If you’ve ever heard of France (or been to France), or even if you haven’t, you’ve probably heard of Paris – one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Paris, for those of you that didn’t now, is the capital and the largest city in France and is located on the river Seine. Prior to the 19th century, Paris was the largest city in the Western world (for about a 1,000 years), and the biggest in the entire world between the 16th and 19th centuries.
Paris is not just a sight for sore eyes but is still to this day one of the world’s leading business and cultural centers. The city’s influence in politics, education, entertainment, media, fashion, science and the arts have all contributed to its status as one of the major global cities in the world. Although Paris is considered one of the most livable cities in Europe, it is also one of the most expensive cities to reside in.
Paris is not lacking economically either – according to 2008 estimate, Paris has the largest or second largest city economy in Europe and the sixth largest in the entire world. Paris plays such a prominent role in the business world that it plays host to the headquarters of over 33 Fortune 500 companies. In terms of education, Paris is said to have the highest concentration of higher education students in the European Union; in fact, Paris is considered as one of the best cities in the world for innovation. Since France itself is the most popular tourist destination, Paris receives approximately 42 million tourists annually in the city and suburbs – Paris is the most visited city in the world. Paris, being the beautiful city that it is, does not disappoint its tourists – featuring 3,800 historical monuments and four UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Education has been at the forefront of France’s priorities from as early as the 9th century, when the emperor Charlemagne demanded that all churches provide lessons in reading, writing and basic arithmetic. Now, twelve centuries later, the education system in Paris employs about 330,00 people – 170,000 are teachers and professors teaching approximately 2.9 million kids and students in around 9,000 primary, secondary, and post-secondary schools and institutions.
Prior to the creation of the University of Paris, the cathedral of Notre-Dame was deemed the first center of higher education in Paris. In 1991, a total of four new universities were created in the suburbs of Paris – reaching a grand total of seventeen public universities.
The climate in Paris is heavily influenced by the North Atlantic Current but is considered typical Western European oceanic climate. To sum up Paris’ climate for the entire year; it can be described as mild and moderately wet. In the summer, Paris’ average temperature hovers between 15 and 25 °C and the city offers a fair amount of sunshine. In spring and autumn time, Paris offers mild days and fresh nights but these are uncertain as warm or cool weather frequently sneaks up on you in both seasons. Sunshine is extremely scarce in the winter; days are cold with temperatures around 7 °C; and the city rarely sees any snowfall.
The entire Paris region receives around 42 million tourists per year – of which 17 million are foreign. Paris’ museums and monuments are the cause for the large amount of tourism and consequently, the tourism has motivated the government to create more tourist attractions. Some of the best attractions include:
With over 8 million visitors a year, the city’s most prized museum is in fact the world’s most-visited art museum.
Notre Dame de Paris
Receiving just about 12 million visitors a year, this cathedral was considered the beginning grounds of higher education in Paris.
Who can forget the ever infinite Eiffel Tower? Standing at a height of 324 meters, the Eiffel tower is by far Paris’ most famous monument – averaging about 6 million visitors per year but overall about 200 million since its construction.
Paris is one of the most densely populated cities in the world. In a 1999 census, it was found that only about 19.4% of the population were immigrants – the rest were purely home grown.