Paris is the capital city of France. It is situated on the River Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region ("Région parisienne"). Paris has an estimated population of 2,153,600 within city limit (2005 est.). The Paris urban area has a population of 9.93 million and a commuter belt around the same completes the Paris "aire urbaine" (roughly: "metropolitan area") that, with its population of 12 million, is one of the most populated areas of its kind in Europe. An important settlement for more than two millennia, Paris is today one of the world's leading business and cultural centres, and its influence in politics, education, entertainment, media, fashion and the arts all contribute to its status as one of the major global cities.
Paris travel, France Tourist Attractions
Paris' location at a crossroads between land and river trade routes in lands of abundant agriculture had made it one of France's principal cities by the 10th century, rich with royal palaces, wealthy abbeys and a cathedral; by the 12th century Paris had become one of Europe's foremost centres of learning and the arts. Today, Paris is a major influence in politics, fashion, business, arts and science. The city serves as an important hub of intercontinental transportation and is home to universities, sport events, opera companies and museums of international renown, making it an attraction for over 30 million foreign visitors per year.
The Paris region (Île-de-France) is France's foremost centre of economic activity. With €478.7 billion (US$595.3 billion), it produced more than a quarter of the gross domestic product (GDP) of France in 2005. With La Défense, the largest purpose-built business district in Europe, it hosts the head offices of almost half of the major French companies, as well as the headquarters of ten of the world's 100 largest companies.Paris also hosts many international organizations such as UNESCO, the OECD, the ICC, or the informal Paris Club. It is regarded as one of the world's 4 major global cities.
beautiful Paris. For centuries this city has attracted the admiration of the world. The allure and charm of Paris captivate all who visit there.
Where can you discover the charm of Paris for yourself? Is it in the legacy of all the French rulers who worked to beautify their beloved city? Is it in the famous castles, palaces, statues and monuments, such as the Eiffel Tower? Can you find it in the world-class museums, such as the Louvre? Perhaps Paris' allure lies in the zest and style of the Parisians.Louvre Museum
Paris has long inspired opinionated outbursts, from delusional to denouncing, but on one matter travelers remain in agreement: it's among the most stimulating cities in the world. Paris tourism assaults all the senses, demanding to be seen, heard, touched, tasted and smelt. From luminescent landmarks to fresh poodle droppings on the pavement, the city is everything it should be - the very essence of all French things. If you come here expecting all you've heard to be true, you won't leave disappointed.
Paris is at its best during the temperate spring months (March to May), with autumn coming in a close second. In winter, there are all sorts of cultural events to tempt the visitor, but school holidays can clog the streets with the little folk. August is usually hot and sticky, and it's also when many Parisians take their yearly vacations, so businesses are likely to be closed.
Louvre is probably one of the most world-renowned sightseeing places in Paris. This enormous building, constructed around 1200 as a fortress and rebuilt in the mid-16th century for use as a royal palace, began its career as a public museum in 1793. As part of Mitterand's grands projets in the 1980s, the Louvre was revamped with the addition of a 21m (67ft) glass pyramid entrance. Initially deemed a failure, the new design has since won over those who regard consistency as inexcusably boring. Vast scrums of people puff and pant through the rooms full of paintings, sculptures and antiquities, including the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and Winged Victory (which looks like it's been dropped and put back together). If the clamor becomes unbearable, your best bet is to pick a period or section of the Louvre and pretend that the rest is somewhere across town.
This towering edifice was built for the World Fair of 1889, held to commemorate the centennial of the French Revolution. Named after its designer, Gustave Eiffel, it stands 320m (1050ft) high and held the record as the world's tallest structure until 1930. Initially opposed by the city's artistic and literary elite - who were only affirming their right to disagree with everything - the tower was almost torn down in 1909. Salvation came when it proved an ideal platform for the antennas needed for the new science of radio telegraphy. When you're done paris travel peering upwards through the girders, you can visit any of the three public levels, which can be accessed by lift or stairs. Just south-east of the tower is a grassy expanse that was once the site of the world's first balloon flights and is now used by teens as a skateboarding arena or by activists bad-mouthing Chirac.
A popular promenade for the ostentatious aristos of old, the Avenue des Champs-élysées has long symbolised the style and joie de vivre of Paris. Encroaching Paris attractions fast-food joints, car showrooms and cinemas have somewhat dulled the sheen, but the 2km (1mi) long, 70m (235ft) wide stretch is still an ideal place for evening walks and relishing the food at overpriced restaurants.
The Centre Georges Pompidou, displaying and promoting modern and contemporary art, is far and away the most visited sight in Paris. Built between 1972 and 1977, the hi-tech though daffy design has recently begun to age, prompting face-lifts and closures of many parts of the centre. Woven into this mêlée of renovation are several good (though pricey) galleries plus a free, three-tiered library with over 2000 periodicals, including English-language newspapers and magazines from around the world. A square just to the west attracts street musicians, Marcel Marceau impersonators and lots of unsavoury types selling drugs or picking pockets.
The city's cathedral ranks as one of the greatest achievements of Gothic architecture. Notre Dame was begun in 1163 and completed around 1345; the massive interior can accommodate over 6000 worshippers. Although Notre Dame is regarded as a sublime architectural achievement, there are all sorts of minor anomalies as the French love nothing better than to mess with things. These include a trio of main entrances that are each shaped differently, and which are accompanied by statues that were once coloured to make them more effective as Bible lessons for the hoi polloi. The interior is dominated by spectacular and enormous rose windows, and a 7800-pipe organ that was recently restored but has not been working properly since. From the base of the north tower, visitors with ramrod straight spines can climb to the top of the west fa? ade and decide how much aesthetic pleasure they derive from looking out at the Paris tourism cathedral's many gargoyles - alternatively they can just enjoy the view of a decent swathe of Paris. Under the square in front of the cathedral, an archaeological crypt displays in situ the remains of structures from the Gallo-Roman and later periods.
Lying inside the Palais de Justice (law courts), Sainte Chapelle was consecrated in 1248 and built to house what was reputedly Jesus' crown of thorns and other relics purchased by King Louis IX earlier in the 13th century. The gem-like chapel, illuminated by a veritable curtain of 13th-century stained glass (the oldest and finest in Paris), is best viewed from the law courts' main entrance - a magnificently gilded, 18th-century gate. Once past the airport-like security, you can wander around the long hallways of the Palais de Justice and Paris tourism, if you can find a court in session, observe the proceedings. Civil cases are heard in the morning, while criminal trials - usually reserved for larceny or that French speciality crimes passionnel - begin after lunch.
Spectacularly housed in a former railway station built in 1900, the Musée d'Orsay was reinaugurated in its present form in 1986. Inside is a trove of artistic treasures produced between 1848 and 1914, including highly regarded Impressionist and Post-impressionist works. Most of their paintings and sculptures are found on the ground floor and the skylight-lit upper level, while the middle level has some magnificent rooms showcasing the Art-Nouveau movement. Nearby, the Musée Rodin displays the lively bronze and marble sculptures by Camille Claudel and Auguste Rodin, including casts of some of Rodin's most celebrated works. There's a shady sculpture garden out the back, one of Paris' treasured islands of calm.
[R-p5]Established in 1805, this necropolis attracts more visitors than any similar structure in the world. Within the manicured, evergreen enclosure are the tombs of over one million people including such luminaries as the composer Chopin; the writers Molière, Apollinaire, Oscar Wilde, Balzac, Marcel Proust and Gertrude Stein; the artists David, Delacroix, Pissarro, Seurat and Modigliani; the actors Sarah Bernhardt, Simone Signoret and Yves Montand; the singer édith Piaf; and the dancer Isadora Duncan. The most visited tomb, however, is that of The Doors lead singer, Jim Morrison, who died in Paris in 1971. One hundred years earlier, the cemetery was the site of a fierce battle between Communard insurgents and government troops. The rebels were eventually rounded up against a wall and shot, and were buried where they fell in a mass grave.
The Marais district spent a long time as a swamp and then as agricultural land, until in 1605 King Henry IV decided to transform it into a residential area for Parisian aristocrats. He did this by building Place des Vosges and arraying 36 symmetrical houses around its square perimeter. The houses, each with arcades on the ground floor, large dormer windows, and the requisite creepers on the walls, were initially built of brick but were subsequently constructed using timber with a plaster covering, which was then painted to look like brick. Duels, fought with strictly observed formality, were once staged in the elegant park in the middle. From 1832-48 Victor Hugo lived at a house at No 6, which has Paris travel now been turned into a municipal museum. Today, the arcades around the place are occupied by expensive galleries and shops, and cafés filled with people drinking little cups of coffee and air-kissing immaculate passersby.
The modestly sized Bois de Boulogne, on the western edge of the city, is endowed with forested areas, meandering paths, belle époque cafes and little wells of naughtiness. Each night, pockets of the Bois de Boulogne are taken over by prostitutes and lurkers with predacious sexual tastes. In recent years, the police have cracked down on the area's sex trade, but locals still advise against walking through the area alone at night.
The relatively small region surrounding Paris - known as the ?le de France (Island of France) - was where the kingdom of France began its 12th-century expansion. Today, it's a popular day-trip destination for Parisians and Paris-based visitors. Among the region's many attractions are woodlands ideal for hiking, skyscrapered districts endowed with sleekly functional architecture, the much-maligned EuroDisney, elegant historical towns and Versailles, the country's former political capital and seat of the royal court. The latter is the site of the Chateau de Versailles, the grandest and most famous palace in France. Built in the mid-1600s during the Paris attractions reign of Louis XIV, the chateau is a keen reminder of just how much one massive ego and a nation's wealth could buy in days of old (eat your heart out, Bill Gates). Apart from grand halls, bedchambers, gardens, ponds and fountains too elaborate to discuss, there's also a 75m (250ft) Hall of Mirrors, where nobles dressed like ninnies could watch each other dancing.
When you visit Paris, you don't have to spend all of your time visiting museums and monuments. They are certainly worthy of your time, but ignore them for a day. First take some time to look around and experience life in Paris. You'll find it charming.
Take a stroll along the Seine River. Browse through the art vendors, colorful paintings. Peek through delicate iron gates at the well-kept gardens. Watch closely for the French attention to detail that has made France synonymous with good taste. You will see it in the design of a doorway or arch and in the little fountains and quaint balconies. No matter where you look Paris tourism, you will find everyday objects transformed into works by art.
Spend some time in a quiet park relaxing on an old bench. Lie on your back on the green grass. When you need refreshment, try coffee and pastries at a sidewalk cafe. Strike up a conversation with a Parisian. This isn't always easy, though. With such a large international population living in Paris, true natives are hard to find these days.
As evening comes to Paris, enchantment rises with the mist over the riverfront. You may hear music from an outdoor concert nearby: classical, jazz, opera or chansons, those French folk songs. Parisians love their music. The starry sky is their auditorium. You can also hear concerts in the chateaux and cathedrals. In Paris the Music never ends.
Don't miss the highlight of Paris evening: eating out. Parisians are proud of their cuisine. And rightly so; it's world famous. Gourmet dining is one of the indispensable joys of living. You need a special guidebook to help you choose one of the hundreds of excellent restaurants. The capital of France boasts every regional specialty, cheese and wine the country has to offer. If you don't know what to order, ask for the suggested menu. The chef likes to showcase his best dishes there. Remember, you haven't tasted the Paris travel true flavor of France until you've dined at a French restaurant in Paris.
After your gourmet dinner, take a walking tour of the floodlit monuments. Cross the Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in the city, to the Ile de la Cite. The most famous landmark of Paris looms up in front of you the Notre Dame Cathedral (Cathedral of Our Lady). Stand in the square in front of the cathedral. Here, you are standing in the center of France. All distances are measured from the front of Notre Dame. Paris attractions Every road in France leads to her front door. All French kings and leaders have journeyed here to commemorate important occasions and give thanks. Notre Dame is the heart of Paris and the heart of France.
Your visit in Paris has only just begun. You've just started to discover the charm of this old city. May the rest of your journey be unforgettable. When it is time to leave, you will go reluctantly. You will say with the French, "A bientot, Paris, a bientot!" (See you again soon, Paris!)