These are exciting times for the world's most romantic city. Traditionally a global centre for the arts, fashion, film, gastronomy, architecture, shopping and sport, the French capital has been transformed by incumbent mayor Bertrand Delanoe. Recent public initiatives have included Paris-Plage, creating inner-city beaches and outdoor leisure activities along the Seine for a month in summer, and Nuit Blanche, all-night museum openings in October. Paris is also in pole position to host the Olympic Games of 2012, and a positive decision in July 2005 would be a further boost to the city's global status. Without breaking with tradition - all major sights, museums and monuments are covered in-depth - the guide takes detours into the city's revolutionary history, modern architectural development and present-day cultural mix.