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Paris
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Paris is the capital of France and the country's most populous city. It is situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region. 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.

Paris is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with 45 million tourists every year in the Paris Region, 60% of whom are foreign visitors. There are numerous iconic landmarks among its many attractions, along with world-famous institutions and popular parks. Paris has many nicknames, but its most famous is "La Ville-Lumière" which is most often translated as "The City of Light", a name it owes first to its fame as a centre of education and ideas during the Age of Enlightenment, and later to its early adoption of street lighting.

During World War I, Paris was at the forefront of the war effort, having been spared a German invasion by the French and British victory at the First Battle of the Marne in 1914. In 1918–1919, it was the scene of Allied victory parades and peace negotiations. In the inter-war period Paris was famed for its cultural and artistic communities and its nightlife. The city became a gathering place of artists from around the world, from exiled Russian composer Stravinsky and Spanish painters Picasso and Dalí to American writer Hemingway. On 14 June 1940, five weeks after the start of the Battle of France, Paris fell to German occupation forces, who remained there until the city was liberated in August 1944 after a resistance uprising, two and a half months after the Normandy invasion.

Paris has an oceanic climate and is affected by the North Atlantic Current, so the city rarely sees extremely high or low temperatures, such as the heat wave of 2003 and the cold wave of 2006. Paris has warm and pleasant summers with average high temperatures of 25 °C (77 °F) and low of 15 °C (59 °F). Winter is chilly, but temperature is around 3 °C (37 °F) to 8 °C (46 °F), and rarely falls below the freezing point. Spring and autumn have mild to occasionally warm days and cool evenings. Rain falls throughout the year, and although Paris is not a very rainy city, it is known for sudden showers. Average annual precipitation is 642 mm (25 in) with light rainfall fairly distributed throughout the year. Snowfall is rare, but the city sometimes sees light snow or flurries without accumulation. The highest recorded temperature is 40.4 °C (105 °F) on 28 July 1948, and the lowest is a −23.9 °C (−11 °F) on 10 December 1879.[46]

Paris' museums and monuments are among its highest-esteemed attractions; tourism has motivated both the city and national governments to create new ones. The city's most prized museum, the Louvre, welcomes over 8 million visitors a year, being by far the world's most-visited art museum. The city's cathedrals are another main attraction: Its Notre Dame de Paris and the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur receive 12 million and eight million visitors, respectively. The Eiffel Tower, by far Paris' most famous monument, averages over six million visitors per year and more than 200 million since its construction. Disneyland Paris is a major tourist attraction not only for visitors to Paris but for visitors to the rest of Europe as well, with 14.5 million visitors in 2007.

Paris is served by two major airports: Orly Airport, which is south of Paris, and the Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport, near Roissy-en-France, which is one of the busiest in the world and is the hub for the unofficial Flag carrier Air France. A third and much smaller airport, Beauvais Tillé Airport, located in the town of Beauvais, 70 km (43 mi) to the north of the city, is used by charter and low-cost airlines. The fourth airport, Le Bourget nowadays only hosts business jets, air trade shows and the aerospace museum. In addition, Paris is served by a light rail network of four lines, the tramway: Line T1 runs from Saint-Denis to Noisy-le-Sec, line T2 runs from La Défense to Porte de Versailles, line T3 runs from Pont de Garigliano to Porte d'Ivry, line T4 runs from Bondy to Aulnay-sous-Bois. Six new light rail lines are currently in various stages of development. Paris also offers a bike sharing system called Vélib' with more than 20,000 public bicycles distributed at 1,450 parking stations, which can be rented for short and medium distances including one way trips. The new ferry service Voguéo has been inaugurated in June 2008, on the rivers Seine and Marne. Paris is a central hub of the national rail network. The six major railway stations, Gare du Nord, Gare Montparnasse, Gare de l'Est, Gare de Lyon, Gare d'Austerlitz, and Gare Saint-Lazare, are connected to three networks: The TGV serving four High-speed rail lines, the normal speed Corail trains, and the suburban rails.

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