Paris is one of the most popular cities in the world. Its history has created an aura that many people seek to uncover. For many one visit is not enough, and the culture and the ambience that it has created sees many people returning to sample the delights it has to offer. The city is the capital of France and has a population of just over 12 million people. The city is bisected by the River Seine that flows through the centre of it. Either side of the river are tourist attractions that are visited by thousands of tourists each year.
The city has been at the centre of European trade and commerce for centuries and its economic influence has resulted in it being a popular destination for people long before tourism became popular. In 2016 it was estimated that Paris was the third most popular tourist city in the world after Bangkok and London with 18 million visitors. These figures are quite remarkable considering the two terrorist attacks that hit the city in 2015. They undoubtedly have had an impact on tourist numbers but in time the numbers will almost certainly recover.
The city is infamous, and part of its mystique is its bloody history. As well as being occupied by foreign forces during war, it was the site for its own revolution. In 1789 the French people stormed the Bastille and then imprisoned King Louis XVI in the Tuileries Palace. Four years Later the King, the Queen, the Mayor plus 16,000 others were all guillotined, leaving Napoleon Bonaparte to take power.
The city is famed for the beauty of its architecture and it has attracted the world’s greatest artists over the centuries who have painted the city. The city is home to the Louvre art museum that holds some of the most valuable pieces of art in the world. In 2016 it received 7.3 million visitors making it the most visited art gallery in the world.
The architectural beauty of the city is reflected with the Notre Dame Cathedral that attracted 12 million visitors in the same year. Many of Paris’s most popular tourist destinations are in walking distance from the Seine River and this is certainly the case with the Eiffel Tower. The tower was built in 1889 as an entrant to the World Fair. It is made from wrought iron and is a cultural icon of France. Its picture on the landscape of Paris is recognizable around the world, and in 2015 nearly 7 million visitors scaled the 324 metres.
Just as famous as the tower is the monument the Arc de Triomphe. Standing at the junction of 12 radiating avenues, the monument remembers those who died for France both in the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. It is also home to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Paris is home to many galleries and museums, but it is the simple combination of everything thing simple that gives the city its magic. Cheap bakeries, small bars and basic restaurants provide an energy to the city that few others have been able to recreate. It’s known as the perfect getaway for young couples as it is regarded as one of the most romantic cities in the world. The creativity of the Parisian population has seen many artists, writers, designers emanating from the city.
Even the city’s sport sides have been influenced by their location. One of the city’s main rugby teams is Racing 92, and in the 1990 French Championship Final victory against Agent a group of players, who were known as “le show bizz”, wore pink bow ties during the game. At half time they drank champagne on the pitch and this was not the only occasion they did this, as they wore the same bow ties in the 1987 defeat against Toulouse.
There is something a little different about Paris and explains why it is such a popular city.