Paris: A Historical Journey
The history of Paris spans tens of thousands of years, but the location where the city currently stands caught the eye of Julius Caesar in 52 B.C. Caesar’s army was victorious during the battle of Lutetia, and the conquerors subsequently built a city along the river Seine. In 1160, Saint-Etienne didn’t satisfy the tastes of the current bishop. According to him, it wasn’t worthy of the title “Parisian church of the kings of Europe.” He had it torn down so that he could build the church that he envisioned, and this new edifice received the name “Notre-Dame de Paris.” Although construction began in 1163, this fabulous building was not completed until 1345.
In 1190, the French monarch Philippe-Auguste knew that the Anglo-Normans anxiously wanted to take over his city, so he built a fantastic fortress to protect Paris, and this building received the name “Louvre.” During the 1360s, it became a royal residence, and in 1798, it came to the house several important pieces of artwork from the Venetian Republic and the Vatican. Today, the Louvre is known as a famous museum that houses works of art and features films, concerts and live performances.
The End of the French Revolution
In 1789, the French Revolution began and rule by monarchy was largely over. Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette were in power in 1793, but they did not survive this period. Instead, they were beheaded by guillotine on the Place de la Concorde. Up until 1788, the wheel was the preferred method of execution, but at that time, Louis XVI outlawed its use. Eventually, the French invented the guillotine as a weapon that would instantly end the condemned person’s life, and it was Louis XVI’s own idea. The grand palace where the couple lived at Versailles still exists, and visitors are regaled by the splendor in which the king and queen once lived.
The Eiffel Tower
In 1889, the city obtained the symbol for which it is known today. At that time, Parisians began to build the Eiffel Tower. The tower was the first building of its kind because it was iron-based, but the people were less than impressed. After about two years, the tower was finished, and people immediately took an interest in it. This interest endures today, and 5 million travelers make sure to visit this landmark each year.
World Wars I and II
During World War I, France was allied with the United Kingdom and the Russian Empire, and damage was rather limited. During the Second World War, Germany captured France and held it from 1940 until 1944 when it suffered consequences worse than the ones experienced during the first war. The country needed several decades to recover from its tumultuous past, but it is now a major player in the world again. Summertime in Paris can be extremely pleasant with highs in the 70s and lows in the 60s or 50s. The city is known to have rain at this time, so visitors must make sure to have a combination of warm and cool clothes.
(All photographs are courtesy of the original owners unless otherwise indicated)