“J’ai deux amours : mon pays et Paris” Josephine Baker used to sing. The chorus has remained true for many visitors, French provincials or foreigners alike. Paris has something magical in the air that makes us all feel at home. Maybe this feeling is due to the sight of the Eiffel Tower, probably one of the most famous shapes in the world thanks to a all the movies, cartoons, photos and pictures…
But to live in Paris, Ile de France for a longer period of time will show a different experience. That’s what the Parisian saying: “Métro, boulot, dodo” (taking the métro, going to work, coming back home only to go to sleep) is all about. Yes, living in Paris could lead to a rat race, like in any large city. But for many expats and foreign students who live and work in Paris, the French capital will remain an exquisite, fascinating, and moving place that was worth experiencing.
About Paris, Ile de France
One of Europe’s largest cities, Paris and its suburbs are also France’s most populous urban area with 12,292,895 inhabitants (2011 census).
The history of Paris dates back to the 3rd century BC when it became a Celtic town of the Parisii tribe, later conquered by the Romans who called it Lutetia (French: Lutèce).
Under King Hugh Capet (987), Paris became the capital of France and by the 12th century became the largest city in the Christendom. Paris and its region are often considered as the birthplace of Gothic architecture of which the city has kept many fine examples: Notre-Dame cathedral, Sainte-Chapelle, Saint-Étienne-du-Mont, the Conciergerie…
From the 17th centuries, many beautiful squares were opened in the French capital such as Place Dauphine, Place des Vosges, Place de la Concorde, Place Vendôme, Place de la Bastille, Place de la République, Place de la Nation…
Paris is now famous for being a global fashion hub and for its haute-cuisine.
Paris is the seat of many institutions: the Presidential palace of Élysée (8th arrt), the Prime Minister’s residence of Hôtel Matignon (7th arrt), the National Assembly in Palais Bourbon (7th arrt), the Senate in Palais du Luxembourg (6th arrt) and France’s highest courts (Cour de Cassation, Conseil Constitutionnel, Conseil d’État).
Today the Paris region is one of the leading economic centre of Europe alongside London (UK) and the third wealthiest city with the highest GDP in the world after Tokyo and New York. Its business district in La Défense is Europe’s largest CBD.
Paris is a leading city in tourism and welcomes approximately 30 million visitors each year of which about 17 million are foreign visitors. The French capital includes some well-known monuments, museums and tourist attractions such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Louvre museum, the Arc de Triomphe, the Sacré-Cœur basilica in Montmartre, the Musée d’Orsay and Centre Pompidou. 30 km east of central Paris is Disneyland Paris, Europe’s largest and most visited theme-park (16 million visitors in 2012).
Our pages on PARIS
The arrondissements of Paris
The City of Paris is divided into twenty administrative districts called “arrondissements” in French. This territorial division dates back to the French Revolution when Paris was organised into 12 arrondissements in 1795 (and 8 new arrondissements were added later in 1860).
The arrondissement of Paris are set in the form of an outward clockwise spiral starting from the centre of Paris (1st arrondissement).
The smallest arrondissement is the 2nd (0.992 km2) and the largest is the 12th (16.324 km2 including Bois de Vincennes).
The most populous arrondissement is the 15th with approximately 232,400 inhabitants.
Discover Paris by arrondissement:
1st arrondissement (Louvre)
2nd arrondissement (Bourse)
3rd arrondissement (Marais – north)
4th arrondissement (Marais – south, Notre-Dame)
5th arrondissement (Latin Quarter)
6th arrondissement (St. Germain-des-Prés, Luxembourg Garden)
7th arrondissement (Eiffel Tower, Invalides)
8th arrondissement (Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Élysées)
9th arrondissement (Opéra Garnier, Grands Boulevards)
10th arrondissement (Canal Saint-Martin)
11th arrondissement (Faubourg St. Antoine – Oberkampf)
12th arrondissement (Bercy, Bois de Vincennes)
13th arrondissement (Tolbiac, Gobelins)
14th arrondissement (Montparnasse)
15th arrondissement (Vaugirard, Grenelle)
16th arrondissement (Passy, Auteuil)
17th arrondissement (Batignolles, Monceau)
18th arrondissement (Montmartre)
19th arrondissement (La Villette, Buttes-Chaumont)
20th arrondissement (Belleville, Ménilmontant)
Tourist board of Paris: http://www.parisinfo.com