Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, commerce, fashion and the arts; the City of Paris is the centre and seat of government of the Île-de-France, or Paris Region, which has an estimated official 2019 population of 12,213,364, or about 18 percent of the population of France. The Paris Region had a GDP of €681 billion in 2016, accounting for 31 percent of the GDP of France, was the 5th largest region by GDP in the world. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit Worldwide Cost of Living Survey in 2018, Paris was the second most expensive city in the world, after Singapore, ahead of Zurich, Hong Kong and Geneva. Another source ranked Paris as most expensive, on a par with Singapore and Hong-Kong, in 2018; the city is a major rail and air-transport hub served by two international airports: Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly.
Opened in 1900, the city's subway system, the Paris Métro, serves 5.23 million passengers daily, is the second busiest metro system in Europe after Moscow Metro. Gare du Nord is the 24th busiest railway station in the world, the first located outside Japan, with 262 million passengers in 2015. Paris is known for its museums and architectural landmarks: the Louvre was the most visited art museum in the world in 2018, with 10.2 million visitors. The Musée d'Orsay and Musée de l'Orangerie are noted for their collections of French Impressionist art, the Pompidou Centre Musée National d'Art Moderne has the largest collection of modern and contemporary art in Europe; the historical district along the Seine in the city centre is classified as a UNESCO Heritage Site. Popular landmarks in the centre of the city include the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris and the Gothic royal chapel of Sainte-Chapelle, both on the Île de la Cité. Paris received 23 million visitors in 2017, measured by hotel stays, with the largest numbers of foreign visitors coming from the United States, the UK, Germany and China.
It was ranked as the third most visited travel destination in the world in 2017, after Bangkok and London. The football club Paris Saint-Germain and the rugby union club Stade Français are based in Paris; the 80,000-seat Stade de France, built for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, is located just north of Paris in the neighbouring commune of Saint-Denis. Paris hosts the annual French Open Grand Slam tennis tournament on the red clay of Roland Garros. Paris will host the 2024 Summer Olympics; the 1938 and 1998 FIFA World Cups, the 2007 Rugby World Cup, the 1960, 1984, 2016 UEFA European Championships were held in the city and, every July, the Tour de France bicycle race finishes there. The name "Paris" is derived from the Celtic Parisii tribe; the city's name is not related to the Paris of Greek mythology. Paris is referred to as the City of Light, both because of its leading role during the Age of Enlightenment and more because Paris was one of the first large European cities to use gas street lighting on a grand scale on its boulevards and monuments.
Gas lights were installed on the Place du Carousel, Rue de Rivoli and Place Vendome in 1829. By 1857, the Grand boulevards were lit. By the 1860s, the boulevards and streets of Paris were illuminated by 56,000 gas lamps. Since the late 19th century, Paris has been known as Panam in French slang. Inhabitants are known in French as Parisiens, they are pejoratively called Parigots. The Parisii, a sub-tribe of the Celtic Senones, inhabited the Paris area from around the middle of the 3rd century BC. One of the area's major north–south trade routes crossed the Seine on the île de la Cité; the Parisii minted their own coins for that purpose. The Romans began their settlement on Paris' Left Bank; the Roman town was called Lutetia. It became a prosperous city with a forum, temples, an amphitheatre. By the end of the Western Roman Empire, the town was known as Parisius, a Latin name that would become Paris in French. Christianity was introduced in the middle of the 3rd century AD by Saint Denis, the first Bishop of Paris: according to legend, when he refused to renounce his faith before the Roman occupiers, he was beheaded on the hill which became known as Mons Martyrum "Montmartre", from where he walked headless to the north of the city.
Clovis the Frank, the first king of the Merovingian dynasty, made the city his capital from 508. As the Frankish domination of Gaul began, there was a gradual immigration by the Franks to Paris and the Parisian Francien dialects were born. Fortification of the Île-de-la-Citie failed to avert sacking by Vikings in 845, but Paris' strategic importance—with its bridges prevent
Nantes is a city in Loire-Atlantique on the Loire, 50 km from the Atlantic coast. The city is the sixth-largest in France, with a population of 303,382 in Nantes and a metropolitan area of nearly 950,000 inhabitants. With Saint-Nazaire, a seaport on the Loire estuary, Nantes forms the main north-western French metropolis, it is the administrative seat of the Loire-Atlantique department and the Pays de la Loire région, one of 18 regions of France. Nantes belongs and culturally to Brittany, a former duchy and province, its omission from the modern administrative region of Brittany is controversial. Nantes was identified during classical antiquity as a port on the Loire, it was the seat of a bishopric at the end of the Roman era before it was conquered by the Bretons in 851. Although Nantes was the primary residence of the 15th-century dukes of Brittany, Rennes became the provincial capital after the 1532 union of Brittany and France. During the 17th century, after the establishment of the French colonial empire, Nantes became the largest port in France and was responsible for nearly half of the 18th-century French Atlantic slave trade.
The French Revolution resulted in an economic decline, but Nantes developed robust industries after 1850. Deindustrialisation in the second half of the 20th century spurred the city to adopt a service economy. In 2012, the Globalization and World Cities Research Network ranked Nantes as a Gamma world city, it is the fourth-highest-ranking city in France, after Paris and Marseille. The Gamma category includes cities such as Algiers, Porto and Leipzig. Nantes has been praised for its quality of life, it received the European Green Capital Award in 2013; the European Commission noted the city's efforts to reduce air pollution and CO2 emissions, its high-quality and well-managed public transport system and its biodiversity, with 3,366 hectares of green space and several protected Natura 2000 areas. Nantes is named after a tribe of Gaul, the Namnetes, who established a settlement between the end of the second century and the beginning of the first century BC on the north bank of the Loire near its confluence with the Erdre.
The origin of the name "Namnetes" is uncertain, but is thought to come from the Gaulish root *nant- or from Amnites, another tribal name meaning "men of the river". Its first recorded name was by the Greek writer Ptolemy, who referred to the settlement as Κονδηούινκον and Κονδιούινκον —which might be read as Κονδηούικον —in his treatise, Geography; the name was latinised during the Gallo-Roman period as Condevincum, Condevicnum and Condivincum. Although its origins are unclear, "Condevincum" seems to be related to the Gaulish word condate "confluence"; the Namnete root of the city's name was introduced at the end of the Roman period, when it became known as Portus Namnetum "port of the Namnetes" and civitas Namnetum "city of the Namnetes". Like other cities in the region, its name was replaced during the fourth century with a Gaulish one. Nantes' name continued to evolve, becoming Nanetiæ and Namnetis during the fifth century and Nantes after the sixth via syncope. "Nantes" is pronounced, the city's inhabitants are known as Nantais.
In Gallo, the oïl language traditionally spoken in the region around Nantes, the city is spelled "Naunnt" or "Nantt". Gallo pronunciation is identical to French. In Breton, Nantes is known as Naoned or an Naoned, the latter of, less common and reflects the more-frequent use of articles in Breton toponyms than in French ones. Nantes' historical nickname was "Venice of the West", a reference to the many quays and river channels in the old town before they were filled in during the 1920s and 1930s; the city is known as la Cité des Ducs "city of the dukes " for its castle and former role as a ducal residence. The first inhabitants of what is now Nantes settled during the Bronze Age than in the surrounding regions, its first inhabitants were attracted by small iron and tin deposits in the region's subsoil. The area exported tin, mined in Piriac, as far as Ireland. After about 1,000 years of trading, local industry appeared around 900 BC. Nantes may have been the major Gaulish settlement of Corbilo, on the Loire estuary, mentioned by the Greek historians Strabo and Polybius.
Its history from the seventh century to the Roman conquest in the first century BC is poorly documented, there is no evidence of a city in the area before the reign of Tiberius in the first century AD. During the Gaulish period it was the capital of the Namnetes people, who were allied with the Veneti in a territory extending to the northern bank of the Loire. Rivals in the area included the Pictones, who controlled the area south of the Loire in the city of Ratiatum until the end of the second century AD. Ratiatum, founded under Augustus, developed more than Nantes and was a major port in the region. Nantes began to grow; because tradesmen favoured inland roads rather than Atlantic routes, Nantes never became a large city under Roman occupa
Lens is a commune in the Pas-de-Calais department in northern France. It is one of the main towns of Hauts-de-France along with Lille, Amiens, Tourcoing and Douai; the inhabitants are called Lensois. Lens belongs to the intercommunality of Lens-Liévin, which consists of 36 communes, with a total population of 250,000. Lens, along with Douai, forms the metropolitan area of Douai-Lens, whose population at the 1999 census was 552,682. Lens was a fortification from the Norman invasions. In 1180, it was owned by the Count of Flanders, sovereignty was exercised by the Crown of France. In the 13th century, Lens received a charter from Louis VIII of France, allowing it to become a city; the Flemish razed the city in 1303. Prior to this, the city's population relied on its markets. In 1526, Lens was made part of the Spanish Netherlands under the ownership of the French monarchy, only passed back to France on 7 November 1659 with the Treaty of the Pyrenees. In 1849, coal was discovered in Lens after surveys were carried out at Annay, Courrières and Loos-en-Gohelle.
This led to the expansion of the city into an important industrial center. The Lens Mining Company was founded in experienced large profits; the city was destroyed in the First World War and half of the population perished. The Gare de Lens railway station, built in 1927, is served by regional trains towards Lille, Douai, Dunkirk and Valenciennes. In World War II, the Allies bombarded the city from the air. Nine kilometres from Lens, the Canadian National Vimy Memorial was opened in 1936, dedicated to the Battle of Vimy Ridge and the First World War Canadian soldiers who lost their lives during the war; the centennial commemoration of the Battle of Vimy Ridge was held at the Memorial on 9 April 2017. The official ceremony included comments from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Governor General David Johnston as representative of the Monarchy of Canada, Prince Charles as representative of the Monarchy of the United Kingdom, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Prince Harry, the President of France François Hollande, the Prime Minister of France Bernard Cazeneuve.
The last coal mine in Lens closed in 1986. Since 2012, Lens has been the location of the Louvre-Lens art museum. Lens is connected with high speed trains to Paris. Football club RC Lens plays in the town, their stadium, Stade Bollaert-Delelis, was used for UEFA Euro 1984, the 1998 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2016 and the 1999 Rugby World Cup and the 2007 Rugby World Cup. Stade Bollaert-Delelis Communes of the Pas-de-Calais department Category:Counts of Lens Institut de génie informatique et industriel INSEE commune file Official web site Communauté d'Agglomeration of Lens-Liévin
Tours is a city in the centre-west of France. It is the administrative centre of the Indre-et-Loire department and the largest city in the Centre-Val de Loire region of France. In 2012, the city of Tours had 134,978 inhabitants, the population of the whole metropolitan area was 483,744. Tours stands between Orléans and the Atlantic coast; the surrounding district, the traditional province of Touraine, is known for its wines, for the alleged perfection of its local spoken French, for the Battle of Tours. The historical center of Tours is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the city is the end-point of the annual Paris–Tours cycle race. In Gallic times the city was important as a crossing point of the Loire. Becoming part of the Roman Empire during the 1st century AD, the city was named "Caesarodunum"; the name evolved in the 4th century when the original Gallic name, became first "Civitas Turonum" "Tours". It was at this time that the amphitheatre of Tours, one of the five largest amphitheatres of the Empire, was built.
Tours became the metropolis of the Roman province of Lugdunum towards 380–388, dominating the Loire Valley and Brittany. One of the outstanding figures of the history of the city was Saint Martin, second bishop who shared his coat with a naked beggar in Amiens; this incident and the importance of Martin in the medieval Christian West made Tours, its position on the route of pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, a major centre during the Middle Ages. In the 6th century Gregory of Tours, author of the Ten Books of History, made his mark on the town by restoring the cathedral destroyed by a fire in 561. Saint Martin's monastery benefited from its inception, at the start of the 6th century from patronage and support from the Frankish king, which increased the influence of the saint, the abbey and the city in Gaul. In the 9th century, Tours was at the heart of the Carolingian Rebirth, in particular because of Alcuin abbot of Marmoutier. In 732 AD, Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi and a large army of Muslim horsemen from Al-Andalus advanced 500 kilometres deep into France, were stopped at Tours by Charles Martel and his infantry igniting the Battle of Tours.
The outcome was defeat for the Muslims, preventing France from Islamic conquest. In 845, Tours repulsed the first attack of the Viking chief Hasting. In 850, the Vikings settled at the mouths of the Loire. Still led by Hasting, they went up the Loire again in 852 and sacked Angers and the abbey of Marmoutier. During the Middle Ages, Tours consisted of competing centres; the "City" in the east, successor of the late Roman'castrum', was composed of the archiepiscopal establishment and of the castle of Tours, seat of the authority of the Counts of Tours and of the King of France. In the west, the "new city" structured around the Abbey of Saint Martin was freed from the control of the City during the 10th century and became "Châteauneuf"; this space, organized between Saint Martin and the Loire, became the economic centre of Tours. Between these two centres remained Varennes and fields, little occupied except for the Abbaye Saint-Julien established on the banks of the Loire; the two centres were linked during the 14th century.
Tours became the capital of the county of Tours or Touraine, territory bitterly disputed between the counts of Blois and Anjou – the latter were victorious in the 11th century. It was the capital of France at the time of Louis XI, who had settled in the castle of Montils and Touraine remained until the 16th century a permanent residence of the kings and court; the rebirth gave Tours and Touraine many private mansions and castles, joined together to some extent under the generic name of the Châteaux of the Loire. It is at the time of Louis XI that the silk industry was introduced – despite difficulties, the industry still survives to this day. Charles IX passed through the city at the time of his royal tour of France between 1564 and 1566, accompanied by the Court and various noblemen: his brother the Duke of Anjou, Henri de Navarre, the cardinals of Bourbon and Lorraine. At this time, the Catholics returned to power in Angers: the intendant assumed the right to nominate the aldermen; the Massacre of Saint-Barthelemy was not repeated at Tours.
The Protestants were imprisoned by the aldermen -- a measure. The permanent return of the Court to Paris and Versailles marked the beginning of a slow but permanent decline. Guillaume the Metayer, known as Rochambeau, the well known counter-revolutionary chief of Mayenne, was shot there on Thermidor 8, year VI. However, it was the arrival of the railway in the 19th century which saved the city by making it an important nodal point; the main railway station is known as Tours-Saint-Pierre-des-Corps. At that time, Tours was expanding towards the south into a district known as the Prébendes; the importance of the city as a centre of communications contributed to its revival and, as the 20th century progressed, Tours became a dynamic conurbation, economically oriented towards the service sector. The city was affected by the First World War. A force of 25,000 American soldiers arrived in 1917, setting up textile factories for the manufacture of uniforms, repair shops for military equipment, munitions dumps, an army post office and an Americ
Marseille is the second-largest city of France. The main city of the historical province of Provence, it nowadays is the prefecture of the department of Bouches-du-Rhône and region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, it is located on French Riviera coast near the mouth of the Rhône. The city covers an area of 241 km2 and had a population of 852,516 in 2012, its metropolitan area, which extends over 3,173 km2 is the third-largest in France after Paris and Lyon, with a population of 1,831,500 as of 2010. Known to the ancient Greeks and Romans as Massalia, Marseille was an important European trading centre and remains the main commercial port of the French Republic. Marseille is now France's largest city on the Mediterranean coast and the largest port for commerce and cruise ships; the city was European Capital of Culture in 2013 and European Capital of Sport in 2017. It is home to Aix-Marseille University. Marseille is the second-largest city in France after Paris and the centre of the third-largest metropolitan area in France after Paris and Lyon.
To the east, starting in the small fishing village of Callelongue on the outskirts of Marseille and stretching as far as Cassis, are the Calanques, a rugged coastal area interspersed with small fjord-like inlets. Farther east still are the city of Toulon and the French Riviera. To the north of Marseille, beyond the low Garlaban and Etoile mountain ranges, is the 1,011 m Mont Sainte Victoire. To the west of Marseille is the former artists' colony of l'Estaque; the airport lies to the north west of the city at Marignane on the Étang de Berre. The city's main thoroughfare stretches eastward from the Old Port to the Réformés quarter. Two large forts flank the entrance to the Old Port—Fort Saint-Nicolas on the south side and Fort Saint-Jean on the north. Farther out in the Bay of Marseille is the Frioul archipelago which comprises four islands, one of which, If, is the location of Château d'If, made famous by the Dumas novel The Count of Monte Cristo; the main commercial centre of the city intersects with the Canebière at Rue St Ferréol and the Centre Bourse.
The centre of Marseille has several pedestrianised zones, most notably Rue St Ferréol, Cours Julien near the Music Conservatory, the Cours Honoré-d'Estienne-d'Orves off the Old Port and the area around the Hôtel de Ville. To the south east of central Marseille in the 6th arrondissement are the Prefecture and the monumental fountain of Place Castellane, an important bus and metro interchange. To the south west are the hills of the 7th and 8th arrondissements, dominated by the basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde. Marseille's main railway station—Gare de Marseille Saint-Charles—is north of the Centre Bourse in the 1st arrondissement; the city has a hot-summer mediterranean climate with mild, humid winters and warm to hot dry summers. December and February are the coldest months, averaging temperatures of around 12 °C during the day and 4 °C at night. July and August are the hottest months, averaging temperatures of around 28–30 °C during the day and 19 °C at night in the Marignane airport but in the city near the sea the average high temperature is 27 °C in July.
Marseille is the sunniest major city in France with over 2,900 hours of sunshine while the average sunshine in country. It is the driest major city with only 512 mm of precipitation annually thanks to the Mistral, a cold, dry wind originating in the Rhône Valley that occurs in winter and spring and which brings clear skies and sunny weather to the region. Less frequent is the Sirocco, a hot, sand-bearing wind, coming from the Sahara Desert. Snowfalls are infrequent; the hottest temperature was 40.6 °C on 26 July 1983 during a great heat wave, the lowest temperature was −14.3 °C on 13 February 1929 during a strong cold wave. Marseille was founded circa 600 BC as the Greek colony of Massalia and populated by settlers from Phocaea, it became the preeminent Greek polis in the Hellenized region of southern Gaul. The city-state sided with the Roman Republic against Carthage during the Second Punic War, retaining its independence and commercial empire throughout the western Mediterranean as Rome expanded into Western Europe and North Africa.
However, the city lost its independence following the Roman Siege of Massilia in 49 BC, during Caesar's Civil War, in which Massalia sided with the exiled faction at war with Julius Caesar. Marseille continued to prosper as a Roman city, becoming an early center of Christianity during the Western Roman Empire; the city maintained its position as a premier maritime trading hub after its capture by the Visigoths in the 5th century AD, although the city went into decline following the sack of 739 AD by the forces of Charles Martel. It became part of the County of Provence during the 10th century, although its renewed prosperity was curtailed by the Black Death of the 14th century and sack of the city by the Crown of Aragon in 1423; the city's fortunes rebounded with the ambitious building projects of René of Anjou, Count of Proven
Saint-Étienne is a city in eastern central France, in the Massif Central, 55 km southwest of Lyon in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, on the trunk road that connects Toulouse with Lyon. Saint-Étienne is the capital of the Loire department and has a population of 172,023 in the city itself and over 508,000 in the metropolitan area. In the last years Saint-Étienne made important transformations for transitioning from a 19th century industrial city to the 21st century "European capital of design"; this approach led to important urban renovations of the main districts of the city. Named after Saint Stephen, the city first appears in the historical record in the Middle Ages as Saint-Étienne de Furan. In the 13th century, it was a small borough around the church dedicated to Saint Etienne. On the upper reaches of the Furan, near the Way of St. James, the Abbey of Valbenoîte had been founded by the cistercians in 1222. In the late 15th century, it was a fortified village defended by walls built around the original nucleus.
From the 16th century, Saint-Étienne developed an arms manufacturing industry and became a market town. It was this which accounted for the town's importance, although it became a centre for the manufacture of ribbons and passementerie starting in the 17th century. During the French revolution, Saint-Étienne was renamed Armeville –'arms town' – because of this activity, it became a mining centre of the Loire coal mining basin, more has become known for its bicycle industry. In the first half of the 19th century, it was only a chief town of an arrondissement in the département of the Loire, with a population of 33,064 in 1832; the concentration of industry prompted these numbers to rise to 110,000 by about 1880. It was this growing importance of Saint-Étienne that led to its being made seat of the prefecture and the departmental administration on 25 July 1855, when it became the chief town in the département and seat of the prefect, replacing Montbrison, reduced to the status of chief town of an arrondissement.
Saint-Étienne absorbed the commune of Valbenoîte and several other neighbouring localities on 31 March 1855. Population of the city at the 1999 census was 180,210. Population of the whole metropolitan area at the 1999 census was 321,703. Inhabitants of Saint-Étienne are called Stéphanois in French, they are named. Saint-Étienne became a popular stop for automobile travelers in the early 20th century. In 1998, Saint-Étienne set up a design biennale – the largest of its kind in France, it lasts around two weeks. A landmark in the history of the importance ascribed to design in Saint-Étienne was the inauguration of La Cité du design on the site of the former arms factory in 2009; the city launched the Massenet Festivals, devoted to perform Massenet's operas. In 2000, the city was named one of the French Lands of Art and History. On 22 November 2010, it was nominated as "City of Design" as part of UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network. Saint-Étienne has four museums: the Musée d'Art Moderne has one of the largest collections of modern and contemporary art in France Musée de la Mine Musée de l'Art et de l'Industrie Musée du vieux Saint-Etienne Saint-Étienne has an anormal type of the oceanic climate, influenced by its relative distance to the sea.
Summer days are warm for a marine climate type, but fall into the range due to the cool nights that keep the mean average temperatures below the subtropical threshold of 22 °C. Winters are cool but very cold, although minor frosts are common. Precipitation levels are low for this type of climate regime during winter, although the wet and humid summers compensate; the city's football club AS Saint-Étienne has won the Ligue 1 title a record ten times, achieving most of their success in the 1970s. British indie-dance band Saint Etienne named themselves after the club. St. Étienne has many sports stadiums, the largest being Stade Geoffroy-Guichard used for football and Stade Henri-Lux for athletics. St. Étienne was the capital of the French bicycle industry. The bicycle wheel manufacturer Mavic is based in the city and frame manufacturers Motobécane and Vitus are based here; the city hosts a stage of the Tour de France. St. Étienne resident Thierry Gueorgiou is a world champion in orienteering. The local rugby union team is CA Saint-Étienne Loire Sud Rugby.
The nearest airport is Saint-Étienne - Bouthéon Airport, located in Andrézieux-Bouthéon, 12 km north-northwest of Saint-Étienne. The main railway station is Gare de Saint-Étienne-Châteaucreux, which offers high speed services to Paris and several regional lines. Saint-Étienne is notable for its tramway – which uniquely with Lille, it kept throughout the 20th century – and its trolleybus system –, one of only three such systems operating in France. Bus and tram transport is regulated and provided by the Société de Transports de l'Agglomération Stéphanoise, a public transport executive organisation; the bicycle sharing system Vélivert with 280 short term renting bicycles has been available since June 2010. Jean Monnet University École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Saint-Étienne École nationale d'ingénieurs de Saint-Étienne Telecom Saint Etienne EMLYON Business School ENSASE Saint-Éti
Dijon is a city in eastern France, capital of the Côte-d'Or département in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region. The earliest archaeological finds within the city limits of Dijon date to the Neolithic period. Dijon became a Roman settlement named Divio, located on the road from Lyon to Paris; the province was home to the Dukes of Burgundy from the early 11th until the late 15th centuries and Dijon was a place of tremendous wealth and power, one of the great European centres of art and science. Population: 151,576 within the city limits; the city has retained varied architectural styles from many of the main periods of the past millennium, including Capetian and Renaissance. Many still-inhabited town houses in the city's central district date from the 18th century and earlier. Dijon architecture is distinguished by, among other things, toits bourguignons made of tiles glazed in terracotta, green and black and arranged in geometric patterns. Dijon holds an Gastronomic Fair every year in autumn. With over 500 exhibitors and 200,000 visitors every year, it is one of the ten most important fairs in France.
Dijon is home, every three years, to the international flower show Florissimo. Dijon is famous for Dijon mustard which originated in 1856, when Jean Naigeon of Dijon substituted verjuice, the acidic "green" juice of not-quite-ripe grapes, for vinegar in the traditional mustard recipe; the historical centre of the city has been registered since July 4, 2015 as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The earliest archaeological finds within the city limits of Dijon date to the Neolithic period. Dijon became a Roman settlement called Divio, which may mean sacred fountain, located on the road from Lyon to Paris. Saint Benignus, the city's apocryphal patron saint, is said to have introduced Christianity to the area before being martyred; this province was home to the Dukes of Burgundy from the early 11th until the late 15th century, Dijon was a place of tremendous wealth and power and one of the great European centres of art and science. The Duchy of Burgundy was a key in the transformation of medieval times toward early modern Europe.
The Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy now houses a museum of art. In 1513, Swiss and Imperial armies invaded Burgundy and besieged Dijon, defended by the governor of the province, Louis II de la Trémoille; the siege was violent, but the town succeeded in resisting the invaders. After long negotiations, Louis II de la Trémoille managed to persuade the Swiss and the Imperial armies to withdraw their troops and to return three hostages who were being held in Switzerland. During the siege, the population called on the Virgin Mary for help and saw the town's successful resistance and the subsequent withdrawal of the invaders as a miracle. For those reasons, in the years following the siege the inhabitants of Dijon began to venerate Notre-Dame de Bon-Espoir. Although a few areas of the town were destroyed, there are nearly no signs of the siege of 1513 visible today. However, Dijon's museum of fine arts has a large tapestry depicting this episode in the town's history: it shows the town before all subsequent destruction and is an example of 16th-century art.
Dijon was occupied by anti-Napoleonic coalitions in 1814, by the Prussian army in 1870–71, by Nazi Germany beginning in June 1940, during WWII, when it was bombed by US Air Force B-17 Flying Fortresses, before the liberation of Dijon by the French Army and the French Resistance, 11 September 1944. Dijon is situated at the heart of a plain drained by two small converging rivers: the Suzon, which crosses it underground from north to south, the Ouche, on the southern side of town. Farther south is the hillside, of vineyards that gives the department its name. Dijon lies 310 km southeast of Paris, 190 km northwest of Geneva, 190 km north of Lyon; the average low of winter is −1 °C, with an average high of 4.2 °C. The average high of summer is 25.3 °C with an average low of 14.7 °C. Average normal temperatures are between 2.3 °C and 5.3 °C from November to March, 17.2 to 19.7 °C from June to August. The climate is oceanic but with a greater temperature range than closer to the Atlantic coastline. Dijon has a large number of churches, including Notre Dame de Dijon, St. Philibert, St. Michel, Dijon Cathedral, dedicated to the apocryphal Saint Benignus, the crypt of, over 1,000 years old.
The city has retained varied architectural styles from many of the main periods of the past millennium, including Capetian and Renaissance. Many still-inhabited town houses in the city's central district date from the 18th century and earlier. Dijon architecture is distinguished by, among other things, toits bourguignons made of tiles glazed in terracotta, green and black and arranged in geometric patterns. Dijon was spared the destruction of wars such as the 1870 Franco-Prussian War and the Second World War, despite the city being occupied. Therefore, many of the old buildings such as the half-timbered houses dating from the 12th to the 15th centuries are undamaged, at least by organized violence. Dijon is home to many museums, including the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon in part of the Ducal Palace, it contains, among other things, ducal kitchens dating back to the mid-15th century, a substantial collection of European art, from Roman times through the present. Am