Paris history, rich and diverse, dates back more than 2,500 years. From the ancient era through the dark ages and medieval periods, people have lived around the River Seine and watch Paris develop from a small community to the bustling metropolis it is today. Much of the history of France took place in Paris, from important moments of the French Revolution to the occupation by the Nazis in World War II. Fortunately for visitors, numerous artifacts of Paris France history are still on display today. From art in the museums to architecture that has survived centuries, Paris contains excellent displays of history at every corner.
History of Paris
Many people know facts about Paris beginning at the time of the French Revolution. The revolution began in the French capital in 1789, and the actions of the brave revolutionaries carved a day into Paris history. July 14 has since been known as Bastille Day, a symbol of the modern French state, which is celebrated each and every year with parades and festivities throughout the city. During this period many commoners and famous figures of Paris history met their death at the guillotine in Place de la Concorde, including Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
Paris History Tour
For some travelers, the history of France is entwined with another political figure, Napoleon. The early nineteenth century saw Napoleon’s rise to power, and under his direction, Paris became the capital of an empire and had great military strength. Yet Napoleon’s power didn’t last long, and in 1814 Paris fell to Russian and Austrian armies. One of the little known facts about Paris was that this moment in history was the first time in more than 400 years that the city had been occupied by a foreign power. A new phase in the history of France began in the mid-nineteenth century when Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, nephew of the great emperor, came to power. It was during this time that the layout of Paris was developed in the form it is seen today.
Even if you know only a few facts about Paris, the name Baron Haussmann probably rings a bell. He was the man in charge of modernizing Paris, and it is his vision that remains in the layout of the city today. The wide boulevards and circles that dominate Paris today were the design of Baron Haussmann. Another significant period came next for Paris, the Belle Epoque period, or golden age. During this time significant development occurred throughout the city, including the premier of the Eiffel Tower in 1889 and the opening of the underground Metro system in 1900.
The early twentieth century was dominated by war and economic depression. World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II were difficult times in Paris. German occupation of Paris was strict and harsh, though some Parisians managed to maintain a relatively normal life. Since 1946 the city has been recovering from this period, and today the city is lively and bustling again, with few scars remaining. The city has long been a place for intellectuals and artists, and this continues to thrive today. Over centuries, a strong tradition and culture has endured, and this forms the foundation of pleasures that travelers today enjoy. From restaurants to museums to historical landmarks, travelers can visit Paris today and get a glimpse of what it has been like over the last centuries.