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.
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.
With 200 000 inhabitants in 1328, Paris, the capital of France, was the most populous city of Europe.
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 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.
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.
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.
On this picture, the Alexandre III bridge is crossed by elegant Parisians during the 1900 World Exhibition.
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.
More Paris facts.