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Paris, France

Paris, the capital city of France and a center of European culture for centuries, lies on the River Seine, 233 miles from the English Channel.

Paris was at the center of the French Revolution: it was there that the Revolution began with the storming of the Bastille, there that the National Assembly met, and there that the most extreme manifestations of the Terror took place. Under Napoleon, the French government became increasingly centralized, and Paris was the center of power.

Paris had long been the among the most impressive cities in Europe, and was the site of several large efforts at beautification and gentrification throughout the eighteenth century, with grand houses and villas being erected by both the nobility and the wealthy bourgeoisie along the Grands Boulevards. Napoleon continued the trend; part of his legacy was a massive program of building: new bridges and canals, fountains, marketplaces, and, in 1806, a number of triumphal arches.