered a siege lasting almost a year, eventually relieved by the Carolingian king, Charles “The Fat”, who instead of attacking allowed the besiegers to sail up the Seine and lay waste to Burgundy.[38] Eudes then took the crown for himself, plunging the French crown into dynastic turmoil lasting over a century until 987 AD when Hugh Capet, count of Paris, was elected king of France. Paris, under the Capetian kings, became a capital once more, and his coronation was seen by many historians as the moment marking the birth of modern France.[38]

Middle Ages to 18th century

The Château de Vincennes, built between the 14th and 17th centuries

Paris became prosperous and by the end of the 11th century, scholars, teachers and monks flocked to the city to engage in intellectual exchanges, to teach and be taught; Philippe-Auguste founded the University of Paris in 1200.[38] The guilds gradually became more powerful and were instrumental in inciting the first revolt after the king was captured by the English in 1356.[40] Paris’ population was around 200,000[41] when the Black Death arrived in 1348, killing as many as 800 people a day; 40,000 died from the plague in 1466.[42] During the 16th and 17th centuries, plague visited the city for almost one year out of three.[43] Paris lost its position as seat of the French realm during the occupation by the English-allied Burgundians during the Hundred Years’ War, but when Charles VII of France reclaimed the city from English rule in 1436, Paris became France’s capital once again in title, although the real centre of power remained in the Loire Valley[44] until King Francis I returned France’s crown residences to Paris in 1528.

During the French Wars of Religion, Paris was a stronghold of the Catholic party. In August 1572, under the reign of Charles IX, while many noble Protestants were in Paris on the occasion of the marriage of Henri of Navarre—the future Henri IV—to Margaret of Valois, sister of Charles IX, the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre occurred; beginning on 24 August, it lasted several days and spread throughout the country.[45][46]

In 1590 Henri IV unsuccessfully laid siege to the city in the Siege of Paris, but, threatened with usurpation from Philip II of Spain, he converted to Catholicism in 1594, and the city welcomed him as king.[40] The Bourbons, Henri’s family, spent vast amounts of money keeping the city under control, building the Île Saint-Louis as well as bridges and other infrastructure.[40] But unhappy with their lack of political representation, in 1648 Parisians rose in a rebellion known as the Fronde and the royal family fled the city. Louis XIV later moved the royal court permanently to Versailles, a lavish estate on the outskirts of Paris,[40] in 1682. The following century was an “Age of Enlightenment”; Paris’ reputation grew on the writings of its intellectuals such as the philosophers Montesquieu, Voltaire, and Diderot, the first volume of whose Encyclopédie was published in Paris in 1751.[47]

French Revolution

Main article: French Revolution
Left: Storming of the Bastille, by Jean-Pierre Houël (1789); right: Map of Paris and its vicinity c. 1735.

At the end of the century, Paris was the centre stage for the French Revolution; a bad harvest in 1788 caused food prices, mainly the price of bread, to rocket, and by the following year the sovereign debt had reached an unprecedented level.[48] On 14 July 1789, Parisians, appalled by the king’s pressure on the new assembly formed by the Third Estate, took siege of the Bastille fortress, a symbol of absolutism,[49] starting revolution and rejecting the divine right of monarchs in France. Jean-Sylvain Bailly, the first Mayor, was elected on 15 July 1789,[50] and two days later the national tricolour flag with the colours of Paris (blue and red) and of the King (white) was adopted at the Hôtel de Ville by Louis XVI.[51]

The Republic was declared on 22 September 1792. In 1793, Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette were executed on the Place de la Révolution, in Paris, the site of many executions. The guillotine was most active during the “Reign of Terror” (La Terreur), in the summer of 1794, when in a single month more than 1,300 people were executed. Following the Terror, the French Directory held control until it was overthrown in the 18 Brumaire coup d’état (9 November 1799) by Napoleon Bonaparte. Bonaparte put an end to the revolution and established the French Consulate, and then later was elected by plebiscite[52] as emperor Napoléon I of the First French Empire.[53]

19th century

For more details on this topic, see Paris during the Second Empire.

Paris was occupied by Russian and Allied armies upon Napoleon’s defeat on 31 March 1814; this was the first time in 400 years that the city had been conquered by a foreign power.[54] The ensuing Restoration period, or the return of the monarchy under Louis XVIII (1814–24) and Charles X, ended with the July Revolution Parisian uprising of 1830.[55] The new constitutional monarchy under Louis-Philippe ended with the 1848 “February Revolution” that led to the creation of the Second Republic.[56] Cholera epidemics in 1832 and 1850 ravaged the population of Paris: the 1832 epidemic alone claimed 20,000 of the population of 650,000.[57]

The greatest development in Paris’ history began with the Industrial Revolution creation of a network of railways that brought an unprecedented flow of migrants to the capital from the 1840s. The city’s largest transformation came between 1852 and 1870 during the Second Empire under Napoleon III; he launched an enormous public works program to built two hundred kilometers of wide new boulevards and streets, to replace the water supply and sewers, and to construct 1,835 hectares of new public parks, including the Bois de Boulogne, Bois de Vincennes, Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, Parc Montsouris and many smaller parks and squares. The program, conducted largely by his préfet of the Seine, Georges-Eugène Haussmann, had several purposes; to improve traffic circulation in the congested city center; to bring air and light and green space to the city residents; to create jobs for thousands of unemployed workers; and, secondarily, to make it more difficult to build barricades in neighborhoods which had been prone to uprisings in the past.[58] Haussmann imposed strict building standards on the new boulevards, setting the height, façade style, building material and color, which gave central Paris its distinctive look.[59] [60]

The red lines show the new boulevards begun by Napoleon III and his Prefect of the Seine, Georges-Eugène Haussmann. They also created four large new parks around the city, including the Bois de Boulogne and the Bois de Vincennes.

The Second Empire ended in the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71), and a besieged Paris under heavy bombardment surrendered on 28 January 1871. The Prussians briefly occupied the city, then took up positions nearby. On 28 March radicalized members of the National Guard rebelled and killed two French army generals. The remaining French army regular soldiers and government officials withdrew to Versailles, and the Paris National Guard elected a new government, the Paris Commune, dominated by anarchists and radical socialists commonly known as Communards. The Commune held power for only two months. Between 21 and 28 May, in what became known as “Bloody Week” (la semaine sanglante), the French army reconquered Paris. In the final days, the Communards executed several dozen hostages, including Georges Darboy, the archbishop of Paris, and set fire to the Tuileries Palace, the Hôtel de Ville, and other prominent government buildings. Between six and ten thousand Communards were killed in the fighting or summarily executed by firing squads afterwards.[61] [62] Thousands more were exiled, or fled abroad. They were amnestied in 1879-80 and most returned to France.[63]

France’s late 19th-century Universal Expositions made Paris an increasingly important centre of technology, trade, and tourism.[64] The most famous were the 1889 Exposition universelle to which Paris owes its “temporary” display of architectural engineering progress,[65] the Eiffel Tower, which remained the world’s tallest structure until 1930,[66] and the 1900 Universal Exposition, which saw the opening of the first Paris Métro line.[67]

20th century

During the First World War, Paris was at the forefront of the war effort, having been spared a German invasion by the French and British victory at the First Battle of the Marne in 1914, within earshot of the city.[68] In 1918–19 it was the scene of Allied victory parades and peace negotiations. In the inter-war period, Paris was famed for its cultural and artistic communities and its nightlife. The city became a gathering place of artists from around the world, including the exiled Russian composer Stravinsky, Spanish painters Picasso and Dalí, American writers Sherwood Anderson, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, [69] musicians Aaron Copland, Sidney Bechet and entertainers, such as Josephine Baker.

The Liberation of Paris, the French 2nd Armored Division on the Champs Élysées, 26 August 1944

On 10 June 1940, five weeks after the start of the Battle of France, the French government departed Paris and declared it an open city. On 14 June, the Germans entered Paris without resistance.[70] The same day German soldiers paraded past the Arc de Triomphe on the 140th anniversary of Napoleon‘s victory over the Austrians at the Battle of Marengo.[71] German forces remained in Paris until the city was liberated on 25 August 1944 (two and a half months after the Normandy invasion) by the French 2nd Armored Division and the US 4th Infantry Division, after a resistance uprising.[72] Paris emerged from the Second World War practically unscathed, as there were no strategic targets for Allied bombers (railway stations in central Paris are terminal stations; major factories were located in the suburbs), and despite orders to destroy the city and all historic monuments, the German commander Dietrich von Choltitz refused, gaining the popular title “Saviour of Paris” for his defiance of the Führer, Adolf Hitler.[73] The historical event is dramatised in the 1966 motion picture Is Paris Burning?.

In the post-war era, Paris experienced its largest development since the end of the Belle Époque in 1914. The suburbs began to expand considerably, with the construction of large social estates known as cités and the creation of La Défense, the business district. Additionally, a comprehensive express subway network, the RER, was built to complement the Métro and serve the distant suburbs, and a network of roads was developed in the suburbs centred on the Périphérique expressway encircling the city, which was completed in 1973.[74]

Since the 1970s, many inner suburbs of Paris (especially those in the north and east) have experienced deindustrialisation, and the once-thriving cités have gradually become ghettos for immigrants and experienced significant unemployment. At the same time, the city of Paris (within its Périphérique expressway) and the western and southern suburbs have successfully shifted their economic base from traditional manufacturing to high-value-added services and high-tech manufacturing, generating great wealth for their residents whose per capita income is the highest in France and among the highest in Europe.[75][76] The resulting widening social gap between these two areas has led to periodic unrest since the mid-1980s such as the 2005 riots, which were concentrated for the most part in the north-eastern suburbs.[77]

21st century

Provisional map of the future Grand Paris metro

A massive urban renewal project, the Grand Paris, was launched in 2007 by President Nicolas Sarkozy. It consists of various economic, cultural, housing, transport and environmental projects to reach a better integration of the territories and revitalise the metropolitan economy. The most emblematic project is the €26.5 billion construction by 2030 of a new automatic metro, which will consist of 200 kilometres (120 mi) of rapid-transit lines connecting the Grand Paris regions to one another and to the centre of Paris.[78] Nevertheless, the Paris metropolitan area is still divided into numerous territorial collectivities;[79] an ad-hoc structure, Paris Métropole, was established in June 2009 to coordinate the action of 184 “Île de France” territorial collectivities.[80]


Main article: Topography of Paris

Map showing location in relation to London and Calais

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.[81] 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) .[82] Montmartre gained its name from the martyrdom of Saint Denis, first bishop of Paris atop the “Mons Martyrum” (Martyr’s mound) in 250.

Excluding the outlying parks of Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes, Paris occupies an oval measuring about 87 km2 (34 sq mi) in area, enclosed by the 35 km (22 mi) ring road, the Boulevard Périphérique.[83] 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).[84] The metropolitan area of the city is 2,300 km2 (890 sq mi).[85]


Paris as seen from the Spot Satellite

Paris has a typical Western European oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification: Cfb ) which is affected by the North Atlantic Current. The overall climate throughout the year is mild and moderately wet.[86] 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.[87] 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.[88] 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).

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.[89] In winter, sunshine is scarce; days are cold but generally above freezing with temperatures around 7 °C (45 °F).[90] 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.[91]

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.[92]

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[93]


The Élysée Palace, residence of the French President

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,[94] while the Prime Minister‘s seat is at the Hôtel Matignon in the 7th arrondissement.[95][96] Government ministries are located in various parts of the city; many are located in the 7th arrondissement, near the Matignon.

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,[97] resides in the Petit Luxembourg, a smaller palace annex to the Palais du Luxembourg.[98]

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,[99] 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.[100] 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.[101] Each of Paris’ twenty arrondissements has its own town hall and a directly elected council (conseil d’arrondissement), which, in turn, elects an arrondissement mayor.[102] A selection of members from each arrondissement council form the Council of Paris (conseil de Paris), which, in turn, elects the mayor of Paris.

Paris and its region host the headquarters of many international organisations including UNESCO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the International Chamber of Commerce, the Paris Club, the European Space Agency, the International Energy Agency, the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, the European Union Institute for Security Studies, the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, the International Exhibition Bureau and the International Federation for Human Rights. Paris is today one of the world’s leading business and cultural centres and its influences in politics, education, entertainment, media, science, and the arts all contribute to its status as one of the world’s major global cities.[103] Paris has numerous partner cities,[104][105] but according to the motto “Only Paris is worthy of Rome; only Rome is worthy of Paris”;[104][106] the only sister city of Paris is Rome[105] and vice-versa.

City government

Paris has been a commune (municipality) since 1834 (and also briefly between 1790 and 1795). At the 1790 division (during the French Revolution) of France into communes, and again in 1834, Paris was a city only half its modern size, composed of 12 arrondissements,[107] but, in 1860, it annexed bordering communes, totally enclosing the surrounding towns (bourgs) either fully or partly, to create the new administrative map of 20 arrondissements (municipal districts) the city still has today. Every arrondissement has its own mayor, town hall, and special characteristics.


Extent of the urban and metropolitan areas of Paris at the 1999 census.

City proper, urban area, and metropolitan area population from 1800 to 2010.

2010 Census Paris Region[108][109]
Country/territory of birth Population
France Metropolitan France 9,078,457
Algeria Algeria 282,418
Portugal Portugal 241,915
Morocco Morocco 222,404
Tunisia Tunisia 105,458
Flag of Guadeloupe (local).svg Guadeloupe 80,377
Flag of Martinique.svg Martinique 75,039
Turkey Turkey 68,193
China China 58,329
Italy Italy 55,850
Mali Mali 53,799
Spain Spain 46,765
Main article: Demographics of Paris

As of the January 2011 census, the population of the city of Paris proper stood at 2,249,975,[4] while that of the Paris Metropolitan Area (the city, its suburbs, and the surrounding commuter belt) stood at 12,292,895.[3] 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.

Population evolution

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.[110] This trend toward de-densification of the centre was also observed in other large cities like London and New York City.

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,[4] despite persistent negative net migration and a fertility rate well below 2.[111] The population growth is explained by the high proportion of people in the 18-40 age range who are most likely to have children.[112] The Paris Metropolitan Area, whose population has grown uninterruptedly since the end of World War II, gained 937,000 inhabitants between 1999 and 2011.[3] Contrary to the city of Paris proper, the fertility rate of the overall metropolitan area is above 2 children per woman.[113]

Paris is one of the most densely populated cities in the world.[114] 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),[3] 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.


The GDP per capita in the Île-de-France region was around 49,800 euros in 2010.[115] The average net household income (after social, pension and health insurance contributions) was 36,085 euros in Paris for 2011.[116] It ranges from €22,095 in the 19th[117] arrondissement to €82,449 in the 7th[118] arrondissement. The median taxable income for 2011 was around 25,000 euros in Paris and 22,200 for Île-de-France.[119] 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.


Paris and its metropolitan area is one of the most multi-cultural in Europe: at the 2010 census, 23.0% of the total population in the Paris Region was born outside of Metropolitan France, up from 19.7% at the 1999 census.[120]

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.[121] 20% of the Paris population are first-generation international 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.[121]

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.[122] About one half of Île-de-France population was not born in the region.


Main article: Economy of Paris

La Défense, the largest dedicated business district in Europe.[123]

The Paris Region is France’s premier centre of economic activity, and with a 2011 GDP of 607 billion[124] (US$845 billion), it is not only the wealthiest area of France, but has one of the highest GDPs in the world, after Tokyo and New York,[125] making it an engine of the global economy. Were it a country, it would rank as the seventeenth-largest economy in the world.[126] While its population accounted for 18.8 percent of the total population of metropolitan France in 2011,[127] its GDP accounted for 31.0 per cent of metropolitan France’s GDP.[124] Wealth is heavily concentrated in the western suburbs of Paris, notably Neuilly-sur-Seine, one of the wealthiest areas of France.[128] This mirrors a sharp political divide, with political conservatism being much more common towards the western edge, whilst the political spectrum lies more to the left in the east.[129]

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.). However, in the 2009 European Green City Index, Paris was still listed as the second most “green” large city in Europe, after Berlin.[130] The Paris region’s most intense economic activity through the central Hauts-de-Seine département and suburban La Défense business district places Paris’ economic centre to the west of the city, in a triangle between the Opéra Garnier, La Défense and the Val de Seine. While the Paris economy is largely dominated by services, it remains an important manufacturing powerhouse of Europe, especially in industrial sectors such as automobiles, aeronautics, and electronics. The Paris Region hosts the headquarters of 30 of the Fortune Global 500 companies.[13]

The 1999 census indicated that, of the 5,089,170 persons employed in the Paris urban area, 16.5 per cent worked in business services; 13% in commerce (retail and wholesale trade); 12% in manufacturing; 10.0 per cent in public administrations and defence; 8.7 per cent in health services; 8% in transport and communications; 6.6 per cent in education, and the remaining 25% in many other economic sectors. In the manufacturing sector, the largest employers were the electronic and electrical industry (17.9 per cent of the total manufacturing workforce in 1999) and the publishing and printing industry (14.0 per cent of the total manufacturing workforce), with the remaining 68% of the manufacturing workforce distributed among many other industries. Tourism and tourist related services employ 6% of Paris’ workforce, and 3.6 per cent of all workers within the Paris Region. Sources place unemployment in the Paris “immigrant ghettos” at 20 to 40 per cent.[131]

Paris receives around 28 million tourists per year,[132] of which 17 million are foreign visitors,.[133] In 2013-2014, Paris received 15.57 million international overnight visitors, which made Paris the third most popular tourist destination city, after London and Bangkok.[134] Paris has four UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Its museums and monuments are among its highest-esteemed attractions; tourism has motivated both the city and national governments to create new ones. 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).[135] Disneyland Paris, in Marne-la-Vallée, 32 km (20 miles) east of centre of Paris, is a major tourist attraction for visitors to not only Paris but also the rest of Europe, with 14.5 million visitors in 2007.


Panorama of Paris as seen from the Eiffel Tower as a 270-degree view. The river flows from right to left, from the north-east to the south-west.


Boulevard Montmartre, by Camille Pissarro (1897)

The architecture in Paris has been constrained by laws related to the height and shape of buildings at least since the 17th century,[136] to the point that alignement and (often uniformity of height) of buildings is a characteristic and recognizable trait of Paris streets in spite of the evolution of architectural styles. However, a large part of contemporary Paris has been affected by the vast mid-19th century urban remodelling.

By the middle of the 19th century, the centre of the city was a labyrinth of narrow, winding streets, without sidewalks, between crumbling four and five story buildings; many neighbourhoods were dark, unhealthy, and dangerous. Beginning in 1853, Napolean III and his préfet de Seine Georges-Eugène Haussmann, demolished two thousand buildings and eliminated forty streets, and built two hundred kilometres of wide new boulevards, squares and parks, along with sidewalks, sewers, and street lighting. Haussmann established standards for the height, general design and the materials used for the buildings along the new boulevards, giving the centre of Paris the distinct unity and look that it has today.[137]

The building code has been slightly relaxed since the 1850s, but the Second Empire plans are in many cases more or less followed. An “alignement” law is still in place, which regulates a building’s height according to the width of the streets it borders, and under the regulation, it is almost impossible to get an approval to build a taller building.[138] However, specific authorizations allowed for the construction of many high-rise buildings in the 1960s and early 1970s, most of them limited to a height of 100 m, in peripheral arrondissements.

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.[139] 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.[140] Paris’ 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.[141] Many of Paris’ important institutions are located outside the city limits; the financial business district is in La Défense, and many of the educational institutions lie in the southern suburbs.

Landmarks by district

The 1st arrondissement, on the right bank of the Seine and partly on Île de la Cité (which it shares with the 4th arrondissement), forms much of the historic centre of Paris. The Louvre, Palais de Justice, Sainte-Chapelle, Conciergerie are among Paris’ oldest buildings. The 1st arrondissement is also home to Palais-Royal, Comédie-Française, Musée de l’Orangerie, Théâtre du Châtelet. Les Halles were formerly Paris’ central meat and produce market and, since the late 1970s, have been a major shopping centre.[142] Place Vendôme is famous for its elegant hôtels particuliers, such as the Hôtel de Gramont (18th century), now the luxurious palace-hotel Ritz, the Hôtel Duché des Tournelles (18th century), which now belongs to Chanel. The Hôtel de Toulouse (17th century), near Place des Victoires, the Parisian residence of the Comte de Toulouse, is since 1811 the seat of the Banque de France. Luxury hotels such as The Westin Paris – Vendôme, the Hôtel Meurice, and the Hôtel Regina are also located in the 1st arrondissement, all close to the Tuileries Gardens.[143] The Axe historique (historical axis), is an unobstructed line of monuments that begins in the 1st arrondissement at the equestrian statue of Louis XIV in the Cour Napoléon of the Louvre, runs east to west through the center of the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, the Tuileries Garden, the Luxor Obelisk at the center of Place de la Concorde, Champs Élysées, Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile, Avenue de la Grande Armée, Pont de Neuilly and ends at La Grande Arche de la Défense in Puteaux. With its start in the 1st arrondissement, the Axe historique crosses the 8th, then the border between the 16th and 17th arrondissements before continuing its straight course outside of Paris.[144]

The 2nd arrondissement, on the right bank, lies to the north of the 1st and is overlapping into the 3rd. It is the theatre district of Paris,[145] with the Théâtre des Capucines, Théâtre-Musée des Capucines, Opéra-Comique, Théâtre des Variétés, Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens, Théâtre du Vaudeville and Théâtre Feydeau. Also of note are the Académie Julian, Bibliothèque nationale de France (former Palais Mazarin, 17th century), Café Anglais and Galerie Vivienne.[146] Boulevard des Capucines, Boulevard Montmartre, Boulevard des Italiens, Rue de Richelieu and Rue Saint-Denis are major thoroughfares running through the district.

The 3rd arrondissement is located to the north-east of the 1st, on the right bank of the Seine. It is a culturally open place with Chinese, Jewish and gay communities, and architecturally very well preserved. At 51 rue de Montmorency, stands the oldest house of Paris, the Maison de Nicolas Flamel, built in 1407. Museums are in former hôtels particuliers: the Musée des Archives nationales (Hôtel de Soubise, 16th and 17th centuries), the Musée Carnavalet (Hôtel Le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau, 17th century). The Musée des Arts et Métiers (Saint-Martin-des-Champs Priory, 12th/20th centuries). The Musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme (Hôtel de Saint-Aignan, 17th century) and the Musée Picasso (Hôtel Salé, 17th century) are in Le Marais, a trendy district spanning the 3rd and 4th arrondissements. Two well-known theatres are Théâtre Déjazet and Théâtre du Marais.[147] Place des Vosges, the oldest planned square in Paris, built by Henry IV at the turn of the 17th century, lies at the border of the 3rd and 4th arrondissements. [148] The 3rd arrondissement extends to Place de la République (former Place du Château d’eau), which it shares with the 10th and 11th arrondissements.

The 4th arrondissement, on the right bank of the Seine and also the eastern part of Île de la Cité and Île Saint-Louis, is located to the east of the 1st. The 12th-century cathedral Notre Dame de Paris on the Île de la Cité is the best-known landmark of the 4th arrondissement. Among other notable monuments are the Hôtel de Ville, Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal, Centre Georges Pompidou, also known as Beaubourg, . In Le Marais, the Bibliothèque historique de la ville de Paris, Centre des monuments nationaux (Hôtel de Sully, 17th century), La Force Prison (demolished in 1845), Lycée Charlemagne, Maison de Victor Hugo (Place des Vosges), the Mémorial de la Shoah, and others. Place de la Bastille (4th, 11th and 12th arrondissements, right bank) is a district of great historical significance, for not just Paris, but for all of France. Because of its symbolic value, the square is often the site of political demonstrations. In its center, stands the Colonne de Juillet commemorating the July 1830 revolution.[149]

Place de la Bastille with the July Column in its center

The 5th arrondissement, on the left bank, contains the Quartier Latin (also spanning the 6th), a 12th-century scholastic centre, formerly stretching between the left bank’s Place Maubert and the Sorbonne campus of the University of Paris, its oldest and most famous college.[150] It also houses other higher-education establishments, such as the Collège de France, Collège Sainte-Barbe, Collège international de philosophie, École Normale Supérieure, Lycée Henri-IV, Lycée Louis-le-Grand. Of high interest are also the Arènes de Lutèce, Musée national du Moyen Âge, Institut Curie, the Val-de-Grâce, Jardin des Plantes, the church Saint-Nicolas-du-Chardonnet, the Mosquée de Paris, the Institut du Monde Arabe. The Panthéon is a mausoleum where many of France’s illustrious personalities are buried: 70 men and two women: Marie Curie and Sophie Berthelot.[151] In addition to places of learning and monuments, the 5th arrondissement, known for its lively atmosphere, is filled with bookstores, restaurants, cafés, places of entertainment such as the Théâtre de la Huchette, Le Caveau de la Huchette (a jazz club), and others.

The 6th arrondissement, to the south of the centre and on the left bank of the Seine, has numerous hotels, cafés, restaurants, cinémas and also educational institutions. One of the most expensive residential districts of Paris per square meter, it includes the Luxembourg Palace (Palais du Luxembourg) and the Saint-Germain-des-Prés quarter. Adjoining the Palais du Luxembourg is the renowned Jardin du Luxembourg (with a replica of the Statue of Liberty offered by its creator Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi in 1900). Although not as many as its neighbouring 5th arrondissement, the 6th holds several prestigious institutions, such as the Institut de France, the Théâtre de l’Odéon, the Académie Nationale de Médecine, Lycée Fénelon, Lycée Montaigne, Lycée Saint-Louis, the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts. The Saint-Germain-des-Prés quarter was named after the medieval Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Some of its main points of interest are cafés such as Les Deux Magots, Café de Flore, Café Procope and also Brasserie Lipp. The Hôtel de Chimay and Hôtel de Vendôme (which houses the École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris), are former hôtels particuliers.

The 7th arrondissement lies to the southwest of the centre, on the left bank of the Seine. Like the sixth, it is one of the most expensive residential districts of Paris. Its main tourist attraction, the Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel), was built as a “temporary” construction for the 1889 Exposition universelle. Among other monuments and historical landmarks of the 7th arrondissement are, the Champ de Mars, École militaire, Les Invalides, where are buried Napoleon I, his son, Napoleon II, known as the Roi de Rome, as well as France’s great field marshals, generals and war heroes. Also in the 7th arrondissement are the Palais Bourbon, which houses the Assemblée nationale, the Hôtel Matignon, official residence of the Prime Minister, most of the important ministries (agriculture, defence, education, foreign affairs, health, transports), several embassies, the Musée d’Orsay and the Hôtel Biron, an 18th-century hôtel particulier, which houses the Musée Rodin.

Avenue des Champs-Élysées during Christmas and New Year’s celebrations

The 8th arrondissement, on the right bank, is bordered by the 1st and 9th arrondissements (east), the 16th (west), the 17th (north), and the 7th across the Seine (south). It is a highly touristic and business area of Paris with shopping and elegant streets, such as Rue Royale, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Avenue George V, Avenue Montaigne, Avenue des Champs-Élysées, streets and avenues that host world-renowned labels: Dior, Christian Lacroix,[152] Sephora, Lancel, Louis Vuitton, Guerlain, as well as Mercedes-Benz, Renault, Toyota.[153] Several former hôtels particuliers or princely residences have now become government buildings: in the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, the Élysée Palace, residence of the President of the Republic, the Embassy of Canada and the Hôtel de Pontalba, residence of the United States Ambassador to France; in the Avenue Marigny, the Hôtel de Marigny, residence of visiting high foreign dignitaries; on Place de la Concorde, the Hôtel de la Marine, which houses the headquarters of the French Navy, with its twin building to the west, the Hôtel de Crillon, a luxury hotel owned by the king of Saudi Arabia and which faces the Embassy of the United States. Among its historical landmarks are the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile, La Madeleine church, Gare Saint-Lazare, the museums Grand Palais and Petit Palais, Palais de la Découverte, the Pont Alexandre III, the Théâtre des Champs Élysées, the concert halls Salle Gaveau and Salle Pleyel, cabarets Le Lido and Crazy Horse, luxury hotels, such as Le Bristol, and several renowned restaurants, among which Les Ambassadeurs, Fouquet’s, Ledoyen, Maxim’s and Taillevent.

The 9th arrondissement, north of the heart of Paris, on the right bank, is a district where stands the renowned Opéra Garnier built in the later Second Empire period, on the Place de l’Opéra. It houses the Paris Opera and the Paris Opera Ballet.[154] Among the theatres, cinemas, music halls, concert halls, cafés and museums of the 9th arrondissement are Théâtre de l’Athénée-Louis-Jouvet, Théâtre de Paris, the cinema Gaumont-Opéra, since 1927 on the site of the former Théâtre du Vaudeville, Casino de Paris, Folies Bergère, Olympia, Café de la Paix, Grand Café Capucines, Musée Grévin, Musée de la Vie Romantique, Musée du Parfum de Fragonard, and Musée national Gustave Moreau. The 9th arrondissement is also the location of the Grand Synagogue of Paris, and the capital’s densest concentration of department stores and office buildings including the Printemps and Galeries Lafayette department stores, and the Paris headquarters of BNP Paribas and American Express.[155]

The 10th arrondissement, on the right bank, lies north-east of the centre and is a continuation of the theatre district with several theatres including Théâtre Antoine-Simone Berriau, Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord and Théâtre de la Renaissance. Also of note are Musée de l’Éventail, Hôpital Saint-Louis, The Kurdish Digital Library, Lariboisière Hospital, Lycée Edgar-Poe, Prison Saint-Lazare and the Saint-Laurent and Saint-Vincent-de-Paul churches.[156] The Alhambra music hall opened in 2008. The train stations Gare de Paris-Nord and Gare de Paris-Est are both located in the 10th arrondissement. At 39, rue du Château-d’Eau is Paris smallest house with a width of 1,10 m and a height of 5 metres.

The 11th arrondissement, on the right bank, is located west of the 20th arrondissement in the eastern part of Paris. It contains the squares Place de la Nation, Place de la République, Place du 8 Février 1962, the theatres Bataclan, Théâtre des Folies-Dramatiques, Théâtre de l’Ambigu-Comique, Théâtre des Délassements-Comiques, Théâtre de la Bastille and Théâtre des Funambules, the museums Musée du Fumeur and Musée Édith Piaf,[157] and the La Roquette Prisons (closed in 1974).

The 12th arrondissement, on the right bank in the south-eastern suburbs of Paris, is separated from the 13th by the Seine with several bridges. The district contains Place de la Bastille and Place de la Nation (bordering the 11th), with Boulevard de la Bastille one of its main thoroughfares, the train station Paris-Gare de Lyon, Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy, Hôpital Saint-Antoine, the former 12th century Saint-Antoine-des-Champs abbey converted into a hospital in 1791 during the Convention period of the French Revolution, Picpus Cemetery, Parc de Bercy, Bois de Vincennes, the Buddhist temples Kagyu-Dzong and Pagode de Vincennes,[158] Opéra Bastille, the main facility of the Paris National Opera, whose architect was the Uruguayan Carlos Ott, was inaugurated in 1989 as part of President François Mitterrand’s “Grands Travaux”.[159]

The 13th arrondissement, on the left bank, lies on the southeast of Paris, south of the 5th, east of the 14th and west of the 12th, with the Seine separating these two arrondissements. It contains the Quartier Asiatique (Asian Quarter), Floral City, Butte-aux-Cailles, the Italie 2 shopping centre with some 130 stores,[160] the train station Gare d’Austerlitz, the tapestry making Gobelins Manufactory and institutions such as the Bibliothèque nationale de France and École Estienne.

The 14th arrondissement, on the left bank and in the southern part of Paris, between the 13th (on its east) and the 15th (on its west), bordered on its north by the 5th and 6th arrondissements, contains the historic Quartier Montparnasse famous for its artists’ studios, music halls, theatres (Théâtre Montparnasse), cinemas, restaurants (La Coupole) and café life.[161] The Montparnasse Cemetery, the large Montparnasse – Bienvenüe metro station adjacent to Gare Montparnasse train station (sharing its location with the 15th), and the lone 59-story skyscraper Tour Maine-Montparnasse are located there. Among other sites of interest are the Catacombs of Paris, with entrance at Place Denfert-Rochereau, the Paris Observatory, the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris, La Santé Prison and Parc Montsouris.

The 15th arrondissement, on the left bank and in the south-western part of the city, is the most heavily populated arrondissement. It is has six bridges, among which Pont du Garigliano, Pont Mirabeau, and Pont aval (reserved for automobile traffic only). A number of institutions are based in the 15th arrondissement including the hospitals Hôpital Européen Georges-Pompidou and Necker-Enfants Malades Hospital, and the French automobile company Citroën had several factories which were replaced by the Parc André Citroën. There are above forty espaces verts, i.e. public gardens, squares and open spaces, in the 15th, among which, the Allée des Cygnes on the Île aux Cygnes, the Jardin Atlantique, created on the roof covering the platform above the rails at the Gare Montparnasse train station, the Parc Georges-Brassens, with the reputation of being one of the most beautiful of the arrondissement. The Palais des Sports was built in 1960 to replace the old Vel’ d’Hiv and has hosted many notable spectacles over the years, such as musical events, boxing matches, the Moscow Circus, and more. [162] The business district Val de Seine, straddling the 15th arrondissement and the communes of Issy-les-Moulineaux and Boulogne-Billancourt to the south-west of central Paris, is the new media hub of Paris and France, hosting the headquarters of most of France’s TV networks such as TF1, France 2 and Canal+.[163]

The 16th arrondissement, on the right bank and marking the western side of the city, is the largest district of Paris. It lies between the 15th and 7th arrondissements (on its east and separated by the Seine), the 8th and 17th (north) up to Place Charles-de-Gaulle, the Bois de Boulogne (west), and the suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt (south). It is a wealthy residential district, where are located many embassies and consulates, several museums and theatres, Radio France and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Sport installations, such as the Parc de Princes, home of the football club Paris Saint-Germain F.C., the Stade Roland Garros, which hosts the annual French Open tennis tournament, the Tennis Club de Paris, the Stade de Paris rugby club, Longchamp Racecourse, and the Auteuil Hippodrome, a horse racing venue established in 1873 and which hosted the equestrian events of the 1924 Summer Olympics, are in the 16th arrondissement.[164] Among the many points of interest are the Jardins du Trocadéro between the Eiffel Tower (in the 7th, on the other side of the Seine) and the Palais de Chaillot, which also houses the Musée national de la Marine, the Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris, Palais de Tokyo, Musée Marmottan Monet, the Jardin d’acclimatation, Passy Cemetery, the Parc de Bagatelle, in the Bois de Boulogne, with its beautiful rose garden, the Roseraie de Bagatelle created in 1905, and which is the site every June of the Concours international de roses nouvelles de Bagatelle, an international competition of newly created roses. The 16th arrondissement has also been the site of the shooting of many films.[165]

Place Charles de Gaulle and the Arc de Triomphe

The 17th arrondissement, on the right bank, is on the north-west side of Paris, bordering the suburbs of Neuilly-sur-Seine and Levallois-Perret (west), Clichy-la-Garenne and Saint-Ouen (north), 18th arrondissement (east), and 16th (south), from which it is separated by the avenue de la Grande-Armée which leads beyond Neuilly-sur-Seine to the Arche de la Défense, the western end of the Axe historique, in La Défense business district. Like the arrondissements surrounding it (except the 18th), the 17th is a wealthy residential district home to several embassies. It has several squares, including Place Charles de Gaulle (meeting point of the 8th, 16th and 17th arrondissements), Place de Wagram, Place des Ternes, and green spaces, such as Square des Batignolles, not far from the Parc Clichy-Batignolles – Martin Luther King, in the Batignolles quarter, and the Batignolles Cemetery (which has some 900 trees), in the Épinettes quarter.

The 18th arrondissement, on the right bank and on the northern edge of the city, is also the capital’s highest point, with an altitude of 130,53 metres. It borders the 17th arrondissement (west), the 9th and 10th (south), the 19th (east) and the Seine-Saint-Denis department (north). It includes the former village of Montmartre, a historic area on the hill Butte Montmartre, associated with artists, studios and cafés.[166] After the 15th, it is the most populated arrondissements of Paris. Some of its interesting landmarks are the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur (most visited monument in France after Notre Dame cathedral), the windmill Moulin de la galette, the cabarets Moulin Rouge and Lapin Agile, the bar-restaurant theatre Les Trois Baudets, Quartier Pigalle, the market Marché de La Chapelle and the Montmartre Cemetery, one of the three largest cemeteries in Paris.

The 19th arrondissement and 20th arrondissements mark the north-east/eastern suburbs of the city, and contain the neighbourhood of Belleville. During the first half of the 20th century, many immigrants settled in this area: German Jews fleeing the Third Reich in 1933, and Spaniards in 1939, and it became a “Jewish ghetto”.[167] Many Algerians and Tunisian Jews arrived in the early 1960s. Belleville is home to one of the largest congregations of the Reformed Church of France, and contains the Église Réformée de Belleville. The 19th contains the Conservatoire de Paris, a prestigious music and dance school, established in 1795.[168] Several canals run through the 19th arrondissement: Canal Saint-Martin becomes Canal de l’Ourcq below the Place de la Bataille-de-Stalingrad, which commemorates the Battle of Stalingrad. The Zénith de Paris, one of the largest concert venues in Paris with a capacity of 6,293 people, is located here.[169]

Parks and gardens

The Grand basin in the Tuileries Garden, the oldest park in the city.

The lawns of the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont on a sunny day

Paris today has more than 421 municipal parks and gardens, covering more than three thousand hectares and containing more than 250,000 trees.[170] Two of Paris’ oldest and most famous gardens are the Tuileries Garden, created in 1564 for the Tuileries Palace, and redone by André Le Nôtre in 1664;, [171] and the Luxembourg Garden, belonging to a château built for Marie de’ Medici in 1612, which today houses the French Senate. [172] 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.[173] 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 neighborhoods of the city.[170] One hundred sixty-six new parks have been created since 1977, most notably the Parc de la Villette (1987-1991) and Parc André Citroën (1992).[170] The newest park in Paris, the Promenade des Berges de la Seine, built on a former highway on the left bank of the Seine between the Pont de l’Alma and the Musee d’Orsay, offers floating gardens and an exceptional view of the city’s landmarks.

Water and sanitation

A view of the Seine from the Pont Neuf

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.[174] 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.[175] From then on, the new reservoir system became Paris’ principal source of drinking water, and the remains of the old system, pumped into lower levels of the same reservoirs, were from then on used for the cleaning of Paris’ streets. This system is still a major part of Paris’ modern water-supply network. Today Paris has over 2,400 km (1,491 mi) of underground passageways[176] dedicated to the evacuation of Paris’ liquid wastes.

In 1982, the then mayor, Jacques Chirac, introduced the motorcycle-mounted Motocrotte to remove dog faeces from Paris streets.[177] 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.[178] The air pollution in Paris, from the point of view of particulate matter (pm10), is the highest in France, with 38 µg/m³.[179]


The Paris Catacombs hold the remains of approximately 6 million people

In Paris’ Roman era, its main cemetery was located to the outskirts of the left bank settlement, but this changed with the rise of Catholicism, where most every inner-city church had adjoining burial grounds for use by their parishes. With Paris’ growth many of these, particularly the city’s largest cemetery, les Innocents, were filled to overflowing, creating quite unsanitary conditions for the capital. When inner-city burials were condemned from 1786, the contents of all Paris’ parish cemeteries were transferred to a renovated section of Paris’ stone mines outside the “Porte d’Enfer” city gate, today place Denfert-Rochereau in the 14th arrondissement.[180][181] The process of moving bones from Cimetière des Innocents to the Catacombs took place between 1786 and 1814;[182] 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,.[183] 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 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 BobignyPantin, the Cimetière Parisien d’Ivry, and the Cimetière Parisien de Bagneux.


Main article: Culture of Paris


Main article: Art in Paris

Painting and sculpture

Pierre Mignard, self-portrait

For centuries, Paris has attracted artists from around the world, arriving 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”.[184] Italian artists were a profound influence on the development of art in Paris in the 16th and 17th centuries, particular 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 a reputation were being the finest artists in the royal court in 17th century France. Pierre Mignard became first painter to the king during this period. In 1648, the 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.[185] Paris was in its artistic prime in the 19th century and early 20th century, when Paris had a colony of artists established in the city, with art schools associated with some of the finest painters of the times. 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 Géricault.[185] Impressionism, Expressionism, Fauvism and Cubism movements evolved in Paris.[185] 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.[186] Painters such as Pablo Picasso, Henry Matisse, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, Jean Metzinger, Albert Gleizes, María Blanchard, Henri Rousseau, Amedeo Modigliani and many others became associated with Paris. Montparnasse and Montmartre became centers for artistic production. The Golden Age of the Paris School ended with World War II, but Paris remains extremely important to world art and art schooling, with institutions ranging from the Paris College of Art to the Paris American Academy, specialised in teaching fashion and interior design.[187]


The Louvre

The Louvre is the world’s most visited art museum, housing many works of art, including the Mona Lisa (La Joconde) and the Venus de Milo statue.[188] There are hundreds of museums in Paris. Works by Pablo Picasso and Auguste Rodin are found in the Musée Picasso[189] and the Musée Rodin,[190] respectively, while the artistic community of Montparnasse is chronicled at the Musée du Montparnasse.[191] Starkly apparent with its service-pipe exterior, the Centre Georges Pompidou, also known as Beaubourg, houses the Musée National d’Art Moderne.[192]

Art and artefacts from the Middle Ages and Impressionist eras are kept in the Musée de Cluny and the Musée d’Orsay,[193] respectively, the former with the prized tapestry cycle The Lady and the Unicorn. Paris’ newest (and third-largest) museum, the Musée du quai Branly, opened its doors in June 2006 and houses art from Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas, including many from Mesoamerican cultures.[194]


Paris 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 Eugene 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.[185] Paris also become the hotbed for an emerging art form in the late 19th century, poster art, advocated by the likes of Gavarni.[185]


Victor Hugo, one of Paris’ greatest authors

Countless books and novels have been set in Paris. Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, is one of the best known. The book was received so rapturously that it inspired a series of renovations of its setting, the Notre-Dame de Paris.[195] Another of Victor Hugo’s works, Les Misérables is set in Paris, against the backdrop of slums and penury.[196] Another immortalised French author, Honoré de Balzac, completed a good number of his works in Paris, including his masterpiece La Comédie humaine.[197] Other Parisian authors (by birth or residency) include Alexandre Dumas (The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later),[198]

The American novelist Ernest Hemingway, like many other expatriate writers, emigrated to Paris, where he was introduced to such varying cultural figures as Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris, James Joyce, and Gertrude Stein, who became his mentor. While in Paris, he produced works including The Sun Also Rises and Indian Camp.[199] The Irish author James Joyce emigrated to Paris and lived there for more than 20 years, concluding his Ulysses, in the city. He also produced numerous poems while in Paris, published in collections including Pomes Penyeach, and Finnegans Wake.[200] Another Irish author to have emigrated to Paris is Samuel Beckett, referred to as either the last modernist or the first postmodernist.[201]

Entertainment and performing arts


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.[149] 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).

Theatre traditionally has occupied a large place in Parisian culture. This still holds true today, and many of its most popular actors today are also stars of French television. Some of Paris’ major theatres include Bobino, the Théâtre Mogador, and the Théâtre de la Gaîté-Montparnasse.[202] Some Parisian theatres have also doubled as concert halls. Many of France’s greatest musical performers, such as Édith Piaf, Maurice Chevalier, Georges Brassens, and Charles Aznavour, found their fame in Parisian concert halls such as Le Lido, Bobino, l’Olympia and le Splendid.


Main article: Music in Paris

In the late 12th century, a school of polyphony was established at the Notre-Dame. A group of Parisian aristocrats, known as Trouvères, became known for their poetry and songs. During the reign of Francois I, the lute became popular in the French court, and a national musical printing house was established.[185] 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.[185] The Conservatoire de Musique de Paris was founded in 1795.[203] By 1870, Paris had become the most important centre for ballet music, and composers such as Debussy and Ravel contributed much to symphonic music.[185] 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.[204] 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,[205] 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.[206]

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.[205] 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.[207] Some of the finest manouche musicians in the world are found here playing the cafes of the city at night.[207] Some of the more notable jazz venues include the New Morning, Le Sunset, La Chope des Puces and Bouquet du Nord.[206][207] Several yearly festivals take place in Paris, including the Paris Jazz Festival and the rock festival Rock en Seine.[208] The Orchestre de Paris was established in 1967.[209]


Le Grand Rex tower

Antoine Lumière launched the world’s first projection, the Cinematograph, in Paris on 28 December 1895.[210][211][212] Many of Paris’ concert/dance halls were transformed into movie theatres when the media became popular beginning in the 1930s. Later, most of the largest cinemas were divided into multiple, smaller rooms. Paris’ largest cinema today is by far Le Grand Rex theatre with 2,800 seats,[213] whereas other cinemas all have fewer than 1,000 seats. There is now a trend toward modern multiplexes that contain more than 10 or 20 screens.

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.[214] 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.[215][216][217]


See also: French cuisine

Paris is renowned for its haute cuisine, food meticulously prepared and presented, often accompanied by fine wines, served and celebrated by expensive restaurants and hotels. A city of culinary finesse, as of 2013 Paris has 85 Michelin-starred restaurants, second in the world to only Tokyo,[218] and many of the world’s leading chefs operate restaurants serving French cuisine in Paris such as Alain Ducasse and Joël Robuchon.[219] As of 2013, Paris has ten 3-Michelin-star restaurants, the most coveted award in the restaurant business; these include Ducasse’s Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Alain Passards‘s L’Arpège, Yannick Alleno‘s Le Meurice in the Hôtel Meurice, Eric Frechon‘s restaurant at Hotel le Bristol, and Pierre Gagnaire.[219] Joël Robuchon, the chef with the most Michelin stars worldwide, runs L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon and La Table de Joël Robuchon in Paris, both of which are 2 Michelin-star restaurants.[219]

The growth of the railway in the late 19th century led to the capital becoming a focal point for immigration from France’s many different regions and gastronomical cultures. As a result, cuisine in the city is diverse, and almost any cuisine can be consumed in the city, with over 9,000 restaurants.[220] Hotel building was another result of widespread travel and tourism in the 19th century, especially Paris’ late-19th-century Expositions Universelles (World’s Fairs). Of the most luxurious of these, the Hôtel Ritz appeared in the Place Vendôme in 1898,[221][222] and the Hôtel de Crillon opened its doors on the north side of the Place de la Concorde, starting in 1909.


IFA Paris Fashion show, 2012

Paris is a global hub of fashion and has been referred to as the “international capital of style”.[223] It ranks alongside New York, Milan and London as a major centre for the fashion industry. Paris is noted for its haute couture tailoring, usually made from high-quality, expensive fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail and finished by the most experienced and capable seamstresses, often using time-consuming, hand-executed techniques. The twice-yearly Paris Fashion Week, an apparel trade show, is one of the most important events on the fashion calendar and attracts fashion aficionados from all around the world. Established in 1976, the Paris Fashion Institute offers courses in design, manufacturing, marketing, merchandising, and retailing.[224] International Fashion Academy Paris is an international fashion school, established in 1982 and headquartered in Paris, with branches in Shanghai and Istanbul.[225]

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.[226] Printemps has the largest shoe and beauty departments in Europe.[226] 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”.[226] Petit Bateau is cited as one of the most popular high street stores in the city,[226] the Azzedine Alaïa store on the Rue de Moussy has been cited as a “shoe lover’s haven”,[226] and Colette is noted for its “brick-and-click” clothing and fashion accessories. The jeweller Cartier, with its flagship boutique near Paris’ place Vendôme, has a long history of sales to royalty and celebrities:[227] King Edward VII of England once referred to Cartier as “the jeweller of kings and the king of jewellers.”[228] Guerlain, one of the world’s oldest existing perfumeries, has its headquarters in the north-western suburb of Levallois-Perret.


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.[229] 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.[230] 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.[230]


Left: Notre-Dame de Paris; right:Chapel of the Invalides.

Like the rest of France, Paris has been predominantly Roman Catholic since the Middle Ages, though religious attendance is now low. Political instability in the Third Republic was a result of disagreements about the role of the Church in society.[231] The French Constitution makes no mention of the religious affiliations of its people and allows the freedom to practice any religion of their choice provided it was done as a private matter.[232]

Some of the notable churches in Paris are: Notre-Dame de Paris, the most famous Gothic structure (the cathedral where Napoleon declared himself emperor in 1804);[233] La Madeleine (Church of St. Mary Magdalene), built in 1806 in the form of a Roman temple;[234] Sainte-Chapelle, built in 1247–50 in Gothic Rayonnant style and damaged in the French Revolution, it was restored in the 19th century by Viollet-le-Duc;[235] Chapel of Les Invalides (Church of Saint-Louis), built between 1671–91;[236] Sacré-Coeur Basilica (Basilique du Sacré-Coeur), built from 1876–1912;[237] Saint-Sulpice (1646–1776); Le Panthéon (1756–97), in Neoclassical style; and Basilique Saint-Denis (1136).[238]


Paris’ most popular sport clubs are the association football club Paris Saint-Germain FC, the basketball team Paris-Levallois Basket, and the rugby union clubs Stade Français and Racing Métro. The 80,000-seat Stade de France, built for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, is located in Saint-Denis.[239] It is used for football, rugby union and track and field athletics. It hosts annually French national rugby team‘s home matches of the Six Nations Championship, French national association football team for friendlies and major tournaments qualifiers, and several important matches of the Stade Français rugby team.[239] In addition to Paris Saint-Germain FC, the city has a number of other amateur football clubs: Paris FC, Red Star, RCF Paris and Stade Français Paris.

2010 Tour de France, Champs Elysées

Paris hosted the 1900 and 1924 Olympic Games and was venue for the 1938 and 1998 FIFA World Cups and for the 2007 Rugby World Cup. 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.[240] The 2006 UEFA Champions League Final between Arsenal and FC Barcelona was played in the Stade de France.[241] Paris hosted the 2007 Rugby World Cup final at Stade de France on 20 October 2007.[242] 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,[243] is one of the four Grand Slam events of the world professional tennis tour. The city has also hosted the Paris City Chess Championship since 1925, and has also hosted the Paris 1867 chess tournament and Paris 1900 chess tournament.


Main article: Education in Paris

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,[244] while 13 per cent have no diploma, the third lowest percentage in France.

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’ scholastic Latin Quarter best represented by the Sorbonne university.[245] 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.[246]

Paris is home to several of France’s most prestigious high-schools such as Lycée Louis-le-Grand, Lycée Henri-IV, Lycée Janson de Sailly and Lycée Condorcet. Other high-schools of international renown in the Paris area include the Lycée International de Saint Germain-en-Laye and the École Active Bilingue Jeannine Manuel.

The Paris region hosts France’s highest concentration of the prestigious 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.[247] There are a high number of engineering schools, led by the prestigious 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’ 7th arrondissement. The Parisian school of journalism CELSA department of the Paris-Sorbonne University is located in Neuilly-sur-Seine.[248]


Main article: Libraries in Paris

The Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) operates public libraries in Paris, among them the François-Mitterrand Library, Richelieu Library, Louvois, Opéra Library, and Arsenal Library.[249]

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.[250] 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.[250]

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.[251]
Other academic libraries include Interuniversity Pharmaceutical Library, Leonardo da Vinci University Library, Ecole des Mines Library, and the René Descartes University Library.[252]


Agence France-Presse Headquarters in Paris

Paris and suburbs are 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.[253] France’s two most prestigious newspapers, Le Monde and Le Figaro, are the centrepieces of the Parisian publishing industry.[254] 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.[255] France 24 is a television news channel owned and operated by the French government, and is based in Paris.[256] 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.[257]

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.[258] 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.[259] 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.[260]


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

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.[261] 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.[261]

One of the most notable hospitals is the Hôtel-Dieu, said to have been founded in 651, the oldest hospital in the city.[262] Other hospitals include the Hôpital Beaujon, Hôpital Bichat-Claude-Bernard, Hôpital de Bicètre, Hôpital Cochin, Hôpital Européen Georges-Pompidou, Hôpital Lariboisière, Hôpital Necker – Enfants Malades, Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, Hôpital Saint-Antoine, Hôpital Saint-Louis, Hôpital Tenon and Val-de-Grâce.


Main article: Transport in Paris
Left: Thalys trains with service to Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany; right: Gare du Nord railway station is the busiest in Europe, and home to the Eurostar train service to London

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.[263] The syndicate coordinates public transport and contracts it out to the RATP (operating 654 bus lines, the Métro, three tramway lines, and sections of the RER), the SNCF (operating suburban rails, one tramway line and the other sections of the RER) and the Optile consortium of private operators managing 1,070 minor bus lines.

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.[264] 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.[265] Over €26.5 billion will be invested over the next 15 years to extend the Métro network into the suburbs.[265] In addition, the Paris region is served by a light rail network of six 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,[266] all of which are operated by the Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens,[267] and line T4 runs from Bondy RER to Aulnay-sous-Bois, which is operated by the state rail carrier SNCF.[265] Six new light rail lines are currently in various stages of development.

Paris is a central hub of the national rail network. The 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).

Four international airports, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Paris-Orly, Paris-Le Bourget and Beauvais-Tillé, serve the city. The two major airports are Orly Airport, which is south of Paris; and the Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport, in Roissy-en-France, which is one of the busiest in the world and is the hub for the unofficial flag carrier Air France.[265]

Ring roads of Paris. Paris city is surrounded by the Périphérique, in yellow. A86 is in blue and the Francilienne is in green.

The city is also the most important hub of France’s motorway network, and is surrounded by three orbital freeways: the Périphérique,[83] 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. By road, Brussels can be reached in three hours, Frankfurt in six hours and Barcelona in 12 hours. By train, London is now just two hours and 15 minutes away.[268]

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.[269] 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,[270] which can be rented for short and medium distances including one way trips.

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.[271]

Twin towns and sister cities

Due to the motto “Only Paris is worthy of Rome; only Rome is worthy of Paris”;[104][106] the only sister city Paris in France will ever have is Rome in Italy[105] and vice-versa. However, both Paris and Rome has partnered with several cities while not technically becoming sister cities.

Paris is twinned with:

See also



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Further reading

External links

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Paris, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.