With Access Paris, your visit will be an easy, enjoyable experience -- the remarkable history and ancient charms of this artistic and cultural capital of a unified Europe are at your fingertips.Paris has been divided and organized by neighborhoods, so you know where you are where you are and where you're headed. Unique color-coded and numbered entries allow you to discover the best:
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With the publication of his first book in 1962 at the age of 26, Richard Saul Wurman began the singular passion of his life: that of making information understandable. A holder of both M. Arch. & B. Arch. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, he has been awarded several grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Guggenheim Fellowship, two Graham Fellowships & two Chandler Fellowships. In 1991, Richard Saul Wurman received the Kevin Lynch Award from MIT for his creation of the ACCESS travel guides. In 1994, he was named a Fellow of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland & awarded a Doctorate of Fine Arts by the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. In 1995, he received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from Art Center College of Design & was Chairman of Graphic Design & Product/Industrial Design of the1995 Presidential Design Awards.
Richard Saul Wurman continues to be a regular consultant to major corporations in matters relating to the design & understanding of information. He is married to novelist Gloria Nagy, has 4 children & lives in Newport, Rhode Island.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
"Paris is the greatest temple ever built to material joys and the lust of the eyes," wrote novelist Henry James. Indeed, the richness and variety of France's capital elevates even the necessities of life to works of art. Parisians seem to perform such everyday routines as eating and dressing with vitality and flair. The streets themselves are museums lined with splendid architecture and historic monuments, making even the simple act of walking through the city one of life's greatest pleasures.
Paris is located in the north-central part of France in the Ile-de-France region, in the Seine river valley. Covering only 105 square kilometers (41 square miles) and populated by over 2 million people, it is France's largest city and the densest of all European capitals. It is roughly circular in shape and bounded by the Boulevard Périphérique, a ring road on the site of mid-19th-century fortifications that once defined the city limits.
Cutting across the whole map is a seven-mile stretch of the Seine River that separates Paris into two distinct areas, the northern Rive Droite (Right Bank) and the southern Rive Gauche (Left Bank). The Seine unites rather than divides the city; Paris is linked by no fewer than 26 bridges in the city center alone. The quays are lined with fine apartment and town houses, bouquinistes (booksellers) and street artists, such worldclass museums as the Musée du Louvre and the Musée d'Orsay, and dazzling monuments, including the Tour Eiffel and the Cathédrale de Notre-Dame. The Seine is alive with commercial barges and bateaux mouches (small passenger steamers) taking sightseers up- and downriver to enjoy the panoramas, and the riverbanks are animated with people promenading along their course.
Each of the city's 20 arrondissements (quarters) boasts its own distinct character, so Paris feels less like a monstrous metropolis and more like a score of small towns. Travel from the villagelike atmosphere of Montmartre, the Latin Quarter, or the Marais to the grandeur of the Avenue des Champs-Elysées and the Hôtel des Invalides; from the haute-couture shopping areas along the Rue du Faubourg-St-Honoré and the Boulevard St-Germain to the trendy regions around the Bastille and Les Halles; and to the two islands that form the physical and spiritual heart of the city, the Ile de la Cité6 and the Ile St-Louis. In Paris the past is ever present, and a stroll through the city of today is also a journey back in time.
Paris is an ancient city, more than 2,000 years old. Begun as a village named Lutetia and inhabited by a tribe called the Parisii, it was subsequently settled by the Romans and then became the capital city of the kingdom of the Franks. Under Charlemagne the capital of France was moved to Aix-la-Chapelle, but Paris regained its capital status in 987 under Hugh Capet, the first of the Capetian line of kings. During the Middle Ages the city was an intellectual and religious center, but it lapsed into chaos during the Hundred Years' War with England (1337-1453), a period that also saw outbreaks of the bubonic plague.
The city again flourished during the Renaissance and saw significant expansion and development under the Bourbon kings of the 17th and 18th centuries. Although Louis XIV moved the court to Versailles in the late 17th century, Paris enjoyed great wealth and power during his reign, known as Le Grand Siécle (the Great Century). Under Louis XV Paris emerged as a center for culture and ideas, the arts flourished, and such intellectuals as Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot, and Montesquieu were renowned throughout Europe. Atthe end of the 18th century, however, the extravagances of Louis XVI and his court led to the French Revolution and the bloodbath known as the Reign of Terror.
The instability following the Revolution allowed General Napoléon Bonaparte to seize control of the French government, and by 1804 he had proclaimed himself Emperor of France and set about making Paris the most magnificent city in the world. After Napoléon's defeat at Waterloo and subsequent exile, the Bourbon monarchy took one last gasp; then Napol6on's nephew assumed power, declaring himself Napoléon III in 1851. Like his uncle, he undertook a vast urbanization program. Unfortunately, however, he also embroiled the country in a succession of wars, culminating in the 1870 Franco-Prussian War, during which Paris suffered under siege and famine. The insurrection that followed France's capitulation to Prussia in 1871 saw violent massacres in Paris.
By the end of the 19th century, Paris had recovered and was once again a driving force in Western culture. This optimistic period, known as the Belle Epoque (Beautiful Age), was captured in the work of the Impressionist painters. In the early part of this century, Paris became a mecca for intellectuals, artists, and philosophers, including Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Samuel Beckett, Simone de Beauvoir, and jean-Paul Sartre. After being occupied by the Germans, the city emerged from World War 11 with relatively little damage to its buildings and monuments. In the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, Paris saw the construction of numerous modern buildings, and, more recently, the grands projets of the late Socialist president François Mitterrand.
Paris continues to evolve into the 21st century as one of Europe's most modem cities; yet it is at the same time an ancient city, with reminders of its remarkable history evident at every turn. The artistic and cultural capital of a unified Europe, the Paris of today offers a wealth of beauty and experiences. Few visitors fail to succumb to the splendor of this city, made even more appealing by the Parisian's love of grace, beauty, and fine living.
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