Why are there so many Treaty(s) of Paris?

Wikipedia lists over 20 in the time from 1229 to the Paris Peace Accords in 1973. Is Paris just a really picturesque place to sign treaties?

Probably just nice hotels and restaurants for the delegates to the conference to use in their spare time. Plus the French delegates can do what they’re best at: act superior because they are at home.

I believe that the French language was the one used in European diplomacy for a long time and was the language most likely to be commonly spoken by all parties to a negotiation. For that reason, Paris might have been a convenient location to hold talks.

The wine!

The women!

The food!

This. Despite the current U.S. idea of the French as militarily incompetent, France pretty much kicked the rest of Europe’s behind from Charlemagne through Napoleon (1066 anyone?). For a lot of this time, anybody who was anybody spoke French, and almost all diplomacy was done in French (just like most multi-way international negotiations now would probably be done in English). So, since France was where all the power was and France often had the biggest clout, and everyone was speaking French anyway, why not go to Paris?

This doesn’t completely contradict the idea that everyone wanted a junket to pick up some clothes for the wife/mistress. Since Paris was the center of power, all the luxury stores and fashion-mongers went there, helping to attract diplomats eager for a junket, which helped cement Paris as the center of power, and so on.

Even though France wasn’t nearly as important a power after 1815, there was still a lot of habit. Plus, I think Paris is geographically convenient when you need to include representatives from America and mainland Europe.

France used to be the big power of the western world. Back in the days before instant communications, ambassadors and diplomats were out there on their own. So you’d send all your best people to the most important capital, which was Paris. That meant that all the top diplomatic people and their staffs were there in Paris already, so where else where they going to negotiate treaties?


After an evening spent agreeing about surly the waiter is, delegates from abroad will find that they get on better than they thought with each other.

This is tail-wagging-dog territory and it makes no sense. Diplomats could get together and speak French regardless of where they were meeting.

Paris was convenient because France was an important world power, it had sufficient resources to support diplomatic conferences, and it was centrally located.

All those things are the reasons why French was the diplomatic language, not the other way around.

In European terms, France (or the bits that eventually became France) has always been a very fertile and large country. They always managed to support way larger armies than England and later Britain could ever hope to.

France was one of the parties to all those treaties: if it hadn’t been, it wouldn’t have been chose as the meeting’s location, no matter how important it happened to be at the time. Sometimes Paris happened to be centrally located to the different capitals, sometimes The Other Fellows already happened to be close by for other reasons (such as a little bout of invading).

Not to the waiter and the barmaid. I’m not disputing your basic point, but was an added convenience if the supporting staff also speaks the common language.

Maybe, maybe not, but it’s a good point. In any case, this is just another one of the causes of the French language being the language of diplomacy, not the other way around.

Not all of them. The United States has negotiated twice in Paris to end wars to which France was not a party–the Spanish-American War (1900) and the second Vietnam War (1973).

The first case was probably a classic example of where France was chosen for the reasons mentioned in this thread–it was the traditional hub of the diplomatic world, French was the language of diplomacy, et cetera.

In the second case, Vietnam’s status as a former French colony no doubt came into play. Many of the Vietnamese leaders spoke French, and some had been educated or otherwise spent time in Paris and were comfortable there.

But yes, most of the Treaties of Paris involved France.