Where good Americans go when they die.
"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast."
Paris, the capital of France
. With All Due Respect
to Shattrath City
is the original City of Light.
In its administrative area (the 75 postal area, split up into twenty numbered administrative districts called "arrondissements", although these sort of things exist all over France), also known as "downtown Paris", the population is only about 2 million, but the total urban sprawl has a population of over 10 million (making it the largest urban area in The European Union
and the second-largest in Europe, after Moscow
). The region roughly in a 50 km radius around Paris is known as Ile-de-France, and its inhabitants are called "Franciliens" - although French people tend to refer to them all as Parisians.
It has four ring roads (London Town
only has two), the inner most being the division between the main city and the very poor suburbs... Or the very rich: the GDP per capita of the "Hauts-de-Seine" (the rich suburbs to the North West of Paris) is close to the GDP per capita of the district of Columbia, while the GDP per Capita of some parts of the "Seine-Saint-Denis" (the poorer eastern suburbs) is closer to that of parts of eastern Europe: you can go from the posher parts of the city to the poorer ones in 40 minutes by the subway. People of a prudish disposition should avoid Pigalle
Paris is most famous for its wide boulevards, copied in several other cities around the world. There's of course the Eiffel Tower
, originally intended as the entrance arch for the 1889 World's Fair and holding the "tallest building in the world" title until the Chrysler Building took it in 1930. Other famous buildings include the Louvre art gallery, the Arc de Triomphe and the Moulin Rouge!
The city was pretty much untouched by the two world wars- the Germans only got into shelling range of the suburbs in the first, Paris surrendered in 1940 to avoid its destruction, the German commander surrendered it in 1944 against Hitler's orders to destroy it if he couldn't defend it and nobody wanted to bomb the place.
Also famous about Paris is its incredible
mass transit system, which both includes the iconic Le Métropolitain
as well as other lesser known but equally functional networks. note
Paris In Fiction
Seriously, where to begin?
- Dark and Troubled Past: Historically, Paris is the site of infamous massacres - the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre (with 30,000 dead in three days), the events of the French Revolution (especially the September Massacres and the final months of the Reign of Terror when all executions were conducted in the capital), the Bloody Week of the Paris Commune(30,000 dead, more than the combined victims of the year-long Revolutionary Terror), the Protests in 1961 when the French Police led by Maurice Papon killed 400 Algerians and dumped their bodies in the Seine.
- Genre Savvy: The Baron Georges Eugene Haussmann created the wide boulevards to avoid barricades in case of rebellion (which happened quite often in his nineteenth century). According to Urban Legend they had to be large enough to fire cannonballs. He nevertheless failed in the goal of making impossible-to-barricade streets: as proved by the Paris Commune of 1871, irate Parisians can barricade anything.
- The wide boulevards also had the rather unfortunate effect of leaving the city wide open to attacking armies - including tanks - who could use the wide boulevard to march right to the heart of the city. This made the infamously brutal suppression of the Commune possible. It also proved useful to the Nazis in maintaining curfew during the Occupation, an action which a patriot like Haussmann would probably regret.
- Powder Keg Crowd: Paris has a history in France for being highly unruly.
- French Kings often used any chance they could to get away from the city. King Philip le Bel faced a riot from angry Parisians and had to hide in the Temple Fortress (he would later win back his popularity by killing his former Templar benefactors). Poor King Louis XVI's ship was sunk the day the women of Paris led him from Versailles to Tuilleries.
- Republican governments often tried in vain to move the capital out of Paris, when the Girondins tried to do so, they lost their heads and the Third Republic operated from Versailles during the Paris Commune and even after the suppression was afraid of stepping in, with many arguing to shift the capital. It was also a reason why Vichy was chosen for Petain's capital instead of Paris. It was only since the gentrification of the 70s (especially the destruction of Les Halles under Pompidou) and rising costs of living that forced working class and immigrants to live in the banlieues (suburbs) that people felt that Paris had finally become a capital of France, rather than a city cut-off from the rest. Parisians, like post-Gentrification New York, feel that a vital part of its independent badass spirit was traded for neoliberal reforms.
- One reason for Paris' independence was that many of its neighbourhoods were close-knit and fairly communal and this nurtured a long independent spirit of hidden self-government and vigilance. This finally burst through during the Revolution which as Victor Hugo noted was the "triumph of France over Europe and Paris over France".
- Shining City: It's often depicted as shining at night, and brightly colored during the day.