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Paris (France)

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  Arc de Triomphe

  The discovery of the City of Light and the experience of making it your own is and always has been the most compelling reason to visit. If you're a first-timer, everything in Paris, of course, will be new to you. If you've been away for a while, expect changes: Taxi drivers may no longer correct your French but address you in English——and that's tantamount to(同等的,相当于) a revolution. More Parisians(巴黎人) have a rudimentary(基本的,初步的)knowledge of English, and the country, at least at first glance, seems less hysterically(歇斯底里地,极端地)xenophobic(对外国人无理仇视的,排外的) than in past years. Part of this derives from Parisians' interest in music, videos, and films from foreign countries, and part is caused by France's growing awareness of its role within a united Europe.

  Yet France has never been more concerned about the loss of its identity, as it continues to attract an increasing number of immigrants from its former colonies. Many have expressed concern that the country will lose the battle to keep its language strong, distinct, and unadulterated(无搀杂的,纯正的)by foreign (particularly American) slang or catchwords (le weekend, for example)。

  Touring the Seine River by boat

  Though Paris is in flux (巨变)culturally and socially, it lures travelers for the same reasons it always has.

  Both the capital of the nation and of the historic Ile de France region, Paris is located in northern central France, 265km (165mi) south-west of Brussels, 295km (185mi) south-west of Luxembourg and 510km (315mi) west of Stuttgart. The city centre - known as Intra-Muros, or within the walls - is bisected by the River Seine. The area north of the river, the Rive Droite (Right Bank), includes the tree-lined Avenue des Champs-élysées, running west to the Arc de Triomphe. East of the avenue is the massive Musée du Louvre, the Centre Georges Pompidou and a lively district of museums, shops, markets and restaurants. Immediately south of the Pompidou Centre on the Ile de la Cité is the world-famous Notre Dame. The area south of the river, the Rive Gauche (Left Bank), is home to the city's most prominent landmark, the Eiffel Tower.


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