Since 508 A.D, Paris is the capital of France. France, a member of the European Union, is the largest country of Western Europe with 550 000 km2 and the second country in population behind Germany with 66 millions inhabitants.
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).
Paris is a dynamic city with 325 000 students studying at Paris University and other educational institutions, 140 theaters, 100 nightclubs, 96 cabarets, 90 movie theaters, 3 opera houses, 62 000 shopping venues. There are 6 million jobs in the Ile de France region for a GDP of 612 billion euros (83% in services), the largest of any european region.
From the Romans to today's Vth Republic, Paris has a rich 2000 year history. See details of Paris history.
The french tradition of good food and wine still prevails in many restaurants, including gastronomic restaurants and excellent family style places.
All of this turns Paris into a unique tourist city.
In 2014, 45.9 million tourists visited Paris and the Paris region, including Disneyland Paris and Versailles. Paris remains year after year the most visited city in the world ahead of London and New York City.
The top Paris attractions are Notre Dame Cathedral (14.3), Disneyland Paris (14.2 million visitors in 2014), the Sacre Coeur (11), the Louvre Museum (9.2), Versailles Palace (7.5), the Eiffel Tower (7.1), Centre Pompidou (3.4) and the Cite des Sciences (2.3).
The city of Paris is 9 miles East to West, 6 miles North to South, giving it an area of 33.5 square miles, 86.7 square kilometers. Paris is 34 meters above sea level.
The Seine river flows through Paris from South West to South East. The North bank is the Right Bank, la Rive Droite. The South bank is the Left Bank, la Rive Gauche.
Paris is divided into 20 arrondissements numbered 1 to 20. The first arrondissement contains the Ile de la Cite, the Louvre and the Tuileries Gardens.
The other arrondissements spiral from there in a clockwise direction. A zip code such as 75004 indicates Paris, 4th arrondissement. See detailed map of Paris Arrondissements with top Paris sights. Paris has one main City Hall and 20 arrondissement city halls.
Under the Romans, the capital of France was Lyon (location). Paris became the capital of France in 508 under King Clovis (picture). After centuries with no unique capital, Paris retrieved its status under King Philippe Auguste (picture), who reigned between 1180 and 1223. See remains of the Philippe August Paris walls in the passageway between the Louvre parking and Museum
Paris remained the capital of France until today, with one four year interruption. During German occupation (WW2 , 1940-1944), the capital of France was Vichy.
Paris is also the romantic city of the world. Many singers romantically sang Paris during the last century.