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The City of Paris's administrative limits form an East-West oval centred on the island at its historical heart, the Île de la Cité; this island is near the top of an arc of the river Seine that divides the city into southern Rive Gauche (Left Bank) and northern Rive Droite regions.

Paris is the core of a built-up area that extends well beyond its limits: commonly referred to as the agglomération Parisienne, and statistically as a unité urbaine (a measure of urban area), the Paris agglomeration's 2013 population of 10,601,122 made it the largest urban area in the European Union. The city is a major rail, highway, and air-transport hub served by two international airports: Paris-Charles de Gaulle (the second busiest airport in Europe after London Heathrow Airport with 63.8 million passengers in 2014) and Paris-Orly.

In the late 12th century, Philip Augustus extended the Louvre fortress to defend the city against river invasions from the west, gave the city its first walls between 11, rebuilt its bridges to either side of its central island, and paved its main thoroughfares.

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In the late 16th-century French Wars of Religion, Paris was a stronghold of the Catholic League, the organisers of 24 August 1572 St.

Bartholomew's Day massacre in which thousands of French Protestants were killed.

Fortification of the Île-de-France failed to avert sacking by Vikings in 845, but Paris's strategic importance—with its bridges preventing ships from passing—was established by successful defence in the Siege of Paris (885–86).

In 987, Hugh Capet, Count of Paris (comte de Paris) and Duke of the Franks (duc des Francs), was elected King of the Franks (roi des Francs).

both because of its leading role during the Age of Enlightenment, and more literally because Paris was one of the first European cities to adopt gas street lighting.

In the 1860s, the boulevards and streets of Paris were illuminated by 56,000 gas lamps.

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.

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.

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