Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres (41 square miles) and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe’s major centres of finance, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts.
The City of Paris is the centre and seat of government of the Île-de-France, or Paris Region, which has an estimated official 2019 population of 12,213,364, or about 18 percent of the population of France. The Paris Region had a GDP of €681 billion (US$850 billion) in 2016, accounting for 31 percent of the GDP of France, and was the 5th largest region by GDP in the world. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit Worldwide Cost of Living Survey in 2018, Paris was the second-most expensive city in the world, behind Singapore and ahead of Zurich, Hong Kong, Oslo and Geneva.
The city is a major rail, highway, and air-transport hub served by two international airports: Paris-Charles de Gaulle (the second busiest airport in Europe) and Paris-Orly. Opened in 1900, the city’s subway system, the Paris Métro, serves 5.23 million passengers daily, and is the second busiest metro system in Europe after Moscow Metro. Gare du Nord is the 24th busiest railway station in the world, and the first located outside Japan, with 262 million passengers in 2015.
Paris is especially known for its museums and architectural landmarks: the Louvre was the most visited art museum in the world in 2018, with 10.2 million visitors. The Musée d’Orsay and Musée de l’Orangerie are noted for their collections of French Impressionist art, and the Pompidou Centre Musée National d’Art Moderne has the largest collection of modern and contemporary art in Europe. The historical district along the Seine in the city centre is classified as a UNESCO Heritage Site. Popular landmarks in the centre of the city include the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris and the Gothic royal chapel of Sainte-Chapelle, both on the Île de la Cité; the Eiffel Tower, constructed for the Paris Universal Exposition of 1889; the Grand Palais and Petit Palais, built for the Paris Universal Exposition of 1900; the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Élysées, and the Basilica of Sacré-Coeur on the hill of Montmartre. Paris received 23 million visitors in 2017, measured by hotel stays, with the largest numbers of foreign visitors coming from the United States, the UK, Germany and China. It was ranked as the third most visited travel destination in the world in 2017, after Bangkok and London.
The 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 Olympic Games in 1900, 1924 and will host the 2024 Summer Olympics. The 1938 and 1998 FIFA World Cups, the 2007 Rugby World Cup, and the 1960, 1984, and 2016 UEFA European Championships were also held in the city and, every July, the Tour de France bicycle race finishes there.
Notre-Dame de Paris "Our Lady of Paris", also known as Notre-Dame Cathedral or simply Notre-Dame, is a medieval Catholic cathedral on the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris, France. The cathedral is widely considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. The innovative use of the rib vault and flying buttress, the enormous and colorful rose windows, and the naturalism and abundance of its sculptural decoration all set it apart from earlier Romanesque architecture.
The cathedral was begun in 1160 and largely completed by 1260, though it was modified frequently in the following centuries. In the 1790s, Notre-Dame suffered desecration during the French Revolution when much of its religious imagery was damaged or destroyed. Soon after the publication of Victor Hugo’s novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame in 1831, popular interest in the building revived. A major restoration project supervised by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc began in 1845 and continued for twenty-five years. Beginning in 1963, the facade of the Cathedral was cleaned of centuries of soot and grime, returning it to its original color. Another campaign of cleaning and restoration was carried out from 1991-2000.
As the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Paris, Notre-Dame contains the cathedra of the Archbishop of Paris, currently Michel Aupetit. 12 million people visit Notre-Dame yearly, which makes it the most visited monument in Paris.
The Seine is a 777-kilometre-long (483 mi) river and an important commercial waterway within the Paris Basin in the north of France. It rises at Source-Seine, 30 kilometres (19 mi) northwest of Dijon in northeastern France in the Langres plateau, flowing through Paris and into the English Channel at Le Havre (and Honfleur on the left bank). It is navigable by ocean-going vessels as far as Rouen, 120 kilometres (75 mi) from the sea. Over 60 percent of its length, as far as Burgundy, is negotiable by commercial riverboats, and nearly its whole length is available for recreational boating; excursion boats offer sightseeing tours of the river banks in Paris, lined with top monuments including Notre-Dame, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum and Musée d’Orsay.
There are 37 bridges within Paris and dozens more spanning the river outside the city. Examples in Paris include the Pont Alexandre III and Pont Neuf, the latter of which dates back to 1607. Outside the city, examples include the Pont de Normandie, one of the longest cable-stayed bridges in the world, which links Le Havre to Honfleur.
Paris is France’s capital and largest city with an estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 2019. The city is known for its museums and architectural landmarks, such as the Notre-Dame Cathedral, and the Seine River which is an important commercial waterway. The city is also a transportation hub, with two international airports and a busy subway system. Paris hosted the Olympic Games in 1900, 1924 and will host the 2024 Summer Olympics.
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