Paris is the capital and largest city of France. It is situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Ile-de-France region.
Its metropolitan area is one of largest population centers in the European Union and Europe, with more than 12 million inhabitants.
Paris is today one of the world's leading business and cultural centers, and its influences in politics, education, entertainment, media, fashion, science, and the arts all contribute to its status as one of the world's major global cities.
The city is considered one of the greenest and most liveable cities in Europe, as well as being one of the most expensive.
Three of the most famous Parisian landmarks are the 12th-century cathedral Notre Dame de Paris, the Napoleonic Arc de Triomphe and the 19th-century Eiffel Tower, and all three are shown on this page.
The Eiffel Tower, named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel whose company designed and built the tower was erected in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 World's Fair in Paris. it has become both a global cultural icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world. It is today the most-visited paid monument in the world; 7.1 million people ascended it in 2011.
The Arc de Triomphe is one of the most famous monuments in Paris. It stands in the center of the Place Charles de Gaulle, at the western end of the Champs-Elysees. The Arc honors those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.
Notre Dame Cathedral is considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture and among the largest and most well-known churches in the world. Construction began in 1163, and was essentially complete by 1345. The cathedral has a narrow climb of 387 steps at the top of several spiral staircases; along the climb it is possible to view its most famous bell and its gargoyles in close quarters, as well as having a spectacular view across Paris when reaching the top.
The Moulin Rouge is a famous cabaret in Paris. Close to Montmartre in the Paris district of Pigalle, it is marked by the red windmill on its roof. Moulin Rouge is best known as the spiritual birthplace of the modern form of the can-can dance. Originally introduced as a seductive dance by the courtesans who operated from the site, the can-can dance revue evolved into a form of entertainment of its own and led to the introduction of cabarets across Europe. Today, Moulin Rouge is a tourist attraction, offering musical dance entertainment for visitors from around the world. The club's decor still contains much of the romance of turn-of-the-20th-century France.
The Musee du Louvre is one of the world's largest museums, and a historic monument. A central landmark of Paris, it contains nearly 350,000 objects from prehistory to the 19th century in an area of 60,600 sq meters (652,300 sq ft.). With more than 8 million visitors each year, the Louvre is the world's most visited museum. This is the glass pyramid entrance to the museum designed by the architect I. M. Pei.
Montmartre is a hill in the north of Paris. Standing atop the hill and visible across much of Paris is the white-domed Basilica of the Sacre Couer. The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, commonly known as Sacre Couer, is a Roman Catholic church, a popular landmark and the highest point in the city.