Ah, Paris… What can one say about Paris that hasn’t already been said before? Let’s give it a go.
Paris’ Latin motto is “Fluctuat nec mergitur”, which means “Tossed by the waves, she does not sink.” This seems a pretty safe bet for a city 184 miles from the nearest sea. Unless, of course, the author of the motto was the 16th century sage and clairvoyant Nostradamus (see our guide to Languedoc-Roussillon) who knew something we don’t about global warming.
In what is, I think, a true Catch-22 situation, Paris’ Roman antiquities are now under threat from the very organisation set up to preserve them. The National Institute of Preventive Archaeological Research was built on the site of the Roman city of Lutetia, and in recent years, they have unearthed Roman baths, bronze chains (for the plug?) ceramics and, quaintly, drawer-handles. I imagine archaeologists of the year 4,000 will find similar artefacts when they excavate on an Ikea site. Frustratingly, the Institute can’t house the artefacts they’e found unless they expand their premises – and to do so will obliterate the rest of Lutetia. “Why don’t they just move the Institute?” I hear you ask. Go on then, you tell them. They won’t listen to me.
France’s patron Saint Denis was beheaded on Martyrs’ Hill – Montmartre. Being a saint, he then picked up his head and walked for two miles, preaching a sermon all the way. Some vicars just don’t know when to stop. Denis’ headless walk posed a problem for medieval artists. Some had Denis carry his halo in his free hand, while others put the halo where his head used to be. Neither solution looked very dignified. After the Black Death in 1348, the church set up The Fourteen Holy Helpers, a spiritual A-Team for times of plague. Each saint could be appealed to for a different ailment. Appropriately, or in rather poor taste, depending on your point of view, Denis got ‘headaches.’
The Basilica of Saint Denis was founded on the spot where Denis finally shut up and dropped down dead. It became the burial site of almost all the French monarchs, including Pippin the Fearsome (see Languedoc-Roussillon) Charles the Bald (Alsace) Louis VII (Poitou-Charentes) and Catherine de Medici (Centre.) During the Revolution, all the royal tombs were opened and the bones were thrown higgledy-piggledy (no, I don’t know what the French is for ‘higgledy-piggledy’) into a nearby pit. In 1815, (the Napoloeon thing didn’t work out,) France decided to be a monarchy again and the poor kings (and queens) were dug up again. However, due to the higgledy-piggledy nature of their second burial, the bones couldn’t be identified.
The new king Louis XVIII was anxious not to create a Pippin VII or a Catherine the Bald, for fear it would bring the Monarchy into disrepute, so it was decided to re-bury all the remains, still higgledy-piggledy in the St Denis Basilica. They’re still there today, still mixed-up, and finally enjoying some P & Q. By the way, I’ve just found higgledy-piggledy and, disappointingly, it’s pêle-mêle. No poetry, the French.
© 2008 richardheacock @ mac.com
Paris is a the centre of the Ile-de-France region so you probably have a good idea of its location! Located in Northern France and surrounded by the regions of Picardy, to the north, with Champagne-Ardenne and Burgundy to the east and south. On the western flank Centre and Upper Normandy. The departments are Essonne, Hauts-de-Seine, Paris, Seine-Saint-Denis, Seine-et-Marne, Val-de-Marne, Val-d’Oise, Yvelines.
Most of the Île-de-France is covered by the Paris metropolitan area encompassing the Paris urban area and its commuter belt. 88% of the Île-de-France’s population lives in the Paris urban area. The region covers 1.2 million hectares, of which 239,000 ha are built-up urban areas, and there are 687,000 ha of natural areas / farmland and 280,000 ha of forests.
Of course, Paris dominates the region and the delights of Paris will enthral you every time you visit – there is so much to see and enjoy, you will always be discovering new gems. From the dominating Eiffel Tower to the historic alleys, there is something for everybody to enjoy.
Outside Paris you will find forests and many historic homes and chateaux.
From Spring onwards the weather is very pleasant with summer temperatures reaching 75°F / 23°C. Plenty of sunshine in the summer months, and sharp rain showers.
With 2 major airports at Orly and Charles de Gaulle, Paris is accessible from anywhere in the world. Budget airlines also fly in so travel can be reasonably cheap.
Paris is served by a number of stations. From the UK, Nord de Gare is a fast trip with Eurostar from London Waterloo (or Ashford). The TGV serves most major areas of France.
Most autoroutes lead to Paris so access is good and quick – even if you pay tolls!
11.3 million inhabitants.
– Probably the best known landmark in Europe – the Eiffel Tower.
– Louvre Museum, possibly the most famous museum in the world with a renowned collection of art.
– Arche de la Défense is the gateway to the office district of Paris known as La Défense. The architecture here is marvellous.
And then there is the Arc de Triomphe, Montmartre’s Sacre Coeur, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Musée d’Orsay, Pont Alexandre III, Jardin du Luxembourg, Place de la Concorde, Hôtel des Invalides, Avenue des Champs-Elysées, Centre Pompidou and … so many more. Sorry if we have left your favourite out!
You would expect Paris to be expensive but prices can be reasonable compared with other capital cities. There is great variation and of course, some areas are very expensive! On the North and East side , there are some areas to avoid.
Ile-de-france Property SelectionListed below are the departments in the region of Ile-de-france; the number of properties in each department are denoted in brackets - click on a department to see the properties available.
All the properties in Ile-de-france by department.
(Number in brackets = number of properties)
Essonne Property (6)
Hauts de Seine Property (10)
Paris Property (8)
Seine et Marne Property (20)
Val d'Oise Property (3)
Val de Marne Property (4)
Yvelines Property (22)