The City of Paris By Andrew Hadley
A brief history of Paris • Paris is the capital of France and is a beautiful and well-planned city. It was made the capital by the Capetians in 987. In 1200, Philippe ll built the Louvre as a stronghold to protect Paris. On July 14, 1789, the fall of the Bastille marked the beginning of the French Revolution. In 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himself Emperor of France. After years of fighting the English, he was defeated at Waterloo in 1815. In 1889, the Eiffel Tower was completed for the Paris Exhibition. The Treaty of Versailles was signed in Paris at the end of World War l. Paris was occupied by German forces in the Second World War and was liberated by the Allies on August 26, 1944. • Paris has always been a cultural city and has been the home of many famous artists and composers. Shopping, museums and cathedrals are the major tourist attractions in the city. Many believe Paris to be the most beautiful city in the world.
Sacre Coeur • The Basilica of the Sacred Hearts is a beautiful cathedral built on Montmarte hill (Mount of Martyrs). It was built in 1880 as a monument of hope and contrition for the sins of Paris after the defeat of the French by the Prussia in 1870. It was designed by Paul Aradie and took seven years to build.
Avenue des Champs-Elysees • The Avenue des Champs-Elysees is probably the most famous avenue in the world. It stretches from the Place de la Concorde to the Place Charles de Gaulle, the site of the Arc de Triomphe. It is used for all the major celebrations in Paris, including New Year’s Eve celebrations, military parades and the victory celebration of the Liberation at the end of World War ll.
Cimitiere du Pere-Lachaise • This is one of Paris’ most beautiful cemeteries. Many famous people, including Frederic Chopin, the composer, and Jim Morrison, an American rock and roll star, are buried there. These are their graves.
Versailles Versailles was once the residence of French kings and is now one of the largest tourist attractions in Europe. The palace was built from 1661-1710 by King Louis XIV on the site of a small hunting lodge built in 1631 for King Louis XIII. The Treaty of Versailles was signed in the Hall of Mirrors on June 28, 1919 at the end of World War I.
Arc de Triomphe • The Arch of Triumph was commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 to commemorate his victories. It was finished in 1836 during the reign of Louis-Philippe. It is engraved with the names of all the generals who commanded French troops during Napoleon’s regime. It stands at the end of the Champs-Elysees and is one of the most famous landmarks in Paris.
Hotel des Invalides • The Hotel des Invalides was founded as a home for disabled soldiers in 1671 by Louis XIV. Napoleon’s tomb was installed here in 1840 under the golden dome. It is one of the most magnificent buildings in Paris.
Eiffel Tower • The Eiffel Tower was built in 1889 for the World Exhibition, celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of the French Revolution in 1789. It was built by Gustave Eiffel, a bridge builder. It stands 300 meters tall and, at the time, was the tallest building in the world. It was only meant to last for the duration of the exhibition, but it is now one of the most famous landmarks in Paris.
My grandfather in Paris in 1989 on the 100th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower.
Notre Dame • The Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris was begun in 1163 and extended over 150 years. It has a variety of architectural styles including Gothic and Romanesque. Notre Dame is famous for its stained glass and the North rose window is the most photographed window in the world.
Palais de Chaillot • The Palais de Chaillot was built in 1937 on the site of the old Palais du Trocadero. It stands on ground high above the Seine River. It was used as the entrance to the 1937 Exhibition and has spectacular views of the Eiffel Tower. It currently houses four museums.
Place de laBastille • On the site of the Bastille, a famous French prison that was stormed by angry French citizens on July 14, 1789, and later demolished, stands the Colonne de Julliet, a statue commemorating the Republicans killed during the July Revolution of 1830.
Moulin Rouge • The Moulin Rouge is the most famous cabaret in Paris, located on the Boulevard de Clinchy.
Beaubourg (Centre Pompidou) • The Beaubourg is a modern building, built in 1977 as a cultural museum in Paris. It is most known for its “glass caterpillar”.
Hotel d’Orsay • Built for the Paris Exhibition of 1900 on the banks of the Seine River, the Hotel d’Orsay now houses the Musee d’Orsay. Famous artists such as Monet, Van Gogh and Degas have their work exhibited here.
Louvre • The Louvre is one of the largest and most famous museums in the world. This palace was begun in the 1200’s as a fortress, and was rebuilt in 1546. Many additions were built over the years, but the most unusual was a glass pyramid entrance built by I.M. Pei in 1989. The Louvre holds many world famous works of art including the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci and the Venus de Milo.
Luxembourg Gardens and Palace • The Jardin du Luxembourg and the Palais du Luxembourg are two of the most beautiful sites in Paris. They were built in the 17th century. Luxembourg Gardens is Paris’ best known park. The palace is the seat of the French senate. Only parts of the palace are open to the public.
Paris shopping • Paris is considered the shopping capital of the world, especially for the rich and famous. Designers from France and around the world gather in Paris to sell their famous clothing, shoes and accessories.
The Seine River • The Seine River is approximately 480 miles long and flows through the center of Paris. At one time it was a main transportation route for trade in the city of Paris. Now it is used mostly for sightseeing in Bateaux-Mouches, or “fly boats”. These boats were specially built to operate in the shallow waters of the Seine River.
Tuileries • The Tuileries is one of the largest and best known parks in Paris. The palace and the gardens were built by Catherine de Medicis in 1563. It was named after the tileworks that had previously been on that site. Throughout the park are beautiful sculptures and statues, as well as a ferris wheel.