Paris - The City of Love and Romance

Paris, also known as the City of Light, has always been one of the main tourist destinations in Europe with more than 42 million foreign visitors per year. Its graceful streets, full of history, really are as elegant as they say. Its monuments and museums are exceptional, but Paris is so much more than a beautiful collection of buildings and monuments. For the best in art, culture, and business, all roads lead to Paris. Paris is famous for its neoclassical architecture and is home to the world’s greatest museums, art galleries, concert halls, nightspots, parks,  gardens, cafes, historical monuments and recreation places. All the continent’s greatest minds and talents came here. After World War II, it became the iconic backdrop of a new form of cinema: La  Nouvelle Vague (the French New Wave).

The Etymology of the name

The name "Paris" originates from its early inhabitants, the Celtic Parisii tribe, that founded the city in the 3rd century BC.

Paris is often mentioned as the City of Light (La Ville Lumière), initially because of its dominant role during the Age of Enlightenment and more literally because Paris began lighting the Champs-Elysées with gas lamps in 1828, and was one of the first European cities to use gas street lighting on its boulevards and monuments.

Location and Urban Planning

The city is located in the north of France in the center of the Parisian basin and crossed by the river Seine.

The Seine defines the three main parts of historical Paris. At its center is the Ile de la Cite, which is the seat of religious and temporal authority (the word cite implies the nucleus of the ancient city).

The Seine’s Left Bank, Rive Gauche, has traditionally been the seat of intellectual life.

Right Bank, Rive Droite, contains the heart of the city’s economic life, but the distinctions have become blurred in recent decades. The blending of all these functions at the center of France resulted in a tremendously active environment.

Haussmann and Napoleon III (Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte) transformed Many of the famous boulevards and city center buildings. The streets became much broader with completely reconstructed buildings and new places and squares. You can see the result of transformed atmosphere, space, and perspective with an example of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées while preserving historical buildings such as Notre Dame.

Population of Paris

Paris is one of the largest European capitals.

At the tail end of 19th-century Paris had more than 1 million inhabitants, after World War II growth continued and for the early 21st century it reached 10 million. Massive rehousing reduced the city’s high density, though it remained well above the northern European average. Estimated number of inhabitants of Paris is 2.1 million in 2019 so that about four out of five Parisians are suburbanites. Many families moved out to newer and more spacious homes in the smaller towns around the capital, leaving the city of Paris with aging, curiously solitary inhabitants, with almost half of the households consisting of just one person.

Within the first years of the 21st century, the city’s population slowly began to increase. With birth rates rising and older persons tending to retire outside the capital region, the Parisian population also grew younger. However, the residents of the surrounding suburbs (Metropolitan area) are estimated to be around 10.5 million, and it is the most populated place in Europe.

Time

Paris is on Central European Time, UTC/GMT +1 hour. Daylight saving time lasts from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October. France uses the 24-hour clock.

Spoken Languages of Paris

French is the official language in the city and the rest of France. In the parts of the city where most of the people are tourists, many locals speak some English, especially in the tourism industry, but it's always a good idea to learn a few polite words and phrases in French for your trip. Other languages spoken in Paris include regional languages like dialects of German and Celtic languages.

Economy

Paris is not only the political and cultural capital of the French nation but also leading financial and business center. If you include the suburban areas, it is home to 20% of the country’s population and the source of most French jobs. Many international organizations and huge companies have their offices here. And even large French firms which have their manufacturing plants in the provinces, nearly all keep their headquarters in Paris, close to the major banks and key ministries.

Religion

The majority of the population in Paris are nominally Roman Catholic. Muslims are an essential presence in the city, as evidenced by its dozens of mosques, including the Grande Mosquée de Paris in the 5th arrondissement. The Jewish community center is the Marais neighborhood, on the Rue des Rosiers quarter, in the 4th arrondissement,  where there are numerous synagogues, kosher stores, and Hebrew bookshops.

Access to the city

The city has two airports: Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) located northeast and the Orly Airport located south of Paris.

Paris has three main stations: Gare Du Nord, Gare de L'est and Gare de Lyon. Gare Du Nord is the most popular station thanks to the Eurostar, the high-speed train.

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