Paris (Ile-de-France)By Howard • Jul 10th, 2008 • Category: Featured French Regions, Ile-de-France Guide
Paris is the capital of France and the country’s largest city.
It is situated on the River Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region. 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.
Paris is the most popular tourist destination in the world, with over 30 million foreign visitors per year. There are numerous iconic landmarks among its many attractions, along with world famous institutions and popular parks.
Three of the most famous Parisian landmarks are the twelfth century Notre Dame cathedral on the Île de la Cité, the nineteenth century Eiffel Tower, and the Napoleonic Arc de Triomphe. The Eiffel Tower was a “temporary” construction by Gustave Eiffel for the 1889 Universal Exposition but the tower was never dismantled and is now an enduring symbol of Paris. It is visible from many parts of the city as are the Tour Montparnasse skyscraper and the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur on the Montmartre hill.
- Place de la Bastille a district of great historical significance, not only for Paris, but for the whole of France. Because of its historical value the square is often used for political demonstrations, including the massive anti-CPE demonstration of March 2006.
- Champs-Élysées (8th arrondissement, right bank) is a seventeenth century garden-promenade turned avenue connecting the Concorde and Arc de Triomphe.It is one of the many tourist attractions and a major shopping street of Paris.
- Place de la Concorde is at the foot of the Champs-Élysées, built as the “Place Louis XV”, site of the infamous guillotine. The Egyptian obelisk is Paris’ oldest monument. Nearby Place Vendôme is famous for its fashionable and deluxe hotels (Hotel Ritz and Hôtel de Vendôme) and its jewellers. Many famous fashion designers have had their salons in the square.
- Le Marais is the trendy Right Bank district. It is a very culturally open place.
- Montmartre is a historic area on the Butte, home to the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur. Montmartre has always had a history with artists and has many studios and cafés of many great artists in that area.
- Montparnasse is a historic Left Bank area famous for artists studios, music halls, and café life.
- L’Opéra is the area around the Opéra Garnier is a home to the capital’s densest concentration of both department stores and offices. A few examples are the Printemps and Galeries Lafayette grands magasins (department stores), and the Paris headquarters of financial giants such as Crédit Lyonnais and American Express.
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