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Paris History and Culture

Interested in knowing more about Paris' rich history and culture ahead of, or during, your visit? Find information on Paris in ages past, famous Parisians, plus resources on contemporary French culture and etiquette.
  1. Blogs (12)
  2. French Writers

Paris Maps Present and Past
A gallery showing maps of Paris, France in the present day and in history. The gallery, which is in reverse chronological order, demonstrates the shifting contours of Paris as its population ballooned and social and political revolutions drastically altered the city's layout.

Paris Movie Walks by Michael Schürmann
A review of Paris Movie Walks, which features ten guided tours of Paris through a cinematic lens.

Paris Historical Origins and Key Events
A brief description of Paris' historical origins, from the pre-Roman era to World War II.

Top Paris Cathedrals and Churches
Paris houses many of history's more stunning spiritual relics-- cathedrals and chuches that stand today as breathtaking testimonials to a complex heritage of Christianity that dominated in Paris from the fall of the Roman Empire to the French Revolution. Many of these majestic cathedrals and churches fell into near-ruin in the wake of the Revolution, but revived interest in the 19th century broug…

Celebrating Bastille Day in Paris
A guide to celebrating Bastille Day in Paris (Fête de la Bastille), which falls every year on July 14th and marks the beginning of the 1789 French Revolution and France's first steps toward becoming a Republic.

Top Ten Myths about France and French People
Dispel the myths! The French do not hate Americans and enjoy hot showers as much as the rest of us. About France for Visitors Guide Kelby Carr debunks 10 common myths about France and its people.

Dada: An Artistic Movement Born in Paris
A gallery of paintings and other art forms created by the Dadaists, Parisian artists who shook up convention between the First and Second World Wars. See why Paris gained its reputation for being one of the most fertile places for avant-garde, experimental art. From the About Art History Page.

Map of Medieval Paris
Check out this map of Paris to see how the city was laid out at a point in the Middle Ages. From About Medieval History.

Portrait of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Famous French Painter
A portrait of one of Paris' best-loved painters, poster designers, and night owls. From About Painting.

Artist Profile: Jacques-Louis David
A portrait of neoclassical painter Jacques-Louis David, best known for his 1784 work, "The Oath of the Horatii". From About Art History.

Interview: Sylvia Whitman, Co-Owner of Shakespeare and Company
For the occasion of the 2010 "Festivalandco" Literary Festival in Paris, Courtney Traub of About.com Paris Travel sat down for a chat with Sylvia Whitman, co-owner of legendary Paris bookshop Shakespeare and Company, daughter of founder George Whitman and co-director of the literary festival.

What does "arrondissement" mean?
Definition and usage for the word "arrondissement", specifically in the context of Paris' twenty city districts or arrondissements.

Top Quotations About Paris
Need some cultural inspiration? Go through our list of famous quotations about Paris from great thinkers such as Ernest Hemingway and Oscar Wilde.

Bio For Gus Turner, Contributor
Gus Turner is a Contributor to About.com Paris Travel

Paris Restaurant Vocabulary
Need help understanding common words and phrases used in Paris restaurants, or help with vocabulary to order food or ask for the check in French? Bookmark this handy guide to Paris restaurant vocabulary

Great Parisian Women of the 20th Century
As a center of intellectual history, Paris has been home to some of the world's most extraordinary women: thinkers, writers, artists or leaders who bravely pushed the envelope and changed the world with their ideas and talents. This gallery highlighting a few great Parisian women of the 20th century pays tribute to extraordinary thinkers and...

Top Ten Myths About Parisians
Convinced most Parisians are snooty, ultra-fashionable socialites who quote Jean-Paul Sartre on a whim? Think again and read up on why these myth's just aren't true...or mostly not.

Paris Culture 101: Ordering Popular Bakery Items
Bread and pastry fan? This mouth-watering cultural tutorial teaches you how to identify and properly order typical items found in Parisian bakeries and pastry shops. Delicieux!

Weird and Quirky Shops in Paris: From Curiosity Cabinets to Booksellers
Looking for a slice of the weird and wacky, and off-the-beaten-track in Paris? Browse our favorite weird shops in the city of light.

Ten Most Annoying Things About Paris
Annoying things about Paris? Journalist and adopted Parisian Colette Davidson has no problem listing them, despite years of living in (and loving) the city.

Edith Piaf Memorial in Paris
Fan of French songstress Edith Piaf? Visit her little-known memorial in Paris, France, in the quiet northeastern neighborhood where "the little bird" was born.

Remembering Claude Chabrol: A Short Biography and Obituary
French filmmaker Claude Chabrol was a prolific filmmaker best known for his dark observations on the human condition. Read about his life and death here.

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