The Ile-de-France Region is made up of eight départements that have a different registration: Essonne (91), Hauts-de-Seine (92), Paris (75), Seine-et-Marne (77), Seine-St-Denis (93), Val-de-Marne (94), Val-d'Oise (95) and Yvelines (78).
Paris is divided into 20 arrondissements (administrative divisions) or districts distributed like the spiral of a snail's shell and into 80 quartiers or neighbourhoods (that developed from the various parishes).
Paris and Greater Paris cover 2000km2 with nearly 10 million inhabitants, a sixth of the French population.
Paris was known as Lutetia until 360.
Sainte-Geneviève became the saint patron of Paris after successfully rallying the Parisians to resist Attila and his Hun warriors in 451.
In 508 Clovis, the first King of France, made Paris the capital of the Frank Kingdom.
Hugues Capet made Paris the capital of France when he became king in 987.
Fluctuat nec mergitur
She is buffeted by the waves but does not sink
A silver white sailing boat sails fiercely on the waves against a red background.
The coat of arms symbolizes the ancient Lutetia, born on the Ile de la Cité, proudly standing in the middle of the Seine like a boat with its oars deployed.
Long before the Roman conquest, the Gallic tribe of the Parisii built their oppidum (fort) on the small island that stood at the junction of the roads leading north and south.
The river Seine linked the east to the west of the country.
An important port, Lutetia, was connected to the right and left banks by two wooden bridges.
When you see the Ile de la Cité from above you understand why Paris' coat of arms is a sailing ship.
The island's diamond shape gives the appearance of a vessel sailing on the waters, while the bridges that connect it to both banks resemble unfurled oars.
The western tip of the Ile de la Cité looks likes the figurehead of a ship.
The Parisii acquired their wealth from hunting, but also from the water trade and more particularly from charging fees for transportation of goods on the Seine.
The coat of arms reflects the importance of the Guild of the Watermen of Paris (Nautes Parisiens) who, through the centuries, played a dominant political and economical role in the development of the capital as they retained the monopoly on the fluvial traffic on the Seine, Marne, Oise and Yonne rivers, controlled the exchanges and collected levies.
Over the centuries, the boatmen became wealthy merchants.
In 1246 Paris had become a large city that required a separate administration.
In 1260 Louis IX (Saint-Louis) authorised Paris residents to elect their aldermen or Echevins among the members of the powerful Guild of the Watermen whose leader became the Provost of the Merchants of Paris, a status equivalent to that of mayor.
The Guild's armorial bearings, a sailing boat, was adopted as the coat of arms of the City.
The top of the coat of arms is crowned with golden Fleurs de Lys against a blue background.
The legend has it that a large colony of water irises indicated to Clovis the presence of a ford.
He and his men crossed the river at night and surprised the Visigoths in their sleep.
In 1358 Charles V added the Fleur de Lys, the emblem of the French Kings, to the coat of arm.
The motto was added during the 16th century and was retained until the Revolution.
The Prefect of Paris Haussmann reintroduced the motto and made it official through an order dated 24th November 1853.
Welcome to the Hexagone as we French people like to call Metropolitan France...
France, a population of nearly 60 million, surrounded by six countries, three seas and divided in twenty-two regions...
France, a country of contrasting landscapes and climates, a unique architecture, a Cuisine praised and renowned around the world...
France, a country with a unique lifestyle and way of being... the French touch...
Paris its capital and first world tourist destination...
We are a French British team dedicated to bring you a collection of travel notes and photos delivering a French insight on Paris and other regions of France, famous or less famous, their traditions, their history and sometimes legends; Explore with us, we are constantly visiting new places; they are just a click away!