During the 3rd century BCE the Ile de la Cite, an island in the River Seine was settled by the Celtic tribe of the Parisii, and the fortified city of Lucotesia was built. When Julius Caesar invaded Gaul in 52 BCE, his army destroyed the town and built the Roman provincial town of Lutetia Parisiorium to the south of the river in what is now the Latin Quarter.


Around 250 CE, the Greek St Dionysius, known as St Denis, brought christianity to Gaul, however it was short lived when he was martyred by Emperor Valerian in 258 CE. When Julian the Apostate was made Emperor in 361 CE he stopped the persecution of Pagans and the destruction of their temples. The only major Roman site still in Paris is the Cluny Baths.


In the 4th and 5th centuries attacks on the Roman Empire increased from the north, and by 486 CE Clovis the Merovingian had got rid of the Romans and established a Germanic Frankish kingdom with Paris as its capital. However by 758 CE the powerful Carolingian, Pepin the Short, with the support of the Pope, overthrew King Childeric III and started what was to grow into the Holy Roman Empire. Paris which had a puppet sub-king was attacked in the 9th century by Vikings, but their siege of over a year failed. Several dynasties were to rule from Paris, including the disputed reign of the Lancastrian King Henry VI.


King Philippe Auguste, last king of the Franks and first king of France, threw defences around the royal residence on the Ile de la Cite, building the massive Chateau du Louvre and a wall with forty towers to protect the northern bank of the Seine, and a wall with thirty towers on the south bank. He also was responsible for paving the streets of Paris, building a covered market, and replacing in stone of two of Parisí wood bridges.


Philip IV was responsible for changing the royal residence from a fortress to a palace, and he also installed a gibbet for displaying the bodies of the many people he had killed. Having acquired lands from his wife, he went about by the use of force enlarging his domain in Paris to establish the beginnings of France. Being vastly in debt to the Jews and the Knights Templar, he expelled the first, and had the Templars executed, culminating with the burning alive of their Grand Master on the Ile de la Cite in 1314.


The 14th century brought a lot of problems to Paris, as firstly it was hit by three plagues decimating the population, a situation that continued until the 17th century. The second was the start of the Hundred Years War in 1346, with an English army pillaging the surrounding countryside, closely followed by French deserters looting and ravaging around Paris. The new King Charles V had built new city walls around the enlarged city, with the large fortress of the Bastille guarding the eastern gate, and moved his residence to the Louvre.


In 1420 the English occupied Paris, and the northern half of France was ruled by the Duke of Bedford. In 1429 Joan of Arc tried to liberate the city, but the English supported by the local Parisians prevailed, Joan was burnt and Henry VI was crowned King of France at Notre Dame Cathedral in 1431.


In 1436 the ruinous city, which half the population had deserted, was returned to Charles VII of France, but it was not until Francis Iís reign that Paris was again used as the capital.


The revived Paris began to be developed in the Italian Renaissance style during the 16th century. Francois I moved into the Louvre, demolishing the central tower and building a new northern wing, and his son Henry II built another wing along the Seine frontage. His widow constructed the Tuileries Palace and Gardens to its west. Religious rivalry grew, with the catholic church burning and massacring 3000 Calvinists in Paris alone.






Eifel Tower

From the Seine


Arc de Triumphe


Arc de Carousel


Notre Dame


Glass Pyramid Louvre


Invalides Chapel


Luxemburg Palace


National Assembly