Paris (locally [pɑʁi] ) is the capital and most populous city of France. It has an area of 105 square kilometres (41 square miles) and a population of 2,229,621 in 2015 within its administrative limits. The city is both a commune and department and forms the centre and headquarters of the Île-de-France, or Paris Region, which has an area of 12,012 square kilometres (4,638 square miles) and a population in 2016 of 12,142,802, comprising roughly 18 percent of the population of France. By the 17th century, Paris was one of Europe’s major centres of finance, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts, and it retains that position still today. The Paris Region had a GDP of €624 billion (US $687 billion) in 2012, accounting for 30.0 percent of the GDP of France.
Around its historical heart, the small Île de la Cité, the City of Paris stretches on both sides of the Seine River, which divides it into two parts: the Rive Gauche (Left Bank, south) and Rive Droite (Right Bank, north). The city proper is but the core of a built-up area that extends well beyond its administrative limits. Commonly referred to as the agglomération Parisienne, and statistically as a unité urbaine (a measure of urban area), the agglomeration has a 2013 population of 10,601,122, which makes it the largest in the European Union.City-influenced commuter activity reaches well beyond even this in a statistical aire urbaine de Paris (a measure of metropolitan area), that had a 2013 population of 12,405,426, a number one-fifth the population of France,and one that makes it, after London, the second largest metropolitan area in the European Union. Although joined in a single urban tissue, Paris’ lack of administrative and economic cohesion with its suburbs has been a long-standing problem, but a ‘Metropole of Grand Paris‘ initiative for municipal co-operatio covering an 814 square kilometres (314 square miles) area and a population of 7 million, exists since 2016.
The city is also 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. Opened in 1900, the city’s subway system, the Paris Métro, serves 5.23 million passengers daily. It is the second busiest metro system in Europe after Moscow Metro. Notably, Paris Gare du Nord is the busiest railway station in the world outside of Japan, with 262 million passengers in 2015.