Paris was the most visited city of Europe in the late 19th century, with attractions such as the World Fairs (where the Eiffel tower was unveiled and pretty much universally hated by Parisians), cabarets, museums and the first ever cinemas. The most brilliant writers and artists of the 20th century, like Simone de Beauvoir and Pablo Picasso, shared ideas over red wine and coffee in cafes like Café de Fleur on the Left Bank and in the small streets that overlook the rooftops of Paris in Montmartre. Artists from all over the world came to paint the streets of Paris, with the newly created Haussmanian buildings casting modern, high, aerial vantage points that marked art history. (However, if you visit the Marais district, you can still see many buildings and curving small streets from mediaeval Paris.)

The birth of modern cinema took place in 1895 in the city by the Lumiere brothers and Paris was the first city to open cinemas. Today, France is the only country where individuals working in spectacle (theatre, cinema, dance, music, even the circus!) are guaranteed a fixed salary each month, even if they don’t find work in their field that month. That is why Paris breeds such a rich cultural scene, along with an impressive amount of government funding towards the arts. The allocations vary from established institutions like the Opera and the Louvre to even small theatres in the 10th arrondissement and music venues along the canal in the 19th.

Youth culture in Paris has a history of demanding and receiving change that echoes in the modern age: in the 1960’s the infamous Paris Student Riots received an international spotlight and still today young people take to the streets when an issue must be addressed. You might notice during the protests or demonstrations signs written with words li.k.e thi.s; it’s called inclusive writing, which is a new form of writing that is gender inclusive, as the French language is gendered and often greetings, advertisements, even the names of professions are written using only the masculine forms.

Present-day Paris also plans to reinvent itself to be the greenest capital by 2030. With an unprecedented number of urban forests, bike lanes and car-less streets, the future of Paris is just as exciting as its past.