According to intershippingrates, Paris is the capital of France and its outstanding cultural and economic center. The metropolis on the Seine lies in the fertile Paris basin. The most important metropolitan area in France has developed around the city proper, attracting commuters from all parts of the country. World-class museums and theaters attract numerous tourists to Paris in addition to the numerous architectural monuments. The city’s landmark is the Eiffel Tower, built for the 1889 World’s Fair. Numerous satellite cities, the “Villes nouvelles”, were built around Paris to relieve the pressure on the center. Two very different sights are not far from Paris, Versailles with its famous castle and the European version of Disneyland.
Paris is the capital and by far the largest city in France. It spreads over an area of 105 km² and has 2.1 million residents. Paris lies on both sides of the Seine in the Île-de-France region in the core of the Paris Basin (Fig. 1). The region is the most important metropolitan area in France with over 10 million residents. The inner urban area is essentially enclosed by the ring of outer boulevards, to which the suburbs, the Faubourgs, connect. The large forests in the area, such as those of Rambouillet and Fontainebleau, serve as recreational areas.
Capital and cultural metropolis
As the capital, Paris is the seat of the President, Parliament and the highest government authorities. In addition, many international organizations, including UNESCO and the OECD, have their headquarters in Paris. The city is also home to the highest-ranking scientific institution, the Institut de France with the Académie française, and the most important library in the country, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, with legal deposit since 1537.
In addition, Paris has the oldest French university, the Sorbonne, which has its institutes spread all over the city. The Collège de France and numerous other universities and research institutes complete the picture as the country’s educational and cultural center.
There are dozens of museums and more than 60 theaters in Paris. World-renowned art museums include the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée National d’Art moderne in the “Georges Pompidou” national cultural center. The Comédie-Française and the Opéra Garnier stand out among the theaters.
Economic and traffic center
Paris is the largest industrial location in France. The main branches of industry are the metalworking, automotive, aerospace, electrotechnical and chemical industries.
The city has also been one of Europe’s fashion centers and the center of the French film industry for many years. The production of luxury items such as perfume, costume jewelry and highly fashionable designer clothing plays a special role.
The tourism industry is also of paramount importance . Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world because of the multitude of its sights and cultural offers.
With six international train stations, Paris is also ideally equipped for tourism and the most important transport hub in France. The subway (Métro) has a route network of over 200 km, which is being expanded with a new rapid transit system. International airports are Charles de Gaulle near Roissy-en-France, Orly and Le Bourget.
The historic center of Paris is the Île de la Cité in the middle of the Seine with the Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral , construction of which began in 1163. This oldest part of the city also includes the old royal palace, today’s Palace of Justice, with the high-Gothic Sainte-Chapelle and the conciergerie. The oldest of the more than 30 bridges over the Seine is the Pont Neuf. The streets along the Seine with their historical buildings between Pont de Sully and Pont d’Iéna have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The Louvre, which emerged from a medieval fortress, is the starting point of the city’s main axis. This leads over famous streets and squares: over the Tuileries Garden, the Place de la Concorde, the Champs-Élysées, the Place Charles de Gaulle, past the Arc de Triomphe to the new office district La Défense. The avenues that are crossed by the large boulevards start in a star shape from the Arc de Triomphe. The famous districts (Quartiers) of Paris on the right bank of the Seine include the artist and entertainment district of Montmartre with the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, the Place des Vosges and the suburb of Saint-Honoré.
On the left bank of the Seine, among other things, is the old student quarter Quartier Latin with university buildings and the Panthéon. There is also the Eiffel Tower and the artists’ quarter of Montparnasse.
Paris is the heart, but also the head of water of France. In no other European country have centralized structures become so pronounced as here. Commuters come from all over the country to work or study in Paris. More than 90,000 industrial and trading companies have their headquarters in the city area alone. In addition, there are numerous museums, entertainment venues and restaurants. High rents and chaotic traffic conditions are the result. In order to relieve the urban area and the Paris metropolitan area, the government was forced to build secondary centers and office towns. In addition, five new cities, the “ Villes nouvelles”. Some have developed into distinct problem areas with a high proportion of poorly integrated foreigners and welfare recipients.
Attractions outside the city area
Two very different sights lie in the vicinity of Paris: Since 1661, the Sun King LUDWIG XIV. Had a small hunting lodge southwest of Paris expanded to form the huge complex of the palaces of Versailles with state rooms and living quarters. The Trianon pleasure palaces are located in the large park. Versailles was the residence of the French kings from 1682–1789. The much-visited Versailles is the largest palace complex in Europe and became a trend-setting model for many baroque residential complexes in Europe.
The theme park Disneyland Paris, which opened in 1992, is hardly less visited. It was built not far from Marne-la-Vallee, one of the “Villes nouvelles” east of Paris, on an area about one fifth of the area of Paris. The amusement park is the second Disney park outside the United States, alongside Tokyo.