Paris is the capital of France, situated in the northern part of the country, on the river Seine, which divides it into two parts – the Right Bank (north side of town) and the Left Bank (south side of town).
The first inhabitants are considered a Gaulish tribe called Parisii (in Latin), which in the 3rd century BC settled on Ile de la Cit (a small island with fishermen). They called the city Lutetia (swampy place). Romans defeated the Parisii in 52 BC, destroyed their city and founded a city on the left bank. The thermal baths from the Cluny Hotel and the amphitheater on the Monge Street are the last vestiges of the Romans. In 360, the Roman prefect was appointed emperor and Lutetia became Paris, named after its founder. In 476, the city was captured by the Franks and they made Paris the capital of their new empire, France.
In 751, the Carolingian dynasty was leading France; in 800, the capital moved to Aix-La-Chapelle. The end of the Carolingian empire came in 987, when Hugh Capet, a noble count of Paris, was elected king of France and the capital moved again to Paris.
Paris impresses by its monuments and buildings:
The Eiffel Tower – the symbol of Paris – was built by the engineer Gustave Eiffel (for the Universal Exhibition held in 1889). It has a height of 320 m, it weighs 10,100 tons, it never leans over 7 cm, has a lighting system of 292 000 W (which makes the Eiffel Tower be a real night fairy). The Bust of Gustave Eiffel (executed by Antoine Bourdelle) is located just below the building.
Louvre Museum – considered the world's largest museum was built as a fortress by King Philip II (in 1190) and was inhabited by King Charles V (1364-1380). In the sixteenth century, King Francois I substituted the fortress with a royal palace, and later, Napoleon turned it into a museum. Louvre Museum contains 350,000 exhibits (here, you can find Mona Lisa – Leonardo da Vinci).
The Orsay Museum (Muse d'Orsay) has a collection created between the years 1848-1914. The main attractions are: the paintings of Van Gogh, The Luncheon on the Grass and Olympia – works by Edouard Manet, Blue Water Lilies – Claude Monet, Dancers – Edgar Degas, Jean Avril dancing – Toulouse Lautrec, Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette – Renoir, The Beautiful Angela – Gauguin, etc.
Notre-Dame an imposing Gothic cathedral built on the site of a Roman temple, which was completed in 1334, is a symbol of French art and history. Here you can find the Statue of Virgin Mary with her Child (from the fourteenth century). The Cathedral is also called Our Lady, Virgin Mary.
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, also known as Sacr-Cur, was built in the honor of the 58 000 French soldiers that were killed during the Franco-Prussian war. The works lasted 46 years and have ended only in 1923. In front of it you can see the dome of Montmartre.
Arc de Triomphe was built in the honor of Napoleon's victory at Austerlitz (in 1805). It is located at the end of the Champs-Elysees Boulevard. The works began in 1806, and ended in 1836.
Centre Georges Pompidou – was opened in 1977, is distinguished by its highly original architecture (the architects were Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano) and houses the National Museum of Modern Art.
The Pantheon – a place of worship, built in 1744 by King Louis XV, is the resting place of France's leading personalities – Voltaire and Victor Hugo.
Sainte-Chapelle, also called The Gateway to Paradise, is a beautifully medieval church, completed in 1248 and restored in the nineteenth century. This was built to house the relics collected by Louis IX in his crusades.
Les Invalides is officially known as L'Htel national des Invalides (The National Residence of the Invalids). The Invalids were the soldiers that were wounded in the battles at the end of the seventeenth century. Louis XIV built the building between 1671 and 1678. Here is the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte (located under the golden dome of the Dome Chruch), the Army Museum and smaller military museums.
In Paris you can visit numerous museums including the Carnavalet Museum (a great palace from Marais which shows the evolution in time of the Parisian art), the National Museum of Fashion and Fabrics, National Museum of the Middle Ages (also called the Cluny Museum, with tapestries, medieval stained glass , beautiful crowns and gold jewelry), National Museum of Natural History (located in the Botanical Garden, with the Grand Gallery of Evolution), the Human Museum (located in the Palace of Chaillot), the Cognacg-Jay Museum (collections of furniture, porcelain and other decorative arts), the Museum of Montmartre (the vestiges of the nineteenth century), etc..
Also impressive are the art galleries: the Picasso Museum, Rodin Museum, National Museum of Modern Art, Oranjerie Museum (eight of huge paintings of Monet's water lilies), Mormottan Claude Monet Museum, Maillol Museum, European House of Photography, etc.
Other attractions are the beautiful parks and gardens with fountains, churches, historical buildings (palaces), theaters, etc.
Paris is a modern capital, full of life. In the city take place numerous festivals, different events, shows and mega concerts. Paris also has an impressive number of hotels, famous restaurants, famous cafs and terraces, bars and places of entertainment for children, bistros, cabarets and clubs (of jazz), the most attractive stores, fashion houses etc.
What characterizes Paris is that "Air de Paris" which comprises the energy and curiosity, which pulsates everywhere.