Paris (also known as the "City of Light") is the capital city of France. It is situated on the Seine River, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region ("Région parisienne").
Paris was founded in the 3rd century BC by a Celtic people called the Parisii, who gave the city its name. By the 12th century, Paris was the largest city in the western world, a prosperous trading center, and the home of the University of Paris, one of the first in Europe. In the 18th century, it was the center stage for the French Revolution, and became an important center of finance, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts, a position it still retains today. Paris is the home of the most visited art museum in the world, the Louvre. The city is a major rail, highway, and air-transport hub, served by: two international airports, Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly; the city's subway system, the Paris Métro, and; the national road network.
As the national capital, Paris is the seat of France's national government, which includes the residences of the President and the Prime Minister, the two houses of the Parliament, and the highest courts. Several international organizations are also headquartered in Paris.
In the late 21st century, the German Emperor was in the frequent habit of visiting Paris for unspecified "reasons of state." Most people suspected that the Kaiser simply sought entertainment which was not available in Berlin.
In an alternate where Paris had taken centuries to recover from the Great Black Deaths, the City of Light remained a small, dirty, medieval city, the capital of the Kingdom of Versailles. Despite its poverty, Paris was still rich by the standards of Europe. For instance, its streets had cobblestones. In 2096, it was ruled by Duke Raoul, a cunning politician who nonetheless remained aware of the fact that he ruled a Christian backwater surrounded by powerful Muslim states.
Crosstime Traffic employed the Klein family as trade merchants in acquiring resources, although they did not escape Raoul's suspicion.
As far as Annette Klein could determine, the Notre Dame Cathedral - completed centuries before the break-point - was the only building which existed in both in the Paris of this timeline and in that of the home timeline, though there were many differences of detail between the two versions of the Cathedral, including a memorial to Henri, God's second son.
Boris Gribkov's Tu-4 was assigned the mission. His regular radio operator was replaced by Klement Gottwald who could speak English. The plan was to fly low the entire distance from an improvised airfield outside Munich and not climb at Paris to drop the bomb. Instead, the bomb would be released at low altitude and allowed to parachute to the ground. A 30 second delay would allow Gribkov's aircraft time to escape the blast radius. In addition, the Soviets began jamming the defenders' radio and radar a week before the mission. The actual flight followed the plan with Gottwald needing to reply to a challenge only once. In the end, Paris burned.
When Paris fell to the Allies who drove the Germans out, there were practically orgies in the streets when the Allied troops entered the city. The stories told varied only with the imagination of those telling them.
Paris was the capital of France, and its most important city. During the Franco-Prussian War, the capital was captured, a humiliation the French vowed would never happen again.
When the Great War began in 1914, the Germansinitiated a drive to capture Paris but they were thwarted by a combined British and French counter attack. For the rest of the war, the Germans claimed Paris fell numerous times, until the war ended in 1917. Even in victory, Germany did not take Paris.
After the war ended, Paris was the site of many great riots and demonstrations as the country's economy spun out of control, first in the aftermath of the Great War, and later during the Great Depression. Most violent among these were the riots led by Action Francaise, which agitated for stronger revanchism and a restoration of the monarchy throughout the 1920s, finally achieving their goal 1930 with the ascent of King Charles XI to the throne.
When the Second Great War began in 1941, Paris was bombed by the Germans. At first, they weren't able to do much damage, but as the tide of the war turned in their favour, Paris was bombed more and more heavily until by 1944, it vied with Richmond as the most heavily-bombed city in the world.
After France refused to surrender in 1944, Paris was destroyed by a German superbomb, resulting in the death of King Charles XI. While his successor, Louis XIX was initially defiant, the death of Paris was too much, and the French government sued for peace.
During the reign of King Louis XVI, a crowd attempted to storm the Bastille in Paris. Lieutenant Colonel Napoleon Bonaparte prevented this by ordering troops under his command to open fire, declaring "Ils ne passeront pas" ("they shall not pass"). Respectable society viewed Bonaparte as a great man who preserved peace and order, although radical elements viewed it as a tragedy, a viewpoint expressed in the "Fallen Innocents" symphony.
In the late 20th century, Paris remained France's official capital, although the Royal Court met in Versailles.
In the winter of 1938-9, NaziGermanylaunched an offensive into France with the aim of eventually getting to and occupying Paris. Germany began with a surprise invasion and occupation of the Netherlands and Belgium and going on to penetrate into France by way of the Ardennes, bypassing the Maginot Line. The French Army was thrown off balance and forced to withdraw again and again, but it was not defeated, and continued a fighting retreat back to the outskirts of Paris. The French capital came under heavy aerial bombing, to which German artillery was eventually added, leading to widespread destruction. Among many other buildings, the Eiffel Tower was largely destroyed. Still, the battle went on, and eventually the German Army's advance was stopped on the city's outskirts by a mixture of French, British, exiled Czechoslovak and African colonial troops.
Throughout the summer of 1939, Anglo-French forces kept their advance east, forcing the Germans back. German aerial bombardment of Paris continued as a terrorist tactic. Although several landmarks were damaged, Parisians remained resolute.
After the arrival of the Race's Conquest Fleet, the city was subject to aerial attacks though it escaped relatively unscathed. During the initial invasion, George Bagnall's crew was shot down over Paris. They were able to see first hand the terrible the treatment the city's Jews were receiving at the hands of the Nazis. After the war ended, it remained an important administrative center for the France, as the whole country was recognised as territory of the Greater German Reich.
Despite its importance, Paris was not attacked during the Race-German War of 1965, and became the capital of the newly created Fourth Republic after Germany's defeat. The Race, which became France's new patron, increased its presence in Paris.