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 Île-de-France region. The City of
Paris, within its limits largely unchanged since 1860, has an estimated
population of 2,167,994 (January 2006), but the Paris agglomeration (the
Paris unité urbaine or urban area), of which the City of Paris is but a
core, has an estimated population of 10,142,977 (in 2006). The Paris aire
urbaine (or metropolitan area), or the Paris agglomoration plus its commuter
belt, 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, 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 US$731.3 billion, produced more than a quarter of
the gross domestic product (GDP) of France in 2007. The Paris Region hosts
37 of the Fortune Global 500 companies in several business districts,
notably La Défense, the largest purpose-built business district in Europe.
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.