|Motto: Fluctuat nec mergitur (Latin: "It is tossed by the waves, but does not sink")|
Paris is the capital and most populous city of France. Situated on the Seine River, in the north of the country, it is in the centre of the Île-de-France region, also known as the région parisienne. The City of Paris has a population of 2,273,305 inhabitants (January 2013), making it the fifth largest city in theEuropean Union measured by the population within the city limits. Paris and its suburbs have a population of 12,292,895 inhabitants, making it the second or third largest metropolitan area in Europe, with London andBerlin, depending on the area measured.
Paris was founded in the 3rd century BC by a Celtic people called theParisii, who gave the city its name. By the 12th century, Paris was the largest city in the western world, a prosperous trading centre, and the home of the University of Paris, one of the first in Europe. In the 18th century, it was the centre stage for the French Revolution, and became an important centre of finance, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts, a position it still retains today.
The name "Paris" is derived from its early inhabitants, the Celtic Parisii tribe.
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 is also known as Panam(e).
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 on the Ile de la Cité; 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 Spain, and minted their own coins for that purpose.
There were 72.1 million visitors to the city's museums and monuments in 2013. The city's top tourist attraction was Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, which welcomed 14 million visitors in 2013. The Louvre Museum had more than 9.2 million visitors in 2013, making it the most visited museum in the world. The other top cultural attractions in Paris in 2013 were the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur (10.5 million visitors); the Eiffel Tower(6,740,000 visitors); The Centre Pompidou(3,745,000 visitors) and Lamy Paris Musée d'Orsay (3,467,000 visitors). In the Paris region, Disneyland Paris, in Marne-la-Vallée, 32 km (20 miles) east of the centre of Paris, was the most visited tourist attraction in France, with 14.9 million visitors in 2013.
The centre of Paris contains the most visited monuments in the city, including the Notre Dame Cathedral and Louvre Museum;Les Invalides(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 La Grande Arche de La Defense of La Défense.
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 Hôtel Kleber Champs-Élysées Tour-Eiffel Paris. Paris has long been famous for its grand hotels. The Hôtel Meurice, opened for British travelers in 1817, was one of the first luxury hotels in Paris. The arrival of the railroads and the Rue de l'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; Grand Hotel du Palais Royal (now the Intercontinental LeGrand) in 1862; and the Hôtel Continental (Hôtel Du Continent) in 1878. The Hôtel Ritz Paris on Place Vendôme opened in 1898, followed by the Hôtel de Crillon in an 18th-century building on the Place de la Concorde in 1909; the Hôtel Bristol on rue de Fabourg Saint-Honoré in 1925; and the Four Seasons Hotel George V in 1928.
Louvre Museum was the world's most visited art museum in 2013 and is the home the Mona Lisa (La Joconde) and the Venus de Milo statue. Starkly apparent with its service-pipe exterior, the Centre Georges Pompidou, the second-most visited art museum in Paris, also known as Beaubourg, houses the Musée National d'Art Moderne. The Lamy Paris Musée d'Orsay, in a former railway station, was the third-most visited museum in the city in 2013; it displays French art of the 19th century, including major collections of theImpressionists and Post-Impressionists. The Musée du quai Branly (Quai Branly Museum) was the fourth-most visited national museum in Paris in 2013; it displays art objects from Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. The Musée national du Moyen Âge (Cluny Museum - National Museum of Medieval Art), presents Medieval art, including the famous tapestry cycle of The Lady and the Unicorn. The Guimet Museum, or Musée national des arts asiatiques, has one of the largest collections of Asian art in Europe. There are also notable museums devoted to individual artists, including the Picasso National Museum the Rodin Museum and theMusée National Eugène Delacroix.
Paris hosts one of the largest science museums in Europe, the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie(City of Science and Industry) at La Villette. The The National Museum of Natural History, on the Left Bank, is famous for its dinosaurs, mineral collections, and its Gallery of Evolution. The military history of France, from the Middle Ages to World War II, is vividly presented by displays at the Musée de l'Armée(The Army Museum)at Les Invalides, near the tomb of Napoleon. In addition to the national museums, run by the French Ministry of Culture, the City of Paris operates 14 museums, including the Carnavalet Museum on the history of Paris; Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (Paris Museum of Modern Art);Palais de Tokyo; the Maison de Victor Hugo and Maison de Balzac, and the Catacombs of Paris. There are also notable private museums; The Contemporary Art museum of the Fondation Louis Vuitton, designed by architect Frank Gehry, opened on October 2014 in the Bois de Boulogne.
The largest opera houses of Paris are the 19th-century Opera Garnier(historical Paris Opéra) and modern Opéra Bastille; the former tends toward the more classic ballets and operas, and the latter provides a mixed repertoire of classic and modern. In middle of the 19th century, there were three other active and competing opera houses: the Opéra Comique (which still exists), Théâtre-Italien, and Théâtre Lyrique (which in modern times changed its profile and name to Théâtre de la Ville). Philharmonie de Paris, the modern symphonic concert hall of Paris, opened on January 2015.
Theatre traditionally has occupied a large place in Parisian culture. This still holds true today, and many of its most popular actors today are also stars of French television. Some of Paris' major theatres include Bobino, the Théâtre Mogador, and the Théâtre de la Gaîté-Montparnasse. Some Parisian theatres have also doubled as concert halls. Many of France's greatest musical legends, such as Édith Piaf, Maurice Chevalier, Georges Brassens, and Charles Aznavour, found their fame in Parisian concert halls such as Le Lido, Bobino, l'Olympia and le Splendid.
The movie industry was born in Paris when Auguste and Louis Lumière projected the first motion picture for a paying audience at the Grand Café on 28 December 1895. Many of Paris' concert/dance halls were transformed into movie theatres when the media became popular beginning in the 1930s. Later, most of the largest cinemas were divided into multiple, smaller rooms. Paris' largest cinema today is by far Le Grand Rex theatre with 2,800 seats, whereas other cinemas all have fewer than 1,000 seats.
Parisians tend to share the same movie-going trends as many of the world's global cities, with cinemas primarily dominated by Hollywood-generated film entertainment. French cinemacomes a close second, with major directors (réalisateurs) such as Claude Lelouch, Jean-Luc Godard, and Luc Besson, and the more slapstick/popular genre with director Claude Zidi as an example. European and Asian films are also widely shown and appreciated.On 2 February 2000, Philippe Binant realised the first digital cinema projection in Europe, with the DLP CINEMA technology developed by Texas Instruments, in Paris.
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, was opened in 1786 in the arcades of the Palais-Royal byAntoine 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 Au Rocher de Cancale, the Cafe Anglais, Maison Le Doré and the Café Riche, were mostly located near the theatres on the Boulevard des Italiens; they were immortalised in the novels of Balzac and Emile 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 immigration, every French regional cuisine and almost every national cuisine in the world can be found in Paris; 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 2014, of the 27 Michelin three-star restaurants in France, eight 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 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 Cafe Procopeon 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 today has more than 421 municipal parks and gardens, covering more than 3,000 hectares and containing more than 250,000 trees. Two of Paris' oldest and most famous gardens are the Tuileries Garden, created in 1564 for the Tuileries Garden, and redone by André Le Nôtre between 1664 and 1672, and the Luxembourg Gardens, for the Luxembourg Palace, built for Marie de' Medici in 1612, which today houses the French Senate. The Jardin des Plantes was the first botanical garden in Paris, created in 1626 by Louis XIII's doctor Guy de La Brosse for the cultivation of medicinal plants. Between 1853 and 1870, the Emperor Napoleon III and the city's first director of parks and gardens, Jean-Charles Alphand, created the Bois de Boulogne, the Bois de Vincennes, Parc MontSouris and the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, located at the four points of the compass around the city, as well as many smaller parks, squares and gardens in the Paris' quarters. Since 1977, the city has created 166 new parks, most notably the Parc de la Villette (1987), Parc André Citroën (1992), and Parc de Bercy 1997). One of the newest parks, the Promenade des Berges de la Seine (2013), built on a former highway on the Left Bank of the Seine between the Pont de l'Alma and the Lamy Paris Musée d'Orsay, has floating gardens and gives a view of the city's landmarks.