Paris Travel Guide

Paris Travel Guide: A History of Paris

 In 55 BC, Paris was conquered by the Romans. It had been a flood-prone fishing village on the Ile de la Cite inhabited by the Parisii tribe. The area was known as Lutetia. The Roman settlement flourished and spread to the Left Bank of the Seine. The Romans built 2 wooden bridges dividing the city into the Right Bank and the Left Bank. Because of the constant flooding, more people moved to the Left Bank and the surrounding hills. The inhabitants on the Left Bank were attacked in AD 200 by Christians. Christianity became a dominant force in the area.

The Romans were displaced by the Franks around AD 400. The Franks and the Christians made an alliance and the Christians of Rome became connected with the Catholic Church in Rome. Its first bishop was St. Denis.

The rulers of Paris had power over Western Germany and Eastern France. At the end of AD 987, the empire was split into modern France and modern Germany.

In the middle ages, the city became a religious center and Sainte-Chapelle was erected as an architectural wonder. It also became a center of learning and many European scholars joined the faculty of the Sorbonne.

During the Renaissance and the Age of Enlightenment, it became a center of culture and ideas. Louis XIV, as its ruler, created a city of great wealth and power. However, in 1789 there was a bloody revolution by the people. In the 1800s, Napoleon Bonaparte proclaimed himself Emperor of France. His ambition was to make Paris the center of the world.

In 1848 there was another revolution and the city began to undergo a radical transformation. The changes were drafted by Baron Haussmann. The medieval slums of Paris were replaced with grand boulevards and avenues. By the end of the century, Paris was considered a great influential force of Western culture.

From 1940 to 1944 the German army led by Adolph Hitler occupied Paris. After they were driven out by the Allies, Paris revived itself.

Paris Travel GuideParis was divided into 20 arrondissements or sections by Napoleon and is set up in that configuration today. The arrondissements or sections are:

  • 1st          Louvre
  • 2nd         Bourse
  • 3rd         Temple
  • 4th         Hotel-de-Ville
  • 5th         Pantheon
  • 6th         Luxembourg
  • 7th         Palais-Bourbon
  • 8th         Elysee
  • 9th         Opera
  • 10th       Enclos-St-Laurent
  • 11th       Popincourt
  • 12th       Reuilly
  • 13th       Gobelins
  • 14th       Observatoire
  • 15th       Vaugirard
  • 16th       Passy
  • 17th       Batignolles-Monceau
  • 18th       Butte-Montmartre
  • 19th       Buttes-Chaumont
  • 20th       Menilmontant

Each section has its own mayor, city hall, police station, and post office. The arrondissements are identified by their postal codes.

Around the 10th century, the swampland of the Right Bank dried and residents of Paris started moving from the Left Bank to the Right Bank. The Left Bank is now mostly a historic religious and scholarly area.

Parisians have developed quarters or areas of interest in Paris. This are not known as administrative areas but are easy to mark as tourist areas when talking about the various sights in the city.

The areas or quarters of Paris are:

  • Ile de la Cite
  • Ile St-Louis
  • The Marais
  • Beaubourg and Les Halles
  • Tuileries Quarter
  • St-German-Des-Pres
  • Latin Quarter
  • Jardin Des Plantes Quarter
  • Luxembourg Quarter
  • Montparnasse
  • Invalides
  • Eiffel Tower Quarter
  • Chaillot Quarter
  • Champs-Elysees
  • Opera Quarter
  • Montmartre

There are 32 bridges crossing the Seine River with small islands at the end of some of them. The city's birthplace is the Ile de la Cite and is the location of Notre Dame. The island of Ile St-Louis is the home of many 17th century mansions.

Paris is not only an historical city but a beautiful one. You can still see many of the remains of many structures that were built during the Roman occupation of the city.