Paris is the capital and most populous city of France. Situated on the river Seine in the north of the country, it is in the centre of the Île-de-France region, also known as the région parisienne, “Paris Region”. The City of Paris largely retains its one and a half century old administrative boundaries, with an area of 105 km² (41 mi²) and as of 2014 a population of 2,241,346. Together with its suburbs, the whole agglomeration has a population of 10,550,350 (Jan. 2012 census). Paris’ metropolitan area spans most of the Île-de-France region and has a population of 12,405,426 (Jan. 2013 census), constituting one-fifth of the population of France. The administrative region covers 12,012 km² (4,638 mi²), with approximately 12 million inhabitants as of 2014, and has its own regional council and president.
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, Paris was the largest city in the western world, a prosperous trading centre, and the home of the University of Paris, one of the first in Europe. In the 18th century, it was the centre stage for the French Revolution, and became an important centre of finance, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts, a position it still retains today. Since the 19th century, the built-up area of Paris has grown far beyond its administrative borders.
Paris is the home of 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, a museum of modern and contemporary art. The notable architectural landmarks of Paris include Notre Dame Cathedral (12th century); the Sainte-Chapelle (13th century); the Eiffel Tower (1889); and the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur on Montmartre (1914). In 2014 Paris received 22.4 million visitors, making it one of the world’s top tourist destinations. Paris is also known for its fashion, particularly the twice-yearly Paris Fashion Week, and for its haute cuisine, and three-star restaurants.
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