Paris is the capital of France because Clovis I made the city his seat of government in 508 A.D. His grandfather had initially conquered the area. In its earlier history, Paris was a Roman city for about 500 years. It was also conquered by barbarians from time to time. Merovius led a group of Franks and other tribes to Paris in the late 400s to drive the Romans out permanently.Continue Reading
Clovis I converted to Christianity, and his son built a monastery in Paris, which led to a huge abbey being built in the city. Paris became the religious center of France, and the first kings of the country are buried in the city. Charlemagne and his successors moved their capital east, but the power of the counts of Paris kept the city central to French religious authority. The leaders of the city maintained authority for 800 years after the Normans left in the 900s to settle the northern part of the country. Both the Carolingians and Normans were concerned with conquering other territories, so Paris was mainly ignored by these two empires.
The original name of Paris was Lutetia, and it was named by a tribe of Celtic fishermen, the Parisii. The Parisii settled on the banks of the Seine River in the third century B.C. The Romans conquered Paris in 52 B.C. as part of their drive into the territory they called Gaul. The city had nearly 8,000 inhabitants by 280 A.D. Lyon was the capital of France until the Romans were expelled by Merovius.Learn more about Middle Ages