Friday, March 2

The history of Paris

The rise of Paris has been been a fairly recent affair. While places in Egypt, for example, date back to 31st Century BC, it has taken Paris a mere 2,000 years approx. to rise from a small Gallic village into the sprawling capital of France. For those who no nothing of the capitals history but have booked flights and cheap hotels, Paris should be an eye-opening experience.

Paris, or to call the city by its then name Lutetia, existed as a regional centre under the Romans after being conquered by Julius Caesar in 52 BC. The name Paris didn't arrive until Clovis I pronounced the Kingdom of Gaul and renamed the city from Lutetia to Paris.

Over the course of the next thousand years, the city began to expand. Hugh Capet and his successor, the Capetians, managed to entrench Paris as the nation's capital. The Notre Dame Cathedral, which took two centuries to build, began construction in 1163 while a number of other sites, including the Sorbonne and Sainte-Chapelle cathedral also began to be built.

Of course, much like another other city, Paris has taken part in its fair share of bloody battles. In the late 16th century, bloody religious conflicts lead to St. Bartholomew's Day massacre, while the notorious storming of the Bastille leads to the French Revolution.

Much of the changes made to Paris that will can still see in the present day came from the hand of Baron Hausmann, under the direction of Napoleon III. A complete rejuvenation of the streets replaced the small medieval-esque narrows while in the early 1900's, art and literature exploded to make Paris one of the culture capitals of the world.

There is plenty of history to be found in Paris if you know where to look. The Louvre would be a great start as it is home to nearly 35,000 objects from Paris' history.

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