Paris is the capital of France, was the most populous city of Europe with an area of 105 square kilometers (41 square miles) and a population of 2,206,488. With 200,000 inhabitants in 1328. Paris, a legendary city, has inspired artists, photographers and musicians throughout the ages. Victor Hugo described working-class Paris in Les Misérables; Apollinaire immortalized the Mirabeau bridge in his poem and Joe Dassin composed a song titled “Les Champs-Elysées”. These days, luxury brands like Cartier and Dior draw inspiration from the beauty of Paris for their designs.
Paris is especially known for its museums and architectural landmarks: the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay and Musée de l’Orangerie are noted for their collections of French Impressionist art, and the Pompidou Center, Musée National d’Art Moderne has the largest collection of modern and contemporary art in Europe. The historical district along the Seine in the city center is classified as a UNESCO Heritage Site.
Popular landmarks in the center of the city include the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris and the Gothic royal chapel of Sainte-Chapelle, both on the Île de la Cité; the Eiffel Tower, the Grand Palais and Petit Palais, the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Élysées, and the Basilica of Sacré-Coeur on the hill of Montmartre.
Paris received 23 million visitors in 2017, measured by hotel stays, with the largest numbers of foreign visitors coming from the United States, the UK, Germany and China. It was ranked as the third most visited travel destination in the world in 2017.