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Paris is the capital and primate city of France. It is situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region (or Paris Region, French: Région parisienne). The city of Paris, within its administrative limits largely unchanged since 1860, has an estimated population of 2,203,817 (January 2006), but the Paris aire urbaine (or metropolitan area) has a population of 11,769,433 (January 2006), and is one of the most populated metropolitan areas in Europe.

An important settlement for more than two millennia, Paris is today one of the world's leading business and cultural centres, and its influence in politics, education, entertainment, media, fashion, science and the arts all contribute to its status as one of the world's major global cities.

Paris and the Paris Region, with €552.7 billion (US$813.4 billion) in 2008, produces more than a quarter of the gross domestic product (GDP) of France. According to 2007 estimates, the Paris urban agglomeration is Europe's biggest city economy and the sixth largest in the world. The Paris Region hosts 38 of the Fortune Global 500 companies in several business districts, notably La Défense, the largest purpose-built business district in Europe. Paris also hosts many international organizations such as UNESCO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the informal Paris Club. According to the latest survey from Economist Intelligence Unit in 2010, Paris is the world's most expensive city to live in.

Paris is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. The Paris region receives 45 million tourists annually, 60% of whom are foreign visitors. The city and region contain numerous iconic landmarks, world-famous institutions and popular parks.

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