Paris (Fr. pron. Par-ee'), capital of France, and the largest city in Europe after London, is situated in 48° 50' N. lat. and 2° 20' E. long., on the river Seine, about 110 miles from its mouth. It lies in the midst of the fertile plain of the lle-de-Frauce, at a point to which converge the chief tributaries of the river, the Yonne, the Marne, and the Oise; and is the centre of a great network of rivers, canals, roads, and railways; hence its commercial importance. The present city is bounded by fortifications - a rampart (1840-60) upwards of 22 miles in length. The extension of the city boundary to this line explains the increase of pop. from 1,174,346 in 1856 to 1,696,741 in 1861; subsequent pop. (1866) 1,825,274; (1881) 2,269,023; (1901) 2,714,068. Montmartre, within the fortifications, is 400 feet high; the city is encircled at a distance of from two to live miles by an outer range of heights, including Villejuif, Meudon, St Cloud, and Mont-Valerien (650 feet), some of which are crowned by the detached forts which now form the main defences of the city. At the fifty-six gates in the walls of Paris are paid the octroi dues. The Seine divides the city into two parts, and forms the islands of La Cite and St Louis, both covered with buildings.
France has long been the most highly centralised country in Europe, and Paris as its heart contains a great population of government functionaries. Paris is a city of pleasure, and attracts the wealthy from all parts of the world; hence it is a city of capitalists and a great financial centre. The provincial universities of France have been deprived of their attraction by the schools of Paris, to which flock the youth of France. The publishing trade has followed the same course. The chief and peculiar industries of Paris produce articles which derive their value from the skill and taste bestowed on them by individual workmen, and include jewellery, bronzes, artistic furniture, and decorative articles known as 'articles de Paris.' The private houses as well as the public buildings of Paris are built of a light-coloured limestone, quarried in the neighbourhood of the city. With this material they are reared in huge blocks to a height of six or seven stories, each floor constituting a distinct dwelling; access to all the floors in a tenement being gained by a common stair, which is usually placed under the charge of a porter or concierge at the entrance. Very frequently the tenements surround an open quadrangle. Among the great new streets formed in the time of Napoleon III. are the Rue de Rivoli, two miles in length, the Rue de la Paix, the Rue du Faubourg St Honore, and the Rue Royale. The Boulevards, which extend in a semicircular line on the right side of the Seine, between the nucleus of the city and its surrounding quarters, present the most striking feature of Paris life. In all the better parts of the city they are lined with trees, seats, stalls, and kiosques. Among the public squares or places the most noteworthy is the Place de la Concorde, which connects the Gardens of the Tuileries with the Champs-Elysees, and embraces a magnificent view of some of the finest buildings and gardens of Paris. In the centre is the famous obelisk of Luxor (73 feet), brought hither in 1836. On the site of this obelisk stood the revolutionary guillotine, at which perished Louis XVI., Marie Antoinette, Philippe Egalite, Charlotte Corday, Danton, and Robespierre. Of the other squares the following are some of the finest: the Place du Carrousel, including the site of the Tuileries burned by the Commune and not restored; the. Place Vendome, with Napoleon's Column of" Victory; the Place de la Bastille, where once stood that famous prison-fortress; the Place Royale; and the Place de l'Hotel de Ville. Triumphal arches are a feature in the architecture of Paris. The Porte St Martin and Porte St Denis were erected by Louis XIV. to commemorate his victories in the Low Countries; the Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile, built in 1806-36 at a cost of more than £400,000, is profusely adorned with bas-reliefs and alto-reliefs. The great streets which radiate from the Arc de Triomphe were among the most magnificent of those constructed by Napoleon III. The Seine in passing through Paris is spanned by twenty-eight bridges. The most celebrated and ancient are the Pont Notre Dame (1500), and the Pont-Neuf (1578-1604), which crosses the Seine at the north of the Ile-de-la-Cite. The bridges all communicate directly with spacious quays, planted with trees, which line both banks of the Seine. Among the churches the grandest and most interesting is the cathedral of Notre Dame, which stands on a site successively occupied by a pagan temple and a Christian basilica of the Merovingian time. The main building, begun in the 12th century, is 400 feet long, 150 wide, and 110 high. The height of two towers is 218 feet, that of the fleche 300. It has been said that if the pillars of Notre Dame could speak they might tell the whole history of France. In 1793 it was converted into a ' Temple of Reason.' The building was carefully restored in 1845. The Sainte Chapelle, built by St Louis in 1245-48, is perhaps the greatest existing masterpiece of Gothic art, and was restored by Napoleon III. at a cost-of £50,000. St Severin is partly in the English Gothic of the 15th century; it was erected during the English occupation of Paris. St-Germain-des-Pres, probably the most ancient church in Paris, was completed in 1163; St Etienne du Mont contains the tomb of St Genevieve; and St Germain l'Auxerrois has very fine decorations. Among modern churches is the Madeleine (1806-42), like a Corinthian temple; also the imposing Romanesque-Byzantine Sacre Cœ;ur (1875-1900), crowning the height of Montmartre. The Pantheon (1764) was begun as a church, but converted by the Constituent Assembly into a temple dedicated to the great men of the nation, next restored to the church by Napoleon III. and rededicated to St Genevieve, but once mora on the occasion of the funeral of Victor Hugo (1885), reconverted into a valhalla; here are the tombs also of Voltaire, Rousseau, and Carnot.
Paris has upwards of forty theatres. The leading houses are the Opera, the Theatre Francais - chiefly devoted to classical French drama - the Opera Comique, and the Odeon, which receive a subvention from government. The new opera-house, completed in 1875, cost, exclusive of the site, £1,120,000. Beyond the fortifications at the west of Paris is the Bois de Boulogne, converted by Napoleon III. from a wood covered with stunted trees into one of the most beautiful gardens in Europe. East of Paris is the Bois de Vincennes. Paris has three large and twelve lesser cemeteries, of which the principal one is Pere-la-Chaise (over 200 acres). The Morgue at the upper end of the Ile-de-la-Cite is a building in which the bodies of unknown persons found in the Seine are placed temporarily for recognition. The vast caverns under southern Paris, whence the limestone for building has been quarried, were converted in 1784 into catacombs, in which are deposited the bones of the dead, collected from the ancient cemeteries of Paris. Two most interesting civil buildings of the 15th century still exist - the Hotel de Cluny, one of the finest existing monuments of the Gothic Flamboyant style; and the Hotel de Sens, the old palace of the archbishops of Sens, now used for business purposes. The Palace of the Tuileries was begun in 1566 by Catharine de Medicis, and enlarged by successive monarchs, until it formed a structure nearly 1/4 mile long, running at right angles to the Seine. It was connected with the Louvre (begun 1541 on the site of a 13th-century castle, and completed by Louis XIV.) by a great picture-gallery; between the two palaces lay the Place du Carrousel. The Tuileries continued to be occupied as the residence of the imperial family; but the Louvre proper formed a series of great galleries filled with pictures, sculptures, and collections of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman antiquities. The Commune attempted to burn the whole pile, but only succeeded in destroying the Tuileries and a corner of the Louvre. North of the Louvre is the Palais Royal, a mass of buildings, including the old palace of the Orleans family, the Theatre Francais, and a quadrangle of shops, restaurants, and cafes, enclosing a park or garden open to the public, 700 feet long by 300 feet wide. The Palace of the Luxembourg, south of the Seine, since 1879 the meeting-place of the French senate, was built by Marie de Medicis in the Florentine style. Close to it a gallery has been constructed for the reception of the works of living artists acquired by the state. The Hotel de Ville, north of the Seine, was burned by the Commune, but has been rebuilt and restored in the style of its predecessor. On the island of La Cite stands the Palais de Justice, a vast pile, also set fire to by the Commune; some parts of it date from the 14th century (the Sainte Chapelle being within its precincts), and others are modern. The old Conciergerie here constitutes one of the eight prisons of Paris. The largest of the numerous hospices or almshouses is La Salpetriere for old women; Bicetre receives only men. The Hospice des Enfans Trouves is the famous Parisian foundling hospital. The Creches receive the infants of poor women for the day at the cost of 20 centimes. The oldest and most noted hospitals are the Hotel Dieu, La Charite, and La Pitie.
The chief institutions connected with the University of France, and with education generally, are still situated in the Quartier Latin. The Sorbonne, the seat of the Paris faculties of letters, science, and Protestant theology, has been rebuilt and increased in size (1885-93). Near the Sorbonne is the College de France, where gratuitous lectures are also delivered by eminent scholars and men of letters. The Scotch College stands as it did in the 17th century. The Ecole Poly-technique, the School of Medicine and the School of Law, the Observatory, and the Jardin des Plantes are situated in the same quarter of Paris. The principal of the public libraries are those of the Rue Richelieu, now called the Bibliotheque Nationale, rivalled only by the British Museum in the number of its books and manuscripts. No city on this side of the Alps is richer than Paris in fine-art collections, and among these the museums at the Louvre stand pre-eminent. Among its chief treasures may be mentioned the famous Venus of Milo, and the great works of the Italian, Flemish, and Spanish masters; there is a long succession of galleries in which are exhibited Egyptian, Assyrian, Elamitic, Greek, Roman, mediaeval, and Renaissance relics and works of art. The Musee Carnivalet is the historical museum of the municipality. The Palais des Beaux-Arts is used as an exhibition of art, manufactures, and architectural models. The Hotel de Cluny contains curious relics of the arts and usages of the French people from the earliest ages. The Museum of Artillery at the Hotel des Invalides is devoted to arms and armour, flags and war dresses. The Musee Guimet includes objects used in religious ceremonies, savage, Indian, Chinese, etc. The Mint deserves notice for the perfection of its machinery; and the Gobelins, or tapestry manufactory, may be included under the fine arts. The Conservatoire des Arts et Metiers contains a great collection of models of machinery, and class-rooms for workmen. The Palace of Industry, built for the exhibition of 1854, now forms a permanent exhibition. The building for the exhibition of 1878, named Palace of the Trocadero, is now used for musical entertainments and as an architectural and ethnological museum. For the exhibition of 1889 was erected the Eiffel Tower, of iron, 985 feet high. On the left bank of the Seine is the Ecole Militaire (1752); near it is the Hotel des Invalides, founded in 1670 for disabled soldiers, containing in its crypt the remains of Napoleon, deposited there in 1840. The prefect of the Seine is the chief of the municipal government, and is appointed by the government. There is a large elected municipal council. Each of the 20 arrondissements has a maire and two assistant-councillors. The prefect of police is at the head of the civic guard or gensdarmes, the fire-brigade, and the sergents de ville or city police, who are armed with swords. The cleaning, sewerage, and water-supplies of Paris are under the charge of the prefect. Paris is now abundantly supplied with pure and wholesome water. Large cattle-markets are held near the licensed abattoirs or slaughter-houses, since 1818 all in the suburbs. There are in the heart of the city numerous holies, or wholesale, and marches, or retail markets; the principal, the Halles Centrales, near the church of St Eustache, covering nearly 20 acres.
The small town of Lutetia, on the Ile-de-Cite, was the capital of the Parisii, an unimportant tribe of Gauls, and did not take their name till the time of the Roman emperors, of whom Con-stantius Chlorus and Julian lived much at Paris. Christianity came to the banks of the Seine with St Denis in the 2d or 3d century; St Genevieve settled here in the 5th. Clovis, the Frank emperor, made it his home and the capital of the Frankish states. Philip Augustus in the 13th century greatly extended the city and increased its privileges; and Paris has down the centuries been not merely the capital of France and the centre of its social and political history, but in a very special sense the headquarters of French literature and art. Of recent episodes, the most notable was the siege by the German armies, from September 1870 till the capitulation in January 1871. The disastrous Communist outbreak was suppressed in May 1871.
See the guidebooks of Murray, Baedeker, Joanne, and topographical works by Du Camp (7th ed. 6 vols. 1884), Colin (1885), Pontich (1884), and the official Annuaire Statistique (since 1883); G. A. Sala, Pans Herself Again (1879); P. G. Hamerton, Paris in Old and Present Times (1884; new ed. 1892); books by A. J. C. Hare (1888), De Amicis (1892), Grant Allen (1897), H. Belloc (1900), T. Okey (1904); besides historical works by French authors, such as Piton (1891), Hoff-bauer (1890), Lebeuf (15 vols. 1863), Dulaure (7 vols. new ed. 1874), De Gaulle (1840), Gabourd (1863-65), Arago (2d ed. 1867); and the copious Histoire Generale de la Ville de Paris, issued, since 1866, by the municipal authorities.