Culture Paris is the capital of France and the country's largest city. It is situated on the River Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the le-de-France region (also known as the "Paris Region"; French: Rgion parisienne). The city of Paris within its administrative limits (largely unchanged since 1860) has an estimated population of 2,167,994 (January 2006). The Paris unit urbaine (or urban area) extends well beyond the administrative city limits and has an estimated population of 9.93 million (in 2005). The Paris aire urbaine (or metropolitan area) has a population of nearly 12 million, and is one of the most populated metropolitan areas in Europe.

An important settlement for more than two millennia, Paris is today one of the world's leading business and cultural centres, and its influence in politics, education, entertainment, media, fashion, science and the arts all contribute to its status as one of the world's major global cities. According to 2005 estimates by the Price water house Coopers accounting firm, the Paris urban area is Europe's biggest city economy, and is fifth in the world's list of cities by GDP.

The Paris Region, with 500.8 billion (US$628.9 billion), produced more than a quarter of the gross domestic product (GDP) of France in 2006. The Paris Region hosts 37 of the Fortune Global 500 companies in several business districts, notably La Dfense, the largest purpose-built business district in Europe.[11] Paris also hosts many international organizations such as UNESCO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the informal Paris Club.

Paris is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with over 30 million foreign visitors per year. There are numerous iconic landmarks among its many attractions, along with world-famous institutions and popular parks.

Set on a hill 130 meters high, the area of Montmartre looks grandly out over all of Paris. The name "Montmartre" comes from "Mont des Martyrs" (the bishop St. Denis, the priest Rustique, and the archdeacon Eleuthre were all decapitated there around the year 250). In the 12th century, Benedictine monks built a monastery near Rue des Abesses. It later became the seat of a powerful abbey.

The Montmartre area was the center of a lot of activity during the Paris Commune in 1871. Despite the resistance of the people of Montmartre, the area remained under Federal control from March 18 until May 23.

The end of the 19th century saw Montmartre to be the center of artistic life in Paris and the model of a free, bohemian existence. Many artists, from Berlioz to Picasso, lived, worked, and played here. These creative spirits (and their caf, the Lapin Agile) helped keep this area the city's intellectual and artistic center up until the first World War.

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