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PARIS - City and capital of France, located in the north-central part of the country. The city was founded more than 2,000 years ago on an island in the Seine River, some 233 miles (375 kilometres) upstream from the river's mouth on the English Channel. The modern city has spread from the island (the Ile de la Cite) and far beyond both banks of the Seine. The City of Paris itself covers an area of 41 square miles (105 square kilometres); the Greater Paris conurbation, formed of suburbs and other built-up areas, extends around it in all directions to cover approximately 890 square miles. Paris occupies a central position in the rich agricultural region known as the Paris Basin, and it constitutes one of eight departements of the Ile-de-France administrative region. It is by far the nation's most important centre of commerce and culture.
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