Paris was founded in the end of the 3rd century BC by a tribe of Celtic Gauls known as Parisii. The eternal conflicts between the Gauls and Romans ended in 52 BC when Julius Caesar’s legions took control of the territory.
Arrival of the Franks
In the end of the 2nd century AD the Roman rule ended with the arrival of the Franks. In 508 AD Frankish King Clovis I united Gauls as kingdom and made Paris the capital (from the name of the tribe).
The prosperity of the Paris began during the Middle ages. In the 12th century the construction of Notre Dame Cathedral began which continued for almost 200 years.
Scandinavian Vikings (also known as Norsemen, or Normans) began raiding France’s western coast in the 9th century. After three centuries of conflict, they started to push toward Paris. These conflicts gave birth to the Hundred Years War between Norman England and Paris’ Capetian dynasty, eventually resulting in the French defeat at Agincourt in 1415 and English control of Paris in 1420. In 1429, a 17-year-old girl named Jeanne d’Arc re-rallied the French troops to defeat the English at Orleans, and, with the exception of the Calais area, the English were expelled from France in 1453.
During Renaissance in 1400’s many of the city’s signature buildings and monuments sprang up. But by late 16th century the clashes between Huguenot Protestants and the Catholics began. In 1572 there was the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre of 3,000 Huguenots.
During reign of the Louis XIV (the Sun King), the treasury was almost bankrupted due to aggressive wars abroad and ever more colossal spending at home.
On July 14th, 1789, the French revolution began, citizens stormed the Bastille prison and in 1792 Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI were beheaded at what is now known as Place De La Concorde.
Reign of Terror
The populist ideals of the revolution’s early stages quickly gave way to what became known as the Reign of Terror. The unstable post-revolution government was consolidated in 1799 under a young Corsican general, Napoleon Bonaparte.
In 1851 a new emperor reigned, the Napoleon’s own nephew, Napoleon III. During the 17 years of his rule, he oversaw the construction of a flashy new Paris, with wide boulevards, sculptured parks and a modern sewer system. Napoleon III and his civic planner, Baron Haussmann, gave the Paris we see today, for the most part.
The “Belle Epoque”
The “belle epoque” was famed for its Art Nouveau architecture and a barrage of advances in the arts and sciences. The Eiffel Tower was born of this time (1889). The Statue of Liberty was sent to America in this time (1886). By the 1930’s, Paris had become a worldwide center for the artistic avant-garde and in a way became the world capital for free-thinking intellectuals.