The charming and romantic Paris is a destination for couples in love, art lovers and the curious of all ages.
Paris is the capital and most populous city of France. It has an area of 105 square kilometres (41 square miles) and a population in 2013 of 2,229,621 within its administrative limits.
Paris was founded in the 3rd century BC by a Celtic people called the Parisii, who gave the city its name. By the 12th century, it was the largest city in the western world, a prosperous trading centre, and the home of the University of Paris, one of the oldest universities in history. By the 17th century Paris was one of Europe’s major centres of finance, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts, and it retains that position still today.
The city is also a major rail, highway, and air-transport hub, served by the two international airports Paris-Charles de Gaulle (the second busiest airport in Europe after London Heathrow Airport with 63.8 million passengers in 2014) and Paris-Orly. Opened in 1900, the city’s subway system, the Paris Métro, serves 5.23 million passengers daily. It is the second busiest metro system in Europe after Moscow Metro. Paris is the hub of the national road network and is surrounded by three orbital roads: the Périphérique, the A86 motorway, and the Francilienne motorway.
Among Paris’s important museums and cultural institutions are the most-visited art museum in the world, the Louvre, as well as the Musée d’Orsay, noted for its collection of French Impressionist art, and the Musée National d’Art Moderne in the Pompidou Centre, the largest collection of modern and contemporary art in Europe. The central area of the city along the Seine River is classified as a UNESCO Heritage Site, and includes many notable monuments, including Notre Dame Cathedral (12th century to 13th century); the Sainte-Chapelle (13th century); the Eiffel Tower (1889); the Grand Palais and Petit Palais (1900); and the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur in Montmartre (1914). In 2015 Paris received 22.2 million visitors, making it one of the world’s top tourist destinations. and is also known for its fashion, particularly the twice-yearly Paris Fashion Week, and for its haute cuisine, and three-star restaurants. Most of France’s major universities and grandes écoles are located in Paris, as are France’s major newspapers, including Le Monde, Le Figaro, and Libération.
The association football club Paris Saint-Germain and the rugby union club Stade Français are based in Paris. The 80,000-seat Stade de France, built for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, is located just north of Paris in the neighbouring commune of Saint-Denis. Paris hosts the annual French Open Grand Slam tennis tournament on the red clay of Roland Garros. Paris hosted the 1900 and 1924 Summer Olympics and is bidding to host the 2024 Summer Olympics and thus become the second city to have hosted the Games three times. The 1938 and 1998 FIFA World Cups, the 2007 Rugby World Cup and UEFA Euro 2016 were also held in the city, and every July, the Tour de France of cycling finishes in the city.