France is one of Europe’s largest countries. It is bordered by six countries: Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the southeast and Spain to the southwest. The United Kingdom borders France via the English Channel. The country is considered to be the gateway to Europe as there are several large international airports (two airports located in Paris), ferry terminals and the French rail service. There are 22 official regions in France. Each of these regions are subdivided into departments. The politics of France take place with the framework of a semi-presidential system determined by the French Constitution of the French Fifth Republic. The nation declares itself to be an “indivisible, secular, democratic, and social Republic”. 85% of all residents of the country are Roman Catholic. French and English are the two most commonly spoken languages.
What about the marvelous Paris? Paris, the “City of Light,” is one of the international MICE capitals, each year, around 400 fairs and trade shows are held in Paris, drawing nearly 10 million visitors and 100,000 exhibitors. The International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), recently declared Paris ‘the world’s leading city for hosting international congresses’. With 196 international congresses, Paris is ahead of Vienna and Barcelona. In 2016, Paris welcomed 854,000 congress participants, staggering number. And of course this means a lot of development in the area of venues and exhibition centers. A vibrant 21st-century capital, with its world-famous exhibitions, modern gastronomy and busy stores and terraces. Some very interesting facts: 20,000 light bulbs are used to make the Eiffel Tower sparkle. 97 Michelin-starred restaurants for fine food lovers, including 10 with three-star status in 2016 are located in this city. There are about 206 museums in Paris and 36,000 works of art. Astonishing facts indeed.
Thanks to major projects such as the construction of the Grand Paris Express – the largest construction site in railway infrastructure in Europe – and the future CDG Express, One can get from – Charles de Gaulle airport to the heart of Paris in just 20 minutes. To get around Paris, The city’s 16 metro and 5 RER commuter rail lines is a very quick and efficient way. The public transport network also includes extensive bus service and several tram lines.
Paris is full of history. From the Romans and the Sun King to Napoleon and modern French presidents, each of France’s rulers has left their imprint on Paris. Paris’s monuments undoubtedly contribute to the charm of the French capital. The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, the SacréCœur Basilica and the Arc de Triompheare the four best-known monuments.
As for museums, Paris has 206 of them. The Louvre, the oldest one in Paris, is also the world’s most-visited museum, with nearly 10 million visitors per year. The Musée National d’ArtModerne, the Musée d’Orsay, and the Palace of Versailles are amongst the most popular ones.
Paris has a population of more than 2 million people, of which around 20% are immigrants from all over the world making Paris one of the biggest multi-cultural hubs in Europe. Having this international vibe means a cutting edge in the world of food, Art, music and fashion.
The city is divided into 20 “arrondissements” (districts) which are numbered 1 to 20. Each neighborhood, or arrondissement, has its own story to tell about Paris. From the historical academia of the 5th arrondissement to the stylish and creative 6th and 7th; sleepy atmosphere of the 16th contrasted with the clash of cultures in the 18th, 19th and 20th arrondissements.
Paris night life is rich with the famous cabarets such as the Moulin Rouge, Lido and the Crazy Horse. For perfect Parisian dining experience you have to try out the Bristos. Every neighborhood is packed with Bristos and every Parisian has a favorite. Bistros may be less formal than other French restaurants but the food quality is at its best. At a good bistro you should expect excellent food, without the high price tag, perfect way to try some traditional French dishes while you are in Paris. Bristos can be found in all the areas but a general rule of thumb, avoid those on the main roads also menus written in English, you don’t want to fall into the tourist trap!
If you find the time for a bit of Parisian style of shopping, start with Boulevard Haussmann in the 8th arrondissement, it is home to the best known of Parisian shopping institutions. The architecture itself is a piece of Art. Au Printemps is another option with more affordable price range. And there is always the option of amazing flea markets.
Paris is taking an active role in the eco-friendly events in the support of CO2 reduction as well.
The average yearly temperature comes in at just under 12°C (2°C in January, 19°C in July). Paris is a city that experiences all four seasons, mostly mild and wet.