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Paris history

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Tuileries Palace in 1840 The Tuileries Palace was built in 1564 between the Tuileries Gardens and the Louvre. It was set to fire during the 1871 commune uprising.

The capital of France since 508, Paris has a 2000 year history. Many churches, monasteries and old districts have been destroyed during the French Revolution and the Haussman redesign time. But, unlike many european cities, Paris has been preserved from destructions during the 20th century World Wars. The history of Paris helps understand Paris today.

Paris history: roman Lutecia

Lutecia, as Paris was then called, became Roman in 52 BC (before Christ). Lutecia was a prosperous town of about 8 000 inhabitants (picture) until 280 when Lutecia was first destroyed by Barbarians. During the roman times, Lyon was the capital of France, then named the Gaul.

The only remarkable remains of these times are the Roman Baths in the Musee de Cluny, the museum of middleages (Paris map) and the Lutecia Arenas (Paris map).

Paris history: the Roman forum in Lutecia
Lutecia was a roman city with a forum

Paris history: the Middle Ages

With 200 000 inhabitants in 1328, Paris, the capital of France, was the most populous city of Europe.

The Kings had their Palace (picture) on Ile de la Cite (Conciergerie today) and the Louvre, first a fortress (picture).

Faithfull Parisians built Notre-Dame Cathedral, Sainte Chapelle, Saint Germain des Pres, Saint Denis. The Sorbonne University (web site) was then established.

See Paris in 1380, Paris in 1500 or download detailed Paris plan in 1550 with many monuments visible today.

In 1550, Ile de la Cite was still the heart of Paris

Paris history: the XVIIth century

With 400 000 inhabitants, Paris was the most populous city in the world. Under King Louis XIV (picture), Paris extended herself to Le Marais and Invalides.

Louis XIV built the splendid Versailles Palace near Paris as the testimony of his glory and power.

Paris then became the prominent European city for luxury, fashion, fine food and wine. She still is.

Download interesting Paris view of 1615 and recognize many monuments of today.

Paris history: 1789

Paris counted 650 000 inhabitants. The French revolution really started on July 14th with the taking of La Bastille prison (on the spot of Opera Bastille).

It lead to the fall of the monarchy in 1792, new liberties for the French people, but also tragedies such as wars, mass executions and the beheading of King Louis XVI (picture) on Place de la Concorde in 1793.

Paris history: Haussman

In 1866, Paris counted 1 600 000 inhabitants. The rapid rise of activity and population in Paris led Baron Haussman to undertake massive town planning between 1852 and 1870.

Paris train stations, most Paris boulevards, Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes, Opera Garnier, the completion of the Louvre are part of his testimony, visible everywhere today.

Paris history: Haussman style buildings in Paris
Haussman style buildings are predominent in Paris

Paris history: the metro

At the end of 19th century, Paris grew feverly. The Eiffel Tower was built for 1889 World Exhibition (Eiffel Tower facts). In 1900, metro line 1 was opened. Most Paris metro lines were completed before World War 1 (Paris metro facts).

The Sacre Coeur Basilica was built between 1876 and 1914. Look at the dates on buildings in Paris. Many of them were built between 1890 and 1914.

Paris history: 1900 world exhibition

The 1900 world exhibition left a great legacy to Paris, a city which then counted 2 600 000 people: the Orsay Museum, the Grand Palais and Petit Palais close to Champs Elysees, Pont Alexandre III.

On this picture, the Alexandre III bridge is crossed by elegant Parisians during the 1900 World Exhibition.

Paris history: Paris 1900 - a rare video

Paris history: today

Paris has 2.275 million inhabitants (last census in 2011). She is the core of Grand Paris Metropolitan Area (7,2 million inhabitants) and Ile de France region (11.9 million people).

The Centre Pompidou, La Defense business district, Charles de Gaulle Airport, the Stade de France, Quai Branly Museum and Fondation Louis Vuitton are major contemporary additions to the beauty of Paris.

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