Posted on January 12, 2015
Celtic people settle on the banks of the Seine River in what is now Paris. They call it Loukteih, meaning “marshy place.”
The Romans arrive in Paris. Julius Caesar holds an assembly in the city. They call the Gallic tribe that occupies the area the “Parisii.” The Romans call the city Lutetia, a Latinized version of the Celtic name, Loukteih.
Soon after Caesar leaves, The Parisii revolt against the Romans. Labienus, Caesar’s lieutenant, defeats them.
St. Denis, Bishop of the Parisii people, is beheaded by the Romans in the area of Paris that is now Montmartre. Legend has it that he picks up his head after it is chopped off and walks several miles preaching a sermon. This is why St. Denis is always depicted headless, with his head in his hands.
The Barbarians destroy the city.
The city is renamed “Paris.”
Attila the Hun heads toward Paris. A young nun named Geneviève encourages the Parisians to pray and stand firm. Attila and his legions of Huns avoid Paris and are defeated at Châlons. Geneviève is hailed as the city’s savior and is later named the patron saint of Paris. She is also sainted and is now known as Saint Geneviève.
Clovis, king of the Merovingian Franks, becomes the first of the pagan barbarians to adopt Catholicism.
Clovis defeats the Visigoths and pushes them out of what is now France. He makes Paris the capital and settles there.
Clovis the Frank commissions the building of the cathedral of St. Etienne on the Île.
Saint Geneviève dies.
Invading Vikings force the Parisians to construct a fortress on the Île de la Cité.
March 28, 845
The Vikings sack Paris. They collect a large ransom in exchange for leaving.
Hugh Capet, the eldest son of Hugh the Great, is born in Paris.
March 27, 972
Hugh Capet’s son, Robert II, is born.
July 3, 987
Hugh Capet, count of Paris, is crowned King of France and becomes the first of the Capetian line of kings.
Oct. 24, 996
Hugh Capet dies in Paris and is succeeded by his son, Robert II.
The University of Paris is founded.
King Philippe-Auguste builds a square château-fort to protect the western side of the city. This château is developed and expanded by subsequent kings over the next 600 years and later becomes the Louvre.
The Black Death strikes the city.
The Hundred Years War begins.
Urban revolts drive the royal court to abandon the city for almost 100 years.
Construction is begun on the section of the Louvre known as the Tuileries Palace.
King Louis XIV, the Sun King, begins his reign. He moves the royal residence from Paris to Versailles.
The last of the Gothic portions of the Louvre are removed.
Nov. 21, 1694
Voltaire is born in Paris.
King Louis XIV dies.
June 2, 1740
The Marquis de Sade is born in the Condé palace in Paris.
May 30, 1778
Voltaire dies in Paris. He is denied burial on church ground because of his previous criticism of the church.
The Marquis de Sade, imprisoned previously in Vincennes, is transferred to the Bastille in Paris.
July 31, 1784
Writer Denis Diderot dies of emphysema in Paris and is buried in the the Eglise Saint-Roch.
July 2, 1789
The Marquis de Sade shouts from his cell in the Bastille: “They are killing the prisoners here!” It causes a small riot.
July 4, 1789
Sade is transferred to an insane asylum at Charenton-Saint-Maurice just outside of Paris.
July 13, 1789
A mob of Parisians storms the Bastille.
July 14, 1789
The Bastille surrenders to the citizens and the French Revolution has begun.
The monarchy falls and the First Republic is proclaimed.
Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette are guillotined. The Louvre becomes a public museum.
Robespierre and the members of the revolutionary tribunal are guillotined.
Napoléon enters Paris. Wishing to replicate the imperial style of ancient Rome, he orders the triumphal arches of the Carrousel and the Etoile, and the Vendôme Column.
Dec. 2, 1804
In the Cathedral of Notre Dame, having snatched the crown from the pope and put it on his own head, Napoléon declares himself Emperor and his wife Josephine Empress of the French.
June 18, 1815
Napoléon’s army is defeated by Wellington at Waterloo.
June 22, 1815
Napoléon abdicates June 22 and is exiled to St-Helena in the south Atlantic. The Bourbons are briefly restored to the throne of France.
Adolphe Thiers’ journal “Le National” helps to bring about the July Revolution. Charles X is overthrown and replaced by Louis-Philippe, the Citizen King.
A cholera epidemic kills 19,000 people.
The Obelisk of Luxor arrives in Paris. A gift from the Viceroy of Egypt, Mohammed Ali Pasha, it is a 3300-year old stone needle that bears hieroglyphics telling the story of Ramses II. It is put at the Place de Concorde in the spot where the statue of Louis XV was before the Revolution.
Barricades erected during 3-day civil strife mark another revolution and the proclamation of the Second Republic. France has its first legislative assembly. Prince Louis Napoléon Bonaparte wins the presidency by 5 million votes.
The castle that later becomes the Louvre is completed and is now one of the world’s largest palaces, after 600 years of development and expansion.
The revolutionary impressionist exhibit at the Salon des Refusés, featuring works by Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, and Paul Cézanne.
The Franco-Prussian war ends with a siege of Paris.
The Paris Commune, a revolutionary Socialist government, takes over the city. They burn The Tuileries Palace and pull down Napoleon’s column. The French Army under General MacMahon suppressses the Commune and 20,000 people die.
Construction of the Opéra Garnier is completed.
The International Exposition is held in Paris.
Emile Nouguier and Maurice Koechlin conceive of the idea for a tall tower in Paris.
Sept. 18, 1884
Eiffel registers a patent “for a new configuration allowing the construction of metal supports and pylons capable of exceeding a height of 300 metres”.
Victor Hugo dies in Paris.
Feb. 14, 1887
Soon after construction on the Eiffel Tower has begun, an article entitled “Protest against the Tower of Monsieur Eiffel” appears in the Le Temps newspaper. It is addressed to Monsieur Alphand, the World’s Fair’s director of works. It is signed by Guy de Maupassant, Alexandre Dumas, Jr., Charles Gounod, William Bouguereau, Charles Garnier, and others. It reads in part: “We come, we writers, painters, sculptors, architects, lovers of the beauty of Paris which was until now intact, to protest with all our strength and all our indignation, in the name of the underestimated taste of the French, in the name of French art and history under threat, against the erection in the very heart of our capital, of the useless and monstrous Eiffel Tower, which popular ill-feeling, so often an arbiter of good sense and justice, has already christened the Tower of Babel.”
Feb. 14, 1887
In the same day’s paper, Eiffel responds to the critics in an interview. He says: “For my part I believe that the Tower will possess its own beauty. Are we to believe that because one is an engineer, one is not preoccupied by beauty in one’s constructions, or that one does not seek to create elegance as well as solidity and durability? Is it not true that the very conditions which give strength also conform to the hidden rules of harmony?”
During the period of construction, the Eiffel Tower is referred to by artists and intellectuals as: “this truly tragic street lamp,” “this belfry skeleton,” “this high and skinny pyramid of iron ladders,” “a half-built factory pipe, a carcass waiting to be fished out with freestone or brick.”
The World’s Fair is held in Paris. The Eiffel Tower receives two million visitors and is held in awe as the world’s tallest building.
Paris hosts the 1900 Summer Olympics. The first Métro line opens, running from Porte de Vincennes to Porte Maillot.
James Joyce moves to Paris.
WWI brings 2 million American soldiers to France. Paris is saved from the Germans by the Battle of the Marne.
American Prohibition begins, leading many American intellectuals and writers to move to Paris.
Nov. 9, 1918
Writer Guillaume Apollinaire dies at his apartment in Paris of influenza during the 1918 Spanish Flu Epidemic.
The Treaty of Versailles is signed with France attempting to exact reparations from Germany.
The Unknown Soldier is buried at the Arc de Triomphe.
Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley Richardson move to Paris.
James Joyce’s Ulysses is published by Sylvia Beach, owner of the Paris bookstore Shakespeare and Company.
May 18, 1922
Proust and Joyce meet for the first time in Paris.
Nov. 8, 1922
Proust dies. James Joyce attends his funeral.
Paris hosts the 1924 Summer Olympics.
Hemingway leaves Paris.
The International Exhibition is held in Paris.
James Joyce and his family flee Paris in fear of the advancing German army.
Paris falls to German occupying forces.
Napoléon’s body moves through Paris during his funeral procession.
The Allies land at Normandy beach. Hitler orders General von Choltitz to destroy Paris.
Aug. 24, 1944
General von Choltitz surrenders and Paris is finally free from the Germans. General Leclerc enters the city.
Aug. 26, 1944
General Charles de Gaulle enters Paris.
France adopts a new constitution and French women win the right to vote.
Charles de Gaulle is elected president.
The Tour Montparnasse (Montparnasse Tower), a modern skyscraper, is constructed, causing many to complain that it ruins the skyline created by Haussman.
Algeria regains independence. Approximately 700,000 French colonists from Algeria return to France. The population of Paris grows instantly to 1.2 million.
Hemingway’s memoirs of his years in Paris, A Moveable Feast, are published posthumously.
“Les évènements de Mai 1968” (“The Events of May 1968”) occur, with 9 million works going on strike, student demonstrations, and the resignation of president Charles De Gaulle.
Georges Pompidou is elected president.
The first mayor of Paris since 1871 is elected. The architecturally controversial Centre Pompidou is inaugurated in the old Beaubourg neighborhood.
France’s first socialist president, François Mitterrand, is elected.
The Orsay Museum and the Cité des Sciences at La Villette open.
François Mitterrand is reelected.
Disneyland Paris opens in the suburbs of Paris.
Jacques Chirac becomes president of France.
A small square in Paris near the Bibliothèque Nationale in the 13th arrondissement is named after James Joyce.
Oct. 29, 2004
Ailing Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat arrives in Paris for medical treatment.
Nov. 11, 2004
Arafat dies in Paris.
May 29, 2005
French voters reject the European Union’s proposed constitution.
July 25, 2005
American Lance Armstrong wins his sixth Tour de France.
Oct. 19, 2005
Nicolas Sarkozy, France’s interior minister, declares a “war without mercy” on violence in Parisian suburbs.
Oct. 25, 2005
While visiting the Paris suburb of Argenteuil to speak about eliminated crime in that neighborhood, Sarkozy is pelted with stones and bottles.
Oct. 27, 2005
Two teenagers, aged 15 and 17, are electrocuted in the suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois after running from a checkpoint and allegedly being chased by police. A third youth receives serious burns but survives. Blaming the deaths on the police, riots begin. After local youths hear of the deaths, they begin rioting. 23 cars are burned and several buildings vandalized. Riot police are deployed and pelted with stones and bottles.
Oct. 28, 2005
In Clichy-sous-Bois, four hundred youths hurl Molotov cocktails, stones, injuring 23 police. Police respond by firing rubber bullets into the crowd. On this day 29 cars are set on fire and 13 people detained.
Oct. 29, 2005
During the day, 500 people in Clichy-sous-Bois hold a silent march in honor of the two teenagers who were electrocuted. That night, the riots resume. 20 cars are set on fire and 9 people are detained by police.
Oct. 30, 2005
In Clichy-sous-Bois, six police officers are injured, 8 vehicles are set on fire, and 11 people are arrested. A mosque is hit with a teargas grenade, incensing the Muslim community in the suburb and fueling the riots. French officials do not acknowledge that police fired the grenade, saying it could have been anyone.
Oct. 31, 2005
Sarkozy vows to stop the riots. He asks to meet with the families of the electrocuted teens, but they refuse. The brother of one of the victims, Siyakah Traore, says calls Sarkozy “very, very incompetent. He asks to speak to Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin instead. On this day 68 cars are set on fire and 19 people are arrested.
Nov. 1, 2005
Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin meets with the families of the dead teenagers. On this day, 180 cars are set on fire and 34 people are arrested.
Nov. 2, 2005
A spokesperson for President Chirac says: “Tempers must calm down. The law must be applied in a spirit of dialogue and respect. A lack of dialogue and an escalation of disrespectful behaviour would lead to a dangerous situation. Zones without law cannot exist in the republic.” On this day, the riots spread to 22 suburbs surrounding Paris. In the suburb of Sevran, youths stop a bus. All of the passengers are able to escape except one: a 56-year-old handicapped woman. A youth pours gasoline on her and sets her on fire, causing her third degree burns to 20% of her body. He then throws a Molotov cocktail onto the bus.
Nov. 3, 2005
The rioting spreads to other French cities, including Rouen, Bordeaux, Marseille, and Strasbourg.
Nov. 4, 2005
French officials open a criminal investigation into the deaths of the two teenagers. Prime Minister Villepin
Nov. 5, 2005
1,295 cars are burned throughout France. 349 people are arrested.
Nov. 6, 2005
President Chirac addresses the public about the riots for the first time. Speaking from the steps of the Elysee Palace after an emergency meeting of the national security council, he says that an “absolute priority is to reestablish security and public order … The law should have the final say, and the republic is determined to be stronger than those who want to spread violence and fear. Those people will be apprehended, judged and punished.”
Nov. 7, 2005
Overnight between the 6th and the 7th, the violence spreads into Paris’ 17th arrondissement, with six cars being set on fire in the area that stretches from Montmartre in the west to the Arc de Triomphe.
President Sarkozy launches the Grand Paris project, which intends to create the Metropolis of Grand Paris, an area that will integrate Paris with surrounding towns.
Plans for the Grand Paris Express are approved, which will consist of 205 kilometres of automated rail lines connecting Paris, three areas around Paris, airports, and TGV rail stations. It is scheduled to be complete by 2030.
April 5, 2014
Anne Hidalgo, a member of the Socialist Party, is elected the first female mayor of Paris.
January 7, 2015
Two Muslim extremists storm the Paris headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine that published several cartoons depicting Mohammed. They kill twelve people, including the editor of the magazine, Stéphane “Charb” Charbonnier, several cartoonists and office employees, and two police officers. The gunmen fled the scene while shouting, “We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad. We have killed Charlie Hebdo!”
The same day, two terrorists took six people hostage at Hyper Casher supermarket, a kosher grocery. Four of the hostages, all of whom were Jewish, were killed – Yoav Hattab, Philippe Braham, Yohan Cohen and Francois-Michel Saada. Police rescued the remaining 15 hostages and killed terrorist Amedy Coulibaly. His accomplice, a woman named Hayat Boumeddiene, escaped and is believed to have fled to Turkey.
January 11, 2015
Almost 2 million people marched through the streets of Paris to show solidarity against the terrorists and the suppression of free speech. Over 40 world leaders attended the demonstration, including British Prime Minister David Cameron, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, EU President Donald Tusk, Jordan’s King Abdullah II, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry were both criticized in the media and by Republicans for not attending the rally.