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This article is about the capital of France. For other uses, see Paris (disambiguation).
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
|Motto: Fluctuat nec mergitur
(Latin: "She is tossed by the waves but does not sink")
|• 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)|
|• Rank||1st in France|
|• Urban (Jan. 2011)||10,516,110|
|• Metro (Jan. 2011)||12,292,895|
|• Population2 density||21,000/km2 (55,000/sq mi)|
|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.
An important settlement for more than two millennia, by the late 12th century Paris had become a walled cathedral city that was one of Europe's foremost centres of learning and the arts and the largest city in the Western world until the turn of the 18th century. Paris was the focal point for many important political events throughout its history, including the French Revolution. Today it is one of the world's leading business and cultural centres, and its influence in politics, education, entertainment, media, science, fashion and the arts all contribute to its status as one of the world's major cities. The city has one of the largest GDPs in the world, €607 billion (US$845 billion) in 2011, and as a result of its high concentration of national and international political, cultural and scientific institutions 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. The Paris Region hosts the world headquarters of 30 of the Fortune Global 500 companies in several business districts, notably La Défense, the largest dedicated business district in Europe.
Centuries of cultural and political development have brought Paris a variety of museums, theatres, monuments and architectural styles. Many of its masterpieces such as the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe are iconic buildings, especially its internationally recognized symbol, the Eiffel Tower. Long regarded as an international centre for the arts, works by history's most famous painters can be found in the Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay and its many other museums and galleries. Paris is a global hub of fashion and has been referred to as the "international capital of style", 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.
- 1 Toponyms
- 2 History
- 3 Geography
- 4 Administration
- 5 Demographics
- 6 Economy
- 7 Cityscape
- 8 Culture
- 9 Religion
- 10 Sports
- 11 Education
- 12 Libraries
- 13 Media
- 14 Healthcare
- 15 Transport
- 16 Twin towns and sister cities
- 17 See also
- 18 References
- 19 Further reading
- 20 External links
- See Wiktionary for the name of Paris in various languages other than English and French.
Paris is often referred to as "La Ville-Lumière" ("The City of Light"). 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. 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.
Since the mid-19th century, Paris is also known as Paname ("panam") in the Parisian slang called argot (Moi j'suis d'Paname, i.e. "I'm from Paname"). The singer Renaud repopularised the term among the younger generation with his 1976 album Amoureux de Paname ("In love with Paname").
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.
OriginsThe 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. Other signs of settlements in the Paris area date from around 4500–4200 BC, with some of the oldest evidence of canoe-use by hunter-gatherer peoples being uncovered in Bercy in 1991 (The remains of three canoes can be seen at the Carnavalet Museum · ). The Parisii, a sub-tribe of the Celtic Senones, inhabited the area near the river Seine from around 250 BC, building a trading settlement on the island, later the Île de la Cité, the easiest place to cross.  They minted their own coins and traded by river with towns on the Rhine and Danube, and with Spain. The Romans conquered the Paris basin in 52 BC, 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. It expanded greatly over the following centuries, becoming a prosperous city with a forum, palaces, baths, temples, theatres, and an amphitheatre.
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. 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".
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.  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.
Merovingian and Feudal erasSalian 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. 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.
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, 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. 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.
Middle Ages to 18th centuryPhilippe-Auguste founded the University of Paris in 1200. The guilds gradually became more powerful and were instrumental in inciting the first revolt after the king was captured by the English in 1356. Paris' population was around 200,000 when the Black Death arrived in 1348, killing as many as 800 people a day; 40,000 died from the plague in 1466. During the 16th and 17th centuries, plague visited the city for almost one year out of three. 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 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.
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. 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. 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, 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.
Main article: French Revolution 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, starting revolution and rejecting the divine right of monarchs in France. Jean-Sylvain Bailly, the first Mayor, was elected on 15 July 1789, 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.
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 as emperor Napoléon I of the First French Empire.
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. 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. The new constitutional monarchy under Louis-Philippe ended with the 1848 "February Revolution" that led to the creation of the Second Republic. Cholera epidemics in 1832 and 1850 ravaged the population of Paris: the 1832 epidemic alone claimed 20,000 of the population of 650,000.
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. 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. 
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.  Thousands more were exiled, or fled abroad. They were amnestied in 1879-80 and most returned to France.
France's late 19th-century Universal Expositions made Paris an increasingly important centre of technology, trade, and tourism. The most famous were the 1889 Exposition universelle to which Paris owes its "temporary" display of architectural engineering progress, the Eiffel Tower, which remained the world's tallest structure until 1930, and the 1900 Universal Exposition, which saw the opening of the first Paris Métro line.
20th centuryDuring 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. 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,  musicians Aaron Copland, Sidney Bechet and entertainers, such as Josephine Baker.
Battle of France, the French government departed Paris and declared it an open city. On 14 June, the Germans entered Paris without resistance. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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.