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 Posted by , June 26, 2006 at 11:13:54 :: France

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Paris is the capital and largest city of France. It is also the capital of the région Île-de-France that, encompassing Paris and its suburbs, represents France's most dynamic centre of economic activity. Paris is a leading global cultural, business and political center and is renowned for its defining neo-classical architecture as well as its role as a major international influence in fashion, gastronomy and the arts. Dubbed "the City of Light" (la Ville Lumière) since the 19th century, Paris has a reputation as a "romantic" city.

Coucher de soleil sur l'Arc de Triomphe

Situated on the banks of the river Seine in north-central France, Paris hosts a rich array of museums, galleries, and nightlife and is the most visited city in the world, with more than 30 million visitors per year. The most recognisable symbol of Paris is the 324 metre (1,063 ft) Eiffel Tower on the banks of the Seine.

Top of the Eiffel Tower

The City of Paris had an estimated mid-2004 population of 2,144,700. The Paris urban area, extending well beyond the city boundaries, has today an estimated population of 9.9 million. The Paris metropolitan area (including satellite cities) stood at 11.5 million in 1999. With nearby La Défense, Europe's largest business district, Paris also hosts the head offices of almost half of all French companies, as well as the offices of major international firms and the headquarters of many international organisations such as UNESCO, the OECD, or the ICC.

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