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Paris

Paris

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Paris

Motto: Fluctuat nec mergitur (Latin: "It is tossed by the waves, but does not sink")

Paris - Eiffelturm und Marsfeld2.jpg
Paris, with the Eiffel Tower in the foreground and the skyscrapers of La Défense in the background
Flag of Paris
Coat of arms of Paris
City flag City coat of arms
Paris is located in France
Paris
Administration
Country France
Region Île-de-France
Department Paris
Mayor Bertrand Delanoë (PS)
(2008–2014)
Statistics
Land area1 [1] 105.4 km2 (40.7 sq mi)
Population2 2,211,297  (Jan. 2008[2])
 - Ranking 1st in France
 - Density 20,980 /km2 (54,300 /sq mi)
Urban area 2,845 km2 (1,098 sq mi) (2010)
 - Population 10,354,675[3] (Jan. 2008)
Metro area 17,175 km2 (6,631 sq mi) (2010)
 - Population 12,089,098[4] (Jan. 2008)
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.

Coordinates: 48°51′24″N 2°21′03″E

Paris (Listeni/ˈpærɨs/; French: [paʁi] ( listen)) is the capital and largest city of France. It is situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region (or Paris Region, French: Région parisienne). As of January 2008 the city of Paris, within its administrative limits (the 20 arrondissements) largely unchanged since 1860, has an estimated population of 2,211,297[2] and a metropolitan population of 12,089,098[4], and is one of the most populated metropolitan areas in Europe.[5] Paris was the largest city in the Western world for about 1,000 years, prior to the 19th century, and the largest in the entire world between the 16th and 19th centuries.[6][7][8]

Paris is today one of the world's leading business and cultural centres, and its influences in politics, education, entertainment, media, fashion, science, and the arts all contribute to its status as one of the world's major global cities.[9][10][11][12] It hosts the headquarters of many international organizations such as UNESCO, the OECD, the International Chamber of Commerce or the European Space Agency. Paris is considered one of the greenest[13] and most liveable[14] cities in Europe. It is also one of the most expensive.[15][16]

Paris and the Paris Region, with €552.1 billion (US$768.9 billion) in 2009, produce more than a quarter of the gross domestic product of France.[17] According to 2008 estimates, the Paris agglomeration is Europe's biggest[18] or second biggest[19] city economy and the sixth largest in the world.[20] The Paris region is the first in Europe in terms of research and development capability and expenditure[21] and through its 17 universities and 55 grandes écoles has the highest concentration of higher education students in the European Union.[21] With about 42 million tourists annually in the city and its suburbs,[21] Paris is the most visited city in the world. The city and its region contain 3,800 historical monuments and four UNESCO World Heritage Sites.[21]

Etymology

The name Paris derives from that of its earliest inhabitants, the Gaulish tribe known as the Parisii. The city was called Lutetia (more fully, Lutetia Parisiorum, "Lutetia of the Parisii"), during the Roman era of the 1st to the 6th century, but during the reign of Julian the Apostate (360–363), the city was renamed Paris.[22]

It is believed that the name of the Parisii tribe comes from the Celtic Gallic word parisio meaning "the working people" or "the craftsmen."[23]

Paris has many nicknames, but its most famous is "La Ville-Lumière" ("The City of Light"),[24] a name it owes first to its fame as a centre of education and ideas during the Age of Enlightenment, and later to its early adoption of street lighting.[25] Since the mid-19th century, Paris has been known as Paname[26] ([panam]) in the Parisian slang called argot (Ltspkr.png Moi j'suis d'Paname, i.e. "I'm from Paname"). The singer Renaud repopularized the term amongst the young generation[26] with his 1976 album Amoureux de Paname ("In love with Paname").

Paris' inhabitants are known in English as "Parisians" and in French as Parisiens ([paʁizjɛ̃] ( listen)). Parisians are often pejoratively called Parigots ([paʁiɡo] ( listen)), a term first used in 1900[27] by those living outside the Paris region.

See Wiktionary for the name of Paris in various languages other than English and French.

History

The Gallo-Roman baths Thermes de Cluny at the Musée de Cluny, in Paris's Latin Quarter.

Origins

The earliest archaeological signs of permanent settlements in the Paris area date from around 4200 BC.[28] The Parisii, a sub-tribe of the Celtic Senones, inhabited the area near the river Seine from around 250 BC.[29][30] The Romans conquered the Paris basin in 52 BC,[28] with a permanent settlement by the end of the same century on the Left Bank Sainte Geneviève Hill and the Île de la Cité. The Gallo-Roman town was originally called Lutetia, or Lutetia Parisorum but later Gallicised to Lutèce. It expanded greatly over the following centuries, becoming a prosperous city with a forum, palaces, baths, temples, theatres, and an amphitheatre.[31]

The collapse of the Roman empire and the 5th-century Germanic invasions sent the city into a period of decline. By AD 400, Lutèce, largely abandoned by its inhabitants, was little more than a garrison town entrenched into a hastily fortified central island.[28] The city reclaimed its original appellation of "Paris" towards the end of the Roman occupation.

Merovingian and Feudal Eras

The Paris region was under full control of the Germanic Franks by the late 5th century. The Frankish king Clovis the Frank, the first king of the Merovingian dynasty, made the city his capital from 508. The late 8th century Carolingian dynasty displaced the Frankish capital to Aachen; this period coincided with the beginning of Viking invasions that had spread as far as Paris by the early 9th century.

Repeated invasions forced Parisians to build a fortress on the Île de la Cité. One of the most remarkable Viking raids was on 28 March 845, when Paris was sacked and held ransom, probably by Ragnar Lodbrok, who left only after receiving a large bounty paid by the crown. The weakness of the late Carolingian kings of France led to the gradual rise in power of the Counts of Paris; Odo, Count of Paris, was elected king of France by feudal lords, and the end of the Carolingian empire came in 987 when Hugh Capet, count of Paris, was elected king of France. Paris, under the Capetian kings, became a capital once more.

Middle Ages to 19th century

The Château de Vincennes, with its 52 m high keep, was built between the 14th and 17th century.

Paris's population was around 200,000[32] when the Black Death arrived in 1348, killing as many as 800 people a day; and 40,000 died from the plague in 1466.[33] During the 16th and 17th centuries, plague visited the city for almost one year out of three.[34] Paris lost its position as seat of the French realm during the occupation by the English-allied Burgundians during the Hundred Years' War, but regained its title when Charles VII of France reclaimed the city from English rule in 1436. Paris from then on became France's capital once again in title, but France's real centre of power would remain in the Loire Valley[35] until King Francis I returned France's crown residences to Paris in 1528.

During the French Wars of Religion, Paris was a stronghold of the Catholic party. In August 1572, under the reign of Charles IX, while many noble Protestants were in Paris on the occasion of the marriage of Henry of Navarre – the future Henry IV – to Margaret of Valois, sister of Charles IX, the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre occurred; begun on 24 August, it lasted several days and spread throughout the country.[36][37]

In 1590 Henry IV unsuccessfully laid siege to the city in the Siege of Paris. During the Fronde, Parisians rose in rebellion and the royal family fled the city (1648). King Louis XIV then moved the royal court permanently to Versailles, a lavish estate on the outskirts of Paris, in 1682. A century later, Paris was the centre stage for the French Revolution, with the Storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789 and the overthrow of the monarchy in September 1792.[38]

19th century

Drilling of numerous streets under the Second Empire and the Third Republic.

Paris was occupied by Russian and Allied armies upon Napoleon's defeat on the 31 March 1814; this was the first time in 400 years that the city had been conquered by a foreign power.[39] The ensuing Restoration period, or the return of the monarchy under Louis XVIII (1814–1824) and Charles X, ended with the July Revolution Parisian uprising of 1830. The new 'constitutional monarchy' under Louis-Philippe ended with the 1848 "February Revolution" that led to the creation of the Second Republic.

Throughout these events, cholera epidemics in 1832 and 1849 ravaged the population of Paris; the 1832 epidemic alone claimed 20,000 of the population of 650,000.[40]

The greatest development in Paris's history began with the Industrial Revolution creation of a network of railways that brought an unprecedented flow of migrants to the capital from the 1840s. The city's largest transformation came with the 1852 Second Empire under Napoleon III; his préfet, Baron Haussmann, levelled entire districts of Paris' narrow, winding medieval streets to create the network of wide avenues and neo-classical façades that still make up much of modern Paris; the reason for this transformation was twofold, as not only did the creation of wide boulevards beautify and sanitize the capital, it also facilitated the effectiveness of troops and artillery against any further uprisings and barricades for which Paris was so famous.[41]

The Second Empire ended in the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871), and a besieged Paris under heavy bombardment surrendered on 28 January 1871. The discontent of Paris' populace with the new armistice-signing government seated in Versailles resulted in the creation of the Paris Commune government, supported by an army created in large part of members of the city's former National Guard who would both continue resistance against the Prussians and oppose the army of the "Versaillais" government. The Paris Commune ended with the Semaine Sanglante ("Bloody Week"), during which roughly 20,000 "Communards" were executed before the fighting ended on 28 May 1871.[42] The ease with which the Versaillais army overtook Paris owed much to Baron Haussmann's renovations.

France's late 19th-century Universal Expositions made Paris an increasingly important centre of technology, trade, and tourism.[43] Its most famous were the 1889 Exposition universelle to which Paris owes its "temporary" display of architectural engineering progess, the Eiffel Tower, a structure that remained the world's tallest building until 1930; the 1900 Universal Exposition saw the opening of the first Paris Métro line.

20th century

During World War I, Paris was at the forefront of the war effort, having been spared a German invasion by the French and British victory at the First Battle of the Marne in 1914. In 1918–1919, it was the scene of Allied victory parades and peace negotiations. In the inter-war period, Paris was famed for its cultural and artistic communities and its nightlife. The city became a gathering place of artists from around the world, from exiled Russian composer Stravinsky and Spanish painters Picasso and Dalí to American writer Hemingway.[44]

The Liberation of Paris, August 1944.

On 14 June 1940, five weeks after the start of the Battle of France, an undefended Paris fell to German occupation forces. The Germans marched past the Arc de Triomphe on the 140th anniversary of Napoleon's victory at the Battle of Marengo.[45] German forces remained in Paris until the city was liberated in August 1944 after a resistance uprising, two and a half months after the Normandy invasion.[46] Central Paris endured World War II practically unscathed, as there were no strategic targets for Allied bombers (train stations in central Paris are terminal stations; major factories were located in the suburbs). Also, German General von Choltitz did not destroy all Parisian monuments before any German retreat, as ordered by Adolf Hitler, who had visited the city in 1940.[47]

In the post-war era, Paris experienced its largest development since the end of the Belle Époque in 1914. The suburbs began to expand considerably, with the construction of large social estates known as cités and the beginning of the business district La Défense. A comprehensive express subway network, the RER, was built to complement the Métro and serve the distant suburbs, while a network of freeways was developed in the suburbs, centred on the Périphérique expressway encircling the city.[48][49][50]

Since the 1970s, many inner suburbs of Paris (especially the northern and eastern ones) have experienced deindustrialization, and the once-thriving cités have gradually become ghettos for immigrants and oases of unemployment.[51][52] At the same time, the city of Paris (within its Périphérique expressway) and the western and southern suburbs have successfully shifted their economic base from traditional manufacturing to high-value-added services and high-tech manufacturing, generating great wealth for their residents whose per capita income is among the highest in Europe.[53][54][55] The resulting widening social gap between these two areas has led to periodic unrest since the mid-1980s, such as the 2005 riots which were concentrated for the most part in the northeastern suburbs.[56]

Diana, Princess of Wales, died at the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris on 31 August 1997, after a car crash in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel.[57]

21st century

La Défense business district.

In order to alleviate social tensions in the inner suburbs and revitalise the metropolitan economy of Paris, several plans are currently underway. The office of Secretary of State for the Development of the Capital Region was created in March 2008 within the French government. Its office holder, Christian Blanc, is in charge of overseeing President Nicolas Sarkozy's plans for the creation of an integrated Grand Paris ("Greater Paris") metropolitan authority (see Administration section below), as well as the extension of the subway network to cope with the renewed growth of population in Paris and its suburbs, and various economic development projects to boost the metropolitan economy, such as the creation of a world-class technology and scientific cluster and university campus on the Saclay plateau in the southern suburbs.

In parallel, President Sarkozy also launched in 2008 an international urban and architectural competition for the future development of metropolitan Paris. Ten teams, which bring together architects, urban planners, geographers, and landscape architects, will offer their vision for building a Paris metropolis of the 21st century in the Kyoto Protocol era and will make a prospective diagnosis for Paris and its suburbs that will define future developments in Greater Paris for the next 40 years. The goal is not only to build an environmentally sustainable metropolis but also to integrate the inner suburbs with the central City of Paris through large-scale urban planning operations and iconic architectural projects.

Meanwhile, in an effort to boost the global economic image of metropolitan Paris, several skyscrapers (300 m (984 ft) and higher) have been approved since 2006 in the business district of La Défense, to the west of the city proper, and are scheduled to be completed by the early 2010s. Paris authorities also stated publicly that they are planning to authorise the construction of skyscrapers within the city proper by relaxing the cap on building height for the first time since the construction of the Tour Montparnasse in the early 1970s.

The election of Bertrand Delanoë made Paris the world's largest city with an openly LGBT mayor at the time.

Geography

Paris as seen from the Spot Satellite.

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. Overall, the city is relatively flat, and the lowest point is 35 m (115 ft) above sea level. Paris has several prominent hills, of which the highest is Montmartre at 130 m (427 ft).[58]

Excluding the outlying parks of Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes, Paris covers an oval measuring 86.928 km2 (34 sq mi) in area.[citation needed] The city's last major annexation of outlying territories in 1860 not only gave it its modern form but also created the twenty 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 (34 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 the present 105.39 km2 (41 sq mi).[59]

Climate

Air pollution in the vicinity of Paris (France).

Paris has the typical Western European oceanic climate which is affected by the North Atlantic Current. Over a year, Paris' climate can be described as mild and moderately wet.

Summer days are usually warm and pleasant with average temperatures hovering between 15 and 25 °C, and a fair amount of sunshine. Each year, however, there are a few days where the temperature rises above 32 °C (90 °F). Some years have even witnessed some long periods of harsh summer weather, such as the heat wave of 2003 where temperatures exceeded 30 °C (86 °F) for weeks, surged up to 40 °C (104 °F) on some days and seldom cooled down at night. More recently, the average temperature for July 2011 was +17.6 °C, with an average minimum temperature of 12.9 °C and an average maximum temperature of 23.7 °C.[60]

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.

In winter, sunshine is scarce; days are cold but generally above freezing with temperatures around 7 °C (45 °F). Light night frosts are however quite common, but the temperature will dip below −5 °C (23 °F) for only a few days a year. Snowfall is rare, but the city sometimes sees light snow or flurries with or without accumulation. Recently, notably in 2009, 2010 and 2011, intense cold waves brought repeated heavy snowfalls (15 cm (5.91 in) during one of December 2010's fourteen snowstorms) and temperatures plummeting to −10 °C (14 °F) and −20 °C (−4 °F) in the Paris suburbs.

Rain falls throughout the year, and although Paris is not a very rainy city, it is known for heavy sudden showers. Average annual precipitation is 652 mm (25.7 in) with light rainfall fairly distributed throughout the year. The highest recorded temperature is 40.4 °C (105 °F) on 28 July 1948, and the lowest is a −23.9 °C (−11 °F) on 10 December 1879.[61]

 

[hide]Climate data for Paris (1971–2000)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 16.1
(61.0)
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) 6.9
(44.4)
8.2
(46.8)
11.8
(53.2)
14.7
(58.5)
19.0
(66.2)
22.7
(72.9)
25.2
(77.4)
25.0
(77.0)
20.8
(69.4)
15.8
(60.4)
10.4
(50.7)
7.8
(46.0)
15.5
(59.9)
Average low °C (°F) 2.5
(36.5)
2.8
(37.0)
5.1
(41.2)
6.8
(44.2)
10.5
(50.9)
13.3
(55.9)
15.5
(59.9)
15.4
(59.7)
12.5
(54.5)
9.2
(48.6)
5.3
(41.5)
3.6
(38.5)
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
(−11.0)
−23.9
(−11.0)
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 55.8 86.8 130.2 174.0 201.5 219.0 238.7 220.1 171.0 127.1 75.0 49.6 1,630
Source: Meteo France[62]

Cityscape

Panoramic view over the western side of Paris, at dusk, from the top of the Tour Montparnasse.
Panorama of Paris as seen from the Eiffel Tower as full 360-degree view.

Architecture

Much of contemporary Paris is the result of the vast mid-19th century urban remodelling. For centuries, the city had been a labyrinth of narrow streets and half-timber houses, but, beginning with Haussman's advent, entire quarters were leveled to make way for wide avenues lined with neo-classical stone buildings of bourgeoisie standing. Most of this 'new' Paris is the Paris we see today.

The building code has seen few changes since, and the Second Empire plans are in many cases still followed. The "alignement" law is still in place, which regulates building façades of new constructions according to a pre-defined street width. A building's height is limited according to the width of the streets it borders, and under the regulation, it is difficult to get an approval to build a taller building.

Many of Paris' important institutions are located outside the city limits. The financial (La Défense) business district; the main food wholesale market (Rungis); schools (École Polytechnique; ESSEC; INSEAD; HEC); research laboratories (in Saclay or Évry); the largest stadium (the Stade de France), and the government offices (Ministry of Transportation) are located in the city's suburbs.

Districts and historical centres

City of Paris

  • Place de la Bastille (4th, 11th and 12th arrondissements, right bank) is a district of great historical significance, for not just Paris, but also all of France. Because of its symbolic value, the square has often been a site of political demonstrations.
  • Place de la Concorde (8th arrondissement, right bank) 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". On this place, on either side of the Rue Royale, there are two identical stone buildings: The eastern one houses the French Naval Ministry, the western the luxurious Hôtel de Crillon. Nearby Place Vendôme is famous for its fashionable and deluxe hotels (Hôtel Ritz and Hôtel de Vendôme) and its jewellers. Many famous fashion designers have had their salons located here.
  • Champs-Élysées (8th arrondissement, right bank) is a 17th-century garden-promenade-turned-avenue connecting Place de la Concorde and Arc de Triomphe. It is one of the many tourist attractions and a major shopping street of Paris.
  • Les Halles (1st arrondissement, right bank) were formerly Paris' central meat and produce market, and, since the late 1970s, are a major shopping centre around an important metro connection station (Châtelet – Les Halles, the biggest in the world). The old Halles were destroyed in 1971 and replaced by the Forum des Halles. The central market of Paris, the biggest wholesale food market in the world, was transferred to Rungis, in the southern suburbs.
  • Le Marais (3rd and 4th arrondissements) is a trendy Right Bank district. It is architecturally very well-preserved, and some of the oldest houses and buildings of Paris can be found there. It is a very culturally open place. It is also known for its Chinese, Jewish and gay communities.
  • Montmartre (18th arrondissement, right bank) 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.
Avenue des Champs-Élysées during Christmas 2008

In the Paris area

  • La Défense (straddling the communes of Courbevoie, Puteaux, and Nanterre, 2.5 km (2 mi) west of the city proper) is a key suburb of Paris and one of the largest business centres in the world. Built at the western end of a westward extension of Paris' historical axis from the Champs-Élysées, La Défense consists mainly of business high-rises. Initiated by the French government in 1958, the district hosts 3,500,000 m2 (37,673,686 sq ft) of offices, making it the largest district in Europe developed specifically for business. The Grande Arche (Great Arch) of la Défense, housing a part of the French Transports Minister's headquarters, ends at the central Esplanade, around which the district is organised.

Monuments and landmarks

Three of the most famous Parisian landmarks are the 12th-century cathedral Notre Dame de Paris on the Île de la Cité, the Napoleonic Arc de Triomphe and the 19th-century Eiffel Tower. 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. The Historical axis is a line of monuments, buildings, and thoroughfares that run in a roughly straight line from the city-centre westwards.

The line of monuments begins with the Louvre and continues through the Tuileries Gardens, the Champs-Élysées, and the Arc de Triomphe, centred in the Place de l'Étoile circus. From the 1960s, the line was prolonged even farther west to the La Défense business district dominated by a square-shaped triumphal Grande Arche of its own; this district hosts most of the tallest skyscrapers in the Paris urban area. The Invalides museum is the burial place for many great French soldiers, including Napoleon; and the Panthéon church is where many of France's illustrious men and women are buried.

The former Conciergerie prison held some prominent Ancien Régime members before their deaths during the French Revolution. Another symbol of the Revolution are the two Statues of Liberty located on the Île aux Cygnes on the Seine and in the Luxembourg Garden. A larger version of the statues was sent as a gift from France to America in 1886 and now stands in New York City's harbour.

The Palais Garnier, built in the later Second Empire period, houses the Paris Opéra and the Paris Opera Ballet, while the former palace of the Louvre now houses one of the most renowned museums in the world. The Sorbonne is the most famous part of the University of Paris and is based in the centre of the Latin Quarter. Apart from Notre Dame de Paris, there are several other ecclesiastical masterpieces, including the Gothic 13th-century Sainte-Chapelle palace chapel and the Église de la Madeleine.

Panorama of Paris which shows some of its landmarks

Parks and gardens

Two of Paris' oldest and famous gardens are the Tuileries Garden, created in the 16th century for a palace on the banks of the Seine near the Louvre, and the Left bank Luxembourg Garden, another former private garden belonging to a château built for Marie de' Medici in 1612. The Jardin des Plantes, created by Louis XIII's doctor Guy de La Brosse for the cultivation of medicinal plants, was Paris' first public garden.

A few of Paris' other large gardens are Second Empire creations: The former suburban parks of Montsouris, Parc des Buttes Chaumont, and Parc Monceau (formerly known as the "folie de Chartres") are creations of Napoleon III's engineer Jean-Charles Alphand. Another project executed under the orders of Baron Haussmann was the re-sculpting of Paris' western Bois de Boulogne forest-parklands; the Bois de Vincennes, on the city's opposite eastern end, received a similar treatment in years following.

Newer additions to Paris' park landscape are the Parc de la Villette, built by the architect Bernard Tschumi on the location of Paris' former slaughterhouses; the Parc André Citroën, and gardens being laid to the periphery along the traces of its former circular "Petite Ceinture" railway line: Promenade Plantée.

Water and sanitation

A view of the Seine from the Pont Neuf.

Paris in its early history had only the Seine and Bièvre rivers for water. Later forms of irrigation were a 1st-century Roman aqueduct from southerly Wissous (later left to ruin); sources from the Right bank hills from the late 11th century; from the 15th century, an aqueduct built roughly along the path of the abandoned Wissous aqueduct; also, from 1809, the canal de l'Ourcq, providing Paris with water from less-polluted rivers to the northeast of the capital, and "God's Tears", a bi-annual rainstorm, which stopped in the early 20th century as a natural phenomenon. Paris would have its first constant and plentiful source of drinkable water only from the late 19th century.

From 1857, the civil engineer Eugène Belgrand, under Napoleon III's Préfet Haussmann, oversaw the construction of a series of new aqueducts that brought water from locations all around the city to several reservoirs built atop the Capital's highest points of elevation. From then on, the new reservoir system became Paris' principal source of drinking water, and the remains of the old system, pumped into lower levels of the same reservoirs, were from then on used for the cleaning of Paris' streets. This system is still a major part of Paris' modern water-supply network.

Paris has over 2,400 km (1,491 mi) of underground passageways[63] dedicated to the evacuation of Paris' liquid wastes. Most of these date from the late 19th century, a result of the combined plans of the Préfet Baron Haussmann and the civil engineer Eugène Belgrand to improve the then-very unsanitary conditions in the Capital. Maintained by a round-the-clock service since their construction, only a small percentage of Paris' sewer réseau has needed complete renovation.[citation needed]

In 1982, then mayor Jacques Chirac introduced the motorcycle-mounted Motocrotte to remove dog faeces from Paris streets.[64] The project was abandoned in 2002 for a new and better enforced local law which now fines dog owners up to 500 euros for not removing their dog faeces. It was estimated at the time of their removal, that the fleet of 70 Motocrottes were cleaning up only 20% of dog faeces on Parisian street – at an annual cost of £3million.[65]

Cemeteries

The Paris Catacombs hold the remains of approximately 6 million people.

Paris' main cemetery was located to its outskirts on its Left Bank from the beginning of its history[citation needed], but this changed with the rise of Catholicism and the construction of churches towards the city-centre, many of them having adjoining burial grounds for use by their parishes. Generations of a growing city population soon filled these cemeteries to overflowing, creating sometimes very unsanitary conditions.

Condemned from 1786, the contents of all Paris' parish cemeteries were transferred to a renovated section of Paris' then suburban stone mines outside the Left Bank "Porte d'Enfer" city gate (today 14th arrondissement's place Denfert-Rochereau). Part of this network of tunnels and remains can be visited today on the official tour of the Catacombs. After a tentative creation of several smaller suburban cemeteries, Napoleon Bonaparte provided a more definitive solution in the creation of three massive Parisian cemeteries outside the city tax wall called the Wall of the Farmers-General. Open from 1804, these were the cemeteries of Père Lachaise, Montmartre, Montparnasse, and later Passy.

When Paris annexed all communes to the inside of its much larger ring of suburban fortifications in 1860, its cemeteries were once again within its city walls. New suburban cemeteries were created in the early 20th century: The largest of these are the Cimetière Parisien de Saint-Ouen, the Cimetière Parisien de Bobigny-Pantin, the Cimetière Parisien d'Ivry, and the Cimetière Parisien de Bagneux.

Culture

Entertainment and performing arts

The largest opera houses of Paris are the 19th century Opéra Garnier (historical Paris Opéra) and modern Opéra Bastille; the former tends towards the more classic ballets and operas, and the latter provides a mixed repertoire of classic and modern. In middle of 19th century, there were two other active and competing opera houses: Opéra-Comique (which still exists to this day) and Théâtre Lyrique (which in modern times changed its profile and name to Théâtre de la Ville).

Theatre traditionally has occupied a large place in Parisian culture. This still holds true today, and many of its most popular actors today are also stars of French television. Some of Paris' major theatres include Bobino, Théâtre Mogador, and the Théâtre de la Gaîté-Montparnasse. Some Parisian theatres have also doubled as concert halls. Many of France's greatest musical legends, such as Édith Piaf, Maurice Chevalier, Georges Brassens, and Charles Aznavour, found their fame in Parisian concert halls: Legendary yet still-showing examples of these are Le Lido, Bobino, l'Olympia and le Splendid.

The Élysées-Montmartre, much reduced from its original size, is a concert hall today. The New Morning is one of few Parisian clubs still holding jazz concerts, but the same also specialises in "indie" music. In more recent times, the Le Zénith hall in Paris, La Villette quarter and a "parc-omnisports" stadium in Bercy serve as large-scale rock concert halls.

Dance at the Moulin de la Galette, by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1876)

Several yearly festivals take place in Paris, such as Rock en Seine. Parisians tend to share the same movie-going trends as many of the world's global cities, that is to say with a dominance of Hollywood-generated film entertainment. French cinema comes a close second, with major directors (réalisateurs) such as Claude Lelouch, François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol, and Luc Besson, and the more slapstick/popular genre with director Claude Zidi as an example. European and Asian films are also widely shown and appreciated. A specialty of Paris is its very large network of small movie theatres. In a given week, the movie fan has the choice between around 300 old or new movies from all over the world.

Many of Paris' concert/dance halls were transformed into movie theatres when the media became popular beginning in the 1930s. Later, most of the largest cinemas were divided into multiple, smaller rooms: Paris' largest cinema today is by far le Grand Rex theatre with 2,800 seats, whereas other cinemas all have fewer than 1,000 seats. There is now a trend toward modern multiplexes that contain more than 10 or 20 screens.

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Author:Bling King
Published:Jun 1st 2012
Modified:Jun 1st 2012

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