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“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 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 the French capital could lead to a rat race, like in any large city. But for many expats and foreign students who live and work there, the French capital will remain an exquisite, fascinating, and moving place that was worth experiencing.

 

A few words about Paris

Paris, the capital of France, is situated at the heart of the Île de France region on the Seine River.

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).

 

A brief history

The history of the city 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).

Trocadéro 15 © French Moments
The Trocadéro and the Eiffel Tower © French Moments

Under King Hugh Capet (987), Paris became the capital of France and by the 12th century became the largest city in 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

Notre-Dame cathedral, Paris © French Moments
Notre-Dame cathedral © French Moments

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…

Place de la Concorde © French Moments
The fountain of the seas in Place de la Concorde © French Moments
Paris Place Vendôme 64 © French Moments
Place Vendôme © French Moments
Place de la République © French Moments
The statue of the Republic, Place de la République, Paris © French Moments
Place de la Nation, Paris © French Moments
Place de la Nation, Paris © French Moments
Place de la Bastille © French Moments
Column of July and Opera, Place de la Bastille © French Moments
Squares of Paris Quiz © French Moments
The 17th-century Place des Vosges © French Moments

Institutions and economy

The city 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 centres 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.

Tour Montparnasse Paris
The panoramic view over the city from the Montparnasse Tower © French Moments

One of the world’s most visited cities!

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).

Paris is now famous for being a global fashion hub and for its haute-cuisine.

 

The arrondissements of Paris

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)

 

Visit the website of the Tourist board of Paris for more info!

 

More photos of the City of Lights!

Monuments of Paris - Eiffel Tower © French Moments
Monuments of Paris – Eiffel Tower © French Moments
Jardin du Luxembourg © French Moments
The central basin of the Jardin du Luxembourg © French Moments
Paris Sans Voiture September 2015 - Rue de Rivoli © French Moments
Rue de Rivoli in Paris © French Moments
Facts about Paris: Pont-Neuf © French Moments
Facts about Paris: Pont-Neuf © French Moments
Parc des Buttes Chaumont © French Moments
Parc des Buttes Chaumont © French Moments
Paris Sans Voiture September 2015 - Place de la Concorde © French Moments
Place de la Concorde © French Moments
Avenue des Champs-Elysées © French Moments
Avenue des Champs-Elysées © French Moments
View of Paris from Arc de Triomphe © French Moments
View of the Champs-Élysées from the top © French Moments
The Louvre © French Moments
The Louvre at sunset © French Moments
Notre-Dame de Paris © French Moments
Notre-Dame de Paris (before the 2019 fire) © French Moments

 

Does Paris inspire you? Pin it for later!

 

About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of the Discovery Course on the Secrets of the Eiffel Tower and the Christmas book "Voyage au Pays de Noël".

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