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Paris


Paris

BOOKS

First published in 2019 by Murray Books (Australia) www.murraybooks.com

Copyright Š 2019 Murray Books (Australia) Copyright Š 2019 Peter Murray ISBN: 978-0-9871735-9-1

All rights reserved. This publication or any part thereof may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the copyright holder. Author : Peter Murray : Images: Shutterstock

The author and publisher have made every effort to ensure the information contained in this book was correct at the time of going to press and accept no responsibility for any loss, injury or inconvenience sustained by any person or organisation using this book.


Paris

THE CITY OF LIGHT Since the 1860s, Paris has been known as the City of Light or La Ville Lumière, after the city’s monuments and boulevards were lit up by 56,000 strategically placed gas lamps. Touted as the world’s most romantic destination, Paris’ romance goes well beyond two-roomed apartments, haute-couture, haute-cuisine and the Vespa. Paris is the heart and soul of an entire culture, created over 2,000 years ago and forged in the fires of invasion, revolution and rebuilding. THE ARRONDISSEMENTS AND QUARTERS OF PARIS As a inland city, Paris has also escaped coastal attack over the centuries and its streets remain in virtually the same position as when they were first laid out. Its spiral-coiled arrondissements and delightfully individual quarters divide Paris up so that it is a city of experiences, with the sights, sounds and smells in each area both a surprise and a delight. Paris can be all things to all people, such is the diversity of its offerings. A tour of the city’s museums can easily serve as the focal point of an entire month’s visit, but a return trip to experience the city’s cuisine or its shopping will be a whole new experience. THE ISLANDS The geographical and historical heart of Paris lies in its main islands in the River Seine. The larger Île de la Cité is home to the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Palais de Justice, the Prefecture de Police and some of the most expensive real estate in Europe. The smaller Île Saint-Louis is almost the opposite, residential, perfectly set out and lacking the frantic hustle and bustle of an enormous European city. THE RIGHT BANK Across the water, the Right Bank is Paris’ most densely populated area, and it is quartered into several distinct areas. Le Châtelet sits at the northern end of a bridge extending from the Île de la Cité, and its most important feature is Les Halles, a thriving commercial centre packed with shopping malls and geared to tourists. Rap, hip-hop and fast food are staples near the Metro, while the Centre Georges Pompidou sits modern, brash and almost provocative in the area with its brightly coloured inside out plumbing on display. Street performers abound there, attracting tourists and locals in their droves. Elsewhere in the Right Bank is the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) which has witnessed Paris’ changes over the centuries as it too has changed many times.


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Le Louvre was once the Royal Palace until the king decided he was safer out in the country at Versailles. Since his move, the building has been a museum, and today it is the site of the Louvre Museum, the Tuileries Gardens, a shopping mall, a centre of fashion and some of the most beautiful 17th century buildings in the city. It is also the site of the Palais Royal, which evolved over the centuries to become a series of shopping arcades boasting some of Paris’ most recognisable and exquisite architecture. Packed with tourist friendly shops and night-clubs, the area hums with life night and day. The Opéra quarter centres around the stunning Opéra Garnier, a 19th century opera house that today stands proudly among Paris’ largest shopping centres Printemps and Galeries Lafayette. The Opéra area is also home to Paris’ banking sector. Nearby, the rue Saint Honoré is a luxury boutique oasis. The Place Vendôme, punctuated by the Hôtel Ritz, features the very best of Parisian jewellers while the Place de la Concorde is a tourist drawcard with its fountains and the Obelisk - to say nothing of the view of the Champs Élysées. The Champs Élysées itself is the most visited of all Paris’ streets and boulevards, packed with boutiques that sit below offices and residences, and dominated by the Arc de Triomphe. Montmartre is Paris’ elephant in the room (right). Sitting 130 metres above the city and dominated by a gleaming white basilica, it is not possible to ignore it. Originally home to tiny streets, vineyards and windmills, it is possible to catch glimpses of Montmartre’s former existence before the basilica was built and the tourists began to arrive in droves. The boulevards that sit at the bottom of Montmartre were once famous for their cabarets in the 19th century, surrounded by the area’s vineyards but filled with dance-halls and saloons that attracted the well-heeled and the down-at-heel to places such as the Moulin Rouge. Paris’ Gare de l’Est (East Station) is home to exotic hair salons and clothes stores, whose proprietors are African in origin, while the Gare du Nord (North Station) offers the subcontinent on a plate along rue du Fauborg Saint-Denis. Most of the residents and proprietors come from Pakistan, Sri Lanka and occasionally India. Le Marais is a delightful quarter of Paris. Once surrounded by an area of artisans who turned out furniture, Le Marais is famous for the obsessively geometrical Place des Vosges, where those wanting to live nearer their monarch took up residence in luxurious apartments and hotels. When Louis headed for Versailles, so did most of his neighbours and the place fell into disrepair before it was repopulated by Jews and eventually became the gay heart of Paris.


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THE LEFT BANK The Left Bank was once one of the most populated parts of Paris, but once the population moved across the river, the Left Bank’s post Roman constructions were quarried and used to help build the Right Bank. Today, the Left Bank is the more residential side of Paris. Saint-Germain-des-Prés sits on the Left Bank, and was once the site of a 7th century abbey. In the late 1800s, the Boulevard Saint-Germain became the home of Parisian bistros, cafés and jazz clubs, frequented by students from the nearby Sorbonne University. It was the heart of radical Paris in the 1950s and 1960s before the university was split up and scattered around Paris. Now an upper-class residential district near the École des Beaux-Arts and packed with galleries and boutique eateries, art is the focus of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Between SaintGermain and the Luxembourg Gardens lies the Odéon quarter (right), named after a theatre that once existed in the 18th century. Cafés and cinema abound there. The Saint-Michel quarter is home to the Sorbonne University and student life revolves around the area. Packed with studentfriendly establishments and activities, the area is a hive of bookstores, cheap eateries and game shops. Slightly north of this lies an area that remains geographically unspoiled by change, its narrow Medieval streets charming tourists and beckoning them into souvenir shops and restaurants. The Hôtel des Invalides (right) began life as a war veteran’s home built by Napoleon, whose ashes lie buried there. In the Invalides quarter lies some of Paris’ most well known landmarks, including the École Militaire the Quai d’Orsay and of course - the Eiffel Tower. The latter was built by Gustave Eiffel as a temporary structure that would grace the 1889 Universal Exposition. Over 120 years later, Eiffel’s temporary tower remains and receives around six million visitors every year. The Montparnasse quarter is virtually sacred in artistic circles around the world. This was the home to Paris’ great sculptors and painters, who sought the quiet of the Montparnasse Cemetery so that they could work undisturbed. In the fabulous Belle Époque era of the late 19th century, Montparnasse abounded with atelier studios, cafes and bistros, many of which remain today. The surrounding area is now a commuter hub and a business quarter, with Paris’ tallest structure, the Tour Montparnasse, taking pride of place. The nearby DenfertRochereau quarter is home to the macabre Catacombs of Paris (right), which house literally millions of ossified remains. Further along the Left Bank lies the Font de Seine, south of the Eiffel Tower and home to a modern cluster of 20 commercial and residential towers rarely seen elsewhere in Paris. An elevated esplanade wends its way around a hub of commercialism that includes the Hôtel


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Novotel Paris-Tour Eiffel and the smart Centre commercial Beaugrenelle shopping centre. In the 1970s, over 25 high residential towers were built near the Place d’Italie and Les Olympiades. As the towers opened, so an influx of refugees from Vietnam and Cambodia began arriving in France. Housing these displaced persons was a matter of course for Paris, as they came from French colonies, and so a triangular piece of land in Olympiades became Paris’ Chinatown, renowned for its Asian culture, restaurants, supermarkets and annual, colourful parades. LA DÉFENSE Paris’ latest and most significant addition in recent years has been the La Défense business district on the Axe historique (right), which bisects central Paris with a line of monuments along the Champs Élysées. La Défense is clearly identifiable by the skyscrapers that flank the boulevard and is home to over 3,000 hotel rooms, 100 restaurants, 600 shops and three million square metres of office space. 160,000 employees work in La Défense, which also receives two million tourists annually and forms the hub of France’s commercial existence. HISTORY BEGINNINGS The very beginnings of Paris can be traced back to the 3rd century BC, when the Celtic Parisii tribe settled the lands near the junction of major watercourses where they met the Seine. The landscape was such that the Île de la Cité, now the site of the Notre Dame Cathedral, formed a perfect meeting place along the northern trade route that crossed the country. Naturally, a town grew up to support the trade, which came from as far away as modern day Spain. When the Romans arrived in 52BC, they made the Île de la Cité their garrison and began expanding the outside settlement in the direction of the Left Bank. Under the Romans, Paris was called Lutetia and soon temples and baths sprang up, along with a forum and an amphitheatre. By the time the Roman Empire petered out, Lutetia was known as Parsius in its Latin form and Paris in the native language. Christianity came along in the 3rd century AD, along with the first Bishop of Paris in the form of St. Denis. When the bishop refused to renounced his beliefs, he was taken to the Mountain of Martyrs (known as Montmartre today) and beheaded. St Denis’ burial place at Montmartre quickly became a sacred shrine, and the ensuing structure built over him became the Basilica of Saint-Denis, which also became the burial site of the French Kings.


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After the Romans had departed, Paris became the capital of the Merovingian Dynasty, headed by Clovis the Frank in the 500s. Clovis extended the fortifications on the Île de la Cité, but they weren’t enough to stop the Vikings from breaking through and sacking Paris 500 years later. Successfully taking back the important trade centre forty years later in what became known as the Siege of Paris (885-886 AD), the Franks reestablished themselves, and within the century, Hugh Capet, the Count of Paris and Duke of the Franks, became King of the Franks. Under Capetian rule, Paris grew to become France’s most prosperous and populous city. ROYAL PARIS In Christian Europe, the church and the throne were virtually one, and by the end of Middle Ages, the city was the economic, religious, political and cultural capital of France. In the 12th century, the Île de la Cité was the home of the royal palace, and King Louis VII (also the Bishop of Paris) began construction of the Notre Dame Cathedral at the eastern end of the palace. The University of Paris also came into being at this time, situated along the Left Bank, and it became a hall of learning dedicated to studies in theology, medicine, canon law and the arts. On the opposite side of the island, the Right Bank was the commercial heart of Paris, home of a merchants’ organisation that wielded great power. Following Louis’ demise, Philip took over and built the Louvre, which was an enormous fortress. He also continued building Notre Dame and rebuilt earlier bridges that connected the island with both banks of the Seine. Finally, Philip walled the city and paved the road of Paris. Paris was occupied by the Duke of Burgundy from 1420 to 1436 during the Hundred Years’ War. In 1429, Joan of Arc arrived to liberate Paris from the English, who were eventually ousted within the decade. By the 16th century, France had two Christian religions - Catholics and Protestants, and in 1572, thousands of Protestants were killed as a result of what became known as the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. This battle was part of the French Wars of Religion, and it was only when Henri IV became a Catholic that is all ended. Henri ended up being assassinated, but in the 20 years he lived in Paris, he rebuilt the Pont Neuf bridge to incorporate pedestrian thoroughfares along each side. Henri also created the first square in the city (today’s Place des Vosges) and linked the Louvre and the Tuileries Palace with a wing extending between the two buildings. The 17th century became a time of beautifying Paris under the watchful eye of Cardinal Richelieu, Louis XIII’s powerful right hand man. Richelieu built himself a palace, which ultimately became the Palais Royal after his death, along with five bridges and a chapel that


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graced the College of Sorbonne. Distrustful of the common people, Louis XIV moved out of the city to Versailles, which was in the country at the time. During his reign, Europe was fast becoming the home of science and the arts and Paris was its capital. Louis had the city’s walled fortifications removed and replaced them with magnificent boulevards, and he also built the Comédie Française, the French Academy of Sciences and the Academy of Painting. Louis XIV also gave Paris its Place des Victories, Place Vendôme and Collège des Quatre-Nations. REVOLUTIONARY PARIS As Paris continued to grow between the mid 17th and late 18th century, so did its population, edging 600,000 by 1789. The working class and the elite were separated east and west of the city, with the Champs-Élysées the demarcation line between the two. Migrants from around the country teemed into the city centre, filling the Faubourg Saint-Antoine. On the other side of the city, the sciences and philosophies grew to become the Age of Enlightenment, with the publication of great works by d’Alembert and Diderot among others. In 1783, Parisians gaped at the sky in wonder as the first hot-air balloon was launched from the Château de la Muette’s gardens, believing their city to be the most advanced in the world. To an extent, they were right, as Paris was at the cutting edge of finance, fashion, interior design, luxury goods and publishing in continental Europe. But as one part of Paris was thriving, the other was fast becoming a centre of suffering humanity, and on July 14, 1789, a mob of desperate Parisians no longer able to tolerate their living conditions rose up and took over the Invalides’ arsenal. In control of most of the city’s firepower, they stormed the Bastille and took over the city. The revolution was brutal and bloody, and no aristocrat was safe. Louis XVI and his family were brought into Paris and imprisoned in the Tuileries Palace before being guillotined - along with over 16,000 other French aristocrats and officials. As with many revolutions, after property had been seized and redistributed and Paris’ churches had been demolished or sold off, factions rose and overthrew other factions, leading to a city in disarray and without solid leadership. In 1799, Napoléon Bonaparte arrived to take over and install himself as Paris’ First Consul. During the course of the Revolution, 100,000 Parisians had either been killed or had fled the city, but as Bonaparte brought order to the city its numbers again swelled. Paris’ new leader was thorough in his desire to rule, and he replaced the city’s government with a prefect that reported directly to him before setting out to rebuild Paris. A major part of Paris’ restoration took the form of military monuments, the most stupendous of which was the Arc de Triomphe.


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Other parts of the city that had suffered during the Revolution were revamped, and new fountains sprang up, along with the cleverly engineered Canal de l’Ourcq and the first metal bridge constructed in Paris - the Pont des Arts. With squares, bridges and other well known localities being returned to their former glory and former names, the people were again suffering as a result of Napoleon’s defeat at the Battle of Waterloo and shocking economic conditions, so they revolted again and Louis Philippe I came to power. During this time, the advent of the railway brought even more migrants into the city from the rural areas of France. Within two decades, Louis Philippe was overthrown and Napoleon III was in charge. Napoleon’s prefect was Georges-Eugène Haussmann, and it was his public works campaign that led to one of Paris’ largest and most successful refurbishments in its history. Haussmann built wide boulevards and introduced a more efficient and safe aqueduct and sewer system into the city. Along with beautiful gardens, an opera house and a central market for the city, Paris’ outlying towns were subdivided into eight more arrondissements, which changed the landscape of the city forever. As one period of discord disappeared into the history books, another arose, and Paris was soon besieged by a new enemy - the Prussians. Blockaded by the Prussians, the population of the city were soon hungry, and once the bombardment began, it was time to surrender. In 1871, a Parisian faction that had set up its headquarters in Montmartre took over the city three months after the Prussians moved in, and it was another two months before they were suppressed and order was restored. But it was the 1889 Universal Exposition that had one of the most significant effects on the city and made it the talking point of Europe. To mark the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution, the Eiffel Tower was built as a temporary landmark, and a decade later, the Grand and Petit Palais’ and numerous buildings dedicated to the arts and sciences sprang up. With Paris the home of the Impressionist Movement and the world capital of culture, it was at its peak, and building the Metro thrust it into the 20th century as the epitome of cosmopolitan greatness. THE BELLE ÉPOQUE AND BEYOND With a population of nearly three million by 1900, Paris bulged with art and culture and was home to the likes of Matisse, Picasso, Monet and Modigliani, whose greatness was celebrated globally. Art and literary movements were very much in vogue at this time, and the city buzzed with the next great thing in art, books, fashion, interior furnishings and accessories. As the Great War began, France was in the thick of it and the city found itself under bombardment again this time from the air as Zeppelins loomed overhead and dropped their payloads. Long-range


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German guns also took their toll before peace was declared and soldiers returned home, and Paris again became a magnet for some of the world’s greatest writers and artists. When World War II began, Germany marched into France in 1939 and arrived in its capital in June, 1940. Paris’ police and gendarmes were forced to arrest and imprison the city’s Jewish population, and nearly 13,000 Parisian men, women and children were either imprisoned, enslaved or murdered by the Nazi regime as a result. Four years later, Paris was liberated by French and USA troops, headed by General Charles de Gaulle. Sadly, that was not the end of Paris’ woes. As Algeria fought for independence from France, Paris’ gendarmes and police became a target for assassins. The situation evolved into a demonstration during which 40 people were killed. In 1968, the Sorbonne was occupied by protesting students and escalated into a general strike, the outcome of which resulted in the university being subdivided into 13 different and independent campuses. In 1975, Paris finally joined the rest of France in that it elected its own Mayor for the first time since 1793. The city’s skyline was changed again in 1975 when the Tour Maine Montparnasse went up, much to the dismay of many Parisians who thought it ruined their skyline. Since World War II, most of France’s Presidents have left their mark on Paris, just as Napoleon I once did. The Centres George Pompidou, the Opéra Bastille, the Louvre Pyramid ,the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée du quai Branly are but a few of these monuments to power dedicated to the country’s past leaders. In recent years, Paris has been populated by the young, and the city’s streets have been transformed with a proliferations of rented bicycles in an effort to reduce traffic congestion. The Left Bank has also seen a change, with a promenade and park installed in place of the former highway. THE PARISIAN LANDSCAPE Paris sits in the centre of France on the northern arc of the River Seine. As well as the Île de la Cité, the smaller Île Saint-Louis sits in the Seine in Paris, and the river flows 375km downstream into the English Channel. Paris spreads out from its ancient islands on both sides of the river. While the Left and Right Banks are fairly flat, there are a number of prominent hills nearby. The most well known and picturesque of these hills is Montmartre. Paris itself covers an area of around 87 km2, and thanks to its 1860 subdivision, is neatly divided into 20 delightfully curved, geometrical arrondissements that now extend out as far as the Boulevard Périphérique - the city’s ring road. In the early 20th century, the Bois de


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Vincennes (right) and the Bois de Boulogne were added to Paris’ geography, and they form over 100 km2 of protected forest land. Paris’ weather is some of the best in Europe, with warm summer days pushing hot in the height of the season. Heat waves are uncommon but not unknown in Paris, as experienced in 2003 when temperatures reached as high as 40 degrees Celsius. Winter in Paris often sees the city covered in light snowfalls that add an almost fairytale look to the cityscape before disappearing quickly. As for the in-between seasons, autumn and spring are generally mild and bring rain and sunshine respectively. THE CITYSCAPE Paris is populated with numerous monuments and buildings that bear testimony to its rulers and invaders of old. Although Paris has suffered damage from within, it has never been destroyed by war or natural disaster, and has thus been able to retain a lot of its earliest Middle Ages infrastructure. STREETS The streetscape of Paris also remains unchanged at its core, unlike many of Europe’s other capital cities. In the river, only two islands remain and are now accompanied by an artificial one - the Île aux Cygnes. Haussmann’s 19th century remodelling of the city remains an integral part of the city’s architectural soul, including its boulevards and avenues. Haussmann’s trademark apartment buildings are also an essential part of the inner city streetscape, built along tree-lined boulevards and adorned with balconies. With a large, innercity resident population, a lot of the city’s attractiveness emanates from it always humming with life night and day. Laws relating to Paris’ urbanisation also protect the city from being altered dramatically. Building height limitations in certain areas also help, although the Montparnasse Tower and La Défense’s Tour First and proposed Hermitage Plaza are exceptions to the rule. ARCHITECTURE Some of Paris’ most remarkable buildings are also tourism magnets, visited for both their stupendous design and the history that exudes from them. The Basilica of Saint-Denis (right) tells the tale of French Christianity’s earliest martyrdom as it sits imposing at the top of Montmartre. The 6th century Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés in the Latin Quarter holds


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the remains of Paris’ Merovingian kings, and the Medieval-Gothic Saint Chapelle on the Île de la Cité is probably the closest that architecture of its time came to epitomising the Frenchness of Paris’ Capetian dynasty (the Kings Louis). Les Invalides in the 7th arrondissement was originally built for retiring war veterans in 1670, but has since enjoyed life as a complex of museums and the last resting place of war heroes, including Napoleon Bonaparte. Also built in the Baroque period of architecture was the Saint-Paul-Saint-Louis church (right), which belonged to the Saint-Éloi monastery and served as a chapel and cemetery for the monks whose bodies were carried there in procession. Two of the 19th century’s grandest offerings are the Basilica of Sacré-Coeur and the Palais Garnier Opera House, the latter of which served as the inspiration for the Phantom of the Opera. CITY LIVING Not surprisingly, Paris falls within the top ten most expensive cities in the world in terms of luxury housing (though only a third of the price of London’s top addresses). The premier street address in the city is the quai des Orfèvres (right), situated in the 6th arrondissement. The city itself houses around two million residents, and space is at a premium because of the limitations on expansion that has preserved Paris’ heart and soul. Over 60 percent of its buildings predate 1949, and less than 20 percent were built after the mid 1970s. Many Hollywood movies of the 1950s and 1960s depicted inner city Parisian living as consisting of studios and tiny two-roomed apartments, which is a fairly accurate summation of Paris at the time and today. Nearly 70 percent of all Paris’ residences are exactly that, and most of them are rented accommodation. PARISIAN ‘BURBS Inner city Paris became a department (suburb) in itself in 1968 after an administrative reshuffle, and since 1977, it has been officially known as Île-de-France. In the 1960s, Paris was actually quite isolated from its outlying suburbs and travel to and from the city could be fairly complex from anywhere other than immediate areas. With the construction of five new residential suburbs and a rail network connecting them to the city, the future seemed bright, but the badly constructed project was a failure and residents left for other areas - to be replaced by residents of limited socio-economic means. Most of these areas are situated north of Paris, with some lying eastwards.


Paris' Arc de Triomphe is one of the city's most famous landmarks. It is the key feature in the city's 'Axe historique', which is a series of grand thoroughfares and monuments that cut a path through the city from the Louvre to the Grande Arche de la DĂŠfense.


The Place des Vosges is the oldest planned square in Paris. Opened in 1612, it replaced the former HĂ´tel des Tournelles when the latter was demolished and the royal family moved to the Louvre. Place des Vosges became the benchmark of future European city design.


Founded in 1793, Paris' MusĂŠum national d'histoire naturelle is at its most impressive in the Great Gallery of Evolution.


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In terms of socio-economic status, most of Paris’ suburbs remain unchanged since the mid 19th century. The wealthy populate the south-west and west of the city, with small enclaves in the north and east. The middle classes tend to live in the north and east away from the poorer northern and eastern suburbs that were part of the failed project of the 1960s, and the rest of the population scatter themselves through the remaining areas. PARIS’ PEOPLE The population of the Paris Region sits at around 12 million, while Paris’ urban area has a population of about 10.5 million, making it the most populated in the EU. In the inner city, about 2.2 million people rub shoulders with each other, with many having left for suburbs in the past few decades. Paris ranks alongside Copenhagen, Geneva, Oslo and Zurich in the cost-of-living stakes and is the world’s second highest. Paris has been a multicultural hub since the 16th century when German students arrived to attend the city’s renowned halls of learning. Two hundred years later, Italian craftsmen and artisans arrived to take up labouring work on the city’s gardens and palaces, and large numbers of Swiss, Belgian and Austrian immigrants also arrived in the ensuing centuries. During the Polish Revolution in the early to mid 19th century, many refugees arrived - among them Frederic Chopin. As revolutions and war affected many parts of Europe and the Ottoman Empire, so the refugees and immigrants continued arriving in Paris, whose geography and size offered refuge and possible work. The result of such influxes has been a city rich in diversity and literally bulging with artistic, scientific and philosophical talent for centuries. Paris’ lends its name to those people who first settled the area and began to trade at an important confluence of rivers, and while modernity has changed what was traded, it hasn’t changed Paris’ economic importance. Most of the city’s service and manufacturing industries sit close to the city itself and account for a large part of the €624 (US$700) billion GDP generated there. The economy of Paris today is generated mainly from finance-related IT services, high-tech manufacturing (which includes aerospace), and other high-end services. Paris’ manufacturing sector is in decline in the more traditional areas, but aeronautics, motor vehicle manufacturing and eco-based industries are on the rise.


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VISITING THE CITY OF LIGHT The city and its immediate surrounds receive an average annual influx of over 22 million tourists. Most visitors come from the USA, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan and the UK. In more recent times, visitors from the Middle East have been growing in number. The majority of first time visitors include the Louvre (right) on their itinerary, making it the most popular museum of its kind in the world. With €13.58 billion (US$17 billion) flowing into the coffers every year as a result of tourism, it takes over a quarter of a million workers to cater to the tourist industry in Paris. While the Louvre is the world’s most visited museum of its kind, it is the Notre Dame Cathedral that wins Paris’ most-visited stakes with 14 million visitors annually. The Louvre runs second to Notre Dame with 9 million, and runners up are Basilique du Sacré Coeur, the Eiffel Tower, the Centre Georges Pompidou and the Musée d’Orsay. As well as these monuments, Sainte-Chapelle and Les Invalides are extremely popular. UNESCO have listed many of Paris’ monuments as World Heritage Sites. One of the most grand of all monuments is actually a series of landmarks that make up the Axis of Paris and includes the Grande Arche of La Défense, the Place de la Concorde, the Arc de Triomphe, the Tuileries Garden and the Luxor Column (right). Paris has nearly 1,600 hotels, which contain over 70,000 rooms. Most of the five-star hotels belong to large, international chains specialising in luxury accommodation and service. These are situated near the Champs-Élysées. One of Paris’ first luxury hotels was the hotel Meurice, which opened in 1817 to cater specifically to British travellers. With the advent of rail travel and the 1855 Paris Exposition came tourists in large numbers, and large luxury hotels were constructed to accommodate them. These hotels were the Hôtel du Louvre in 1855 (right), the Grand Hotel in 1862, the Hôtel Continental 16 years later and the Hôtel Ritz two decades after that. In the early 20th century, the Hôtel Crillon opened in 1909, the Hôtel Bristol in 1925 and the Hôtel George V the last of the grand tourist magnets in 1928.


PARISIAN CULTURE

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PAINTERS AND SCULPTORS Paris and the arts are synonymous with each other, and the painters and sculptors who have lived and breathed the city make up a list of the most influential the world has ever seen. As a centre of artistic education, Paris has hosted many great students, and before it was known as the City of Light, it was called the City of Art, and for good reason. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Italian artists arrived to paint and sculpt for the monarchy and other elite families of Paris. French Baroque and Classicism works soon began to grace the walls, rooms and gardens of the palaces, and names such as Coysevox, Girardon and Coustou were much sought after and known personally by the royal family. Louis XIV’s first court painter was Pierre Mignard, whose name as a portraitist to such greats as Descartes, Molière and the like was well regarded. While Mignard remained the king’s favourite, he nevertheless declined an invitation to enter the newly formed Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, France’s elite art school, because it was run by his enemy Charles Le Brun and its absolute authority was difficult for Mignard to swallow. Paris’ artistic endeavours are best known today for what was produced in the 19th and early 20th century. A virtual colony of prolifically talented artists took up residence in the art schools and galleries of Paris, often favouring Montparnasse and Montmartre as a places of abode and socialising exclusively among themselves. Forays down the hill to Pigalle and the Moulin Rouge to rub shoulders with the well heeled and the well lubricated were notorious ones, and historical accounts of the activities of such greats as Toulouse Lautrec and his cohorts are written into the DNA of Paris at its artistic best. Gaugin, Renoir, Monet, Manet, Pissaro and other luminaries trod the streets of Paris and frequented its bars and cabarets, producing some of the greatest Impressionist works in history. The liberation of spirit that originated with the bloody French Revolution also liberated the artistic endeavours of artists who introduced Romanticism into art. Great movements began to sweep the world, including those of Impressionism, Cubism, Fauvism, Art Deco and Art Nouveau. They stimulated the senses and brought critics and art lovers flocking to Paris. Picasso, Cézanne, Rousseau and Modigliani worked alongside Metzinger, Van Gogh, Matisse and Gleizes, turning Montmartre and Montparnasse into cultural centres of the most prodigious artistic production.


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Sculptors also abounded during this period, and included among the others Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi of Statue of Liberty fame. Paul Landowski, famous for his Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janiero, worked in Paris, as did Rodin, Claudel, Maillol and Bourdelle. Paris’ artistic golden age came to an end when the Art Deco period ended in the late 1930s, but its reputation as the centre of world culture remains to this day. The academy once eschewed by Louis XIV’s first painter remains, now named the École nationale supérieure des BeauxArts, and students arrive from all over the world to attend the Paris American Academy and the Paris College of Art. These prestigious institutions teach painting, sculpture, fashion and interior design. PHOTOGRAPHERS Paris has produced some of the world’s best photographers, which is fitting considering that the photograph was invented by a Parisian in 1825 through a system of etching on pewter. The process evolved into the Daguerreotype camera, which etched in greater exquisite detail on metallic plates. Much like Paris’ painting and sculpting communities, the city had its own community of photographers. In the 1880s, Étienne-Jules Marey was the first of the modern photographers who played a pivotal role in the birth of the Surrealist movement. Paris itself became the most photographed city in the world as the great masters of the art such as Eugène Atget took to the streets with their cumbersome equipment and captured Parisian life for posterity. Many photographs of market life came from the camera and development rooms of Robert Doisneau, while Bovis’ night scenes and the artwork of Lartigue and CartierBresson set the standard for the combination of art and science in photography. THE MUSEUMS The world’s most popular museum is Paris’ Louvre Museum, which welcomes over nine million visitors annually and houses the Mona Lisa and the statue of Venus de Milo. The former 13th century fort houses a collection that contains over 380,000 items and 35,000 works of art. Split into eight separate departments, the Louvre exhibits archaeological finds, objets d’art, sculptures and drawings, with some of the exhibitions permanents and other on loan from various world museums and galleries. The Centre Georges Pompidou (right), notorious for having all of its plumbing on the outside of the building, houses Paris’ Public Information Library and the Musée National d’Art Moderne, as well as IRCAM, which is an accoustic and music research centre.


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One of Paris’ newer museums is the Musée du quai Branly, which holds a collection of over 400,000 pieces of indigenous art from all around the world. The collection changes often, allowing visitors to view 3,500 artifacts at a time. The Louvre also displays some of the pieces in their Pavillon des Sessions. The Musée d’Orsay (right) sits inside the now defunct Beaux-Arts Orsay Railway Station and attracts hordes of tourists looking to soak up Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works. Most of the works in the Musée d’Orsay date from 1889 to 1900 and the works of Degas, Manet, Monet, Cézanne, Renoir, Van Gogh, Seurat and Gaugin are on display over a century after they were created. Originally the home of the Abbot of Cluny in the 14th century, the Musée national du Moyen Âge (National Museum of the Middle Ages) in the 5th arrondissement holds the best of Medieval tapestry, and its centrepiece is the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries. The tapestries were woven in the late 15th/early 16th century in Flanders using silk and wool, and are depictions of the five senses and a sixth sense revolving around love and the soul (right). For Asian art, the Guimet Museum is one of the largest in Europe. Established by the industrialist Émile Guimet, the museum contains collections amassed by Guimet himself when he worked in the Far East, and was expanded to include Japanese and Chinese porcelain and artifacts from Ancient Greece and Rome. For those devoted to individual artists, the Musée Rodin is located on two sites (one of them being Rodin’s home and workshop) and contains over 6,000 pieces. Rodin’s own art collection is also displayed and includes the works of Camille Claudel, Renoir, Van Gogh and Monet. The Musée Picasso contains more than 5,000 Picasso works, including sketches, ceramics, wood and metal sculptures, paintings and Picasso’s own collection. Picasso was a great collector himself, and artists such as Rousseau, Degas, Cézanne and Matisse are featured. Eugène Delacroix lived and worked in an earlier time than the Impressionists, but his offerings are some of France’s best. The Musée national Eugène Delacroix is situated in the artist’s last home and contains his preliminary sketches and paintings for his work in the Chapelle des Saintes-Anges, as well as drawings by some of his contemporaries of the time. Delacroix’ time abroad in Morocco is also featured, and artifacts include jewellery, clothing and ceramics from the 1830s. In Parisian museums, the sciences feature strongly, with the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie (right) featuring high on the list of must-see places. The museum includes an IMAX theatre, a planetarium and a submarine and is dedicated to fostering an interest in science. It is especially popular with families and caters for children. On the biological front,


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the National Museum of Natural History has grown from its single original site established in the Botanical Gardens (Jardin des Plantes) in the 18th century to incorporate 14 separate sites around Paris. Military buffs are well catered for in Paris, mainly because most of its military history is part of its stunning architecture. Outside of grand boulevards and arches, the Musée de l’Armee is located at Les Invalides (the original veteran’s home established in 1670) and houses an impressive collection of military weaponry (right), uniforms and other artifacts. Some of the highlights are the French bronze cannons, the Medieval Room, Napoleonic uniforms and weapons, historic French Foreign Legion collections and the Charles de Gaulle Monument. The latter is a multimedia centre dedicated to the work of de Gaulle himself. Paris is also home to the Maison de Balzac, the former home of one of France’s greatest novelists, Honoré de Balzac, who was born shortly after the French Revolution. Another popular museum is the Carnavalet Museum, which presents the history of Paris from its earliest times and contains nearly 500,000 artifacts that include canoes from the Parisii period and Roman coins, bottles and military finds. The Maison de Victor Hugo is also a magnet for those wishing to immerse themselves in the life (and death) of the novelist who brought the world Les Misérables and the Hunchback of Notre-Dame. Hugo was also a prolific artist, and produced over 4,000 drawings in his lifetime. For the truly macabre, a visit to the Catacombs of Paris is a must, where the skeletal remains of millions of people been interred in ancient stone mines, and skulls line the walls of caverns (right). THE LIBRARIES Paris’ public libraries are operated by the Bibliothèque nationale de France, and as a city that prides itself on its rich publishing and literary history, Paris is home to some of the world’s best libraries. French literature rates highly in Paris, and the Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal is one of the foremost repositories for Paris’ greatest works. First established 1757 as a private library in the Grand Master of the Artillery’s residence, it contained the library of the Marquis d’Argenson as well as the duc de la Vallierè’s collection some 30 years later. The library was sold off to the comte d’Artois later, and at the time it also contained a collection of medieval prints and manuscripts. Today, the Arsenal Library contains a collection of French literature dating between the 16th and 19th centuries, and along with the million volumes of work contained within its walls, it hosts displays and collections depicting the history of the Arsenal. Foremost among The Arsenal’s collections is the archives of the Bastille. France’s oldest public library is the Bibliothèque Mazarine (right),


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originally the private library of the Cardinal Mazarin until after his death, when it was bequeathed to the Collège des Quatre-Nations and made available to scholars. The library contains tens of thousands of volumes and over two thousand pre 16th century pamphlets and a sample of the Gutenberg Bible. The Bibliothèque Historique de la Ville de Paris, specialises in the history of Paris and is housed in the Hôtel d’Angoulême Lamoignon in the Marais Quarter. From the 12th century, the Canons of St Augustine maintained the Sainte-Geneviève Library in the 5th arrondissement, and it contains some of rarest sacred and legal works known. Among the rare items, works of the Venerable Bede are held in the priceless collection. THE GARDENS Most of Paris’ monarchs saw fit to have beautiful gardens designed, with the majority of them inaccessible to the average Parisian. Today, most of Royal Paris’ gardens are now public ones, and the most famous of these is the Tuileries Garden, designed in the 16th century to grace the grounds around the Tuileries Palace. The Luxembourg Garden was created half a century later in the Luxembourg Palace for Maria de’ Medici, and contains some of Paris’ most beautiful water features. In 1626, Paris’ first botanical garden was planted at the behest of Louis XIII’s physician, who wanted to cultivate medicinal plants. Known as the Jardin des Plantes, the garden is now both a museum and a retreat. Under Napoleon III, the Bois de Vincennes, Bois de Boulogne, Parc des Buttes-Chaumont and the Parc Montsouris were created, marking out the four points of Paris boundaries. Within Paris’ quarters, smaller parks and gardens were also created in the 17th century, at the same time London was enjoying the addition of public gardens for the benefit of the general public. Paris prides itself on its greenness, and in the past forty years, more than 150 new parks have been created. Most notable of these is the Promenades des Berges de la Seine on the city’s Left Bank, resplendent with floating gardens on the site of a previous highway. Paris today boasts over 400 public parks and gardens


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PARISIAN THEATRE When theatre hit its peak in the 19th century, Paris was home to some of the most magnificent theatres in the world. One of the world’s most famous opera houses is the Opéra Garnier, built the 1860s and 1870s to house the Paris Opera. Originally known as the Salle des Capucines due to its promixity to the Boulevard des Capucines, it was better known as the Palais Garnier in honour of its architect, Charles Garnier. A short distance from the Opéra Garnier (right) is the Théâtre national de l’Opéra-Comique, which began life as the OpéraComique in the early 18th century. It merged with the Comédie-Italienne and went through a series of name changes before finding a new, 1200 seat home in Place Boïeldieu. The Théâtre de la Ville, formerly known as the Théâtre Lyrique, was the third of the great 19th century Parisian theatres, notorious for its performances of works by Bizet, Berlioz, Verdi and Gounod. Paris is now home to two new institutions dedicated to the performing arts. The Philharmonie de Paris (right) is a complex of concert halls, rehearsal suites, exhibition spaces, bars and restaurants. At the very centre of the Philharmonie lies a 2,400 seat concert hall. The Opéra Bastille was built in 1989 and hosts classical ballets as well as operas ranging from classical to modern. In 1800, the dance hall Bobino came into existence in Montparnasse and quickly became one of Paris’ most popular entertainment venues. In 1873, Bobino was converted to a theatre, but by 1926 it was operating as a music hall again. Josephine Baker, the African-American singer began performing at the venue in the 1920s, and great Parisian names such as Édith Piaf and Yves Montand are but two of the long list of celebrities who have performed there. Another famous haunt of France’s finest performers is Le Lido, opened after World War II as a burlesque and cabaret show on the Champs-Élysées. Maurice Chevalier, Laurel and Hardy, Marlene Dietrich, Noël Coward and Édith Piaf performed there, among other notables. Along with l’Olympia and le Splendid the most famous of Paris’ cabarets is the Moulin Rouge. Designed specifically to cater to the wealthy who wanted to slum-it in fashionable Montmartre during the Belle Epoque period, the Moulin Rouge opened in 1889. In a setting that was both opulent and risqué, businessmen, upper-class women, foreign tourists, artists and the hoi polloi rubbed shoulders under the red windmill to watch the can-can and other burlesque acts. Nudity, implied homosexuality and comedy abounded, and the era’s Modern Babylon was a huge success and remains one of Paris’ most famous landmarks and an important part of its cultural history.


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PARISIAN LITERATURE Publishing has a long and distinguished history in Paris, with the first printing press installed in the late 15th century by Johann Heynlin and the first book off the press being Epistolae by de Bergamo. Printing and literature went hand in hand, and Heynlin, a German scholar and theologian, was astute in choosing Paris as his base of operations. In the 17th century, Paris became the heartbeat of French literature, and writers from both country and city converged on the Académie française when it was established. Molière, the actor and playwright, produced his works The School for Wives, The Bourgeois Gentleman, Tartuffe and others in Paris in the 17th century, as did poet Jean de la Fontaine with his Fables. Also prominent were poet and critic Boileau and neoclassical dramatist Jean Racine, the latter of whom treated his work as an almost mathematical exercise of literary restriction. With the dawn of the 18th century came yet more literary talent, most notably in the form of Voltaire, whose litany of works included poems, plays, essays and novels - many aimed directly at the established church in his quest for freedom of expression and religion. Candide and L’Ingénu are two of his greatest philosophical works. 19th century Paris became the home of some of the greatest literary minds the world has seen. Avant-garde and surrealistic, Jules Verne created his Voyages Extraordinaires series of novels, which included Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Centre of the Earth and Around the World in Eighty Days. Victor Hugo wrote The Hunchback of Notre Dame in Paris and Les Misérables while in exile. Alexandre Dumas wrote serials that later became novels, including The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers, while Émile Zola produced his Les Rougon-Macquart series of 20 novels. Names like Proust, Flaubert, de Maupassant and Balzac turned the literary world on its ear in this period of Paris’ existence. In keeping with its long and distinguished existence as the home of European literature, Paris is filled with bookstores. It was once a city of publishing houses, but many of them have moved from their original Left Bank homes into less expensive outlying areas. Small bookstores proliferate in Paris, and booksellers are protected by the law against discount wars, thus preserving a heritage that has given the world some of its most important literary treasures.


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