Paris History, France
France being one of the leading nations in Europe has a history that can be traced back to thousands of years. Life was possible for the Neanderthals back then due to fertile lands and favorable geographical location. Due to this reasons, Paris has become a center for artistic and intellectual development for numerous centuries with influences including Celtic, Roman, and Scandinavian.
To understand its history, it is best to review it by period.
During the Roman times around 3rd century BC, the Parisii or Celtics inhabited Ile de la Cite and continued for 3 centuries until the barbaric invasion.
In 52 BC, Julius Caesar captured the city which became to be called Gaul. By 5th century, invasions were widespread particularly by the Attila and the Huns. Clovis I renamed Gaul to Paris and as the capital of his kingdom. Soon enough, churches were built.
In the 7th century, the Carolingians led by Charlemagne took over Paris and resulted to loss of political power. But in 987 AD, Hugh Capet, became the king of France and French government was once again secured. Then the construction of Notre-Dame Cathedral was initiated by Bishop Maurice de Sully in 1163 and completed only by 1330. During the 12th and 13th century, more churches and monuments were built including the Saint Chapelle Cathedral. In 1180, construction of Louvre, which was then a fortress, began. Universities were built as well and Paris gained the educational reputation on an international level from then on.
Around 14th century, Paris had a decline in population due to a plague popularly known as the Black Death. The rebirth of Paris or the Renaissance turned the city to be a center for art and architecture as well as technology. It was also during this period that religious conflicts got out of hand and resulted to what we know now as St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre—when Catholics massacred the Protestants.
The period of Enlightenment saw completion of major architectural developments like the Pantheon—what was supposed to be for aesthetic purposes became a part of socio-civic life of the people.
On July 14, 1789, the Bastille prison in Paris was burned and marked the beginning of French Revolution. Life got harder for the people and the monarchy showed no sign of sympathy or concern which resulted to the beheading of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
Napoleon Bonaparte stabilized the situation and became emperor. By the middle of 19th century, Paris greatly improved in terms of infrastructures like buildings, road and sewage systems. From that time up until 1940, there were a lot of revolutions mostly due to power hunger and people rising up to the leaders. By 1944, Paris is freed with help of Allied Forces and restorations were done in the major architectural sites which were affected by the numerous wars it had undergone.
In modern-day Paris, we cannot see traces of hardships from centuries before, as it has become one of the most powerful cities in Europe, thanks to its rich heritage.
Things about Paris you may be interested in
Read our members' reviews about Paris
- You will need a lot of time in Paris
review by erato posted more then 30 days ago
Paris is just as beautiful as they say. The whole city, the streets, the buildings. Although, I didn't like the contrast between the old buildings and the very modern ones next to each other. The city was also extremely crowded, there are very many people and cars on the streets, at the...
- Getting around in Paris
review by Wazling posted more then 30 days ago
At that time, when i've been there, it was really nice, 'cause you could find at every corner a bar, restaurant or coffe bar, where you could eat and drink something. I had pleasant experiences with the Chinese restaurant and bar next to Gare de Lyon, try it, if you are there. The people were...
- The good old France
review by lindamura posted more then 30 days ago
Bonjour! France c'est magique! France is the country of romance, fine food and beverages and it offers an endless choice of enchanting destinations. This country's landscape from the towering snow capped mountains of the Alps, the quaint countryside, the vineyards, thick green forests, sandy...
Read our members' travel tips about Paris
- Basilique du Sacré-Coeur
travel tip by zsoldicsa posted more then 30 days ago
The dome was built in Romanesque style and is another major symbol of Paris, so don't miss it. You can wander around the basilica and admire the beautiful gardens in the Montmartre area. There are so many tiny and adorable streets...
- Arc de Triomphe
travel tip by MadSuh posted more then 30 days ago
The Arc de Triomphe is one of the most famous sites in Paris and a symbol for Paris. It is beautifully located on Champs Elysées and was built for the victory of Napoleon's army. Tourists can climb the Arc de Triomphe can get a nice...
- The Louvre
travel tip by Wazling posted more then 30 days ago
If you are at Paris, you should definitely visit the Louvre. It´s one of the most famous museums, with exceptional collections for nearly every period of the human beings and for every piece of art and history
Members Who Have Been to Paris
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