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Pop Bogdan cls: a X-a C 1 INTRODUCTION
Paris (city, France), city in north central France, capital and largest city of the country, on the Seine River, about 370 km (about 230 mi) from its Atlantic Ocean outlet at Le Havre. Paris is situated in a low-lying basin; the city is mostly flat, although the elevation gradually increases from the river to the low hills that ring the city's edge. The highest natural feature within the city proper is the Butte de Montmartre, at 129 m (423 ft) above sea level. With an estimated population approaching 10 million, the Paris metropolitan area contains nearly 20 percent of the nation's inhabitants and dominates the economic, cultural, and political life of France to an extraordinary degree; the population of Paris proper was 2,152,467 in 1994. The centralizing philosophy of successive governments has historically favored the city as the site for all decision making, thus exercising a powerful attraction on virtually all of the nation's activities. Only since the 1960s have attempts been made to reduce the inordinate influence of Paris in French affairs and to strengthen the role of various regions and secondary cities.
Paris is the leading industrial center of France, with about one-quarter of the nation's manufacturing concentrated in the metropolitan area. Industries engaged in the manufacture of consumer goods have always been drawn to Paris by the enormous market of the metropolitan population; and modern, high-
technology industries also have become numerous since World War II (1939-1945). Principal manufactures are machinery, automobiles and other vehicles, chemicals, and electrical equipment. The cultural and artistic preeminence of Paris has attracted a large publishing industry and a wide range of luxury manufactures, such as high-fashion clothing and jewelry, for which the city is particularly noted. Most key service activities of the nation, especially banking and finance, are concentrated in Paris. The city has made major efforts in recent years to attract the headquarters of multinational corporations and is now one of Europe's most important centers of international business and commerce. An additional advantage enjoyed by Paris is its location at the center of one of Europe's richest agricultural regions, with nearby districts, such as the Beauce and Brie, famous for the production of wheat and other crops. This strong agricultural economy has ensured Paris a reliable food supply throughout its history and has also created a solid economic base for the region. Because the Seine is navigable by barges to points upstream of Paris, the city is an important port (fourth in France, by tonnage), with major concentrations of processing, refining, and distribution activities. The city is the principal focus of the national railroad and highway networks. The first line of the Paris subway, called the Métro, opened in 1900. Today the system has 16 principal lines, with frequent service. The Réseau Express Régional (RER) is an express commuter system serving the suburbs. There are two international airports, Charles de Gaulle and Orly, and one main domestic airport, Le Bourget.
3 THE URBAN LANDSCAPE
Roughly circular in shape, Paris is divided by the Seine, which enters in the southeast and loops to the north before leaving the city in the southwest. The river contains two islands: Île de la Cité and the smaller Île Saint Louis. The original site of Paris was on the Île de la Cité and the adjacent left (south) bank of the river. The Romans established a regional capital here in the 1st century AD, naming it Lutetia. With few topographic constraints on its growth, Paris expanded through the years in a generally circular form and was enclosed by a successive series of walls for defense. On becoming obsolete, the walls were demolished, and their sites were transformed into wide streets and handsome boulevards, creating vital access routes within the city. Until recent years, building heights within Paris were limited to 20 m (66 ft), or about six stories; thus, the city, although densely inhabited, has a low skyline except for outlying new
developments, such as La Défense, an area of high-rise buildings that house the offices of many international companies. A temperate marine west coast climate exerts an important influence on the life of the city. Mild winters (January mean temperature 2.8° C/37° F), cool summers (July mean 18.9° C/66° F), and well-distributed annual precipitation make it possible for sidewalk cafés, open-air markets, and other colorful attributes of the urban scene to be enjoyed throughout the year. Among districts of the city that have maintained an individual character are the Latin Quarter, or Left Bank, near the Seine, noted for educational and cultural pursuits; the expensive residential and commercial districts of the Right Bank near the Champs-Élysées, such as Passy, Auteuil, and the suburb of Neuilly; and the poorer working-class neighborhoods in the northeastern part of the city, including Belleville and La Chapelle. Paris has grown steadily, with interruptions caused by war and disease, since it was chosen as the national capital in the late 10th century. The rate of migration to the city increased markedly during the 19th century as the impact of the Industrial Revolution was felt. Migration during this period was especially stimulated by the construction of railroads, which provided easy access to the capital. Paris has long been a refuge for those fleeing persecution and unrest in various parts of Europe. After World War II, however, and well into the 1970s, the city's population became even more cosmopolitan with the arrival on a massive scale of immigrant workers from Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Yugoslavia and of former colonial subjects from North Africa, Senegal, Vietnam, and elsewhere. This more recent influx has created a variety of economic and social tensions in Paris.
4 POINTS OF INTEREST
The central sections of Paris, like those of many European cities, were built up long before any particular need was felt for open or recreational space. This circumstance, together with the height restrictions on buildings (which often made land too expensive for low-revenue public use), has resulted in an unusually low ratio of "green space" per inhabitant. The largest areas of open space today are those that were protected from development by their status as royal preserves. Outstanding among these is the Bois de Boulogne, a tract of heavily used woods, trails, lakes, and sports grounds, located on the city's western edge. This park is mirrored just beyond the eastern city limits by the Bois de Vincennes, which contains a zoo, a floral garden, and museums. Within the city, important parks include the
Luxembourg Gardens and the Parc Monceau, both originally for royalty, and the parks of Buttes Chaumont and Montsouris, which were laid out in the mid-19th century on the sites of old quarries. The botanical garden, the Tuileries, and Champ de Mars are attractive green areas that are more formal than the other parks. Paris's monumental architecture, dating from throughout its long history, reflects the city's political and cultural status. Among the most important older constructions are the Cathedral of Notre Dame, on the Île de la Cité, which was begun in 1163; the nearby Sainte-Chapelle, a magnificent 13thcentury Gothic structure; the Louvre, once a royal palace; the Invalides, built as a soldiers' home by Louis XIV and now housing Napoleon's tomb; and the Place de la Concorde, laid out in the 18th century. During the mid-19th century Paris was redesigned under the direction of Baron Georges Haussmann, and several grandiose projects were undertaken to emphasize the city's significance. The Arc de Triomphe, the Opéra, the Place de l'Opéra, the Place de l'Étoile (now Place Charles de Gaulle), and many of the broad avenues with their imposing perspectives date from this time. Among the city's better known thoroughfares are the Rue de Rivoli, Rue de la Paix, Rue de Faubourg-Saint Honoré, Avenue de l'Opéra, Boulevard des Italiens, Boulevard du Montparnasse, and the Champs Élysées. Toward the end of the century, the Eiffel Tower was built for the Paris World's Fair of 1889; it is now the city's most famous symbol. The Basilica of Sacré Coeur, on the summit of Montmartre, was completed in 1910. Other important buildings include the Palais de Chaillot, Palais Royal, Palais de l'Élysée (now the official residence of the president of France), Palais Bourbon (the meeting place of the Chamber of Deputies), the Palais de Justice, and the Pantheon. All of the classic monuments of Paris, and indeed the entire city, have a surprisingly clean and fresh look, thanks to the rediscovery and enforcement, in the 1960s, of an old ordinance requiring all buildings to be cleaned periodically. Among the more impressive recent additions to the city's skyline is the
cluster of high-rise office buildings, as well as the Grande Arche (an enormous picture frame-like structure with glass elevators), at La Défense, just west of the city at Nanterre. Also of note are the French Finance Ministry building at Bercy, the Opéra de la Bastille, and the controversial high-rise residential and commercial complexes at the Montparnasse railroad station and along the Seine downstream from the Eiffel Tower. When the old central markets (Les Halles) were moved out of the congested inner city, the site was turned into a multilevel underground shopping mall.
5 EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL
With the exception of regional folklore, Paris has defined French culture to the world. Moreover, the international importance of the French language, and of French thought and action, has lent even greater significance to the expanded role of the capital. In both educational and cultural terms, the contrast between Paris and the provinces has been extremely sharp. Only very recently and very slowly has the dominance of Paris over the intellectual life of the nation been weakened. The most prestigious educational institutions of France are still concentrated in the city. Most prominent is the Sorbonne, which was founded about 1257 and evolved into the University of Paris. Beginning in 1968, in a major reform, the university was decentralized into 13 separate components. Other institutions of higher education include the Collège de France (1530), École Polytechnique (1794), Catholic Institute of Paris (1875), École du Louvre (1882), as well as medical, law, and technological schools. The city is the centralized control point of most national radio and
television broadcasting, place of publication of the most prestigious newspapers (Le Monde, Le Figaro) and trendsetting magazines, and an international book publishing center. The main public library, the Bibliothèque Nationale, which has more than 9 million volumes, originated in a small collection of books donated by Louis XI. A new library complex was completed in 1996, and the Bibliothèque Nationale is now split between two sites in Paris. The old library on Rue Richelieu will house part of the collection while the new four-building, high-rise complex in the Tolbiac section of Paris will accommodate all printed and audiovisual material as well as expanded research facilities. The famous French Academy (founded 1635) meets in Paris, which is also the home of most of the nation's major musical and theatrical companies. Among the principal theaters are the Opéra de la Bastille, Théâtre de la Comédie Française, Opéra Comique, Palais Garnier, and the Odeón. With more than 100 museums, Paris has truly one of the greatest concentrations of art treasures in the world. The Louvre, opened as a museum in 1793 and now boasting 225 galleries and some 400,000 catalog entries, is one of the largest museums in the world. In 1983 France commissioned I.M. Pei, a Chinese-American architect, to restore and partly transform the Louvre. Among his changes is a striking glass pyramid entrance to the museum. The Centre National d'Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou (also called Beaubourg), designed by architects Renzo Piano of Italy and Richard Rogers of the United Kingdom, has become a major attraction since its opening in 1977. In 1985 the Picasso Museum opened in the restored 17th-century Hôtel Sale. It houses the world's largest collections of the work of Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, plus his private art collection. Other major museums are the Musée d'Art Moderne; the Musée d'Orsay; the Musée des Arts Décoratifs; the Cite des Sciences et de Industrie; the Musée Rodin, housing the works of French sculptor Auguste Rodin; the Musée de Cluny, with artworks from the Middle Ages; Musée de l'Orangerie, with a collection of paintings by wellknown Impressionist artists; and the museum at the Institut du Monde Arabe.
About the middle of the 3rd century BC the Parisii, a tribe of Celtic peoples, fortified the Île de la Cité, calling the site Lutetia. In 52 BC the Parisii burned their island fort and abandoned Lutetia to the Romans, who extended the town to the left bank of the Seine, where they built baths, a forum, and laid the grid for many Parisian streets. In Roman Gaul, Lutetia, which became known as Civitas Parisiorum, or Paris, remained a relatively unimportant city. According to a medieval tradition, Christianity
was introduced by Saint Denis, the city's first bishop, about the middle of the 3rd century AD. Another legend says that Saint Geneviève, the patron saint of Paris, inspired the city's defense against the Huns in AD 451.
A) The Medieval Period
Invading Germanic tribes ended Rome's control of Paris, and in 508 the city welcomed the rule of the Frankish king Clovis I. Clovis's successors did not reside in Paris, but after the Viking raids of the 9th century the Capetian kings made Paris the capital of France and rebuilt the city. Notre Dame (1163), Sainte-Chapelle (1248), and a royal palace (1301) were built on the Cité, making this island the true heart of France. King Philip II Augustus erected a wall around the right bank in 1190 and a rampart enclosing the left bank in 1210. Philip's charter for the University of Paris identified the three parts of medieval Paris: the Cité, the town (ville) on the right bank, and the university on the left bank. A royal provost, ensconced in the Châtelet, ruled Paris for the king; a provost of merchants, residing in the Hôtel de Ville, ruled the markets for the guilds. To protect Paris from the English, Charles V rebuilt the left bank wall and in 1370 built a new wall (now traced by the Grands Boulevards) on the right bank. This wall extended Paris to the west beyond the Louvre and defended its eastern flank with a fortress known as the Bastille. During the turmoil of the Hundred Years' War with England, the Parisians repeatedly rebelled against royal authority, and the English controlled the city from 1422 to 1439. Peace and prosperity were restored in the second half of the 15th century.
B) The Emergence of Modern Paris
In the 16th century Francis I ushered in the Renaissance by building the new Hôtel de Ville and erecting the original sections of the present-day Louvre. Religious strife between Roman Catholics and Protestants (Huguenots) halted this urban renaissance. Paris was a Roman Catholic stronghold; thousands of Huguenots were killed in the city during the Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre (1572). Not until 1594, when the new Bourbon king, Henry IV, entered Paris, did peace return. The Bourbon kings imposed classical architecture and absolutist rule on Paris. Squares such as the Place des Vosges, new bridges such as the Pont Neuf, and the Luxembourg Palace signaled the Bourbon dynasty's commitment to make Paris the new Rome. Louis XIV improved city services by illuminating Paris at night, increasing the water supply, and building the Invalides and Salpêtrière hospitals; his successor, Louis XV, laid out the magnificent
Place de la Concorde. The people of Paris rebelled against Henry III (1588) and Louis XIV (1648). When the French Revolution broke out in 1789, they led the way in overthrowing the monarchy and establishing the first French Republic. During the Revolution and under Napoleon the domination of Paris over the rest of the country increased. The city remained politically turbulent during the 19th century. For defensive purposes a new wall (now the Boulevard Périphérique) was built in 1844. Starting in 1852, Emperor Napoleon III, aided by his prefect of the Seine, Georges Eugène Haussmann, radically transformed Paris. New parks at Boulogne and Vincennes graced the western and eastern edges of the city, and wide new boulevards afforded access to central Paris. The Opéra and the École des Beaux-Arts epitomized the style of this period. The Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871) and the revolt of the Paris Commune interrupted this rebuilding of the city. The Prussians inflicted minor damage, but the Communards burned much of central Paris; 20,000 Parisians died in 1871 defending the city against the troops of the Third Republic (see Commune of Paris, 1871). To atone for the Commune's revolt the Church of Sacré Coeur was built on a hill in Montmartre. Between 1871 and 1914 Paris gloried in the belle époque style that is evident today in the Gare de Lyon, the Pont Alexandre III, and a few stations of the Métro subway.
C) The Modern City
World War I (19141918) marked the beginning of a period of urban decay for Paris. A burgeoning population depleted city services. Housing never kept pace with demand, and the political strikes of the 1930s weakened the Third Republic's pledge to improve conditions. Under the German occupation of World War II (1939-1945), Paris endured scarcity but little damage. In the postwar period the Fourth and Fifth republics have failed to check Parisian
growth or to provide enough housing, despite massive developments around the periphery of the city and in the suburbs. Social tensions have developed in subsidized housing projects that were built in the 1960s. Urban renewal projects in the 1980s included the refurbishing of the Louvre and the construction of a modern opera house at the Place de la Bastille.
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