Paris occupe un endroit tr s sp cial dans le acquis culturel du monde: tous les hommes et femmes, partout o* ils viennent de, d couvrent un petit morceau de leur imagination ici, quelque chose comme une r sidence secondaire. T voici Paris de l’histoire: le site a t habit depuis des temps de Paleolithic. La ville a cr d’une le sur la seine arrang e par une tribu gallique, le Parisii (2 me si cle B.C.), par cons quent son nom.
The city of Paris, in France, probably has the greatest single history of any city in the world today. Culturaly as well as historically, Paris has always been a beautiful city with many different monuments with many different origins. Icons such as the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe have stood erect for many centuries and are a beacon in Paris’ long, and turbulent history. Founded on the island where a natural north-south highway crosses the Seine River, some 233 miles (375 kilometres) upstream from the river mouth on the English Channel, Paris, is over 2,000 years old. One of the most troubled times in French and Parisian history is the French Revolution which, although mainly undertaken in Paris, spanned across the entire country and effected many other nations as well.
The French Revolution was an exciting, dramatic, and violent episode in western history. The rise of the middle class, the use of the guillotine, the fall of monarchy, the outbreak of European warfare, the growing role of women, and the harsh realities of mob violence all contributed to making this episode truly significant and memorable.
By 1789 the French Government of Louis XVI was in trouble. Significant discontent was evident throughout the country. Intellectuals were dissatisfied with the scope of absolutist controls, the bourgeoisie was antagonized by the excessive financial burdens that fell upon them, the peasants decried the various feudal obligations that remained, and the urban workers struggled to survive amidst inflating prices and stagnant wages. It was the financial issues that forced the King to call a meeting of the Estates General, a national assembly that had not met since 1614. Needless to say there was tremendous excitement about that meeting as hopes for change arose from all sides. France would never be the same again. On one fateful day in July of 1789, peasants finally crossed the line to insanity when a mob of men and women, looking for weapons and prisoners taken by King Louis XVI, stormed the Bastille, a French prison in the middle of Paris. Raiding the prison, over three hundered rioters destroyed the prison and captured gaurds. Running down the street, the rioters cheered and every once and a while chopped off a head or two in excitement. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind, French or foreign that this day was one of the worst in French history.
The Revolution ended in 1799 when Napoleon Bonaparte entered Paris and was crowned First Consul at the age of thirty. A brilliant politician and a military genius, he took the title of emperor Napoleon I in 1804. After establishing a powerful central administration and a strong code of law, he started numerous military campaigns which almost gave him the control of the entire European continent. First defeated in Russia in 1812 and then in Waterloo in 1815, he was replaced by Louis XVIII. Louis XVIII’s constitutional monarchy was overthrown under Charles X, whose conservatism was a reminiscence of the old regime and lead to the July Revolution of 1830. The following July Monarchy, had an elected King, Louis Philippe, (the Duke of Orleans). He ruled France for 18 years of stable prosperity. In 1848, Louis Napoleon, nephew of Napoleon I, was elected the first president of the Second Republic. In 1852, he was proclaimed Emperor Napoleon III by national plebiscite. It was he who commissioned Baron Haussman to redesign Paris and started the French industrial revolution.