Paris is the capital of France as well as the capital of the Île-de-France administrative region. As the ancient capital of an empire stretched across five continents, it is now the capital of the French speaking world. Paris’s position at a crossroads between land and river trade routes in the heart of a rich agricultural region has made it one of France’s major cities throughout the 10th century, benefiting from royal palaces, rich abbeys and a cathedral. Throughout the twelfth century, Paris became one of the first European foci of teaching and art. When the kings of France, and therefore the court (which included a large part of the French high nobility) were fixed in the city, their economic and political importance continued to grow.
Thus, in the early fourteenth century, Paris was the most important city in the entire western world. In the seventeenth century, it was the capital of the largest European political power; in the 18th century, was the cultural center of Europe and, in the 19th century, was the capital of art and leisure, the Mecca of Belle Époque. The Parisian banks of the Seine were inscribed in 1991 on the World Heritage list of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Paris is the economic and commercial capital of France, where stock and finance businesses are concentrated. The density of its rail network, its road network and its airport structure – a hub of the French and European air network – make it a focal point for international transport. This situation has resulted from a long evolution, in particular from the centralizing conceptions of monarchies and republics, which give a considerable role to the capital of the country and, in it, tend to concentrate, to the extreme, all the institutions.
Since the 1960s, successive governments have developed deconcentration and decentralization policies in order to rebalance the country. With numerous monuments, for its considerable political and economic role, Paris is also an important city in the history of the world. Symbol of French culture, the city attracts almost 30 million visitors a year, also occupying a preponderant place in the world of fashion and luxury. The Greater Paris is, with its 11 836 970 inhabitants, one of the largest urban agglomerations in Europe and the European Union.
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Some of the main attractions of the city
ISLE OF CITE
Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris – is one of the oldest French cathedrals in Gothic style. Initiated in the year 1163, it is dedicated to Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ (hence the name Notre-Dame – Our Lady), located in Parvis Square, on the small island Île de la Cité in Paris, France, surrounded by waters of the River Seine. The cathedral is intimately linked to the idea of Gothic in its splendor, to the clear effect of the needs and aspirations of high society, to a new approach to the cathedral as a building of contact and spiritual ascent. Gothic architecture is a powerful instrument within a society that sees, at the beginning of the eleventh century, urban life changing at a rapid pace. The city reappears with an extreme importance in the political field, in the economic field (mirror of the growing commercial relations), as well as the moneyed bourgeoisie and the influence of the urban clergy. The result of this is also a substitution of the needs of religious construction outside the cities, in the rural monastic communities, by the new symbol of the city’s prosperity, the Gothic cathedral. And as a response to the search for a new dignity growing in France, the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris.
Palais de Justice – In the place where the Palais de Justice is today, the “Palace of the City” was once the residence and seat of the power of the French kings between the X and XIV centuries. Of this palace today there are only two vestiges: the Conciergerie and the Sainte Chapelle. When King Charles V of France decides to leave the City Palace and establish himself at the Hôtel Saint-Pol, he decides to keep his administration there: the Paris Parliament, the Court of Auditors and the Chancellery. The judicial vocation of the place was sealed. In 1776, under the reign of Louis XVI, a fire consumed the part that stretched between the Conciergerie and the Holy Chapel (Sainte Chapelle). The facade that dominates the Courtyard of May was rebuilt between 1783 and 1786, shortly before the beginning of the French Revolution. During the Revolution, the Palace of Justice was seat of the Revolutionary Court of 6 of April of 1793 until May 31 of 1795.
Conciergerie – it is the main vestige of the old City Palace, which was the residence and seat of French royal power from the 10th to the 14th century and which stretched over the site where today is the Palace of Justice of Paris. It was converted into a state prison in 1392, after the abandonment of the palace by Charles V and his successors. The prison occupied the ground floor of the building, bordering the Clock Dock and the two towers; the upper floor was reserved for Parliament. The prison of the Conciergerie was considered like the anteater of the death, during the time of the Terror (French Revolution). Few of them were free. Queen Marie-Antoinette was imprisoned in the Conciergerie in 1793, leaving from there to die in the guillotine.
Santa Capela – is a Gothic chapel located on the Ile de la Cité in Paris, built in the 13th century by Louis IX (St. Louis). It was designed in 1241, begun in 1246 and completed very quickly, being consecrated in April 1248. Its patron was the devout French king Louis IX, who built it to serve as chapel of the royal palace. The rest of the palace disappeared completely, being replaced by the present Palace of Justice. Once completed, the Sainte-Chapelle lacked sanctification by the presence of appropriate relics, and thus the crown of Christ’s thorns obtained from the Latin emperor of Constantinople, Baldwin II, was obtained for the exorbitant sum of 135,000 pounds. To get an idea of relativity, the construction of the whole chapel cost £ 45,000. In addition to other relics, a fragment of Vera Cruz was added and, in this way, the building became a precious reliquary. It consists of two overlapping chapels, the lower part reserved for the officials and residents of the palace, and the upper for the royal family. The idea of a palatial chapel was based on the Church of the Virgin of Pharos, annexed to the Great Palace of Constantinople, where the relics were plundered by the Latin Empire during the occupation of the capital of the Byzantine Empire (1204-1261).
Sorbonne – is a historic site located in the Latin Quarter of Paris. Its name is allusive to the thirteenth-century theologian, Robert de Sorbon, founder of the College of the Sorbonne in 1297, who at that time was dedicated to the teaching of theology. Robert of Sorbon was to be the chaplain of the Royal House and confessor of Louis IX, king of France, canonized like Saint Louis of France. The name Sorbonne refers to the old University of Paris (before 1793), as well as the faculties established there in the 19th century and the new University of Paris, corresponding to the period from 1896 to 1971.
Pantheon – is a monument in neoclassical style located on the hill of Santa Genoveva, in the middle of the Latin Quarter. Around it are a few buildings of importance, such as the church of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont, the Library of Saint Genevieve, the University of Paris (Panthéon-Sorbonne), and the Henry IV Lyceum. From the street Soufflot one obtains a favorable perspective of the Pantheon, from the Garden of the Luxembourg.
Luxembourg Garden – is the largest public park in the city of Paris with more than 224,000 square meters. The Garden of Luxembourg currently belongs to the Senate of France, which is headquartered in the famous Luxembourg Palace. The garden has a huge parterre decorated with a lush collection of statues and also with small lakes intended for children’s leisure. The garden also includes a small puppet theater, an orchard and a restaurant. It is close to the Odéon Theater. In 1611, Maria de Medici, widow of Henry IV, decided to build a replica of the grand Pitti Palace. Maria began building the new palace immediately and hired Salomon de Brosse as principal architect. The following year, Maria ordered the planting of 2,000 elm trees and hired gardening experts to recreate the gardens she knew as a child in Florence. In the few sunny days of autumn, between work shifts, classes or sightseeing, people choose to picnic and admire their gardens ..
Saint Germain des Prés – The district originated around the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, a huge monastic complex founded in the Middle Ages that had great importance in the history of the city and France. From the beginning of the nineteenth century the complex was destroyed for the most part, creating space for the development of the neighborhood. From the abbey remained the church, which now serves the parish of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. This monument, built between the 11th and 12th centuries, is the oldest church in Paris still standing. Since the 17th century this neighborhood has been linked to the intellectual life of the city, and since then the presence of bookstores and booksellers / tallows has been found in its streets.
Chapel of the Miraculous Medal – In 1830, in the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal the Virgin Mary appears to Catherine Labouré, a novice of the Congregation Daughters of Charity, and asked her to distribute to the world a medal that would symbolize the Christian faith. Two years later a terrible epidemic of cholera collapses over Paris, millions of people are killed, so the daughters of the congregation decide to distribute the medals to the sick, who are healed quickly and the miracle spreads.
Rue Mouffetard – Rue Mouffetard is one of the oldest and liveliest districts of Paris. These days, the area has many restaurants, shops and cafes, and an open market regularly.
Arenas de Lutece – are among the most important remains of the Gallo-Roman era in Paris (formerly known as Lutèce in French or Lutetia in Latin) along with the Thermes de Cluny. Located in what is now the Latin Quarter, this amphitheater could once seat 15,000 people, and was used to stage gladiatorial combat. Built in the 1st century AD, this amphitheater is considered the largest of its kind built by the Romans. Historians believe that the terraces, which surrounded more than half the circumference of the arena, can accommodate up to 17,000 spectators.
Place de la Bastille – best known for being a prison – thus operating from the early seventeenth century until the end of the 18th century – was initially conceived only as a gateway to the Parisian quarter of Saint-Antoine, France, which is why was called the Bastille of Saint-Antoine. It was where today the Place de la Bastille (Place de la Bastille) is located in Paris. It was known to have been the scene of the historic event known as the Taking of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, which, together with the Pledge of Allegiance, is among the most important events of the beginning of the French Revolution.
The event was grandly celebrated exactly one year later (on July 14, 1790) at the pompous party which became known as the Fête de la Fédération. From 1880 the party became national holiday, it is the French National Feast also known as the 14 Juillet. In November of 1789 the Bastille was totally demolished.
Place des Vosges – Originally known as the Place Royale, the Place des Vosges was built by Henri IV 1605-1612. A true square (140 m × 140 m), it embodies the first European program of real planning of the city. It was built on the site of the Hôtel des Tournelles and its gardens.
North and South Marais – It is a historic district, and was frequented by the nobility until the late nineteenth century. Today it is a tourist area, marked by the Jewish presence, since the end of the 19th century, and frequented by the gay community.
Saint-Louis Island – is an island located in the heart of Paris, behind the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris. It was named in honor of Louis IX, and was renamed île de la Fraternité (“island of the Fraternity”) during the French Revolution. Formerly dubbed “island of palaces,” because of the large number of mansions there, it resulted from the meeting of the Île aux Vaches (Cow Island) to the east with the island of Notre Dame to the west. It began to be urbanized during the reign of Henry IV.
Hotel de Ville – It has been the building of the municipal seat since 1357. Its architecture is of the Renaissance period, during which time it underwent a great remodeling by the Italian architect Domenico da Cortona, called Boccador. It was still fully rebuilt after a fire in 1871, retaining the original look.
Louvre Museum – housed in the Louvre Palace in Paris, is one of the largest and most famous museums in the world. It is located in the center of Paris, between the Seine and Rue de Rivoli. Its central courtyard, now occupied by the glass pyramid, lies on the central line of the Champs-Élysées, and thus gives form to the nucleus where the Ax historique begins. It is where the Mona Lisa, Victory of Samothrace, Venus de Milo, huge collections of artifacts from ancient Egypt, Greco-Roman civilization, decorative and applied arts, and numerous masterpieces of the great artists of Europe such as Titian, Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Goya and Rubens, one of the greatest shows in the world of human art and culture. The museum thus encompasses eight thousand years of culture and civilization from both the East and the West. The Louvre is run by the French state through the Réunion des Musées Nationaux. It is the most visited museum in the world, receiving 8.8 million visitors in 2011 and 9.7 million people in 2012.
Jardin des Tuileries – make up a Parisian park located on the right bank of the Seine, between Place de la Concorde and Carroussel. It was created in the 16th century, in the Italian style, by order of Catherine de Medici, to decorate the surroundings of the palace of the Tuileries, where he spent his free time. In 1664, the architect André Le Nôtre, author of the park project that surrounds the palace of Versailles, transformed it into a formal, symmetrical French style garden full of ornamental statues. The Musée de l’Orangerie and the Jeu de Paume, home to important contemporary art exhibitions, are housed in two pavilions within the park, offering a splendid view of the Champs-Élysées, the Arc de Triomphe and the Grande Arc de la Défense. Among the leisure activities for children are puppet theater, donkey rides and toy boats to navigate the octagonal tank.
Concorde Square – It is the second largest square in France (the first is the Place des Quinconces in Bordeaux). In this way, it is the largest square in the French capital, one of the most famous and stage of important events in the history of France.
Opera – it’s an opera house. The building is considered one of the masterpieces of the architecture of its time. Built in neo-baroque style, it is the 13th theater to host the Paris Opera since its foundation by Louis XIV in 1669. Its capacity is 1979 seated spectators. The palace was commonly called only the Paris Opera but after the inauguration of the Bastille Opera in 1989 it came to be called the Opera Garnier.
Montmartre – is a bohemian neighborhood of the city of Paris, France. It is a hill that, in the time of the Gauls, was destined for a place of worship. It owes its name probably to the numerous Christian martyrs who were tortured and killed on the spot around the year 2501. Consecrated to St. Dionysius, it became, in the Middle Ages, a place of pilgrimage. In 1133, it passed to the jurisdiction of Benedictine monks, who, there began to cultivate grapes for wine production, an activity that continues being exerted until today in the place. On August 15, 1534, Ignatius of Loyola, together with Francisco Xavier, Pedro Fabro, Alfonso Salmeron, Diego Laynez, Nicolau Bobedilla and Simão Rodrigues, vowed chastity and poverty in the Chapel of Saint-Denis, placing themselves at the disposition of the Pope, to be sent wherever there is a greater need, and in this way they were founding, still without knowing, the Society of Jesus. Thanks to its strategic position, Monte Martre was often a military command center. In 1860, the neighborhood was connected to the city and became an important meeting point for artists and intellectuals, famous for its lively nightlife. Models, dancers and painters like Degas, Cézanne, Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir and Toulouse-Lautrec frequented the place, contributing to create a libertarian atmosphere. Today, its streets are still alive with artists, tourists and street vendors. At the highest point of the hill lies the famous Basilica of the Sacred Heart.
Avenue of the “Champs Elysées” – is a prestigious avenue of Paris in France. With its cinemas, cafes, luxury specialty shops and horse chestnut trees, the Avenue des Champs-Élysées is one of the most famous streets in the world and with rents amounting to € 1.1 million (USD 1.5 million) a year, for 92.9 square meters of space, it remains the second most expensive avenue in real estate across Europe, having recently (in 2010) been overtaken by Bond Street in London. The French name Champs Elysées, refers to the paradise of the dead in Greek mythology, unlike Tartarus.
Arc de Triomphe – is a monument, located in the city of Paris, built in commemoration of the military victories of Napoleon Bonaparte, which ordered its construction in 1806. Inaugurated in 1836, the monumental work holds, engraved, the names of 128 battles and 558 generals. At its base is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (1920). The arch is located in the Place Charles de Gaulle, at the meeting of the Charles de Gaulle and Champs-Élysées avenues. At the ends of the avenues are the Place de la Concorde and the other La Defense.
Trocadero – Built on the peak of the Chaillot Hill, the Trocadero faces the Seine, in front of the Eiffel Tower. The Chaillot Palace is home to several museums, gardens, the Trocadero square and a large underground aquarium.
Eiffel Tower – is a 19th century iron lattice tower located on the Champ de Mars in Paris, which has become a world icon of France and one of the most recognized structures in the world. The Eiffel Tower, which is the tallest building in Paris, is the most visited paid monument in the world, millions of people climb the tower every year. Named in honor of its designer, engineer Gustave Eiffel, it was built as the entrance arch of the Universal Exhibition of 1889. The tower is 324 meters high. It was the highest structure in the world since its completion until 1930, when it lost its position to the Chrysler Building in New York, United States. Not including transmission antennas, the Tower is the second highest structure in France, behind only the Millau Viaduct, completed in 2004. The tower has three levels for visitors. Tickets can be purchased on the stairs or elevators of the first and second level. The walk to the first level is over 300 steps. The third and highest level is only accessible by elevator. From the first floor you can see the whole city, it has toilets and several shops and the second level has a restaurant. The tower became the most prominent symbol of Paris and France. The tower is a part of the scenery featured in dozens of films that are happening in Paris. Its icon status is so determined that it still serves as a symbol for the whole country, such as when it was used as the logo of the French bid to host the 1992 Summer Olympics.
Bridge Alexandre III – is a bridge that crosses the Seine river in Paris. It is part of the architectural complex formed by the Grand Palais and Petit Palais, it is bordered on the north by the Avenue Champs-Élysées and is sometimes considered one of the most emblematic bridges of Paris. It was built between 1896 and 1900. It was named after the Franco-Russian alliance made by Tsar Alexander III in 1892. His son Nicholas II laid the foundation stone in October 1896.
Invalides – is a huge Parisian monument, whose construction was ordered by Louis XIV in 1670, to give shelter to the invalids of their armies. Nowadays, it continues to welcome the invalids, but it is also a military necropolis and home to several museums. Among the illustrious figures buried there are Napoleon Bonaparte, as well as the heart of Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, an illustrious French military architect responsible for the French poly-ecclesia, who created, during the time of Louis XIV, a series of military fortifications to the kingdom , making it impenetrable.
Church of the Madalena – is a catholic church consecrated to Santa Maria Magdalena. It stands out for the architecture in the form of classic Greek temple. Construction began around 1764 by Contant d’Ivry, and was soon redone with plans by Guillaume Couture (1777). During the French Revolution, the works were suspended from 1790 to 1805. In 1806, because of the anti-clerical tendency of the time, it was transformed into a temple in honor of the Great Army, a function that it carried out until the construction of the Arc de Triomphe, which replaced it function. In 1842, it was consecrated as a catholic church, a function that continues to play in the present time. The famous French musician Camille Saint-Saëns worked as an organist between 1858 and 1877.
Institute of France – is a French academic institution, founded in Paris on October 25, 1795, grouping together the five great French national academies, among them the prestigious Académie des Sciences, with almost 700 French and foreign scholars recruited from among the most intellectuals representative of each field of knowledge. It is up to the Institut de France to administer about a thousand foundations, as well as museums, castles and palaces, the majority open to the public. The Institut also awards research grants and awards, on the recommendation of its academies, which in 2002 exceeded 5,000,000 euros. The institution is currently chaired by Gabriel de Broglie. The name is also sometimes used to refer to the building where the institution is located, one of the most striking in Paris.
Musee d’Orsay – is a museum in the city of Paris, France. It is situated on the left bank of the river Seine. The collections of the museum mainly include paintings and sculptures of Western art from the period between 1848 and 1914. Among others, there are works by Van Gogh, Monet, Degas, Maurice Denis, Odilon Redon. There are also temporary exhibitions that take place in parallel with the permanent exhibition.
National Assembly – The Assembly, as it stands today, had its bases launched during the French Revolution in the eighteenth century. The National Assembly is composed of 577 members, known as deputies (or deputies) and elected through the system in two rounds, each representing one constituency (district). Of the 577 seats, 289 are needed to establish a majority of the chamber. The party with the largest number of seats elects the President of the Assembly, who shall preside over the sessions with the help of a board of directors. Following a tradition originating in the National Constitution of 1789, deputies allied with the leftist ideology sit to the left of the rostrum, while allies to the right remain to the right of the rostrum. The official seat of the National Assembly is the Palais Bourbon, located on the banks of the Seine in Paris.
Musee du Quai Branly – The collection of the museum was made from old collections of ethnology from the Museum of Man and the National Museum of African and Oceanic Arts. The works are divided into large continental zones (Africa, Asia, Oceania and Americas). Besides the permanent exhibition, the museum promotes ten temporary exhibitions per year.
Versailles – Considered one of the largest in the world, the Palace of Versailles has 2,153 windows, 67 stairs, 352 chimneys, 700 rooms, 1,250 fireplaces and 700 hectares of park. It is one of the most visited tourist spots in France, receives an average of eight million tourists a year and is three blocks from the train station. Built by King Louis XIV, the “Sun King”, from 1664, was for more than a century model of royal residence in Europe, and was often copied.