Paris travel guide

Paris in France

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² and river estuaries.

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an administrative-limits area of 105 square kilometres and a 2015 population of 2,229,621. The city is a commune and department, and the capital-heart of the 12,012-square-kilometre Île-de-France region, whose 12,142,802 2016 population represents roughly 18 percent of the population of France. By the 17th century, Paris had become one of Europe's major centres of finance, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts, a position that it retains still today. The Paris Region had a GDP of €649.6 billion in 2014, accounting for 30.4 percent of the GDP of France. According to official estimates, in 2013-14 the Paris Region had the third-highest GDP in the world and the largest regional GDP in the EU.

The City of Paris' administrative limits form a horizontal oval centred on its historical-heart Île de la Cité island; this island is near the peak of an arc of Seine river that divides the city into southern Rive Gauche and northern Rive Droite regions. Paris is but the core of a built-up area that extends well beyond its limits: commonly referred to as the agglomération Parisienne, and statistically as a unité urbaine, the Paris agglomeration's 10,601,122 2013 population makes it the largest urban area in the European Union. City-influenced commuter activity reaches well beyond even this in a statistical aire urbaine de Paris, that had a 2013 population of 12,405,426, a number one-fifth the population of France, and one that makes it, after London, the second largest metropolitan area in the European Union. The 2016 Metropole of Grand Paris initiative, encompassing the City of Paris and its surrounding petite couronne department communes, or area covering 814 square kilometers and representing a population of 7 million, aims to improve city-suburb cooperation through a unique governing body.

The city is a major rail, highway, and air-transport hub served by two international airports: Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly. Opened in 1900, the city's subway system, the Paris Métro, serves 5.23 million passengers daily, and is the second busiest metro system in Europe after Moscow Metro. Paris' Gare du Nord is one of the ten busiest railway stations in the world, with 262 million passengers in 2015.

Paris is especially known for its museums and architectural landmarks: the Louvre was the most visited art museum in the world in 2016, with 7.4 million visitors. The Musée d'Orsay and Musée de l'Orangerie are noted for their collections of French Impressionist art, and the Pompidou-center Musée National d'Art Moderne has the largest collection of modern and contemporary art in Europe. The historical district along Seine River in the city center is classified as a UNESCO Heritage Site. Popular landmarks in the center of the city include the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris and The Gothic royal chapel of Sainte-Chapelle, both on the Île de la Cité; the Eiffel Tower, constructed for the Paris Universal Exposition of 1889; the Grand Palais and Petit Palais, built for the Paris Universal Exposition of 1900; the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs Elysees, and the Basilica of Sacré-Coeur on the hill of Montmartre. Paris received 22.2 million visitors in 2015, making it one of the world's top tourist destinations, but the number of greater Paris visitors dropped by 11.5 percent following the terrorist attacks the following year.

The association football club Paris Saint-Germain and the rugby union club Stade Français are based in Paris. The 80,000-seat Stade de France, built for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, is located just north of Paris in the neighbouring commune of Saint-Denis. Paris hosts the annual French Open Grand Slam tennis tournament on the red clay of Roland Garros. Paris hosted the Olympic Games in 1900, 1924 and will host the 2024 Summer Olympics. The 1938 and 1998 FIFA World Cups, the 2007 Rugby World Cup, and the 1960, 1984, and 2016 UEFA European Championships were also held in the city, and every July, the Tour de France bicycle race finishes in the city.

Geography

Paris is located in northern central France. By road, it is 450 kilometres southeast of London, 287 kilometres south of Calais, 305 kilometres southwest of Brussels, 774 kilometres north of Marseille, 385 kilometres northeast of Nantes, and 135 kilometres southeast of Rouen. Paris is located in the north-bending arc of the river Seine and includes two islands, the Île Saint-Louis and the larger Île de la Cité, which form the oldest part of the city.

The river's mouth on the English Channel is about 233 mi downstream from the city. The city is spread widely on both banks of the river. Overall, the city is relatively flat, and the lowest point is 35 m above sea level. Paris has several prominent hills, the highest of which is Montmartre at 130 m. Montmartre gained its name from the martyrdom of Saint Denis, first bishop of Paris, atop the Mons Martyrum, "Martyr's mound", in 250.

Excluding the outlying parks of Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes, Paris covers an oval measuring about 87 km2 in area, enclosed by the 35 km ring road, the Boulevard Périphérique. The city's last major annexation of outlying territories in 1860 not only gave it its modern form but also created the 20 clockwise-spiralling arrondissements. From the 1860 area of 78 km2, the city limits were expanded marginally to 86.9 km2 in the 1920s. In 1929, the Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes forest parks were officially annexed to the city, bringing its area to about 105 km2. The metropolitan area of the city is 2,300 km2.

Map of Paris with accommodations

The blue markers shows the location of various accommodations in Paris. The letter in the marker describes the accommodation types: H for Hotel, A for Apartment, R for Resort, B for Bed & Breakfast and O for Other (e.g. pension, villa). Click on the blue marker for more information on the accommodation.