Known as the "City of Light" as well as the capital of France, Paris draws over 40 million people each year to see the sights, savor the food, visit museums and shop. Let's take a quick tour...
Paris began on the two small islands in the middle of the Seine river. A Gallic tribe called the Parisii gave Paris its name. The islands now house the law courts and an ancient prison, as well as the splendid gothic Notre-Dame Cathedral.
Because of its location, boatmen played a very important role in the development of early Paris. The emblem of Paris features a silver sailing boat. Boats and barges fill the Seine for commerce, transportation, and pleasure.
For centuries writers and artists have gathered in the cafes and galleries of the Left Bank. It's also known as the Latin Quarter because of the Latin-speaking students and scholars who attended the University of Paris at Sorbonne. Paris is full of beautiful parks and gardens. The Jardin du Luxembourg provides a quiet rest from the busy city streets.
The broad, tree-lined Avenue des Champs-Elysees leads to the Arc de Triomphe. Built to honor one of Napoleon's victories, the Arc serves as a site for many national memorials and celebrations. Underneath its arch lies France's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Exclusive shops, tiny boutiques, flea markets, department stores - Paris has a store for every shopper. Whether buying or window shopping, visitors can find everything from designer dresses to antique musical instruments.
Getting around Paris is easy by bicycle, boat, bus, or the world's oldest subway system, the Metro. But what is better than a long walk ending with a cup of hot chocolate and a patisserie?