Week 1: Paris to the 11th Century: Inhabitants and Invaders
From its settlement by the Parisii, a Gaulish people, to successive incursions by Romans, Vikings and Franks, the early city evolved to reflect concerns regarding dominance, security and control.
Week 2: Paris as Medieval City: Town, Gown and Crown
As France began to solidify its borders, it continued to embrace the great European unifier of Roman Catholicism. We will investigate the city’s cathedrals and churches, monasteries and convents (many destroyed after the 1789 Revolution), and the Sorbonne University, contrasting their power with the administrative centres of the time.
Week 3: Paris as Royal City: From Renaissance to Revolution
Henry IV, Louis XIII and Louis XIV each left a dominant stamp on Paris, by commissioning grand monuments, dictating urban planning, and controlling new construction through strict regulation—a regulation whose imprint we will explore today.
Week 4: Paris as Nineteenth-Century City: From Napoléon Bonaparte to the Third Republic
The 19th Century saw the realization of pre-Revolution urban planning projects as Paris reflected a tumultuous succession of emperors, monarchs and republics. We will examine how Napoléon I and Napoléon III re-engineered the city’s infrastructure while embellishing it to reflect their personal glory and the stature of France.
Week 5: Paris as Imperial City: Art Galleries, Expositions and Museums
From the early 1800s onward, Paris served as a showcase for France’s empire, unleashing a collecting impulse that would fill its imperial repositories of art galleries, international expositions and museums. We will consider how this visual landscape has laid a backdrop for the city’s dominance today.
Week 6: Paris after 1870: Wars and Alliances
In the pan-European struggle for hegemony, war and alliances left substantial marks on Paris, in both obvious and subtle fashion. We will investigate the urban imprints of the 1871 French defeat by Prussia, the 1894 military alliance with Russia, and the legacy of the First and Second World Wars.