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Geneviève and Attila

Born just outside Paris around AD 420, Geneviève was a devout Christian. In 451, as the Huns were appoaching Paris, panic spread among the people who prepared to leave the city. But Geneviève galvanised them into organising the town's defences, and Attila and his army were forced back. Geneviève later became the patron saint of Paris.

Paris's Famous


The son of an upholsterer established near Les Halles, Molière turned down a promising career in law to become an actor. His first attempts at directing his own company ended in disaster and...prison! However he persevered and success finally came in 1659 with Les Précieuses ridicules, the first of many incisive comedies in which he satirised human nature in general and French society in particular. He worked and lived near the Palais-Royal, where the Comédie-Française is now established; inside is the armchair in which Molière was playing the rôle of the Malade imaginaire when he collapsed and died in 1673.

André Le Nôtre

André Le Nôtre was Louis XIV's (the Sun King) famous landscape gardener. He conceived his gardens along architectural lines and showed an extraordinary flair for harmonious proportions. He not only designed the magnificent parks of Vaux-le-Vicomte and Versailles, but also left his mark on Paris by redesigning the Jardin des Tuileries and creating the vast vista leading up to the Arc de Triomphe, later to become the Champs-Elysées.

Baron Haussmann

During the second half of the 19th century, Baron Haussmann's brilliant town planning transformed Paris from a squalid medieval town into a spacious, modern city. The Ile de la Cité underwent major surgery, to an extent which seems excessive today, and several wide arteries were opened up along the left and right banks; the place de l'Etoile and its 12 radiating avenues were created, and green spaces were provided all over the town centre.

Jacques Chirac

Jacques Chirac was mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995. During that time, he continued the work of his famous predecessors, including the systematic cleaning of the town's monuments, created yet more green spaces and partly restored the avenue des Champs-Elysées to its former splendour. He resigned as mayor when he was elected president in 1995.

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