Why is Paris the Capital of France?

Why is Paris the Capital of France?

France is a country which has a lot of history. If you are an American, then you can thank France for your independence. It is one of the most visited countries in the world, but what is the capital of France?

The capital of France is Paris. With a population of over 10 million, it is one of the most populated cities in Europe.

Let’s tell you a little bit about Paris, shall we?

What Is The Capital of France?

Paris is the capital of France. 

Where Is The Capital of France Located?

Where Is The Capital of France Located?
Where Is The Capital of France Located?

Paris is located in the north of the country. It is about 180 miles from the coast that sits on the north of France (i.e. the part that overlooks the English Channel, with the UK on the opposite side). 

Brief History of Paris

Beautiful sunrise at the Pont Alexandre III and Les Invalides in Paris
Beautiful sunrise at the Pont Alexandre III and Les Invalides in Paris

Since Paris has been inhabited since 3,000 BC, there is a lot of history there. We encourage you to research the full history yourself because it is exceedingly interesting. Here, we will only be able to give a few highlights. 

While Paris has been inhabited since 3,000 BC, the first thing that we would recognize as Paris now started in the 3rd Century onward. This is when we know that there was a lot of political and religious activity here (The Roman Empire was kicking around). By the 6th Century, Paris had been declared the capital of the Merovingian Dynasty.

Zipping ahead to the 12th Century, Paris was firmly rooted as the capital of France. It was a cultural hotbed, with the royals opting to make it their home. It is around this time that the city really started to prosper. You can thank the development of the royal residences for this.

From 1418 to 1436, Paris was occupied by the English (there have been a lot of French-English wars over the years). It is around this time that Joan of Arc came to prominence (she tried to take back the city, but failed).

By the 1600s, France had the intention of making Paris the most beautiful city in Europe. Whether they managed to succeed or not is up to you to decide (we think that they did!).

Shortly after this, you have the French Revolution where the entire system of government in France changed. Most of this was happening around Paris. 

By the 18th and 19th Centuries, Paris was exploding in terms of population, with countless new districts being added. Again, you have a few more major wars happening in Paris at the time. They started to peter out towards the tail end of the 19th Century…at least for a while.

During World War I, Paris was sometimes the frontline of the war, but not all that often. It was in World War II that Paris played a big role. The Germans just marched right in there and occupied it. So, as you can imagine, Paris took a good hammering over the next few years. 

Even the Algerian War managed to spill into Paris a little bit, albeit not by much. It was mostly a few terrorist attacks.

Even now, Paris is still going through a massive period of growth (it started again in the 21st Century. The population had fallen due to World War II). 

As we said, this is a very brief history of Paris. We have left a lot out, and you are actively encouraged to do your own research into the history of Paris because you have a solid 5,000 years of it.

When Did Paris become the Capital of France?

Champs-Elysees and Arc de Triomphe at night in Paris, France.
Champs-Elysees and Arc de Triomphe at night in Paris, France.

Paris became the capital of an area of France in the 3rd Century. It really became known as the capital of France at some point during the 12th Century, although it has sometimes lost this status when it has been occupied by invading forces.

Why Is Paris The Capital of France?

Because people loved it. Simple as that.

We don’t really know why Paris was chosen as the capital back in the 3rd Century. Not a lot of records survived.

We know it was chosen as the capital in the 12th Century because the royals decided they loved it. It had become a center of culture for Paris, and a lot of people moved there. It was also fairly far from the coast (in the grand scheme of things) which means it wasn’t really at risk of invasion…until it was invaded.

Now it is one of the most populated cities in France, and the government does all of its work there. It is highly unlikely that Paris will ever stop being the capital. 

Best Places To Visit in Paris 

As you can imagine, Paris is a city of culture. This means that there is a lot to see here. We won’t be able to cover it all, so let’s give you some of the highlights, shall we?

Disneyland Paris

If you have kids in tow, then a trip to Disneyland Paris may be in order. Tons of rides and fun things to do. Perhaps not the cheapest attraction, though. 

The Louvre

The Louvre is perhaps one of the most famous museums in the world. It is a host to all manner of beautiful works of art. However, no work of art attracts as many eyes as the Mona Lisa.

Eiffel Tower

Originally designed to be a temporary installation, the Eiffel Tower has been sitting in Paris for over a century now. Take a trip up the elevator to the top if you want to enjoy some absolutely stunning views over Paris.


At the time of writing, Notre Dame is going through a period of renovation due to a major fire a couple of years ago. However, Notre Dame still retains that Gothic beauty. Easily one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world.

Arc de Triomphe 

This is a building built to commemorate fallen French soldiers during the Napoleonic Wars. It has been sitting in Paris since 1836 and attracts millions of visitors a year.  

See Also

Capital Cities 

Hi and welcome to my travel blog! Based in London, I work in investment banking in a quantitative field and although I am not part of the travel industry, I have a ton of passion for travel. My blog is a reference guide for my fellow travelers with the same passion as me. Hopefully the blog is easy to navigate and my aim is to bring the most relevant and interesting information before you begin your journey!