Paris is the capital and largest city in France. It is a bustling metropolis on the River Seine. The city itself has a population of 2.2 million, while the metropolitan area, called Paris aire urbaine, having a population of 11.8 million. The River Seine slides Paris into two halves, north and south. They are known as the Right Bank (La Rive Droite) and the Left Bank (La Rive Gauche), according to the flow of the Seine from east to west.
Paris is in the Central European Time Zone, which is an hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+1). Central Paris is divided into 20 districts, called arrondissements. They are numbered 1 to 20 in a clockwise spiral from the city centre, which is known as Kilometre Zero, and is located in front of the Cathedral of Notre Dame.
Paris in one of the most influential cities in the world, particularly in terms of fashion, politics, media and the arts. It also ranks as among the top ten greenest cities in Europe.
The GDP of Paris and the Paris Region stood at €552.1 billion. It accounts for more than a quarter of the entire GDP of France. The region is home to 37 companies in the Fortune Global 500. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit in 2010, the city is among the most expensive in the world. It contains over 3,800 historical monuments.
The Paris area has seen human settlement going back to at least 4,200 BC. The name “Paris” is derived from that of the Celtic tribe known as
Parisii. The Paris Basin was under Roman rule from 52 BC until the collapse of the Roman empire in the 5th century.
As with much of Europe, Paris saw its population decimated by the Black Death in 1348. The city was a stronghold of the Catholics during the French Wars of Religion (1562-98) between the French Catholics and the Protestants (Huguenots). Paris was also where the French Revolution began, ignited by the Storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789.
While Paris managed to avoid a German invasion during the First World War, it was undefended during the Second World War, and within five weeks of the Battle of France, Paris fell to German occupation forces on 14 June, 1940. The city was only liberated in August 1944.
The post-war years saw rapid development and modernization of Paris, along with a general increase in the standard of living. A comprehensive network of subways and expressways were built while the economy of the city shifted from one based on manufacturing to high-value-added services and high-tech industries.
Today Paris is regarded as one of the most vibrant in Europe. It has built itself into an ultra-modern city with a good number of skyscrapers while keeping much of its historical sights largely intact.
The main airports serving Paris are
Charles de Gaulle International Airport (CDG), Orly International Airport (ORY) and Beauvais Airport (BVA). Most of the international flag carriers use Charles de Gaulle. Air France and its associated carriers use Terminal 2. Orly is also used by Air France, but mostly for domestic flights.
If you are flying in on a budget airline, it will most likely land at Beauvais. Among the low cost carriers flying to Beauvais includes Ryanair and WizzAir.
Arriving in Paris
If you are arriving at CDG, take the RER subway train to Paris Gare du Nord Railway Station. If arriving at Paris Orly, take the OrlyBus to Paris. The fare is €6.00. If arriving at Beauvais, take the airport shuttle to the Porte Maillot subway station, and from there you can connect with the Paris Métro to anywhere in the city.
Some parts of Paris are best explored on foot. The city is fills with countless nooks and crannies that can only be described as absolutely charming. These you would not be able to experience by another other method except on foot.
To get from place to place, you should get familiar with taking the subway (Métro). The stations are marked with a large “M”. There are sixteen lines crisscrossing the city. To pay for your rides, you can buy a
carnet, which is a booklet of 10 tickets. In doing so, you get a discount (€12 for 10 tickets over €1.70 per ticket). If you are going to use the subway a lot, get the one-day, one-week or even one-month pass, allowing you unlimited travel over the specified duration.
Places in Paris
- River Seine
- Île de la Cité
- Ile St-Louis
- Beaubourg and Les Halles
- Chaillot Quarter
- Le Marais
- Opéra Quarter
- Tuileries Quarter
- Invalides and Eifel Tower Quarter
- Jardin des Plantes Quarter
- Latin Quarter
- Luxembourg Quarter
- La Défense