1. Paris – La capitale de la France; population is 10 million.
2. La Ville Lumière – Centre de la vie culturelle et intellectuelle (Center of cultural and intellectual life)
The city of light!
3. Lutèce - -This was the first name of Paris.
4. Parisii – Paris got its current name from this tribe. They were Gaulish fisherman and boatmen who
founded the city over 2,000 years ago.
5. Ile de la Cité –An island in the Seine river; Paris was born here. It is called the birthplace of Paris or the
‘cradle’ of Paris.
6. La Seine – The river which flows through Paris and divides Paris into two sections; la Rive Droite and la
7. La Rive Droite – The right bank, to the north, it is the largest part and the most animated. It is the
business district, the center for shopping and the center of nightlife. Huge department stores,
huge boulevards, theaters and restaurants abound. The Montmartre district is also located on
the right bank. The Montmartre area is characterized by a Bohemian type of atmosphere.
8. La Rive Gauche – The left bank, to the south, is the student area of Paris. The University of Paris is here.
There are bookstores, cafés, etc. The majority of all Paris institutions of higher learning are
located on the left bank.
9. Arrondissements – Paris is divided into 20 districts or arrondissements for governing purposes. A
Parisian’s address would contain the arrondissement number as part of their ‘zip code’ or ‘code
postale.’ For example, someone living near la Tour Eiffel may have the ‘code postale’ 75016.
That would indicate that the person lived in the sixteenth arrondissement (16 e).
10. La Cathédrale de Notre Dame – Located on Ile de la Cité, it is a majestic Gothic cathedral built in the
12th century. It was the birthplace of Gothic architecture.
11. La Sainte-Chappelle – Located on Ile de la Cité, it is called the jewel of Gothic architecture. It is a small
chapel built in the 13th century by Louis IX. It is famous for its beautiful stained glass windows.
12. Le Pont Neuf – This is the oldest bridge in Paris over the Seine. It means ‘brand new’ bridge since it was
named when it was the first bridge in Paris in the 16th century. It crosses the Seine at Ile de la
Le Pont Alexandre III – This is a very ornate bridge in Paris. It was renovated in 1989 for the bicentennial
celebration. There are streetlamps, statues and sculptures along the bridge.
13. Ile St. Louis – This is the smaller of the two islands in the Seine. It is characterized by quiet streets and
small art galleries. Youwill find ‘Berthillon’ here : the home of the best ice cream in Paris.
14. Le Musée du Louvre – This was a former palace of the Kings which is now the richest art museum in the
world. The newest attraction of the Louvre is La Pyramide which opened in April 1989. It is a
modern structure which contrasts greatly with the Louvre’s architecture. La Pyramide serves as
the main entrance to the Louvre and once you are in La Pyramide you will see ticket windows,
stairs, escalators, cafés, snack bars, information booths, a huge gift store for purchasing books,
posters, and art prints. There is also a post office.
The Louvre houses three of the world’s most treasured works of art. These masterpieces or
‘chef d’oeuvres’ are 1. Le Vénus de Milo 2. La Victoire de Samothrace 3. La Joconde ( The
Mona Lisa). Le Vénus de Milo is an armless statue discovered in 1820 on the island of Milo. It
dates back to the first or second century B.C. La Victoire de Samothrace or ‘Winged Victory’ is a
Greek statue found in 1863 on the islande of Samothrace in the Aegean Sea. It dates back to 180
B.C. It was found headless and remains headless today. The Mona Lisa or ‘La Joconde’ was
painted by Leonardo DaVinci in 1503. It is claimed to be a portrait of Lisa del Giocondo, the
young wife of a merchant in Florence, Italy. The Italians call her La Gioconda’ the French call
her La Joconde.
15. Le Musée d’Orsay – This is a huge new museum built in the renovated train station – La Gare d’Orsay
near the Louvre. It opened in 1986 and its clocks add to its uniqueness. The Impressionist
collection is now housed here instead of in Le Musée de Jeu de Paume.
‘O is the symbol for the Musée d’Orsay.
16. L’Hôtel des Invalides – This structure was built by Louis XIV for injured soldiers. It now houses the red
marble tomb of Napoleon. Napoleon is buried in six coffins below the Dome of Les Invalides.
Twelve statues stand guard around his tomb. There is also a military museum at Les Invalides.
17. Le Panthéon – Originally this was built to honor St. Geneviève, the patron saint of Paris. Today it is the
burial place of many famous Frenchmen including Victor Hugo, who wrote Les Misérables. It is
often called ‘The Westminister Abbey’ of France. From the air the building takes the shape of a
cross. It is located in the Quartier Latin.
18. Le Quartier Latin – This is the student area of Paris. It received its name because the students used to
speak Latin here in the Middle Ages. It is located on the Rive Gauche.
19. La Sorbonne – This is the oldest division of the University of Paris. It was founded by Robert de Sorbon
in 1253. There are twelve divisions of the University of Paris.
20. Le Boulevard Saint-Michel – This is popularly called ‘Le Boul-Mich’. It is the main boulevard through
the Quartier Latin.
21. La Tour Eiffel – The most well-known monument in Paris was built by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel for the
World’s Fair of 1889. It commemorated the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. It is
repainted every seven years. The Tower is 1,000 feet tall and at the summit there is a weather
station and radio transmitter.
22. Le Palais de Chaillot – This was built in 1937 and it is where the United Nations meets in Paris. It
houses the Museum of Man and le Musée des Monuments français, and many other museums
and theaters. It is opposite La Tour Eiffel.
23. Le Champ de Mars – This is the green, grassy rectangular area opposite La Tour Eiffel, which is used for
Bastille Day celebrations and military ceremonies. It runs from the Seine to the École Militaire.
24. L’Arc de Triomphe – The Arc was begun by Napoleon to commemorate his victories. The tomb of the
Unknown Soldier is beneath the Arc lighted by the eternal flame. The Arc is located in the
center of Place de Charles de Gaulle-L’Étoile.
25. Place de Charles de Gaulle-L’Étoile – It is a huge square in the middle of which is L’Arc de Triomphe.
Twelve avenues radiate from the center of the square. This is how it got its name because the
twelve avenues seem to form a star.
26. La Place de la Concorde – This is the largest and most beautiful square in Paris. There are fountains,
statues, and the Egyptian Obelisk, a tall needlelike structure. Many Frenchmen were guillotined
on this site during the French Revolution.
27. L’Avenue des Champs-Elysées – This is the wide tree-lined avenue which extends from Place de la
Concorde to Place de Charles de Gaulle-L’Étoile. It is only one and a quarter miles long and yet
it is one of the most famous avenues in the world.
28. La Madeleine – This is a fashionable church in the form of a Greek temple. Elegant weddings are held
29. L’Opéra – The Paris opera house opened in 1875. It is famous for its grand marble staircase, its
sculptured façade, its gold interior, its painted ceiling, and its elegant foyer. It was begun in 1861
and was completed in 1975. The designer of l’Opéra was Charles Garnier.
30. L’Opéra de La Bastille – This is the new Paris opera house build in 1989 to commemorate the 200th
anniversary of the French Revolution. It is a very modern structure built near the original site of
the Bastille Prison.
31. Place de la Bastille – It is on this site that the Bastille prison was located. It was stormed and taken in
1789 by the people. This symbolized the beginning of the French Revolution as the prison
represented the King and all his evil deeds. Today the Colonne de Juillet stands in the middle of
this square. It was erected to honor Parisians killed in the Revolution described in Les Misérables.
32. La Conciergerie- This is a prison on Ile de la Cité which housed many victims of the French Revolution
including Marie Antoinette. She remained here until she was guillotined in 1793. She was only
38 when she was beheaded. Her husband King Louis XVI was beheaded in January of 1793.
33. Sacré Coeur – This is the white church atop the hill of Montmartre. It was built in the late 19 th century
and it resembles a mosque. It overlooks all of Paris. You can walk up the many steps to get to
the top of the hill or you can take the Funiculaire, a type of mini trolley.
34. Montmartre – This is the highest point of all in Paris. It is a neighborhood characterized by nightlife
and a bohemian type of atmosphere. The famous nightclub, Le Moulin Rouge, is located here.
The name of Montmartre means ‘mountain of martyrs’.
35. La Place du Tertre – This is the artists’ square around the corner from Sacré Coeur in Montmartre. You
can have your portrait painted here or you can purchase a painting from one of the many artists.
36. Le Centre Georges Pompidou – This is the Museum of Art and Culture which is also called the Inside-
Out Building due to its unusual construction. It is located in a neighborhood called Beaubourg.
It was conceived by the former president of France, Georges Pompidou.
37. Montparnasse Tower – This is a tall saltbox like structure, which is an office building. It stands out on
the Paris skyline and Parisians do not like it. It is 58 stories tall and is located on the Rive
38. La Défense – This is the Paris business district, which has tall modern skyscrapers all grouped together,
much like one would see in New York City. It is located on the Rive Droite.
39. L’Arche de la Défense – The new arch erected for the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution in
1989. It frames the Arc de Triomphe in the distance and it was the site of a summit meeting of
the world’s leaders on July 15, 1989.
40. Le Palais des Congrès – This is the modern Paris convention center near La Défense.
41. La Villette – This is the city of Science and Industry. It is a new area of Paris dedicated to Science and
Industry. It is an incredible science center. One unique feature is La Géode, a huge mirrored
structure that houses a theater.
42. Les Bateaux Mouches – These are sightseeing boats on the Seine.
43. Les Bouquinistes – These are bookstalls along the Seine, which sell old books, stamps, postcards, and
prints of scenes of Paris, etc. Un bouquin is a book. ( Think of it as a permanent flea market
along the Seine.)
A. Rue de Rivoli – It runs along the Seine.
B. Rude de la Paix, La Rue Royale, and l’Avenue de l’Opéra are all located in the Opera district.
Many elegant designer boutiques are found in this area.
C. Les Halles – This is the central market of Paris. It ic located near Orly airport and is like our
Eastern market downtown.
D. Department Stores in Paris
45. Famous parks
A. Le Bois de Boulogne – Largest park in Paris located on the west end of the city. (2,224 acres)
B. Le Jardin des Tuileries – Formerly it was the park of the Kings. It is situated near the Seine
between the Louvre and Place de La Concorde. The Tuileries palace once stood on this site but
it burned down. The park is lined with beautiful statues.
C. Le Jardin de Luxembourg – This is a favorite meeting place for students on the Rive Gauche.
Here you see the famous ‘bassin’ where youngsters rent mini sailboats. The Guignol Theater is
here, many playgrounds, flowers, shrubs, pony rides, and concerts in the summer. The
Luxembourg palace is also here. It is where the French Senate meets.
D. Bois de Vincennes – In Southeast Paris, a famous zoo is located here.
46. Famous cafés
A. Café de Flore
B. Aux Deux Magots
C. Le Dome
47. Les Aéroports
A. Orly – large, international
B. Le Bourget – smaller planes, shorter flights
C. Charles de Gaulle-Roissy – largest, newest space age type airport. Eleven stories high, seven
48. Le Métro – The Paris subway system
49. Versailles – Historic palace of King Louis XIV, the Sun King (Le Roi Soleil); located 11 miles SW of Paris.
50. Fountainbleu – Napoleon’s favorite retreat; a huge elegant palace. It is located just outside of Paris.
51. La Bibliothèque Nationale de France- The BnF is the National Library of France. In 1988 François
Mitterand announced the construction of this building. And in 1996 it opened to the public.