The name Paris derives from that of its inhabitants, the Gaulish tribe known as the Parisii (from the 3rd century BC). The city was called Lutetia (more fully, Lutetia Parisiorum, « Lutetia of the Parisii »), during the Roman occupation of the 1st- to 6th-century, but during the reign of Julian the Apostate (360–363) the city was renamed Paris.
Some consider that the name of the Parisii tribe comes from the Celtic Gallic word parisio meaning « the working people » or « the stone breakers”. The King Saint Louis encouraged the legend of an ancestry of prince Pâris which kidnapped the beautiful Hélene and provoked the Trojan War.
Paris has many nicknames, but its most famous is « La Ville-Lumière » (« The City of Light ») a name it owes first to its fame as a centre of education and ideas during the Age of Enlightenment, and later to its early adoption of street lighting.
Paris’ inhabitants are known in English as « Parisians » and in French as Parisiens. Parisians are often pejoratively called Parigots, a term first used in 1900 by those living outside the Paris region, but now the term may be considered endearing by Parisians themselves.
The earliest archaeological signs of permanent habitation in the Paris area date from around 4200 BC. The Parisii, a sub-tribe of the Celtic Senones, inhabited the area near the river Seine from around 250 BC. The Romans conquered the Paris basin in 52 BC, with a permanent settlement by the end of the same century on the Left Bank Sainte Geneviève Hill and the Île de la Cité. The Gallo-Roman town was originally called Lutetia, but later Gallicised to Lutèce.
It expanded greatly over the following centuries, becoming a prosperous city with a forum, palaces, baths, temples, theatres, and an amphitheatre. The collapse of the Roman empire and the fifth-century Germanic invasions sent the city into a period of decline. By 400 AD, Lutèce, by then largely abandoned by its inhabitants, was little more than a garnison town entrenched into the hastily fortified central island. The city reclaimed its original appellation of « Paris » towards the end of the Roman occupation. The Frankish king Clovis I established Paris as his capital in 508.
Paris’s population was around 200,000 when the Black Death arrived in 1348, killing as many as 800 people a day, and 40,000 died from the plague in 1466. According to Biraben, plague was present in Paris for almost one year in three in the 16th and 17th centuries to 1670. Paris lost its position as seat of the French realm during occupation of the English-allied Burgundians during the Hundred Years’ War, but regained its title when Charles VII of France reclaimed the city from English rule in 1436. Paris from then became France’s capital once again in title, but France’s real centre of power would remain in the Loire Valley until King Francis I returned France’s crown residences to Paris in 1528.
During the French Wars of Religion, Paris was a stronghold of the Catholic party. In August 1572, under the reign of Charles IX, while many noble Protestants were in Paris on the occasion of the marriage of Henry of Navarre, the future Henry IV, to Margaret of Valois, sister of Charles IX, the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre occurred; begun on 24 August, it lasted several days and spread throughout the country. During the Fronde, Parisians rose in rebellion and the royal family fled the city (1648). King Louis XIV then moved the royal court permanently to Versailles in 1682.
A century later, Paris was the centre stage for the French Revolution, with the Storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789 and the overthrow of the monarchy in September 1792.
Paris was occupied by Russian Cossack and Kalmyk cavalry units upon Napoleon’s defeat on the 31st of March 1814; this was the first time in 400 years that the city had been conquered by a foreign power. The ensuing Restoration period, or the return of the monarchy under Louis XVIII (1814–1824) and Charles X, ended with the July Revolution Parisian uprising of 1830.
The new ‘constitutional monarchy’ under Louis-Philippe ended with the 1848 « February Revolution » that led to the creation of the Second Republic.
Throughout these events, cholera epidemics in 1832 and 1849 ravaged the population of Paris; the 1832 epidemic alone claimed 20,000 of the population of 650,000.
The greatest development in Paris’s history began with the Industrial Revolution creation of a network of railways that brought an unprecedented flow of migrants to the capital from the 1840s. The city’s largest transformation came with the 1852 Second Empire under Napoleon III; his préfet Haussmann levelled entire districts of Paris’ narrow, winding medieval streets to create the network of wide avenues and neo-classical façades that still make much of modern Paris; the reason for this transformation was twofold, as not only did the creation of wide boulevards beautify and sanitize the capital, it also facilitated the effectiveness of troops and artillery against any further uprisings and barricades that Paris was so famous for. The Hotel Britannique was built in 1860.
The Second Empire ended in the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871), and a besieged Paris under heavy bombardment surrendered on 28 January 1871. The discontent of Paris’ populace with the new armistice-signing government seated in Versailles resulted in the creation of a Parisian « Commune » government, supported by an army in large part created from members of the City’s former National Guard, that would both continue resistance against the Prussians and oppose the government « Versaillais » army. The result was a bloody week Semaine Sanglante that resulted in the death, many by summary execution, of roughly 20,000 « communards » before the fighting ended on May 28, 1871. The ease at which the Versaillais army overtook Paris owed much to Baron Haussmann’s earlier renovations.
France’s late 19th-century Universal Expositions made Paris an increasingly important centre of technology, trade and tourism. Its most famous were the 1889 Universal Exposition to which Paris owes its « temporary » display of architectural engineering prowess, the Eiffel Tower, a structure that remained the world’s tallest building until 1930; the 1900 Universal Exposition saw the opening of the first Paris Métro line.
« Fluctuat nec mergitur », meaning « He was beaten by the waves but does not sink ». It is about the « Scilicet », ship also represented on the crest of the city and symbol of powerful corporation of the Boatmen
Source : Wikipedia
Some museums to visit
- Musée Carnavalet
- Crypte archeolique du parvis Notre-Dame
- Musée Cognacq-Jay
Romantic Paris Hotel
Hotel Britannique Paris Romantic Paris Hotel, 3 star Hotel Paris