Thursday, 2 February 2017


Paris is the capital and most populous city of France. It has an area of 105 square kilometres (41 square miles) and a population in 2013 of 2,229,621 within its administrative limits.The city is both a commune and department, and forms the centre and headquarters of the Île-de-France, or Paris Region, which has an area of 12,012 square kilometres (4,638 square miles) and a population in 2014 of 12,005,077 comprising 18.2 percent of the population of France.

The agglomeration has grown well beyond the city's administrative limits. The Paris unité urbaine is a measure of continuous urban area for statistical purposes, including both the commune and its suburbs, and has a population of 10,601,122 (Jan. 2013 census) which makes it the largest in the European Union.The aire urbaine de Paris, a measure of metropolitan area, spans most of the Île-de-France region and has a population of 12,405,426 (Jan. 2013 census),constituting nearly one-fifth of the population of France.The Metropole of Grand Paris was created in 2016, combining the commune and its nearest suburbs into a single area for economic and environmental co-operation. Grand Paris covers 814 square kilometres (314 square miles) and has a population of 6.945 million persons.

Paris was founded in the 3rd century BC by a Celtic people called the Parisii, who gave the city its name. By the 12th century, it was the largest city in the western world, a prosperous trading centre, and the home of the University of Paris, one of the oldest universities in history. By the 17th century Paris was one of Europe's major centres of finance, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts, and it retains that position still today.

The Paris Region had a GDP of €624 billion (US $687 billion) in 2012, accounting for 30.0 percent of the GDP of France, and ranking it as one of the wealthiest regions in Europe; it is the banking and financial centre of France, and contains the headquarters of 29 of the 31 French companies ranked in the 2015 Fortune Global 500.

The city is also a major rail, highway, and air-transport hub, served by the two international airports Paris-Charles de Gaulle (the second busiest airport in Europe after London Heathrow Airport with 63.8 million passengers in 2014) and Paris-Orly. Opened in 1900, the city's subway system, the Paris Métro, serves 5.23 million passengers daily.It is the second busiest metro system in Europe after Moscow Metro. Paris is the hub of the national road network and is surrounded by three orbital roads: the Périphérique, the A86 motorway, and the Francilienne motorway.

Among Paris's important museums and cultural institutions are the most-visited art museum in the world, the Louvre, as well as the Musée d'Orsay, noted for its collection of French Impressionist art, and the Musée National d'Art Moderne in the Pompidou Centre, the largest collection of modern and contemporary art in Europe. The central area of the city along the Seine River is classified as a UNESCO Heritage Site, and includes many notable monuments, including Notre Dame Cathedral (12th century to 13th century  the Sainte-Chapelle (13th century); the Eiffel Tower (1889); the Grand Palais and Petit Palais (1900); and the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur in Montmartre (1914). In 2015 Paris received 22.2 million visitors, making it one of the world's top tourist destinations.and is also known for its fashion, particularly the twice-yearly Paris Fashion Week, and for its haute cuisine and three-star restaurants. Most of France's major universities and grandes écoles are located in Paris, as are France's major newspapers, including Le Monde, Le Figaro, and Libération.

The association football club Paris Saint-Germain and the rugby union club Stade Français are based in Paris. The 80,000-seat Stade de France, built for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, is located just north of Paris in the neighbouring commune of Saint-Denis. Paris hosts the annual French Open Grand Slam tennis tournament on the red clay of Roland Garros. Paris hosted the 1900 and 1924 Summer Olympics and is bidding to host the 2024 Summer Olympics and thus become the second city to have hosted the Games three times. The 1938 and 1998 FIFA World Cups, the 2007 Rugby World Cup and UEFA Euro 2016 were also held in the city, and every July, the Tour de France of cycling finishes in the city.


The name "Paris" is derived from its early inhabitants, the Celtic Parisii tribe.Thus, though written the same, the city's name is not related to the character Paris who has a prominent role in Greek Mythology.

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

Inhabitants are known in English as "Parisians" and in French as Parisiens pejoratively also called Parigots.


The Parisii, a sub-tribe of the Celtic Senones, inhabited the Paris area from around the middle of the 3rd century BC.One of the area's major north-south trade routes crossed the Seine this meeting place of land and water trade routes gradually became a town and an important trading centre.The Parisii traded with many river towns as far away as the Iberian Peninsula, and minted their own coins for that purpose.

Gold coins minted by the Parisii (1st century BC)
The Romans conquered the Paris Basin in 52 BC and after making the island a garrison camp, began extending their settlement in a more permanent way to Paris's Left Bank. The Gallo-Roman town was originally called Lutetia (more fully, Lutetia Parisiorum, "Lutetia of the Parisii"). It became a prosperous city with a forum, baths, temples, theatres, and an amphitheatre.

By the end of the Western Roman Empire, the town was known simply as Parisius in Latin and would later become Paris in French.Christianity was introduced in the middle of the 3rd century AD. According to tradition, it was brought by Saint Denis, the first Bishop of Paris. When he refused to renounce his faith, he was beheaded on the hill which became known as the "Mountain of Martyrs" (Mons Martyrum), eventually "Montmartre". His burial place became an important religious shrine; the Basilica of Saint-Denis was built there and became the burial place of the French Kings.

Clovis the Frank, the first king of the Merovingian dynasty, made the city his capital from 508. A gradual immigration by the Franks also occurred in Paris in the beginning of the Frankish domination of Gaul which created the Parisian Francien dialects. Fortification of the Île-de-France failed to prevent sacking by Vikings in 845 but Paris's strategic importance—with its bridges preventing ships from passing—was established by successful defence in the Siege of Paris (885–86). In 987 Hugh Capet, Count of Paris (comte de Paris), Duke of the Franks (duc des Francs) was elected King of the Franks (roi des Franks). Under the rule of the Capetian kings, Paris gradually became the largest and most prosperous city in France.

Middle Ages to Louis XIV

By the end of the 12th century, Paris had become the political, economic, religious, and cultural capital of France.The Palais de la Cité, the royal residence, was located at the western end of the city.In 1163, during the reign of Louis VII, Maurice de Sully, bishop of Paris, undertook the construction of the Notre Dame Cathedral at its eastern extremity. The Left Bank was the site of the University of Paris, a corporation of students and teachers formed in the mid-12th century to train scholars first in theology, and later in canon law, medicine and the arts.

The Right Bank became the centre of commerce and finance. The merchants who controlled the trade on the river formed a league and quickly became a powerful force. Between 1190 and 1202, Philip Augustus built the massive fortress of the Louvre, continued the construction of Notre Dame, rebuilt the two bridges, began paving Paris's main thoroughfares, and the construction of a fortified wall around the city.

During the Hundred Years' War, in the night of 28–29 May 1418, a force of 800 men attached to John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy, and led by Jean de Villiers de L'Isle-Adam made its way into Paris. Two and half years later, on 1 December 1420, Henry V of England made his solemn entrance into the French capital.Paris was occupied by the English and their Burgundian allies until 1436. They repelled an attempt by Joan of Arc to liberate the city in September 1429.A century later, during the French Wars of Religion Paris was a stronghold of the Catholic League. On 24 August 1572, it was the site of the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre, when thousands of French Protestants were killed.The last of these wars, the eighth one, ended in 1594, after Henri IV had converted to Catholicism and was finally able to enter Paris as he supposedly declared Paris vaut bien une messe ("Paris is well worth a Mass"). The city had been neglected for decades; by the time of his assassination in 1610, Henry IV had rebuilt the Pont Neuf, the first Paris bridge with sidewalks and not lined with buildings, linked with a new wing the Louvre to the Tuileries Palace, and created the first Paris residential square, the Place Royale, now Place des Vosges.

In the 17th century, Cardinal Richelieu, chief minister of Louis XIII, was determined to make Paris the most beautiful city in Europe. He built five new bridges, a new chapel for the College of Sorbonne, and a palace for himself, the Palais Cardinal, which he bequeathed to Louis XIII, and which became, after his own death in 1642, the Palais-Royal.

Louis XIV distrusted the Parisians and moved his court to Versailles in 1682, but his reign also saw an unprecedented flourishing of the arts and sciences in Paris. The Comédie-Française, the Academy of Painting, and the French Academy of Sciences were founded and made their headquarters in the city. To show that the city was safe against attack, he had the city walls demolished, replacing them with Grands Boulevards.To leave monuments to his reign, he built the Collège des Quatre-Nations, Place Vendôme, Place des Victoires, and began Les Invalides.

The 18th and 19th century

Paris grew in population from about 400,000 in 1640 to 650,000 in 1780.A new boulevard, the Champs-Élysées, extended the city west to Étoile while the working-class neighbourhood of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine on the eastern site of the city grew more and more crowded with poor migrant workers from other regions of France.

Paris was the centre of an explosion of philosophic and scientific activity known as the Age of Enlightenment. Diderot and d'Alembert published their Encyclopédie in 1751–52, and the Montgolfier Brothers launched the first manned flight in a hot-air balloon on 21 November 1783, from the gardens of the Château de la Muette. Paris was the financial capital of continental Europe, the primary European centre of book publishing, fashion, and the manufacture of fine furniture and luxury goods.

In the summer of 1789, Paris became the centre stage of the French Revolution. On 14 July, a mob seized the arsenal at the Invalides, acquiring thousands of guns, and stormed the Bastille, a symbol of royal authority. The first independent Paris Commune, or city council, met in the Hotel de Ville and, on 15 July, elected a Mayor, the astronomer Jean Sylvain Bailly.

Louis XVI and the royal family were brought to Paris and made virtual prisoners within the Tuileries Palace. In 1793, as the revolution turned more and more radical, the king, queen, and the mayor were guillotined, along with more than 16,000 others (throughout France), during the Reign of Terror.The property of the aristocracy and the church was nationalised, and the city's churches were closed, sold or demolished.A succession of revolutionary factions ruled Paris until 9 November 1799 when Napoléon Bonaparte seized power as First Consul.

The Paris Opera was the centrepiece of Napoleon III's new Paris. The architect, Charles Garnier, described the style simply as "Napoleon the Third."
The population of Paris had dropped by 100,000 during the Revolution, but between 1799 and 1815, it surged with 160,000 new residents, reaching 660000.Napoleon Bonaparte replaced the elected government of Paris with a prefect reporting only to him. He began erecting monuments to military glory, including the Arc de Triomphe, and improved the neglected infrastructure of the city with new fountains, the Canal de l'Ourcq, Père Lachaise Cemetery and the city's first metal bridge, the Pont des Arts.

During the Restoration, the bridges and squares of Paris were returned to their pre-Revolution names, but the July Revolution of 1830 in Paris, (commemorated by the July Column on Place de la Bastille), brought a constitutional monarch, Louis Philippe I, to power. The first railway line to Paris opened in 1837, beginning a new period of massive migration from the provinces to the city.

The Eiffel Tower, under construction in August 1888, startled Parisians and the world with its modernity.
Louis-Philippe was overthrown by a popular uprising in the streets of Paris in 1848. His successor, Napoleon III, and the newly appointed prefect of the Seine, Georges-Eugène Haussmann, launched a gigantic public works project to build wide new boulevards, a new opera house, a central market, new aqueducts, sewers, and parks, including the Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes.In 1860, Napoleon III also annexed the surrounding towns and created eight new arrondissements, expanding Paris to its current limits.

During the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871), Paris was besieged by the Prussian army. After months of blockade, hunger, and then bombardment by the Prussians, the city was forced to surrender on 28 January 1871. On 28 March, a revolutionary government called the Paris Commune seized power in Paris. The Commune held power for two months, until it was harshly suppressed by the French army during the "Bloody Week" at the end of May 1871.

Late in the 19th century, Paris hosted two major international expositions: the 1889 Universal Exposition, was held to mark the centennial of the French Revolution and featured the new Eiffel Tower; and the 1900 Universal Exposition, which gave Paris the Pont Alexandre III, the Grand Palais, the Petit Palais and the first Paris Métro line.Paris became the laboratory of Naturalism (Émile Zola) and Symbolism (Charles Baudelaire and Paul Verlaine), and of Impressionism in art (Courbet, Manet, Monet, Renoir).

20th and 21st century

By 1901, the population of Paris had grown to 2,715,000.At the beginning of the century, artists from around the world, including Picasso, Modigliani, and Matisse made Paris their home; it was the birthplace of Fauvism, Cubism and abstract art and authors such as Marcel Proust were exploring new approaches to literature.

During the First World War, Paris sometimes found itself on the front line; 600 to 1,000 Paris taxis played a small but highly important symbolic role in transporting 6,000 soldiers to the front line at the First Battle of the Marne. The city was also bombed by Zeppelins and shelled by German long-range guns.In the years after the war, known as Les Années Folles, Paris continued to be a mecca for writers, musicians and artists from around the world, including Ernest Hemingway, Igor Stravinsky, James Joyce, Josephine Baker, Sidney Bechet and the surrealist Salvador Dalí.

In the years after the peace conference, the city was also home to growing numbers of students and activists from French colonies and other Asian and African countries, who later became leaders of their countries, such as Ho Chi Minh, Zhou Enlai and Léopold Sédar Senghor.
On 14 June 1940, the German army marched into Paris, which had been declared an "open city".On 16–17 July 1942, following German orders, the French police and gendarmes arrested 12,884 Jews, including 4,115 children, and confined them during five days at the Vel d'Hiv (Vélodrome d'Hiver), from which they were transported by train to the extermination camp at Auschwitz. None of the children came back.On 25 August 1944, the city was liberated by the French 2nd Armoured Division and the 4th Infantry Division of the United States Army. General Charles de Gaulle led a huge and emotional crowd down the Champs Élysées towards Notre Dame de Paris, and made a rousing speech from the Hôtel de Ville.

In the 1950s and the 1960s, Paris became one front of the Algerian War for independence; in August 1961, the pro-independence FLN targeted and killed 11 Paris policemen, leading to the imposition of a curfew on Muslims of Algeria (who, at that time, were French citizens). On 17 October 1961, an unauthorised but peaceful protest demonstration of Algerians against the curfew led to violent confrontations between the police and demonstrators, in which at least 40 people were killed, including some thrown into the Seine. The anti-independence Organisation Army Secrete (OAS), for their part, carried out a series of bombings in Paris throughout 1961 and 1962.

The Centre Georges Pompidou, a museum of modern art (1977), put all its internal plumbing and infrastructure on the outside.
In May 1968, protesting students occupied the Sorbonne and put up barricades in the Latin Quarter. Thousands of Parisian blue-collar workers joined the students, and the movement grew into a two-week general strike. Supporters of the government won the June elections by a large majority. The May 1968 events in France resulted in the break-up of the University of Paris into 13 independent campuses.

In 1975, the National Assembly changed the status of Paris to that of other French cities and, on 25 March 1977, Jacques Chirac became the first elected mayor of Paris since 1793.The Tour Maine Montparnasse, the tallest building in the city at 57 storeys and 210 metres (689 ft) high, was built between 1969 and 1973. It was highly controversial, and it remains the only building in the centre of the city over 32 storeys high.

The population of Paris dropped from 2,850,000 in 1954 to 2,152,000 in 1990, as middle-class families moved to the suburbs.A suburban railway network, the RER (Réseau Express Régional), was built to complement the Métro, and the Périphérique expressway encircling the city, was completed in 1973.

Most of the postwar's presidents of the Fifth Republic wanted to leave their own monuments in Paris; President Georges Pompidou started the Centre Georges Pompidou (1977), Valéry Giscard d'Estaing began the Musée d'Orsay (1986); President François Mitterrand, in power for 14 years, built the Opéra Bastille (1985–1989), the Bibliothèque nationale de France (1996), the Arche de la Défense (1985–1989), and the Louvre Pyramid with its underground courtyard (1983–1989); Jacques Chirac (2006), the Musée du quai Branly.

In the early 21st century, the population of Paris began to increase slowly again, as more young people moved into the city. It reached 2.25 million in 2011. In March 2001, Bertrand Delanoë became the first socialist mayor of Paris. In 2007, in an effort to reduce car traffic in the city, he introduced the Vélib', a system which rents bicycles for the use of local residents and visitors. Bertrand Delanoë also transformed a section of the highway along the left bank of the Seine into an urban promenade and park, the Promenade des Berges de la Seine, which he inaugurated in June 2013.

In 2007, President Nicolas Sarkozy launched the Grand Paris project, to integrate Paris more closely with the towns in the region around it. After many modifications, the new area, named the Metropolis of Grand Paris, with a population of 6.7 million, was created on 1 January 2016.

In 2011, the City of Paris and the national government approved the plans for the Grand Paris Express, totalling 205 kilometres (127 miles) of automated metro lines to connect Paris, the innermost three departments around Paris, airports and high-speed rail (TGV) stations, at an estimated cost of €35 billion.The system is scheduled to be completed by 2030.

On 5 April 2014, Anne Hidalgo, a socialist, was elected the first female mayor of Paris.

On 7 January 2015, two French Muslim extremists attacked the Paris headquarters of Charlie Hebdo and killed thirteen people, and on 9 January, a third terrorist killed four hostages during an attack at a Jewish grocery store at Porte de Vincennes.On 11 January an estimated 1.5 million people marched in Paris–along with international political leaders–to show solidarity against terrorism and in defence of freedom of speech.Ten months later, 13 November 2015, came a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris and Saint-Denis claimed by the 'Islamic state' organisation ISIL 130 people were killed by gunfire and bombs, and more than 350 were injured.


Paris is located in northern central France. By road it is 450 kilometres (280 mi) south-east of London, 287 kilometres (178 mi) south of Calais, 305 kilometres (190 mi) south-west of Brussels, 774 kilometres (481 mi) north of Marseille, 385 kilometres (239 mi) north-east of Nantes, and 135 kilometres (84 mi) south-east of Rouen.Paris is located in the north-bending arc of the river Seine and includes two islands, the Île Saint-Louis and the larger Île de la Cité, which form the oldest part of the city. The river's mouth on the English Channel (La Manche) is about 233 mi (375 km) downstream of the city, established around 7600 BC. The city is spread widely on both banks of the river.Overall the city is relatively flat, and the lowest point is 35 m (115 ft) above sea level. Paris has several prominent hills, the highest of which is Montmartre at 130 m (427 ft).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 covers an oval measuring about 87 km2 (34 sq mi) in area, enclosed by the 35 km (22 mi) ring road, the Boulevard Périphérique.The city's last major annexation of outlying territories in 1860 not only gave it its modern form but also created the 20 clockwise-spiralling arrondissements (municipal boroughs). From the 1860 area of 78 km2 (30 sq mi), the city limits were expanded marginally to 86.9 km2 (33.6 sq mi) in the 1920s. In 1929, the Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes forest parks were officially annexed to the city bringing its area to about 105 km2 (41 sq mi).The metropolitan area of the city is 2,300 km2 (890 sq mi).


Paris has a typical Western European oceanic climate which is affected by the North Atlantic Current. The overall climate throughout the year is mild and moderately wet summer days are usually warm and pleasant with average temperatures between 15 and 25 °C (59 and 77 °F), and a fair amount of sunshine.Each year, however, there are a few days when the temperature rises above 32 °C (90 °F). Longer periods of more intense heat sometimes occur, such as the heat wave of 2003 when temperatures exceeded 30 °C (86 °F) for weeks, reached 40 °C (104 °F) on some days and seldom cooled down at night.

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.In winter, sunshine is scarce; days are cool, nights cold but generally above freezing with low temperatures around 3 °C (37 °F).Light night frosts are however quite common, but the temperature will dip below −5 °C (23 °F) for only a few days a year. Snow falls every year, but rarely stays on the ground. The city sometimes sees light snow or flurries with or without accumulation.

Paris has an average annual precipitation of 652 mm (25.7 in), and experiences light rainfall distributed evenly throughout the year. However the city is known for intermittent abrupt heavy showers. The highest recorded temperature is 40.4 °C (104.7 °F) on 28 July 1947, and the lowest is −23.9 °C (−11.0 °F) on 10 December 1879.

City government

For almost all of its long history, except for a few brief periods, Paris was governed directly by representatives of the king, emperor, or president of France. The city was not granted municipal autonomy by the National Assembly until 1974.The first modern elected mayor of Paris was Jacques Chirac, elected 20 March 1977, becoming the city's first mayor since 1793. The current mayor is Anne Hidalgo, a socialist, elected 5 April 2014.

The mayor of Paris is elected indirectly by Paris voters; the voters of each arrondissement elect the Conseil de Paris (Council of Paris), composed of 163 members. Each arrondissement has a number of members depending upon its population, from 10 members for each of the least-populated arrondissements (1st through 9th) to 36 members for the most populated (the 15th). The elected council members select the mayor. Sometimes the candidate who receives the most votes citywide is not selected if the other candidate has won the support of the majority of council members. Mayor Bertrand Delanoë (2001–2014) was elected by only a minority of city voters, but a majority of council members. Once elected, the council plays a largely passive role in the city government; it meets only once a month. The current council is divided between a coalition of the left of 91 members, including the socialists, communists, greens, and extreme left; and 71 members for the centre right, plus a few members from smaller parties.

Each of Paris's 20 arrondissements has its own town hall and a directly elected council (conseil d'arrondissement), which, in turn, elects an arrondissement mayor.The council of each arrondissement is composed of members of the Conseil de Paris and also members who serve only on the council of the arrondissement. The number of deputy mayors in each arrondissement varies depending upon its population. There are a total of 20 arrondissement mayors and 120 deputy mayors.

The budget of the city for 2013 was €7.6 billion, of which €5.4 billion went for city administration, while €2.2 billion went for investment. The largest part of the budget (38 percent) went for public housing and urbanism projects; 15 percent for roads and transport; 8 percent for schools (which are mostly financed by the state budget); 5 percent for parks and gardens; and 4 percent for culture. The main source of income for the city is direct taxes (35 percent), supplemented by a 13-percent real estate tax; 19 percent of the budget comes in a transfer from the national government.

The number of city employees, or agents, grew from 40,000 in 2000 to 73,000 in 2013. The city debt grew from €1.6 billion in 2000 to 3.1 billion in 2012, with a debt of €3.65 billion expected for 2014.
AS a result of the growing debt, the bond rating of the city was lowered from AAA to AA+ in both 2012 and 2013. In September 2014, Mayor Hidalgo announced that the city would have budget shortfall of €400 million, largely because of a cut in support from the national government.

Regional government

The Region of Île de France, including Paris and its surrounding communities, is governed by the Regional Council, which has its headquarters in the 7th arrondissement of Paris. It is composed of 209 members representing the different communes within the region. On December 15, 2015, a list of candidates of the Union of the Right, a coalition of centrist and right-wing parties, led by Valérie Pécresse, narrowly won the regional election, defeating a coalition of Socialists and ecologists. The Socialists had governed the region for seventeen years. The regional council has 121 members from the Union of the Right, 66 from the Union of the Left and 22 from the extreme right National Front.

National government

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 the French Republic resides at the Élysée Palace in the 8th arrondissement,while the Prime Minister's seat is at the Hôtel Matignon in the 7th arrondissement.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 second-highest public official in France (the President of the Republic being the sole superior), resides in the "Petit Luxembourg", a smaller palace annexe to the Palais du Luxembourg.

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 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.The Constitutional Council, an advisory body with ultimate authority on the constitutionality of laws and government decrees, also meets in the Montpensier wing of the Palais Royal.

Paris and its region host the headquarters of several 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.

Following the motto "Only Paris is worthy of Rome; only Rome is worthy of Paris” the only sister city of Paris is Rome, although Paris has partnership agreements with many other cities around the world.

Police force

The security of Paris is mainly the responsibility of the Prefecture of Police of Paris, a subdivision of the Ministry of the Interior of France. It supervises the units of the National Police who patrol the city and the three neighbouring departments. It is also responsible for providing emergency services, including the Paris Fire Brigade. Its headquarters is on Place Louis Lépine on the Île de la Cité.There are 30,200 officers under the prefecture, and a fleet of more than 6,000 vehicles, including police cars, motorcycles, fire trucks, boats and helicopters. In addition to traditional police duties, the local police monitors the number of discount sales held by large stores (no more than two a year are allowed) and verify that, during summer holidays, at least one bakery is open in every neighbourhood the national police has its own special unit for riot control and crowd control and security of public buildings, called the Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité (CRS), a unit formed in 1944 right after the liberation of France. Vans of CRS agents are frequently seen in the centre of the city when there are demonstrations and public events.

The police are supported by the National Gendarmerie, a branch of the French Armed Forces, though their police operations now are supervised by the Ministry of the Interior. The traditional kepis of the gendarmes were replaced in 2002 with caps, and the force modernised, though they still wear kepis for ceremonial occasions.

Crime in Paris is similar to that in most large cities. Violent crime is relatively rare in the city centre.Political violence is uncommon, though very large demonstrations may occur in Paris and other French cities simultaneously. These demonstrations, usually managed by a strong police presence, can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.

City scape

Most French rulers since the middle ages made a point of leaving their mark on a city that, contrary to many other of the world's capitals, has never been destroyed by catastrophe or war. In modernising its infrastructure through the centuries, Paris has preserved even its earliest history in its street map [citation needed] At its origin, before the Middle Ages, the city was composed around several islands and sandbanks in a bend of the Seine; of those, two remain today: the île Saint-Louis, the île de la Cité; a third one is the 1827 artificially created île aux Cygnes. Modern Paris owes much to its late 19th century Second Empire remodelling by the Baron Haussmann: many of modern Paris's busiest streets, avenues and boulevards today are a result of that city renovation. Paris also owes its style to its aligned street-fronts, distinctive cream-grey "Paris stone" building ornamentation, aligned top-floor balconies, and tree-lined boulevards. The high residential population of its city centre makes it much different from most other western global cities.

Paris's urbanism laws have been under strict control since the early 17th century particularly where street-front alignment, building height and building distribution is concerned. In recent developments, a 1974–2010 building height limitation of 37 metres (121 ft) was raised to 50 m (160 ft) in central areas and 180 metres (590 ft) in some of Paris's peripheral quarters, yet for some of the city's more central quarters, even older building-height laws still remain in effect.[116] The 210 metres (690 ft) Montparnasse tower was both Paris and France's tallest building until 1973 but this record has been held by the La Défense quarter Tour First tower in Courbevoie since its 2011 construction. A new project for La Défense, called Hermitage Plaza, launched in 2009, proposes to build two towers, 85 and 86 stories or 320 metres (1,050 feet) high, which would be the tallest buildings in the European Union, just slightly shorter than the Eiffel Tower. They were scheduled for completion in 2019 or 2020, but as of January 2015 construction had not yet begun, and there were questions in the press about the future of the project.

Parisian examples of European architecture date back more than a millennium; including the Romanesque church of the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés (1014–1163); the early Gothic Architecture of the Basilica of Saint-Denis (1144), the Notre Dame Cathedral (1163–1345), the Flamboyant Gothic of Saint Chapelle (1239–1248), the Baroque churches of Saint-Paul-Saint-Louis (1627–1641) and Les Invalides (1670–1708). The 19th century produced the neoclassical church of La Madeleine (1808–1842); the Palais Garnier Opera House (1875); the neo-Byzantine Basilica of Sacré-Cœur (1875–1919), and the exuberant Belle Époque modernism of the Eiffel Tower (1889). Striking examples of 20th-century architecture include the Centre Georges Pompidou by Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano (1977), and the Louvre Pyramid by I.M. Pei (1989). Contemporary architecture includes the Musée du Quai Branly by Jean Nouvel (2006) and the new contemporary art museum of the Louis Vuitton Foundation by Frank Gehry (2014).

Monuments and attractions

The city's top tourist attraction was the Notre Dame Cathedral, which welcomed 13.6 million visitors in 2015. The Louvre museum had 7.3 million visitors in 2016, making it the most visited art museum in the world. The other top cultural attractions in Paris in 2015 were the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur (10 million visitors); the Eiffel Tower (6.917,000 visitors); the Centre Pompidou (3,060,000 visitors) and Musée d'Orsay (3,439,000 visitors).In the Paris region, Disneyland Paris, in Marne-la-Vallée, 32 kilometres (20 miles) east of the centre of Paris, was the most visited tourist attraction in France, with 13.4 million visitors million visitors in fiscal year 2016, though this was a drop of ten percent from visitors in fiscal year 2015.

The centre of Paris contains the most visited monuments in the city, including the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Louvre as well as the Sainte-Chapelle; Les Invalides, where the tomb of Napoleon is located, and the Eiffel Tower are located on the Left Bank south-west of the centre. The banks of the Seine from the Pont de Sully to the Pont d'Iéna have been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991.Other landmarks are laid out east to west along the historic axis of Paris, which runs from the Louvre through the Tuileries Garden, the Luxor Column in the Place de la Concorde, the Arc de Triomphe, to the Grande Arche of La Défense.
Several other much-visited landmarks are located in the suburbs of the city; the Basilica of St Denis, in Seine-Saint-Denis, is the birthplace of the Gothic style of architecture and the royal necropolis of French kings and queens.The Paris region hosts three other UNESCO Heritage sites: the Palace of Versailles in the west the Palace of Fontainebleau in the south and the medieval fairs site of Provins in the east.

As of 2013 the City of Paris had 1,570 hotels with 70,034 rooms, of which 55 were rated five-star, mostly belonging to international chains and mostly located close to the centre and the Champs-Élysées. Paris has long been famous for its grand hotels. The Hotel Meurice, opened for British travellers in 1817, was one of the first luxury hotels in Paris.The arrival of the railways and the Paris Exposition of 1855 brought the first flood of tourists and the first modern grand hotels; the Hôtel du Louvre (now an antiques marketplace) in 1855; the Grand Hotel (now the Intercontinental LeGrand) in 1862; and the Hôtel Continental in 1878. The Hôtel Ritz on Place Vendôme opened in 1898, followed by the Hôtel Crillon in an 18th-century building on the Place de la Concorde in 1909; the Hotel Bristol on rue de Fabourg Saint-Honoré in 1925; and the Hotel George V in 1928.

Restaurants and cuisine

Since the late 18th century, Paris has been famous for its restaurants and haute cuisine, food meticulously prepared and artfully presented. A luxury restaurant, La Taverne Anglaise, opened in 1786 in the arcades of the Palais-Royal by Antoine Beauvilliers; it featured an elegant dining room, an extensive menu, linen tablecloths, a large wine list and well-trained waiters; it became a model for future Paris restaurants. The restaurant Le Grand Véfour in the Palais-Royal dates from the same period.The famous Paris restaurants of the 19th century, including the Café de Paris, the Rocher de Cancale, the Café Anglais, Maison Dorée and the Café Riche, were mostly located near the theatres on the Boulevard des Italiens; they were immortalised in the novels of Balzac and Émile Zola. Several of the best-known restaurants in Paris today appeared during the Belle Epoque, including Maxim's on Rue Royale, Ledoyen in the gardens of the Champs-Élysées, and the Tour d'Argent on the Quai de la Tournelle.

Today, thanks to Paris's cosmopolitan population, every French regional cuisine and almost every national cuisine in the world can be found there; the city has more than 9,000 restaurants.The michelin Guide has been a standard guide to French restaurants since 1900, awarding its highest award, three stars, to the best restaurants in France. In 2015, of the 29 Michelin three-star restaurants in France, nine are located in Paris. These include both restaurants which serve classical French cuisine, such as L'Ambroisie in the Place des Vosges, and those which serve non-traditional menus, such as L'Astrance, which combines French and Asian cuisines. Several of France's most famous chefs, including Pierre Gagnaire, Alain Ducasse, Yannick Alléno and Alain Passard, have three-star restaurants in Paris.

In addition to the classical restaurants, Paris has several other kinds of traditional eating places. The café arrived in Paris in the 17th century, when the beverage was first brought from Turkey, and by the 18th century Parisian cafés were centres of the city's political and cultural life. The Café Procope on the Left Bank dates from this period. In the 20th century, the cafés of the Left Bank, especially Café de la Rotonde and Le Dôme Café in Montparnasse and Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots on Boulevard Saint Germain, all still in business, were important meeting places for painters, writers and philosophers.A bistro is a type of eating place loosely defined as a neighbourhood restaurant with a modest decor and prices and a regular clientele and a congenial atmosphere. Its name is said to have come in 1814 from the Russian soldiers who occupied the city; "bistro" means "quickly" in Russian, and they wanted their meals served rapidly so they could get back their encampment. Real bistros are increasingly rare in Paris, due to rising costs, competition from cheaper ethnic restaurants, and different eating habits of Parisian diners.A brasserie originally was a tavern located next to a brewery, which served beer and food at any hour. Beginning with the Paris Exposition of 1867; it became a popular kind of restaurant which featured beer and other beverages served by young women in the national costume associated with the beverage, particular German costumes for beer. Now brasseries, like cafés, serve food and drinks throughout the day.


Paris has been an international capital of high fashion since the 19th century, particularly in the domain of haute couture, clothing hand-made to order for private clients.It is home of some of the largest fashion houses in the world, including Dior and Chanel, and of many well-known fashion designers, including Karl Lagerfeld, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Christophe Josse, and Christian Lacroix. Paris Fashion Week, held in January and July in the Carrousel du Louvre and other city locations, is among the top four events of the international fashion calendar, along with the fashion weeks in Milan, London and New York.Paris is also the home of the world's largest cosmetics company, L'Oréal, and three of the five top global makers of luxury fashion accessories; Louis Vuitton, Hermés, and Cartier.

Holidays and festivals

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

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

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