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This article is about the capital of France. For other uses, see Paris (disambiguation).
Paris
Le Louvre Champs de Mars Eiffel Tower Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile Palace of Versailles Palais de Justice Tribunal de Commerce Sainte-Chapelle Notre Dame Cathedral Institut de France Pont Neuf Pont des Arts Île de la Cité SeineParis montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article.
About this image
Clockwise from top: Pyramid of the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Palace of Versailles, skyline of Paris on the River Seine with the Pont des Arts bridge, and the Eiffel Tower - clickable image
Flag of Paris
Flag
Coat of arms of Paris
Coat of arms
Motto: Fluctuat nec mergitur
(Latin: "Tossed but not sunk")
Paris is located in France
Paris
Paris
Coordinates: 48°51′24″N 2°21′03″E / 48.8567°N 2.3508°E / 48.8567; 2.3508Coordinates: 48°51′24″N 2°21′03″E / 48.8567°N 2.3508°E / 48.8567; 2.3508
Country France
Region Île-de-France
Department Paris
Subdivisions 20 arrondissements
Government
 • Mayor (2014-present) Anne Hidalgo (PS)
Area1 (2010)[1] 105.4 km2 (40.7 sq mi)
 • Urban (2010) 2,844.8 km2 (1,098.4 sq mi)
 • Metro (2010) 17,174.4 km2 (6,631.1 sq mi)
Population (2014)2 2,241,346
 • Rank 1st in France
 • Density 21,000/km2 (55,000/sq mi)
 • Urban (2011) 10,516,110[3]
 • Metro (Jan. 2009) 12,161,542[4][5]
Demonym Parisian (en)
parisien(ne) (fr)
Time zone CET (UTC +1)
INSEE/Postal code 75056 / 75001-75020, 75116
Website www.paris.fr

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Paris (UK: /ˈpærɪs/ PARR-iss; US: Listeni/ˈpɛərɪs/ PAIR-iss; French: [paʁi]) is the capital and most-populous city of France. Situated on the Seine River, in the north of the country, it is in the centre of the Île-de-France region, also known as the région parisienne, "Paris Region". The City of Paris has an area of 105.4 square kilometres (40.7 square miles) and had a population of 2,241,346 within its city limits in 2014.[2] The Paris Region covers 12,012 square kilometres (4,638 square miles), and has its own regional council and president. It had a population of 12,005,077 as of January 2014, or 18.2 percent of the population of France.[6]

Paris was founded in the 3rd century BC by a Celtic people called the Parisii, who gave the city its name. By the 12th century, Paris was the largest city in the western world, a prosperous trading centre, and the home of the University of Paris, one of the first in Europe. In the 18th century, it was the centre stage for the French Revolution, and became an important centre of finance, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts, a position it still retains today.

The Paris Region had a GDP of €612 billion (US$760 billion) in 2012, accounting for 30.1 percent of the GDP of France, and ranking it as one of the wealthiest five regions in Europe; it is the banking and financial centre of France, and contains the headquarters of 29 of the 31 companies in France ranked in the 2015 Fortune Global 500.

Paris is the home of the most visited art museum in the world, the Louvre, as well as the Musée d'Orsay, noted for its collection of French Impressionist art, and the Musée National d'Art Moderne, a museum of modern and contemporary art. The notable architectural landmarks of Paris include Notre Dame Cathedral (12th century); the Sainte-Chapelle (13th century); the Eiffel Tower (1889); and the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur on Montmartre (1914). In 2014 Paris received 22.4 million visitors, making it one of the world's top tourist destinations. Paris is also known for its fashion, particularly the twice-yearly Paris Fashion Week, and for its haute cuisine, and three-star restaurants. Most of France's major universities and grandes écoles are located in Paris, as are France's major newspapers, including Le Monde, Le Figaro, and Libération.

Paris is home to the association football club Paris Saint-Germain and the rugby union club Stade Français. The 80,000-seat Stade de France, built for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, is located in Saint-Denis. Paris hosts the annual French Open Grand Slam tennis tournament on the red clay of Roland Garros. Paris played host to the 1900 and 1924 Summer Olympics, the 1938 and 1998 FIFA World Cups, and the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

The city is a major rail, highway, and air-transport hub, served by the two international airports Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly. Opened in 1900, the city's subway system, the Paris Métro, serves 9 million passengers daily. Paris is the hub of the national road network, and is surrounded by three orbital roads: the Périphérique, the A86 motorway, and the Francilienne motorway in the outer suburbs.

History[edit]

Etymology[edit]

See Wiktionary for the name of Paris in various languages other than English and French.
In the 1860s Paris streets and monuments were illuminated by 56,000 gas lamps, making it literally "The City of Light."

The name "Paris" is derived from its early inhabitants, the Celtic Parisii tribe.[7]

Paris is often referred to as "The City of Light" (La Ville Lumière),[8] both because of its leading role during the Age of Enlightenment, and more literally because Paris was one of the first European cities to adopt gas street lighting. In the 1860s, the boulevards and streets of Paris were illuminated by 56,000 gas lamps.[9] Since the late 19th century, Paris is also known as Panam(e) (pronounced: [panam]) in French slang.[10]

Inhabitants are known in English as "Parisians" and in French as Parisiens ([paʁizjɛ̃]), pejoratively also called Parigots ([paʁiɡo]).[note 1][11]

Origins[edit]

The Parisii, a sub-tribe of the Celtic Senones, inhabited the Paris area from around the middle of the 3rd century BC.[12][13] One of the area's major north-south trade routes crossed the Seine on the île de la Cité; this meeting place of land and water trade routes gradually became a town and an important trading centre.[14] The Parisii traded with many river towns as far away as Spain, and minted their own coins for that purpose.[15]

Gold coins minted by the Parisii (1st century BC)

The Romans conquered the Paris basin in 52 BC and,[16] after making the island a garrison camp, began extending their settlement in a more permanent way to Paris' Left Bank. The Gallo-Roman town was originally called Lutetia (more fully, Lutetia Parisiorum, "Lutetia of the Parisii"). It became a prosperous city with a forum, baths, temples, theatres, and an amphitheatre. .[17]

By the end of the Roman Empire, the town was known simply as Parisius in Latin and Paris in French.[18] Christianity was introduced in the middle of the 3rd century AD. According to tradition, it was brought by Saint Denis, the first Bishop of Paris. When he refused to renounce his faith, he was beheaded on the hill which became known as the "Mountain of Martyrs" (Mons Martyrum), eventually "Montmartre". His burial place became an important religious shrine; the Basilica of Saint-Denis was built there and became the burial place of the French Kings.[19]

Clovis the Frank, the first king of the Merovingian dynasty, made the city his capital from 508. Fortification of the Ile de France failed to prevent sacking by Vikings in 845 but Paris's strategic importance—with its bridges preventing ships from passing—was established by successful defence in the Siege of Paris (885–86). In 987 Hugh Capet, Count of Paris (comte de Paris), Duke of the Franks (duc des Francs) was elected King of the Franks (roi des Franks). Under the rule of the Capetian kings, Paris gradually became the largest and most prosperous city in France.[19]

Middle Ages to Louis XIV[edit]

For more details on this topic, see Paris in the Middle Ages.
The Palais de la Cité and Sainte-Chapelle, viewed from the Left Bank, from the Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry (month of June) (1410)

By the end of the 12th century, Paris had become the political, economic, religious, and cultural capital of France.[20] The Île de la Cité was the site of the royal palace. In 1163, during the reign of Louis VII, Maurice de Sully, bishop of Paris, undertook the construction of the Notre Dame Cathedral at its eastern extremity. The Left Bank was the site of the University of Paris, a corporation of students and teachers formed in the mid-12th century to train scholars first in theology, and later in canon law, medicine and the arts.[21][20] The Right Bank became the centre of commerce and finance. The merchants who controlled the trade on the river formed a league and quickly became a powerful force. Between 1190 and 1202, Philip Augustus built the massive fortress of the Louvre, continued the construction of Notre Dame, rebuilt the two bridges, began paving Paris' main thoroughfares, and the construction of a fortified wall around the city.[22]

During the Hundred Years' War, The army of the Duke of Burgundy and a force of about two hundred English soldiers occupied Paris from May 1420 until 1436. They repelled an attempt to liberate the city by Joan of Arc in 1429.[23] A century later, during the French Wars of Religion, Paris was a stronghold of the Catholic League. On 24 August 1572, Paris was the site of the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre, when thousands of French Protestants were killed.[24][25] The last of these wars, the eighth one, ended in 1594, after Henri IV had converted to Catholicism and was finally able to enter Paris as king. The city had been neglected for decades; by the time of his assassination in 1610, Henry IV had rebuilt the Pont Neuf, the first Paris bridge with sidewalks and not lined with buildings, linked with a new wing the Louvre to the Tuileries Palace, and created the first Paris residential square, the Place Royale, now Place des Vosges.[26]

In the 17th century, Cardinal Richelieu, chief minister of Louis XIII, was determined to make Paris the most beautiful city in Europe. He built five new bridges, a new chapel for the College of Sorbonne, and a palace for himself, the Palais Cardinal, which he bequeathed to Louis XIII, and which became, after his own death in 1642, the Palais-Royal.[27]

Louis XIV distrusted the Parisians and moved his court to Versailles in 1682, but his reign also saw an unprecedented flourishing of the arts and sciences in Paris. The Comédie-Française, the Academy of Painting, and the French Academy of Sciences were founded and made their headquarters in the city. To show that the city was safe against attack, he had the city walls demolished, replacing them with Grands Boulevards.[28] To leave monuments to his reign, he built the Collège des Quatre-Nations, Place Vendôme, Place des Victoires, and began Les Invalides.[29]

The 18th and 19th century[edit]

The storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789 marked the beginning of the French Revolution.

Between 1640 and 1789, Paris grew in population from 400,000 to 600,000. A new boulevard, the Champs-Élysées, extended the city west to Étoile,[30] while the working-class neighbourhood of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine on the eastern site of the city grew more and more crowded with poor migrants from other regions of France.[31]

Paris was the centre of an explosion of philosophic and scientific activity known as the Age of Enlightenment. Diderot and d'Alembert published their Encyclopédie in 1751-52, and the Montgolfier Brothers launched the first manned flight in a hot-air balloon on 21 November 1783, from the gardens of the Château de la Muette. Paris was the financial capital of continental Europe, the primary European centre of book publishing, fashion, and the manufacture of fine furniture and luxury goods.[32]

In the summer of 1789, Paris became the centre stage of the French Revolution. On 14 July, a mob seized the arsenal at the Invalides, acquiring thousands of guns, and stormed the Bastille, a symbol of royal authority. The first independent Paris Commune, or city council, met in the Hôtel de Ville and, on 15 July, elected a Mayor, the astronomer Jean Sylvain Bailly.[33]

Louis XVI and the royal family were brought to Paris and made virtual prisoners within the Tuileries Palace. In 1793, as the revolution turned more and more radical, the king, queen, and the mayor were guillotined, along with more than 16,000 others (throughout France), during the Reign of Terror.[34] The property of the aristocracy and the church was nationalised, and the city's churches were closed, sold or demolished.[35] A succession of revolutionary factions ruled Paris until 9 November 1799 (coup d'état du 18 brumaire), when Napoléon Bonaparte seized power as First Consul.[36]

The Paris Opera was the centrepiece of Napoleon III's new Paris. The architect, Charles Garnier, described the style simply as "Napoleon the Third."

The population of Paris had dropped by 100,000 during the Revolution, but between 1799 and 1815, it surged with 160,000 new residents, reaching 660,000.[37] Bonaparte replaced the elected government of Paris with a prefect reporting only to him. He began erecting monuments to military glory, including the Arc de Triomphe, and improved the neglected infrastructure of the city with new fountains, the Canal de l'Ourcq, Père Lachaise Cemetery and the city's first metal bridge, the Pont des Arts.[37]

During the Restoration, the bridges and squares of Paris were returned to their pre-Revolution names, but the July Revolution of 1830 in Paris, (commemorated by the July Column on Place de la Bastille), brought a constitutional monarch, Louis Philippe I, to power. The first railway line to Paris opened in 1837, beginning a new period of massive migration from the provinces to the city.[37]

The Eiffel Tower, under construction in August 1888, startled Parisians and the world with its modernity.

Louis-Philippe was overthrown by a popular uprising in the streets of Paris in 1848. His successor, Napoleon III, and the newly appointed prefect of the Seine, Georges-Eugène Haussmann, launched a gigantic public works project to build wide new boulevards, a new opera house, a central market, new aqueducts, sewers, and parks, including the Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes.[38] In 1860, Napoleon III also annexed the surrounding towns and created eight new arrondissements, expanding Paris to its current limits.[38]

During the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871), Paris was besieged by the Prussian army. After months of blockade, hunger, and then bombardment by the Prussians, the city was forced to surrender on 28 January 1871. On 28 March, a revolutionary government called the Paris Commune seized power in Paris. The Commune held power for two months, until it was harshly suppressed by the French army during the "Bloody Week" at the end of May 1871.[39]

Late in the 19th century, Paris hosted two major international expositions: the 1889 Universal Exposition, was held to mark the centennial of the French Revolution and featured the new Eiffel Tower; and the 1900 Universal Exposition, which gave Paris the Pont Alexandre III, the Grand Palais, the Petit Palais and the first Paris Métro line.[40] Paris became the laboratory of Naturalism (Émile Zola) and Symbolism (Charles Baudelaire and Paul Verlaine), and of Impressionism in art (Courbet, Manet, Monet, Renoir.)[41]

20th and 21st century[edit]

By 1901, the population of Paris had grown to 2,715,000.[42] At the beginning of the century, artists from around the world, including Picasso, Modigliani and Matisse made Paris their home; it was the birthplace of Fauvism, Cubism and abstract art,[43][44] and authors such as Marcel Proust were exploring new approaches to literature.[45]

During the First World War, Paris sometimes found itself on the front line; 600 to 1,000 Paris taxis played a small but highly important symbolic role in transporting 6,000 soldiers to the front line at the First Battle of the Marne. The city was also bombed by Zeppelins and shelled by German long-range guns.[46] In the years after the war, known as Les Années Folles, Paris continued to be a mecca for writers, musicians and artists from around the world, including Ernest Hemingway, Igor Stravinsky, Josephine Baker, Sidney Bechet[47] and the surrealist Salvador Dalí.[48]

General Charles de Gaulle on the Champs-Élysées celebrating the liberation of Paris (26 August 1944).

On 14 June 1940, the German army marched into Paris, which had been declared an "open city".[49] On 16–17 July 1942, following German orders, the French police and gendarmes arrested 12,884 Jews, including 4,115 children, and confined them during five days at the Vel d'Hiv (Vélodrome d'Hiver), from which they were transported by train to the extermination camp at Auschwitz. None of the children came back.[50][51] On 25 August 1944, the city was liberated by the French 2nd Armoured Division and the 4th Infantry Division of the United States Army. General Charles de Gaulle led a huge and emotional crowd down the Champs Élysées towards Notre Dame de Paris, and made a rousing speech from the Hôtel de Ville.[52]

In the 1950s and the 1960s, Paris became one front of the Algerian War for independence; in August 1961, the pro-independence FLN targeted and killed 11 Paris policemen, leading to the imposition of a curfew on Muslims of Algeria (who, at that time, were French citizens). On 17 October 1961, an unauthorised but peaceful protest demonstration of Algerians against the curfew led to violent confrontations between the police and demonstrators, in which at least 40 people were killed, including some thrown into the Seine. The anti-independence Organisation de l'armée secrète (OAS), for their part, carried out a series of bombings in Paris throughout 1961 and 1962.[53][54]

The Centre Georges Pompidou, a museum of modern art (1977), put all its internal plumbing and infrastructure on the outside.

In May 1968, protesting students occupied the Sorbonne and put up barricades in the Latin Quarter. Thousands of Parisian blue-collar workers joined the students, and the movement grew into a two-week general strike. Supporters of the government won the June elections by a large majority. The May 1968 events in France resulted in the breakup of the University of Paris into 13 independent campuses.[55]

In 1975, the National Assembly changed the status of Paris to that of other French cities and, on 25 March 1977, Jacques Chirac became the first elected mayor of Paris since 1793.[56] The Tour Maine Montparnasse, the tallest building in the city at 57 storeys and 210 metres high, was built between 1969 and 1973. It was highly controversial, and it remains the city's only skyscraper.[51]

The population of Paris dropped from 2,850,000 in 1954 to 2,152,000 in 1990, as middle-class families moved to the suburbs.[57] A suburban railway network, the RER (Réseau Express Régional), was built to complement the Métro, and the Périphérique expressway encircling the city, was completed in 1973.[58]

Each president of the postwar Fifth Republic wanted to leave his own monument in Paris; President Georges Pompidou started the Centre Georges Pompidou (1977), Valéry Giscard d'Estaing began the Musée d'Orsay (1986); President François Mitterrand, in power for 14 years, built the Opéra Bastille (1985-1989), the Bibliothèque nationale de France (1996), the Arche de la Défense (1985-1989), and the Louvre Pyramid with its underground courtyard (1983-1989).[59]

In the early 21st century, the population of Paris began to increase slowly again, as more young people moved into the city. It reached 2.25 million in 2011. In March 2001, Bertrand Delanoë became the first socialist mayor of Paris. In 2007, in an effort to reduce car traffic in the city, he introduced the Vélib', a system which rents bicycles for the use of local residents and visitors. Bertrand Delanoë also transformed a section of the highway along the left bank of the Seine into an urban promenade and park, the Promenade des Berges de la Seine, which he inaugurated in June 2013.[60]

In 2007, President Nicolas Sarkozy launched the Grand Paris project, to integrate Paris more closely with the towns in the region around it. After much modification, the new area, named the Metropolis of Grand Paris, with a population of 6.7 million, is scheduled for creation on 1 January 2016.[61]

In 2011, the City of Paris and the national government approved the plans for the Grand Paris Express, totalling 205 kilometres of automated metro lines to connect Paris, the innermost three departments around Paris, airports and high-speed rail (TGV) stations, at an estimated cost of €35 billion.[62] The system is scheduled to be completed by 2030.[63]

On 5 April 2014, Anne Hidalgo, a socialist, was elected the first female mayor of Paris.

Anti-terrorism demonstration on Place de la République after Charlie Hebdo shooting (11 January 2015)

On 7 January 2015, two Muslim extremists, both French citizens raised in the Paris region, attacked the Paris headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, a controversial satirical magazine that had poked ridicule at Mohammed, in what became known as the Charlie Hebdo shooting. They killed thirteen persons, including five prominent cartoonists and the director of the magazine and three police officers. On 9 January, a third terrorist killed four hostages at a Jewish grocery store at Porte de Vincennes. The three terrorists were killed by the police the same day. Together, these were the most deadly terrorist attacks in Paris since 1961.[64] On 11 January, an estimated 1.5 million persons marched in Paris to show solidarity against terrorism and in defence of freedom of speech.[65]

Geography[edit]

Main article: Topography of Paris
Parisian hills and hydrology

Paris is located in northern central France. By road it is 450 kilometres (280 mi) south-east of London, 287 kilometres (178 mi) south of Calais, 305 kilometres (190 mi) south-west of Brussels, 774 kilometres (481 mi) north of Marseille, 385 kilometres (239 mi) north-east of Nantes, and 135 kilometres (84 mi) south-east of Rouen.[66] Paris is located in the north-bending arc of the river Seine and includes two islands, the Île Saint-Louis and the larger Île de la Cité, which form the oldest part of the city. The river's mouth on the English Channel (La Manche) is about 233 mi (375 km) downstream of the city, established around 7600 BC. The city is spread widely on both banks of the river.[67] Overall, the city is relatively flat, and the lowest point is 35 m (115 ft) above sea level. Paris has several prominent hills, the highest of which is Montmartre at 130 m (427 ft).[68] Montmartre gained its name from the martyrdom of Saint Denis, first bishop of Paris, atop the Mons Martyrum, "Martyr's mound", in 250.

Excluding the outlying parks of Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes, Paris covers an oval measuring about 87 km2 (34 sq mi) in area, enclosed by the 35 km (22 mi) ring road, the Boulevard Périphérique.[69] The city's last major annexation of outlying territories in 1860 not only gave it its modern form but also created the 20 clockwise-spiralling arrondissements (municipal boroughs). From the 1860 area of 78 km2 (30 sq mi), the city limits were expanded marginally to 86.9 km2 (33.6 sq mi) in the 1920s. In 1929, the Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes forest parks were officially annexed to the city, bringing its area to about 105 km2 (41 sq mi).[70] The metropolitan area of the city is 2,300 km2 (890 sq mi).[67]

Climate[edit]

Autumn in Paris

Paris has a typical Western European oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification: Cfb ) which is affected by the North Atlantic Current. The overall climate throughout the year is mild and moderately wet.[71] Summer days are usually warm and pleasant with average temperatures hovering between 15 and 25 °C (59 and 77 °F), and a fair amount of sunshine.[72] Each year, however, there are a few days where the temperature rises above 32 °C (90 °F). Some years have even witnessed long periods of harsh summer weather, such as the heat wave of 2003 when temperatures exceeded 30 °C (86 °F) for weeks, surged up to 40 °C (104 °F) on some days and seldom cooled down at night.[73] More recently, the average temperature for July 2011 was 17.6 °C (63.7 °F), with an average minimum temperature of 12.9 °C (55.2 °F) and an average maximum temperature of 23.7 °C (74.7 °F).

Spring and autumn have, on average, mild days and fresh nights but are changing and unstable. Surprisingly warm or cool weather occurs frequently in both seasons.[74] In winter, sunshine is scarce; days are cold but generally above freezing with temperatures around 7 °C (45 °F).[75] Light night frosts are however quite common, but the temperature will dip below −5 °C (23 °F) for only a few days a year. Snow falls every year, but rarely stays on the ground. The city sometimes sees light snow or flurries with or without accumulation.[76]

Paris has an average annual precipitation of 652 mm (25.7 in), and experiences light rainfall distributed evenly throughout the year. However the city is known for intermittent abrupt heavy showers. The highest recorded temperature is 40.4 °C (104.7 °F) on 28 July 1948, and the lowest is a −23.9 °C (−11.0 °F) on 10 December 1879.[77]

Climate data for Paris (Parc Montsouris), 1981–2010
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 16.1
(61)
21.4
(70.5)
25.7
(78.3)
30.2
(86.4)
34.8
(94.6)
37.6
(99.7)
40.4
(104.7)
39.5
(103.1)
36.2
(97.2)
28.4
(83.1)
21
(70)
17.1
(62.8)
40.4
(104.7)
Average high °C (°F) 7.2
(45)
8.3
(46.9)
12.2
(54)
15.6
(60.1)
19.6
(67.3)
22.7
(72.9)
25.2
(77.4)
25.0
(77)
21.1
(70)
16.3
(61.3)
10.8
(51.4)
7.5
(45.5)
16.0
(60.8)
Daily mean °C (°F) 5.0
(41)
5.6
(42.1)
8.8
(47.8)
11.5
(52.7)
15.3
(59.5)
18.3
(64.9)
20.6
(69.1)
20.4
(68.7)
16.9
(62.4)
13.0
(55.4)
8.3
(46.9)
5.5
(41.9)
12.5
(54.5)
Average low °C (°F) 2.7
(36.9)
2.8
(37)
5.3
(41.5)
7.3
(45.1)
10.9
(51.6)
13.8
(56.8)
15.8
(60.4)
15.7
(60.3)
12.7
(54.9)
9.6
(49.3)
5.8
(42.4)
3.4
(38.1)
8.5
(47.3)
Record low °C (°F) −14.6
(5.7)
−14.7
(5.5)
−9.1
(15.6)
−3.5
(25.7)
−0.1
(31.8)
3.1
(37.6)
6
(43)
6.3
(43.3)
1.8
(35.2)
−3.1
(26.4)
−14
(7)
−23.9
(−11)
−23.9
(−11)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 53.7
(2.114)
43.7
(1.72)
48.5
(1.909)
53
(2.09)
65
(2.56)
54.6
(2.15)
63.1
(2.484)
43
(1.69)
54.7
(2.154)
59.7
(2.35)
51.9
(2.043)
58.7
(2.311)
649.6
(25.575)
Avg. precipitation days 10.2 9.3 10.4 9.4 10.3 8.6 8 6.9 8.5 9.5 9.7 10.7 111.5
Mean monthly sunshine hours 62.5 79.2 128.9 166.0 193.8 202.1 212.2 212.2 167.9 117.8 67.7 51.4 1,661.7
Source: Meteo France[78]

Administration[edit]

City government[edit]

The Hôtel de Ville, or city hall, has been at the same site since 1357.

For almost all of its long history, except for a few brief periods, Paris was governed directly by representatives of the king, emperor, or president of France. The city was not granted municipal autonomy by the National Assembly until 1974.[79] The first modern elected mayor of Paris was Jacques Chirac, elected 20 March 1977, becoming the city's first mayor since 1793. The current mayor is Anne Hidalgo, a socialist, elected 5 April 2014.[80]

The mayor of Paris is not elected directly by Paris voters; the voters of each arrondissement elect the Conseil de Paris (Council of Paris), composed of 163 members. Each arrondissement has a number of members depending upon its population, from 10 members for each of the least-populated arrondissements (1st through 9th) to 36 members for the most populated (the 15th). The elected council members select the mayor. Sometimes the candidate who receives the most votes city-wide is not selected if the other candidate has won the support of the majority of council members. Mayor Bertrand Delanoë (2001-2014) was elected by only a minority of city voters, but a majority of council members. Once elected, the council plays a largely passive role in the city government; it meets only once a month. The current council is divided between a coalition of the left of 91 members, including the socialists, communists, greens, and extreme left; and 71 members for the centre right, plus a few members from smaller parties.[81]

Each of Paris' 20 arrondissements has its own town hall and a directly elected council (conseil d'arrondissement), which, in turn, elects an arrondissement mayor.[82] The council of each arrondissement is composed of members of the Conseil de Paris and also members who serve only on the council of the arrondissement. The number of deputy mayors in each arrondissement varies depending upon its population. There are a total of 20 arrondissement mayors and 120 deputy mayors.[79]

The budget of the city for 2013 was €7.6 billion, of which 5.4 billion went for city administration, while €2.2 billion went for investment. The largest part of the budget (38 percent) went for public housing and urbanism projects; 15 percent for roads and transport; 8 percent for schools (which are mostly financed by the state budget); 5 percent for parks and gardens; and 4 percent for culture. The main source of income for the city is direct taxes (35 percent), supplemented by a 13-percent real estate tax; 19 percent of the budget comes in a transfer from the national government.[83]

The number of city employees, or agents, grew from 40,000 in 2000 to 73,000 in 2013. The city debt grew from €1.6 billion in 2000 to 3.1 billion in 2012, with a debt of €3.65 billion expected for 2014.[84] As a result of the growing debt, the bond rating of the city was lowered from AAA to AA+ in both 2012 and 2013. In September 2014, Mayor Hidalgo announced that the city would have budget shortfall of €400 million, largely because of a cut in support from the national government.[85]

Regional government[edit]

The Region of Île de France, including Paris and its surrounding communities, is governed by the Regional Council, which has its headquarters in the 7th arrondissement of Paris. It is composed of 209 members representing the different communes within the region, with a majority belonging to the socialists and their allies. The current president of the council is Jean-Paul Huchon, a socialist. The next elections for the Regional council will take place 6 and 13 December 2015.

In 2007, President Sarkozy proposed the creation of a Grand Paris, a new metropolitan area composed of the city of Paris and the towns in the neighbouring three departments. After much discussion and modification, in 2011 a plan was approved to create the Métropole du Grand Paris, or Metropolis of Greater Paris, which will have an area of 762 square kilometres and a population of 6.7 million people. It will also have its own automated metro system, the Grand Paris Express, with 205 kilometres of track and 72 new stations, linking Paris, the suburbs, the airports and the TGV stations. The new Metropolis is scheduled to come into existence on 1 January 2016.[61]

National government[edit]

The Élysée Palace, residence of the French President

As the capital of France, Paris is the seat of France's national government. For the executive, the two chief officers each have their own official residences, which also serve as their offices. The President of the French Republic resides at the Élysée Palace in the 8th arrondissement,[86] while the Prime Minister's seat is at the Hôtel Matignon in the 7th arrondissement.[87][88] Government ministries are located in various parts of the city; many are located in the 7th arrondissement, near the Matignon.[89]

The two houses of the French Parliament are located on the Left Bank. The upper house, the Senate, meets in the Palais du Luxembourg in the 6th arrondissement, while the more important lower house, the Assemblée Nationale, meets in the Palais Bourbon in the 7th arrondissement. The President of the Senate, the second-highest public official in France (the President of the Republic being the sole superior), resides in the "Petit Luxembourg", a smaller palace annex to the Palais du Luxembourg.[90]

The Palais-Royal, residence of the Conseil d'État

France's highest courts are located in Paris. The Court of Cassation, the highest court in the judicial order, which reviews criminal and civil cases, is located in the Palais de Justice on the Île de la Cité,[91] while the Conseil d'État, which provides legal advice to the executive and acts as the highest court in the administrative order, judging litigation against public bodies, is located in the Palais-Royal in the 1st arrondissement.[92] The Constitutional Council, an advisory body with ultimate authority on the constitutionality of laws and government decrees, also meets in the Montpensier wing of the Palais Royal.[93]

Paris and its region host the headquarters of several international organisations including UNESCO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the International Chamber of Commerce, the Paris Club, the European Space Agency, the International Energy Agency, the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, the European Union Institute for Security Studies, the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, the International Exhibition Bureau and the International Federation for Human Rights.

Following the motto "Only Paris is worthy of Rome; only Rome is worthy of Paris";[94][95] the only sister city of Paris is Rome, although Paris has partnership agreements with many other cities around the world.[94]

Police force[edit]

Officers of the Police Nationale in Paris
Female mounted Gendarmerie patrol near Louvre.

The security of Paris is mainly the responsibility of the Prefecture of Police of Paris, a subdivision of the Ministry of the Interior of France. It supervises the units of the National Police who patrol the city and the three neighbouring departments. It is also responsible for providing emergency services, including the Paris Fire Brigade. Its headquarters is on Place Louis Lépine on the Île de la Cité.[96] There are 30,200 officers under the prefecture, and a fleet of more than 6,000 vehicles, including police cars, motorcycles, fire trucks, boats and helicopters. In addition to traditional police duties, the local police monitors the number of discount sales held by large stores (no more than two a year are allowed) and verify that, during summer holidays, at least one bakery is open in every neighbourhood.[96] The national police has its own special unit for riot control and crowd control and security of public buildings, called the Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité (CRS), a unit formed in 1944 right after the liberation of France. Vans of CRS agents are frequently seen in the centre of the city when there are demonstrations and public events.

The police are supported by the National Gendarmerie, a branch of the French Armed Forces, though their police operations now are supervised by the Ministry of the Interior. The traditional kepis of the gendarmes were replaced in 2002 with caps, and the force modernised, though they still wear kepis for ceremonial occasions.[97]

Crime in Paris is similar to that in most large cities. Violent crime is relatively rare in the city centre.[98] Political violence is uncommon, though very large demonstrations may occur in Paris and other French cities simultaneously. These demonstrations, usually managed by a strong police presence, can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.[98]

Cityscape[edit]

Panorama of Paris as seen from the Eiffel Tower as full 360-degree view (river flowing from north-east to south-west, right to left)

Urbanism and architecture[edit]

Camille Pissaro, Boulevard Montmartre, 1897, Hermitage Museum

Most French rulers since the Middle Ages made a point of leaving their mark on a city that, contrary to many other of the world's capitals, has never been destroyed by catastrophe or war. In modernising its infrastructure through the centuries, Paris has preserved even its earliest history in its street map.[citation needed] At its origin, before the Middle Ages, the city was composed around several islands and sandbanks in a bend of the Seine; of those, two remain today: the île Saint-Louis, the île de la Cité; a third one is the 1827 artificially created île aux Cygnes. Modern Paris owes much to its late 19th century Second Empire remodelling by the Baron Haussmann: many of modern Paris' busiest streets, avenues and boulevards today are a result of that city renovation. Paris also owes its style to its aligned street-fronts, distinctive cream-grey "Paris stone" building ornamentation, aligned top-floor balconies, and tree-lined boulevards. The high residential population of its city centre makes it much different from most other western global cities.[99]

Paris' urbanism laws have been under strict control since the early 17th century,[100] particularly where street-front alignment, building height and building distribution is concerned. In recent developments, a 1974-2010 building height limitation of 37 metres (121 ft) was raised to 50 m (160 ft) in central areas and 180 metres (590 ft) in some of Paris' peripheral quarters, yet for some of the city's more central quarters, even older building-height laws still remain in effect.[100] The 210 metres (690 ft) Montparnasse tower was both Paris and France's tallest building until 1973,[101] but this record has been held by the La Défense quarter Tour First tower in Courbevoie since its 2011 construction. A new project for La Defense, called Hermitage Plaza, launched in 2009, proposes to build two towers, 85 and 86 stories or 320 metres high, which would be the tallest buildings in the European Union, just slightly shorter than the Eiffel Tower. They were scheduled for completion in 2019 or 2020, but as of January 2015 construction had not yet begun, and there were questions in the press about the future of the project.[102][103]

Parisian examples of European architecture date back more than a millennium; including the Romanesque church of the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés (1014-1163); the early Gothic Architecture of the Basilica of Saint-Denis (1144), the Notre Dame Cathedral (1163-1345), the Flamboyant Gothic of Saint Chapelle (1239-1248), the Baroque churches of Saint-Paul-Saint-Louis (1627-1641) and Les Invalides (1670-1708). The 19th century produced the neoclassical church of La Madeleine (1808-1842); the Palais Garnier Opera House (1875); the neo-Byzantine Basilica of Sacré-Cœur (1875-1919), and the exuberant Belle Époque modernism of the Eiffel Tower (1889). Striking examples of 20th century architecture include the Centre Georges Pompidou by Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano (1977), and the Louvre Pyramid by I.M. Pei (1989). Contemporary architecture includes the Musée du Quai Branly by Jean Nouvel (2006) and the new contemporary art museum of the Louis Vuitton Foundation by Frank Gehry (2014).[104]

Housing[edit]

Social housing in Paris as of 2012

Paris is the eighth most expensive city in the world for luxury housing:[105] €12,105 per square metre (€1,124.6/sq ft) in 2007 (with London at the most expensive with €36,800 per square metre (€3,420/sq ft)).[106] According to a 2012 study for the La Tribune newspaper, the most expensive street is the quai des Orfèvres in the 6th arrondissement, with an average price of €20,665 per square metre (€1,919.8/sq ft), against €3,900 per square metre (€360/sq ft) for the 18th arrondissement rue Pajol.[107]

The total number of residences in the city of Paris in 2011 was 1,356,074, up from a former high of 1,334,815 in 2006. Among these, 1,165,541 (85.9 percent) were main residences, 91,835 (6.8 percent) were secondary residences, and the remaining 7.3 percent were empty (down from 9.2 percent in 2006).[108]

Paris urban tissue began to fill and overflow its 1860 limits from around the 1920s, and because of its density, it has seen few modern constructions since then. Sixty-two percent of its buildings date from 1949 and before, 20 percent were built between 1949 and 1974, and only 18 percent of the buildings remaining were built after that date.[109]

Two-thirds of Paris' 1.3 million residences are studio and two-room apartments. Paris averages 1.9 people per residence, a number that has remained constant since the 1980s, but it is much less than Île-de-France's 2.33 person-per-residence average. Only 33 percent of principal-residence Parisians own their habitation (against 47 percent for the entire Île-de-France): the major part of the city's population is a rent-paying one.[109]

Social housing represents a little more than 17 percent of the city's total residences, but these are rather unevenly distributed throughout the capital: the vast majority of these are concentrated in a crescent formed by Paris' south-western to northern periphery arrondissements.[110]

In 2012 the Paris agglomeration (urban area) counted 28,800 people without a fixed residence, an increase of 84 percent since 2001; it represents 43 percent of the homeless in all of France. Forty-one percent were women, and 29 percent were accompanied by children. Fifty-six percent of the homeless were born outside of France, the largest number coming from Africa and Eastern Europe.[111] The city of Paris has sixty homeless shelters, called Centres d'hébergement et de réinsertion sociale or CHRS, which are funded by the city and operated by private charities and associations.[112]

Paris and its suburbs[edit]

Paris and its suburbs seen from the Spot Satellite

Aside from the 20th century addition of the Bois de Boulogne, Bois de Vincennes and Paris heliport, Paris' administrative limits have remained unchanged since 1860. The Seine département had been governing Paris and its suburbs since its creation in 1790, but the rising suburban population had made it difficult to govern as a unique entity. This problem was 'resolved' when its parent "District de la région parisienne" (Paris region) was reorganised into several new departments from 1968: Paris became a department in itself, and the administration of its suburbs was divided between the three departments surrounding it. The Paris region was renamed "Île-de-France" in 1977, but the "Paris region" name is still commonly used today.[113]

Paris' disconnect with its suburbs, its lack of suburban transportation in particular, became all too apparent with the Paris agglomeration's growth. Paul Delouvrier promised to resolve the Paris-suburbs mésentente when he became head of the Paris region in 1961:[114] two of his most ambitious projects for the Region were the construction of five suburban villes nouvelles ("new cities")[115] and the RER commuter train network.[116] Many other suburban residential districts (grands ensembles) were built between the 1960s and 1970s to provide a low-cost solution for a rapidly expanding population:[117] these districts were socially mixed at first,[118] but few residents actually owned their homes (the growing economy made these accessible to the middle classes only from the 1970s).[119] Their poor construction quality and their haphazard insertion into existing urban growth contributed to their desertion by those able to move elsewhere and their repopulation by those with more limited possibilities.[119]

These areas, quartiers sensibles ("sensitive quarters"), are in northern and eastern Paris, namely around its Goutte d'Or and Belleville neighbourhoods. To the north of the city they are grouped mainly in the Seine-Saint-Denis department, and to a lesser extreme to the east in the Val-d'Oise department. Other difficult areas are located in the Seine valley, in Évry et Corbeil-Essonnes (Essonne), in Mureaux, Mantes-la-Jolie (Yvelines), and scattered among social housing districts created by Delouvrier's 1961 "ville nouvelle" political initiative.[120]

The Paris agglomeration's urban sociology is basically that of 19th century Paris: its fortuned classes are situated in its west and south-west, and its middle-to-lower classes are in its north and east. The remaining areas are mostly middle-class citizenry dotted with islands of fortuned populations located there due to reasons of historical importance, namely Saint-Maur-des-Fossés to the east and Enghien-les-Bains to the north of Paris.[121]

Demographics[edit]

Main article: Demographics of Paris
2011 Census Paris Region[122][123]
Country/territory of birth Population
France Metropolitan France 9,112,301
Algeria Algeria 285,703
Portugal Portugal 240,445
Morocco Morocco 224,787
Tunisia Tunisia 107,549
Flag of Guadeloupe (local).svg Guadeloupe 80,265
Flag of Martinique.svg Martinique 74,565
Turkey Turkey 68,703
China China 59,734
Italy Italy 55,443
Mali Mali 54,525
Spain Spain 46,486
Ivory Coast Côte d'Ivoire 45,870
Senegal Senegal 44,356
Democratic Republic of the Congo Democratic Republic of Congo 41,497
Poland Poland 39,307

The population of Paris in its administrative city limits was 2,241,346 in January 2014.[2] This makes Paris the fifth largest municipality in the European Union, following London, Berlin, Madrid and Rome. Comparing urban areas in the European Union, Eurostat, the statistical agency of the EU, places Paris (6.5 million people) second behind London (8 million) and ahead of Berlin (3.5 million), based on the 2012 populations of what Eurostat calls "urban audit core cities".[124]

The Paris Urban Area, or "unité urbaine", is a statistical area created by the French statistical agency INSEE to measure the population of built-up areas around the city. It is slightly smaller than the Paris Region. According to INSEE, the Paris Urban Area had a population of 10,516,110 in 2011,[3] the most populous in the European Union, and third most populous in Europe, behind Istanbul and Moscow.[125] The Paris metropolitan area is the second most populous in the European Union after London with a population of 12,161,542.[4][5]

The population of Paris today is lower than its historical peak of 2.9 million in 1921. The principal factors in the process are a significant decline in household size, and a dramatic migration of residents to the suburbs between 1962 and 1975. Factors in the migration include de-industrialisation, high rent, the gentrification of many inner quarters, the transformation of living space into offices, and greater affluence among working families. The city's population loss came to an end in the 21st century; the population estimate of July 2004 showed a population increase for the first time since 1954, and the population reached 2,234,000 by 2009.[126]

City proper, urban area, and metropolitan area population from 1800 to 2010

According to Eurostat, the EU statistical agency, in 2012 the Commune of Paris was the most densely populated city in the European Union, with 21,616 persons per square kilometre within the city limits (the NUTS-3 statistical area), ahead of Inner London West, which had 10,374 persons per square kilometre. According to the same census, three departments bordering Paris, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis and Val-de-Marne, had population densities of over ten thousand persons per square kilometre, ranking among the ten most densely populated areas of the EU.[127]

According to the 2011 census, 456,105 residents of the municipality of Paris, or 20.3 percent, and 2,117,901 residents of the Paris Region (Île-de-France), or 17.9 percent, were born outside of France.[128] A substantial number of German immigrants, mostly students and printers at first, began arriving in the 15th century, A major community of Italian immigrants, mostly artists and craftsmen, had arrived in the 17th century to work on the palaces and gardens of the city. By 1848 foreign immigrants accounted for between five and ten percent of the Paris population. The largest number, from a quarter to a third, came from Germany, while there were also large communities of Swiss, and Belgians, and the diverse countries of the Austrian Empire. A large wave of immigrants from Poland, including Frederic Chopin, arrived following the failed Polish revolutions of 1830 and 1848.[129] Waves of immigration followed continuously until today: Italians and Central European Jews during the later 19th century; Russians after the revolution of 1917 and Armenians fleeing genocide in the Ottoman Empire;[130] colonial c