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City (pop., 2005 est.: 2,153,600; metro. area, 9,854,000), river port, capital of France. It is now located on both banks of the Seine River. The original settlement from which Paris evolved, Lutetia, was in existence by the late 3rd century BC on an island in the Seine. Lutetia was captured and fortified by the Romans in 52 BC. During the 1st century AD the city spread to the left bank of the Seine. By the early 4th century it was known as Paris. It withstood several Viking sieges (885–87) and became the capital of France in 987, when Hugh Capet, the count of Paris, became king. The city was improved during the reign of Philip II, who formally recognized the University of Parisc. 1200. In the 14th–15th centuries its development was hindered by the Black Death and the Hundred Years' War. In the 17th–18th centuries it was improved and beautified. Leading events of the French Revolution took place in Paris (1789–99). Napoleon III commissioned Georges-Eugène Haussmann to modernize the city's infrastructure and add several new bridges over the Seine. The city was the site of the Paris Peace Conference, which ended World War I. During World War II Paris was occupied by German troops. It is now the financial, commercial, transportation, artistic, and intellectual centre of France. The city's many attractions include the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame de Paris, the Louvre, the Panthéon, Pompidou Centre, and the Paris Opéra, as well as boulevards, public parks, and gardens.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Paris, visit Britannica.com.