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The Nuttall Encyclopedia
The capital of France, in the centre of the northern half of the country, on both banks of the Seine, and on two islands (La Cité and St. Louis) in the middle, 110 m. from the sea; is the largest city on the Continent, and one of the most beautiful in the world. No city has finer or gayer streets, or so many noble buildings. The Hôtel de Cluny and the Hôtel de Sens are rare specimens of 15th-century civic architecture. The Palace of the Tuileries, on the right bank of the Seine, dates from the 16th century, and was the royal residence till the Revolution. Connected with it is the Louvre, a series of galleries of painting, sculpture, and antiquities, whose contents form one of the richest collections existing, and include the peerless "Venus de Milo." The Palais Royal encloses a large public garden, and consists of shops, restaurants, the Théâtre Français, and the Royal Palace of the Orleans family. South of the river is the Luxembourg, where the Senate meets, and on the Ile de la Cité stands the Palais de Justice and the Conciergerie, one of the oldest Paris prisons. St.-Germain-des-Prés is the most ancient church, but the most important is the cathedral of Notre Dame, 12th century, which might tell the whole history of France could it speak. Saint-Chapelle is said to be the finest Gothic masterpiece extant. The Pantheon, originally meant for a church, is the burial-place of the great men of the country, where lie the remains of Voltaire, Rousseau, and Carnot. The oldest hospitals are the Hôtel Dieu, La Charité, and La Pitié. The University Schools in the Quartier Latin attract the youth of all France; the chief are the Schools of Medicine and Law, the Scotch College, the College of France, and the Sorbonne, the seat of the faculties of letters, science, and Protestant theology. Triumphal arches are prominent in the city. There are many museums and charitable institutions; the Bibliothèque Nationale, in the Rue Richelieu, rivals the British Museum in numbers of books and manuscripts. The Palace of Industry and the Eiffel Tower commemorate the exhibitions of 1854 and 1889 respectively. Great market-places stand in various parts of the city. The Rue de Rivoli, Rue de la Paix, Rue du Faubourg St.-Honoré, and the Rue Royale are among the chief streets; beautiful squares are numerous, the most noted being the Place de la Concorde, between the Champs Elysées and the Gardens of the Tuileries, in the centre of which the Obelisk of Luxor stands on the site of the guillotine at which Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette, Philippe Egalité, Danton, and Robespierre died. Boulevards lined with trees run to the outskirts of the city. The many roads, railways, canals, and rivers which converge on Paris have made it the most important trading centre in France, and the concourse of wealthy men of all nations has given it a high place in the financial world. It is a manufacturing city, producing jewellery, ornamental furniture, and all sorts of artistic "articles de Paris." The centre of French, and indeed European, fashion, it is noted for its pleasure and gaiety. The concentration of Government makes it the abode of countless officials. It is strongly fortified, being surrounded by a ring of forts, and a wall 22 m. long, at the 56 gates of which the octroi dues are levied. The Préfect of the Seine, appointed by the Government, and advised by a large council, is the head of the municipality, of the police and fire brigades, cleansing, draining, and water-supply departments. The history of Paris is the history of France, for the national life has been, and is, in an extraordinary degree centred in the capital. It was the scene of the great tragic drama of the Revolution, and of the minor struggles of 1830 and 1849. In recent times its great humiliation was its siege and capture by the Germans in 1870-71.
Wood, James, ed. Entry for 'Paris'. The Nuttall Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/nut/p/paris.html. Frederick Warne & Co Ltd. London. 1900.