Paris has always been a destination for traders, students and those on religious pilgrimages, but its 'tourist industry' began on a large scale only with the appearance of rail travel, namely from state organisation of France's rail network from 1848.
Among Paris's first mass attractions drawing international interest were, from 1855, the above-mentioned Expositions Universelles that would bring Paris many new monuments, namely the Eiffel Tower from 1889.
These, in addition to the capital's Second Empire embellishments, did much to make the city itself the attraction it is today.
Paris's museums and monuments are among its highest-esteemed attractions; tourism has motivated both the city and national governments to create new ones.
The city's cathedrals are another main attraction: its Notre Dame de Paris and the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur receive 12 million and eight million visitors respectively. The Eiffel Tower, by far Paris's most famous monument, averages over six million visitors per year and more than 200 millions since its construction.
Disneyland Resort Paris is a major tourist attraction not only for visitors to Paris, but to Europe as well, with 14.5 million visitors in 2007.
The Louvre is one of the largest and most famous museums, housing many works of art, including the Mona Lisa (La Joconde) and the Venus de Milo statue.
Works by Pablo Picasso and Auguste Rodin are found in Musée Picasso and Musée Rodin respectively, while the artistic community of Montparnasse is chronicled at the Musée du Montparnasse.
All of the establishment's former social or cultural elements, such as its ballrooms and gardens, are gone today.