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Paris, France

The oldest traces of human occupation in Paris are human bones dating to the era of 8,000 BC. Other recent findings found temporary settlements dating to 4200-4500 BC.

Julius Caesar and his Roman Army campaigned in Gaul between 58-53 BC under the pretext of protecting the territory from German invaders but the goal was to conquer for the Roman Empire. He failed.

During the Middle Ages, Paris was the largest city in Europe, an important religious and commercial centre. Between 1190-1202, the massive fortress of the Louvre was built to protect the Right Bank against an English attack from Normandy. Paris became the capital of Europe in the 16th century after suffering from the Bubonic Plague in the 14th Century and the Hundred Years’ War in the 15th century.

The first cafe in Europe opened in 1672 and by the 1720’s, there were 400 in the city. They became the meeting places for the city’s writers and scholars. They became important for exchanging news, rumors, and ideas.

In 1792, Austria declared war on France and the King of Prussia threatened to destroy Paris which caused an insurrection. Louis XVI and his family were imprisoned and the monarchy was abolished and France was declared a Republic. During the Reign of Terror, 16,500 people were guillotined.
Before 1800, Paris was the centre of intellectual ferment and was the main stage of the French Revolution from 1789 and this changed the history of France and Europe. In 1789, the population of Paris was 640.000

Early in the 19th century, Paris went through a restoration and the aristocrats, who had emigrated, returned to the city and the cultural life resumed. The population grew to over 800,000 in 1830 and to over a million in 1848. Napoleon embellished the city with monuments to honor the military feats and Paris became the European capital of fashion. Paris was rebuilt between 1852
and 1870

Paris experienced World War I bombardment, the worldwide depression in the early 1930’s, France’s declaration of war against Germany in 1939 and was attacked by Germany in 1940. During this time, the population grew to 2.9 million but started to decline for the rest of the century. The German occupation ended in 1944.

Today, tourism is an important part of the Paris economy with over 30 million annual visitors.