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Paris is the capital and the most populated city in France. It is situated on the River Seine, in the north of the country in the Ile-de-France region.
An important city for more than two millennia, by the late 12th century Paris had become a walled cathedral city that was at the heart of Europe's cultural amenities and one of the foremost centres of learning and the arts. It was the largest city in the Western world until the turn of the 18th century. Paris was the focal point for many important political events throughout its history, including the French Revolution. Today it is one of the world's leading business and cultural centres, and its influence in politics, education, entertainment, media, science, fashion and the arts all contribute to its status as one of the world's major cities.
Many of its architectural masterpieces such as the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe are some of the most recognizable buildings in the world - including its recognized symbol, the Eiffel Tower. Long regarded as an international centre for the arts, works by history's most famous painters can be found in the Louvre, the Musee d'Orsay and its many other museums and galleries. Paris is a global hub of fashion and has been referred to as the "international capital of style", noted for its haute couture tailoring, its high-end boutiques, and the twice-yearly Paris Fashion Week. It is world renowned for its haute cuisine, attracting many of the world's leading chefs. Many of France's most prestigious universities and Grandes Ecoles are in Paris or its suburbs, and France's major newspapers Le Monde, Le Figaro, Liberation are based in the city, and Le Parisien in Saint-Ouen near Paris.
A huge urban renewal project was launched in 2007 by then President Nicolas Sarkozy. It consists of various economic, cultural, housing, transport and environmental projects. The most emblematic project is the 26.5 billion euro construction by 2030 of a new automatic metro, which will consist of 200 kilometres or 120 miles of rapid-transit lines connecting the Grand Paris regions to one another aa well as to the centre of Paris.
Paris has a typical Western European oceanic climate which is affected by the North Atlantic Current. In other words, the weather in Paris is generally miserable. They say the overall climate throughout the year is mild and moderately wet, but don't believe a word of that. They also say that summer days are usually moderately warm and pleasant with average temperatures hovering between 15 and 25C (59 and 77 F), and a fair amount of sunshine, but again, do not believe a word of it. Paris and London run neck and neck when it comes to being cloudy, rainy and generally disagreeable, but I suspect that in the end that London may even see a little more of the sun.
Between the weather and the dispositions of the French when it comes to foreigners, the city still does attract more tourism than any other in the world - which is simply amazing. The French still manage to run a tight tourist business inspite of themselves.
More about Paris at: www.paris.org
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