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Paris Travel Guide

Paris History

Paris was probably first occupied by a Celtic tribe in 250 BC who established a fishing village called Parisii. In 52 BC Paris' Île de la Cité and Left Bank Sainte Geneviève Hill became the centre of a new Roman settlement called Lutetia. Lutetia was renamed Paris in 212 AD, and in 357 AD, the nephew of Emperor Constantine became governor, to be emperor later in 365. But unfortunately, he died two years later. There is a leyend that says when Paris was invaded by Attila the Hun in 451, the people began to pray to Saint Geneviève and after that, invader turned away. To this day, St.Geneviève remains the Patron saint of Paris.

In 751, after the Merovingian kings died, they were replaced by the Carolingians. On March 28, 845, Paris was ransacked by Viking raiders, and in 885 the city fell prey to a Viking invasion force. Hugh Capet was elected King of France in 987 and made Paris his capital and founded a long-lasting dynasty, the Capetians. The Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris was built in 1163 and in 1180, under the reign of Philippe Auguste, some major buildings, such as the city wall and the Louvre Palace was constructed. It was his grandson, Saint Louis who ordered the construction of the Sainte-Chapelle on the Île de la Cité.

The Civil War began after the assassination of Louis of Valois, Duke of Orléans and in 1420 the English captured Paris. Joan of Arc assisted Charles VII of France to retake the city in 1429, but they failed and she died. After many attempts Charles finally managed to retake Paris. After this the city began to grow and were constructed beautiful cathedrals and churches were constructed.

In 1534, Paris was a predominantly Catholic city, but problems began to appear when in 1572 Catholic mobs killed approximately 3,000 protestants. King Henry III tried to find a better solution avoiding this kind of massacres but obtained the rejection of the citizens and was killed in May 1588. Louis XIII died in 1643: he became king at the age of eight but power was exercised by Cardinal Richelieu. After Louis' death, the throne was inherited by his very young heir, Louis XIV. Unfortunately, he and his family had to flee because of a Rebellion known as the Fronde, but he came back in 1653 to a very big welcome. By the end of the 18th century, Paris had become a cultural and intellectual centre, and under Louis XVI Paris became also the center of the arts, philosophy and sciences.

The French Revolution began in Paris on 13 July 1789, and the next day the Bastille was stormed. Many revolutions took place after that and Paris became a revolutionary city. The royal family were taken prisoners by the crowd and put in jail at the Tuileries. They tried to escape on 20 June 1791, but were caught again and were held captive. On 10 August 1792, they were rescued by the mob, who attacked the Tuilleries and seized the royal family. Power then passed to the radical Commune de Paris, led by Georges Danton, Marat and Robespierre. On 22 of September 1792, "Day I of Year I of the French Republic", the Monarchy was abolished. But the bloodiest part of the Revolution was the construction of a guillotine which is now in the Place de la Concorde and which was first used to execute King Louis XVI and after him, his wife, the Queen Marie Antoinette, in October 1793.


«  Paris History - Part II





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