Paris, France - Site. Climate. Boundaries.
Paris, the capital of France, the seat of the legislature and of the administrative departments, is situated on both banks of the Seine, in 48o 50 N. lat. And 2o 20 14" E. long. (Observatory). It occupies the center of the so-called Paris basin, which is traversed by the Seine from south-east to north-west, open towards the west, and surrounded by a line of Jurassic heights. The granitic substratum is covered by Jurassic, Cretaceous, and Tertiary formations; and at several points building materials-freestone, limestone, or gypsum-have been laid bare by erosion. It is partly, indeed, to the existence of such quarries in its neighborhood, or on the very ground on which it stands, that the city owes its vast development. The mean elevation of the Seine valley at paris is from 100 to 130 feet. On the north bank rise the heights of Charonne, of the Buttes-Chaumont (404 feet), of La Villette, and of Montmartre (345 feet); on the left or south bank the Butte-aux Cailles, and beyond the valley of the Biervre the hill of Ste Genevieve and Montrouge. Between those lines of heights, the Seine flows from east to west, encircling the island of St Louis, the ile de la Cite, and lower down the lle aux Cygnes. The Bievre or Gobelins stream flows for some distance in an open channel on the left side of the river, and then disappear in a sewer. On the right side the brook which used to run from Menilmontant to Chaillot past the site now occupied by the opera, has at length been dammed by masonry, driven into the sewers, or lost underground.
Climate. Paris enjoys a fairly uniform climate, subject, however, to frequent changes at all seasons of the year. The mean temperature, calculated by M. Flammarion from observations extending over seventy-two years (1804-76), is 51o 4 Fahr. The highest reading observed (in July 1874, and again in July 1881) is 101o Fahr., the lowest (in December 1879) is 14o. The monthly means for the sixty-four years 1806-1870 are- January 36o3, February 40o1, March 43o5, April 50o2. May 57o6, June 63o0, July 66o0, August 65o3, September 60o3, October 52o3, November 43o7, December 38o7. The river freezes when the temperature falls below 18o. It was frozen in nearly its whole extent from Bercy to Auteuil in the winters of 1819-20, 1829-30, 1879-80; and partially in the winters of 1840-41, 1853-54, 1857-58, and 1870-71. rain falls, on an average, on 143 days, of which 38 are in winter, 35 in spring 34 in summer, and 36 in autumn,- the average quantity in a year being 1968 inches. The driest month is February, the rainiest July. the rainfall for these months being respectively 0.87 inch and 2.15 inches. There are 12 days on which snow falls, 184 on which the sky is covered, 40 with fogs, and 9 with hail. The following figures show the directions of the winds: - N. 38 days, N.E. 41, E. 24, S.E. 26, S. 53, S.W. 70, W. 67, and N.W. 36, with 10 calm days. Thunderstorms average 13 per annum, - ranging from 6 (in 1823) to 25 (1811). There is comparatively little variation in the barometer. Its mean height is 29.763 inches at a height of 216 feet above sea-level. On the whole he climate is healthy and agreeable, its variations, though frequent, being comparatively slight.
Boundaries. Since January 1, 1860, the boundaries of Paris have extended to the fortifications built in accordance with the scheme of 1840. The total area thus included is 30 square miles, of which 6 square miles are occupied by the public streets, 458 acres by squares and gardens, 642 _ acres by the river and canals, and 224 acres by cemeteries. The line of fortification measures 22 1/3 miles. On the right side of the river it presents 68 fronts, and on the left 26, each consisting of a curtain connecting two demi-bastions. It is pierced by 56 gates, 9 openings for railways, and 2 openings for the Ourcq and the St Denis canals. Outside of this enceinte are a number of detached forts arranged in two main lines. First come the forst erected previous to 1870 at St Denis, Aubervilliers, Romainville, Noisy, Rosny, Nogent, Vincennes, Ivry, Bicetre, Montronuge, Vanves, Issy, and Mont Valerien; and next the new forts of Palaiseau, Villeras, Buc, and St Cyr, which protect Versailles, and Marly, St Jamme, and Aigremont, which surround St Germain. On the right side of the Seine are Forts Cormeilles, Domont, Montlignon, Montmorency, Ecouen, Stains, Vaujours, Villiers, and Villeneuve St Georges. Between the two lines the Chatillon fort occupies the site of the German batteries which bombarded Paris in 1871.
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