Since 508 A.D, Paris is the capital of France, the largest country of Western Europe with 550 000 km2 (the second in population with 66 millions inhabitants).
Paris has 2.275 million inhabitants (last census in 2011). She is the core of the Paris metropolitan area, known as Ile de France region (11.9 million people).
Paris is a modern and dynamic city with significant universities, cultural life, commercial, business, administrative, scientific and political activities.
From the Romans to today's Vth Republic, Paris has a rich 2000 year history. See details of Paris history.
The French Kings, who governed France, from 448 until 1848, commissioned many beautiful monuments, such as Versailles Palace and the Louvre Museum.
The Catholic Church and Parisians built many great churches, including Notre Dame and Sainte Chapelle.
Paris is a world capital of shopping and fashion. Chanel, Dior, Hermes, Louis Vuitton are the most prestigious among many top french fashion brands.
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 2013, 47 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 Disneyland Paris (15 million visitors each year), Notre Dame Cathedral (13.6), the Sacre Coeur (10,5), the Louvre Museum (9.2), the Eiffel Tower (6.7), Versailles Palace (6), Centre Pompidou (5) and the Cite des Sciences (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 first became the capital of France in 508 under King Clovis (picture). After centuries with no unique capital, Paris retrieved its status of capital of France under King Philippe Auguste (picture), who reigned between 1180 and 1223. You can see remains of the Philippe August Paris walls in the passageway between the Louvre parking and Louvre 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.