A leading economy worldwide, it is known for its beauty, sophistication, and decadence.
People Born in Paris
Paris in People's Lives
Abbey Lee Kershaw: During an Autumn fashion show in September 2008, I infamously fainted during an Alexander McQueen show due to an extremely tight corset. Despite this unfortunate incident early in my Parisian experiences, I dearly love this city. I did a shoot for the Pirelli 2011 calendar here, shot by Karl Lagerfeld. I am often here for shows, events, and shoots.
Adelaide Kane: I traveled here in 2014, where I went shopping, wore fashionable outfits, and stopped for coffee and macaroons at Laduree.
Adelina Sotnikova: I traveled here in 2013 for the Trophée Eric Bompard, and placed second.
Agatha Christie: I was sent here in 1905, at the age of fifteen, to attend finishing school. I lived here until 1910.
Anais Nin: I was born just outside of Paris, but moved away as a small child. I came back in 1924 after having married my first husband, where I wrote, read, trained as a flamenco dancer, had an affair with Henry Miller, and transformed myself.
Arnold Bennett: After the death of my father, I moved from London to Paris, where the sight of an old woman sitting in a street cafe inspired me to begin writing a book. That book became my most famous work, The Old Wive's Tale. I lived in Paris for eight years.
Charles Armand Tuffin de la Rouërie: I was sent here in 1761 at the age of 10 to join the Royal House Guards and recieve an education. If my childhood was spent at my parent's castle in Brittany, my youth was spent here. I was a sharp-witted student, and became fluent in English and German. However, my tutors lamented my daring, wild nature. I spent much time charming the ballet dancers at the Paris Opera, and fell in love with a famous actress, Marie-Anne Fleury. However, our short and passionate infatuation ended, and in despair, I left Paris with plans of suicide.
Charles Hector d'Estaing: I came here often through-out my life, and enjoyed high society and maneuvering through military politics and promotions here. My life ended here in 1794, when I guillotined for my close relationship with the French royal family, despite sympathies with the revolutionaries. Displaying the dark sense of humor and witty tongue that had served me all my life, my last words were "After my head falls off, send it to the British; they will pay a great deal for it!"
Elizabeth Debicki: I was born here in 1990, a child of perfectly diverse heritage. Though French-born, I was born to a Polish father and an Australian mother of Irish descent. Both of my parents were dancers in this city, but moved to Melbourne, Australia when I was five years old, in 1995.
Gustave Flaubert: When I was 19, in 1840, I moved away from my hometown of Rouen to this city, in order to follow my parent's wishes of becoming a lawyer. I studied law here, but disliked Paris, finding it distasteful. I was indifferent about law, and recognized that writing was my true passion. Before even a year had passed, I abandoned my law career. I traveled, and then came back to this city to write - much to my family's disapproval. I finished my first work in 1842, at the age of 21 - a novella called Novembre. However, I did not publish any works for the next few years. In 1846, when I was 25, I had an epilepsy attack, and decided to leave Paris. I moved to back to Rouen, though outside the city. Over the next few decades, as I grew up to be one of the most esteemed European writers of my day, I often visited this city.
Henry VII: I fled to this city in 1483, after having learned that the Duchy of Brittany planned to betray me and hand me over to the new English king, Richard III. I was 26 years old, and a strong contendor for the throne. I was the obvious Tudor heir, and was gathering supporters, while many argued that Richard - who had been the younger brother of the late king Edward VII - had never been named heir to the throne. I also gathered powerful support from Elizabeth Woodville and her family, as I had made it known that my intention was to marry her daughter, Elizabeth of York, and make her my queen.
Henry James: My parents and I were here very often between 1855 - 1860, while I was 12 through 17 years old, traveling back and forth from various parts of Europe and the United States. We were here most often out of the cities in Europe that we stayed in, and I became fluent in French. I traveled here again in 1869, now 26 years old and a beginning writer. I got a job as a Paris correspondant for the New York Tribune, but was unable to support myself, and left the city. I returned in the fall of 1875, and lived in the Latin Quarter of the city. Now a more reputable part of London intellectual society, I met many influential and famous peers here, such as Emile Zola. After a year, however, I moved back to London, in 1876.
Henry Miller: I visited this city in 1928, with my wife June Miller. Despite being enchanted by this city, our trip was overshadowed by the unsettling fact that it had paid for by an admirer of June's, a wealthy older man. June and I's relationship began to deteriorate, but I fell in love with Paris. I decided to move here, alone, in 1930, leaving my home city of New York after having lived there all my 39 years. I moved here with almost no money, having only a fresh inspiration to write. Shortly after I moved here, June joined me, despite the fact that our relationship had not been a good one as of late. I began working on my book Tropic of Cancer. I began a job as a proofreader at the Chicago Tribune: Paris Edition in 1931. I met Anais Nin in the same year, and my fortunes improved. We began an affair, and Nin paid for an apartment for me, and living expenses. However, my relationship with Nin was tainted by the fact that she was also fascinated by June, and I suspected the two of having a lesbian relationship together. Nin financed the printing of Tropic of Cancer, along with some other friends of mine, which was published in 1934. The book was met with the acclaim of scandal: it was highly sexual, and considered inappropriate. It was banned in the United States and Great Britain. June and I officially divorced late in 1934. I continued to write other banned books, which had to be smuggled into the U.S. This gained me a reputation as a treasured underground author. I left here in June of 1939 to go and stay with my good friend Lawrence Durrell in Corfu, Greece. My nine years living in Paris had been the developing years that I first found success as a writer.
Hilaire Belloc: I was born here in July of 1870, in Le Celle-Saint-Cloud, an outer suburb of Paris. I was the son of a French lawyer and his English wife. Due to political tensions going on in France at the time, my family moved to England when I was less than a year old.
James II of England: After having fled England to the Netherlands and since heard news that my older brother Charles II had been made king, but shortly after exiled to France, I traveled here to join him in 1649. Eager to gain the French as allies, I chose to serve in the French army, even serving in the Franco-Spanish War against the Spanish. While in the French army, I had my first taste of battle and glory, and was known as a gallant warrior. However, after years of being with the French, my brother decided to make an alliance with Spain in 1656. Due to this, I was expelled from the French army and fell into disfavor in this city. Furious, I quarreled with my brother over his new alliance, and over diplomatic policies with France. My finances dwindled, and I was forced to live as a poor man on meager means. In 1657, I left France and traveled to Bruges with my younger brother Henry. I returned to this city decades later, in December of 1688, now an overthrown King fleeing my kingdom. I sought refuge with my friend and cousin, the king Louis XIV, who granted me my own palace and income. With Louis' money, I set my efforts to building an army in Scotland, sailing there in 1689. However, that revolution ended in failure, and I returned here in 1690, never to see England or Scotland again. After that, I lived in the Chateau Saint-Germain-en-Laye on the outskirts of this city, and in my later years decided to live in austerity and take a vow of penitance, denying myself all luxuries and comforts. I spent my time hard at work on a book for my son, about how to rule a kingdom - though I mainly focused on the importance of Catholicism. I died here in 1701, at the age of 67, and was laid to rest in the Church of the English Benedictines. Candles were kept burning at my coffin until the French Revolution, when my resting place was raided.
Jean-Baptiste Colbert: I lived much of my life here, first moving here as a youth, around 1635, to attend the University of Paris. I befriended the Cardinal Mazarin, whose recommendation secured me a position under Louis XIV. I found continued favor with him and eventually became the French Minister of Finances, though I held a powerful position in every corner of French politics except for the military. I also contributed to the architecture and intellectuality of Paris, founding varous academies, financing engineering projects and architectural works such as the Paris Observatory, operating a large library out of my own home and collection, and enriching the Louvre and presiding over expanded exhibits. I died here in 1683, and was buried with great honor and ceremony.
John Calvin: I moved to this city in 1522, at the age of 13, to attend a prestigious academy. I had already secured a place in the priesthood and seemed well on my way to a path of power within the church. I studied Latin at the academy, and after the completion of the course entered the University of Paris around 1523, at the age of 14, to study philosophy. I enrolled in the College de Montaigu, a division of the University of Paris. In 1525, my father removed me from the University of Paris and enrolled me in the University of Orleans as a law student. I returned in 1530, now a lawyer. In 1532, I published my first book, a commentary on Seneca. In 1533, I had what I described as a religious epiphany, and was truly converted, also withdrawing from the beliefs and doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1533, I was implicated in a scandal involving the humanist movement that I was so drawn to, and I was forced into hiding. I fled to Angouleme. I returned to this city three years later, in 1536, with my brother. While I had hoped that the people here would have become more open minded during the time that I was away, especially after living in more progressive cities, it was not to be - they passed the Edict of Coucy, stipulating that "heretics" had a limit of six months to reconcile and return to the Catholic church, before facing persecution. It was then that I decided that my future lay outside of France, and that I must give up on the country of my birth. I decided to move to Strasbourg, though I ended up in Geneva.
Kanye West: I love this city for its fashion and sophistication. I stayed here in 2013 in my own apartment loft to record a new album, creating a sort of temporary community for all of the people involved in the project to hang out, collaborate, and work. The album later turned out to be an enormous hit. Now, I am often visiting this city to go shopping or globetrotting with my wife, Kim Kardashian.
Lawrence Durrell: I traveled here with my wife Nancy in 1937 to meet with Anais Nin, whom I soon became friends with. Nin, Henry Miller and I took steps toward beginning our own literary movement and society, and held salons at the villa I was staying in, where we played the organ, among other things.
Leo Tolstoy: Unwilling to become a part of the high society literary scene of St. Petersburg, despite my success there, I traveled to this city in 1857. I witnessed a public execution here, and was horrified. The incident only served to fuel the flame of hatred that I already had toward high politics, and I vowed to never serve or subject myself to any government. While in this city, I acquired massive gambling debts and was forced to return to Russia, penniless, in 1858. I returned on a second Parisian trip to this city in 1860, when I met Victor Hugo. I got along very well with the fellow novelist, and greatly admired his works, particularly Les Miserables, which was an inspiration for me to later write War and Peace.
Liam Neeson: I am often here, and love this city. I accepted a role in the movie Taken solely because it would allow me to spend three months in Paris, an idea that I loved. I expected the film to be a minor, straight to video release, and we filmed scenes in 2007. However, the film unexpectedly became a huge blockbuster with a cult following, and two high profile sequels were generated years later. I was very surprised.
Luisa Casati: I often visited here, and paid close attention to Parisian fashions and trends, even though rather than follow trends, I set them. I was the hostess of the Ballets Russes, and shocked everyone by wearing live snakes as jewelry, and sporting cheetahs on chained leashes. I was perfect for Paris, and the city adored me. I worked with many painters here as an artist's muse.
Marie-Anne Fleury: I traveled here with dreams of being a famous actress, and debuted at the Comedie-Francaise in 1786. In 1791, I was promoted within the company to a permanent societaire, and enjoyed a highly sucessful career. I retired in 1807, but lived in Paris for the rest of my life, until my death in 1818.
Mario Vargas Llosa: I traveled here in 1960 from Madrid, under the impression that I was to recieve a scholarship to a Paris graduate university. However, upon arriving, I found that my scholarship had actually been denied. Despite this, I decided to remain in this lovely city and begin to concentrate once again on my writing. My marriage with Julia became strained, and she did not take well to this unexpected turn of events, having expected me to soon be a writer rather than remaining a struggling writer. We divorced in 1964, after a marriage of 9 years, and I moved back to Lima.
Mary Boleyn: I accompanied the King's sister, Mary Tudor of France, to this city in 1514, at the age of 14. I served as her maid of honor, and attended her wedding to Louis XII of France. After a few weeks, Mary Tudor's English maids were sent back to England, but I alone was chosen to stay. This likely had to do with the fact that my father was the new royal ambassador to France. After Mary Tudor was widowed and left Paris to return to England in 1515, I still remained behind and became a member of the royal Parisian court of the new king, Francis I of France and his queen Claude of France. My sister Anne then joined me at the French court, and we were also often visited by my father. Now a beautiful 15 year old of eligable age to be married, I reportedly had many suitors, and was rumored to have been a love interest, or perhaps even a mistress of, Francis I of France, who called me many endearing pet names. In 1519, my father secured me a position as a lady-in-waiting to Catherine of Aragon, and so I returned to England.
Napoleon Bonaparte: Of all the people in history, if anyone could ever claim to have truly ruled and owned this city, it would be me. This city was, for an era, mine. My history with it began in 1784, when I came here from a school in Brienne-le-Chateau to attend the prestigious Ecole Militaire. I was 15 years old, and began training to be an artillery officer. However, shortly after beginning my studies, my father died, reducing my income, and I was forced to complete the two-year course in only one year. I was the first Corsican to graduate from the military school, graduating in 1785. After leaving the school, I became a 2nd Lieutenant in the artillery regiment. I gathered attention in 1793, when I published a pro-Republican pamphlet, and was made artillery commander. My successes kept adding up, and by 1796, I was one of the most recognized and powerful military figures in France. Also in 1796, I broke off my engagement with Desiree Clary to marry Josephine de Beauharnais. Two days after my wedding, I left this city to invade Italy as an army commander. In 1798, I set off on an expedition to Egypt, and returned in 1799 regarded as a hero. Back in France, I wasted no time making it clear that I saw myself as ruler. While the directors of the city discussed punishing me for "desertion" - I had left Egypt unexpectedly and without any orders to do so - I planned to overthrow them. Without much resistance, I did so in a coup d'etat. I began setting up my empire, and began living in the Tuileries. I was crowned Emperor of France in 1804 by Pope Pius VII, and Josephine was crowned Empress. For the next decade, I created a great Empire - one of the most powerful that the world has ever known - with this crown of a city as my base. I ruled as one of the most eminent men in the world. Things began to unravel in 1813, when a group of nations allied against me, with the citizens of France also beginning to grow restless under my rule. While marching back from a failed peace treaty negotiation in Frankfurt, the Senat agreed that I should be deposed. I heard this news while heading home, and told my armies that we would march against and invade our home city. However, they instead committed mutiny and left me. Desperate, I proposed that my son Napoleon II take over the Empire, but this was rejected. I was exiled to Portoferraio on the Island of Elba in 1814. However, a life of exile was not for me, and I escaped in 1815 and marched back to this city. I was deeply moved to have returned, and began strategies to re-take my empire, gathering troops and making battle plans. However, after my massive defeat at the Battle of Waterloo, I returned to this city to find my people once again turned violently against me. Again, I abdicated my throne and named my son as my heir, deciding to live temporarily in the Chateau de Malmaison, Josephine's former manor home in the Parisian suburbs. However, I soon heard that the Prussian army had invaded Paris, and had been ordered to capture me - dead or alive. I fled to Rochefort, planning to escape to the United States. I never saw Paris, my city, again.
Natalie Portman: I moved here in the autumn of 2014, after my husband Benjamin Millepied was given the job of Director of Dance at the Paris Opera Ballet. I was excited to live in this city, and hoped to become a French citizen. After moving here, I embraced Paris with elegance and grace, and Paris embraced me back. I became a beloved star of the city, and was applauded for my fashion sense, relaxed sophistication, choice of stilettos, and dedication to learning French. Parisians compared me to Jacqueline Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn.
Nicolas Appert: This was the major city in my life, and I became a confectioner and chef here in 1784, at the age of 35. I continued at this profession for many years, gaining much popularity within the city. In 1795, the French government offered a 12,000 franc reward (about $1.4 million today) to the first person to invent a method of keeping food fresh without the use of salt or ice, both of which were expensive. I began experiments bottling and pre-boiling food, and had soon invented canning and airtight food preservation. I collected my prize in January 1810. The year was off to a great start. I patented the method and used my prize-money to build a canning factory in the Massy suburb of Paris, making me a successful and wealthy man. Also in 1810, I wrote and published my book "The Art of Preserving Animal and Vegetable Substances," which became a wildly popular bestseller. I died here in 1841, at the age of 91. I had had a long, rewarding life.
Otto Rank: After tensions swirled with Sigmund Freud and his circle in my home city of Vienna, I moved here with my wife and child in 1926. In this city, I rose to acclaim and prosperity, gaining clients such as Anais Nin and Henry Miller. I often gave lectures as a guest professor at the University of Paris. During my time here, I was often in the United States, where I also gathered much support. In 1936, I moved permanently to New York, but still often came back to this city to visit.
Peter the Great: Making plans to conquer the powerful Ottoman Empire, I traveled here incognito in 1697 to seek allies. My stay was a disappointment, however, as after prolonged diplomatic pleasantries, France maintained its position as a customary ally of the Ottomans.
Samuel Morse: Already a famous painter back home in the United States, I decided to travel abroad in Europe in 1830, and stayed in Paris for a few months in 1832. I spent much of my time with my close friend James Fenimore Cooper, and began giving his daughter Susan Fenimore Cooper painting lessons. I began a massive study and project centered around the Louvre, where I spent endless hours, painting miniatures of famous paintings there. I painted 38 of the museum's most famous paintings on a single canvas, a project that I would complete once I returned the United States. Cooper would often come to see me at the Louvre, hard at work, and jokingly offer critiques of my work. While in this city, the two of us were constantly seen out together, even noted in the American society press. Cooper commissioned a few minor paintings from me, and I was hopeful that he would buy my Gallery of the Louvre, though he never made an offer. On another trip to this city in 1839, I met and befriended Louis Daguerre, and was fascinated by his invention of the dageurrotype. I published an widely read essay on the invention, which helped Daguerre popularize the technology.
Sigmund Freud: I was given a scholarship to study under Jean-Martin Charcot in this city in 1885. He was a well known neurologist conducting a study into hypnosis related to hysteria, which I became fascinated with. While before I had been on the edge in attempts to decide between specializing in neurological research or medical psychopathology, my time working with Charcot gave me the push I needed to become a dedicated psychopathologist, on the way to someday becoming the most famous psychoanalyst of all time.
Sophie Dahl: I was sent off by my parents to study tedious secretarial work in this city, around 1997, instead of becoming an art history student in Florence, as had been my dream. However, their plan didn't work out so well, either. I was lucky enough to run into a celebrated stylist and model scout. She stepped gracefully out of a cab in a Philip Treacy hat and a McQueen corset, sat down next to me, and said "Wow, you can be a model!" And within weeks, I was, much to the annoyance of my mother. During my modeling days in the late 1990's, I was often here.
Thairine Garcia: I am often in this city for modeling work, and am agency represented here by Next.
Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire: I was often here in 1518 and 1519 on a series of diplomatic missions for Henry VIII, seeking to better relations with France. After two years of work, my efforts paid off, and the king met with Francis I of France in Balinghem in 1520.
Victoria, Queen of England: I visited my friend and ally Napoleon III here in 1855. Albert and I attended the Exposition Universelle and visited Napoleon Bonaparte's tomb at Les Invalides. I was also impressed with the French Royal Navy while here, and on my return to England, I reprimanded the prime minister, Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby, about the state of our own Royal Navy in comparison.
Vinnie Ream: I visited here as an accomplished young sculptress in 1868. I studied painting with Leon Bonnat, and sculpted commissioned busts of Gustave Dore and Hyacinthe Loyson.
Walt Disney: I was stationed here as an ambulence driver in 1919, though I ended up really being more of a chauffer to high-ranking army officers, both American and French. I stayed at the dazzling Hotel Regina, right next to the Louvre. I devoured the splendid Paris lifestyle enthusiastically, soaking up the art and excitement of the city and, of course, sketching everything French. I sent some of my sketches to publications, including Judge and Life Magazine, my first try at serious publication - but was rejected each time. Still, in a place like Paris, I couldn't let a small setback like that get me down. I acquired so much knowledge about this city that I began hiring myself out as a tour guide to visiting American officials and diplomats, and with my flair for storytelling and winning smile, I became quite in demand. During Woodrow Wilson's visit here, I climbed up a tree in order to see him in person. I spent my nights walking the streets, playing poker, and sketching some more, saying "I found out that the inside and outside of an ambulence is as good a place to draw as any." Washington Allston: I traveled here in 1804 in order to tour museums, walk amongst great works of architecture, and study paintings by the masters. The visit greatly inspired me with my painting.
Whitney Port: I first traveled here in 2006 for Paris Fashion Week, as an intern for Teen Vogue. The job had originally been offered to my friend Lauren Conrad, but she turned it down in order to spend time with her boyfriend, who ended up breaking up with her. I was immediately enchanted by the city, and visited numerous times afterward.
William Penn: After being expelled from the University of Oxford, my parents were humiliated by me, and viewed me as a rebellious young man on the road to ruin. My father feared for my future, and my mother feared for her own standing in society, only recently elevated in the London court. I was sent by my family to live here in 1664, and stayed at court. Though I was impressed by the refinement and delicacy of French manners, and their devout following of a strict code of etiquette, I was disgusted at their extravagance and frivolity. I was intrigued by Catholocism, but uncomfortable with it. Despite my seriousness, however, I did catch the French obsession with fashion, and for the rest of my life would be considered more well dressed than most Quakers.
Zoe Saldana: I traveled here in 2010 to film a studio scene for the movie Colombiana.
Zuzanna Bijoch: I have traveled here, walked in shows here, and done shoots here countless times as part of my work as a high fashion model. I am agency represented here by Next. It is one of my favorite cities.