One of the most enchanting and mesmerizing cities in the world, Paris, the largest and most populous of cities in Europe is the capital of the southern European country of France. The city which was on everyone’s mind for most part of the last millennia, Paris has been able to stand the test of time to become of the major cities in the world bracketing itself with the likes of London and New York. The home of fashion, art, literature, revolutions, museums and memorable buildings Paris is the heart of Western European culture and civilization. The city which is famously called “La-Ville Lumiere” or the “City of Lights” due to its elaborate street lighting system which was first established in the nineteenth century, is today one of the most visited cities in the world with annual tourist influx of more than 45 million peoples.
Situated in the banks of the River Seine, Paris got its name from the first hunter gatherer tribes that had settled at the western bank of the river around 250 B.C known as Parisii. The earliest sign of civilization and life in Paris has been found to date back to 4200-4500 B.C. The city came under the control of the Romans around 50 B.C before being annexed by the Germanic Tribes after the decline of the Roman Empire. Paris was regained and made into a Christian city by the French King of the Merovingian tribe called Clovis The Frank who made it his capital in 508 A.D. Paris went into a decline in the Middle Ages after the Carolingians decided to shift the capital away from Paris, after surviving centuries of Viking Raids which also saw the city being held to ransom for more than a year, Paris was brought under the French crown by Hugh Capet in 987 AD which saw the city become capital once again and retake its place as the center of European culture.
The city of Paris rose to become the center of arts, literature and culture after the 11th century and was to remain so for more than six century before experiencing turmoil during the times of the French Revolution which was born in the very streets of Paris with the commoners laying siege of the Bastille. The 18th and the 19the century saw Paris rise again with the Age of Enlightenment which made the city the center of the new ideological revolution which was sweeping the whole continent. The works of authors such as Voltaire and Rousseau were published and widely sold around the city, theatre and music also became very poplar during these times with aristocrats and nobleman from all parts of Europe coming to the city.
During the late eighteenth and the early twentieth century till the First World War, Paris entered a period which has been described as the ‘Belle Époque’ – the golden period of Paris. During the Belle Époque Paris again regained its positions as the cultural center of the world, with many famous artists, theatre personalities, renovations and buildings came about during this period. The period left its mark in the history and culture of Paris like no other. Today, Paris is one of the most densely populated metropolitan areas in Europe with a total population of twelve million people; the city is a modern center of finance, business, fashion and above all a top notch tourist destination. People travel from all parts of Europe and beyond to visit this beautiful city and marvel at its various treasures such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Pantheon among others.
The city is divided into twenty districts in a clockwise motion making the exploration of the city very easy; many of the city’s greatest monuments can be located easily through these districts or arrondissement. The historic center of the city lies at the first arrondissement which lines the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, and Champs-Elysees and is also home to many luxury hotels. The second arrondissement is home to many famous Parisian theatres which make it a cultural epicenter with places such as Opera Communiqué, Theatre des Varietes, and Theatre du Vaudeville. The fourth arrondissement houses the famous landmark of Place de Bastille which has very huge political and historical significance in France also here is the world-renowned Notre Dame Cathedral. The Eiffel Tower which represents Paris like no other monuments is located in the seventh arrondissement along with the Axe Historique which is a line of monuments, buildings and thoroughfare aligned roughly in a straight line. The city has many other famous sites which are frequented by the town folk and tourists alike all year round.
Paris has been immortalized in the works of many authors, painters and philosophers who lived here during their lifetime. The city which breaths love and romance and is widely known to be the most romantic city in the world is a dream come true for lovers of art, culture, history and the Parisian way of life. In the twenty-first century Paris continues its legacy as one of the greatest cities of the world and attracts millions and millions of people to its doors who are as charmed by its beauty and life as were the nineteenth century aristocrats who termed it ‘the city of lights’.