Ever fallen in love with a city ? You dream night and day of dancing to her music, eating her food and exploring her every inch. Every time you return home, you long to go back…
Paris, much like Berlin, Barcelona or Munich, is one of the few cities in the world that has this effect. She is filled with so much motion and emotion, you often feel lost in her culture, history and characters.
She is the most visited city in the world with an estimated 42 million tourists annually. Her 12 million inhabitants make her one of the most concentrated cities in the European Union. She has produced the highest number of higher education students in the EU through her 17 universities and 55 grandes écoles (Ivy League schools).
She contains about 3800 historical monuments and has inspired the world’s leading poets and philosophers. She is also hub to the world’s leading fashion houses : Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint-Laurent, Dior and Chanel.
Paris, a city for lovers of art, music, history, literature and lovers themselves.
Rien ne m’a fait jamais battre le cœur
Rien ne m’a fait ainsi rire et pleurer
Comme ce cri de mon peuple vainqueur
Rien n’est si grand qu’un linceul déchiré
Paris Paris soi-même libéré
Nothing ever made my heart beat as much
Nothing made me laugh and cry
As much as the cry of my winning people
Nothing is as large as a torn shroud
Paris Paris, in herself released
– Louis Aragon, Paris
Her top attractions include :
Disneyland Paris : 15 million annual visitors
Notre Dame Cathedral : 13,6 million visitors
Sacré Cœur : 10,5 million visitors
The Louvre Museum : 8,8 million visitors
Eiffel Tower : 7 million visitors
Paris only became France’s capital in 508 AD/CE, after Lyon under King Clovis, and again in 1180 under King Philippe Auguste. The city of Vichy temporarily replaced Paris as France’s capital during World War II. This change in political structure was known as the Vichy-Regime.
Originally known as “Lutetia” meaning “midwater-dwelling” under the Romans, Paris became a popular and populous town built around the beautiful Seine river. The name “Paris” is derived from Homer’s Iliad based on Paris, the Trojan prince’s search for Helen, the face that launched a thousand ships. Paris therefore means “Son of a noble father.” Some believe the name is actually derived from the Celtic Gallic word parisio meaning hardworking people/ craftsmen. Other historians believe the name comes from “Par Isis” (from Isis, the Egyptian goddess of nature, magic and wisdom). Paris is also often nicknamed “La Ville-Lumière” or the city of lights.
For more important dates in Parisian history, visit : http://goparis.about.com/od/historyculture/a/ParisHistory.htm
Paris is also home to the Théâtre du Châtelet, where the César awards are held every year in February. The Césars are the French equivalent to the Academy Awards/ Oscars.
Here is my own version of the Césars…
- Best French actor : Gaspard Ulliel. He’s only 28, but rose to fame as the lead-role in Hannibal Rising. Bitten by a doberman at the age of 6, his sexy scar on his left cheek looks like a cute dimple. You may remember him also as the missing soldier from Un Long Dimanche de Fiançailles (A Very Long Engagement).
- Best French actress : Marion Cotillard. She’s only 37 but has already made her mark in Hollywood by starring in blockbusters like Inception and The Dark Knight Rises. Her French roles are the most memorable though, especially as Edith Piaf in La Môme/ La vie en rose.
- Best stage performance : Grands Corps Malade (Big Sick Body). Paralysed at the age of 20 after diving, Fabien Marsaud was told he would never walk again. Fully recovered, he now inspires audiences around the world through his thought-provoking melodic poetry known as slam. His best pieces include Les voyages en train and Le jour se lève.
- Best French thriller : Le Premier Cercle, Jean Reno and Gaspard Ulliel play hard-core gangsters in southern France as well as father and son.
- Best French comedy : Amélie. Amélie sees the world very differently to the rest of us. Every sense is awoken by her curiosity.
- Best French romance : Paris, je t’aime. See Paris through the eyes of 18 very different directors who picture love in all its forms…