Paris, born into a long line of distinguished Starfleet officers, had a troubled relationship with the high expectations of his father, an admiral, who joined his friends and teachers to praise him as a child but remained tough and remote, telling him for instance that crying was a sign of weakness. He managed to graduate from Starfleet Academy after a stormy four years, almost failing stellar cartography as a freshman; he chose Marseilles, France as the site of his physical training second semester. He did hone his natural aptitude for piloting skills on craft large and small and proved adept at holo-engineering.
Despite his family legacy, Paris buckled under to the self-imposed pressure and tried to cover-up an error that caused the deaths of three officers at Caldik Prime; it was only his self-confession at the point he would have been exonerated that netted him a discharge rather than harsher punishment. After leaving Starfleet he turned to the Maquis for fulfillment as a fighter pilot, but was captured by Starfleet on his first mission and this time was sentenced to the Federation Penal Settlement near Auckland, New Zealand, wearing an alarm anklet.
Paris was given a reprieve of sorts in early 237,1 when he was temporarily released from the rehab colony and given a second chance by Captain Janeway
, who needed him to scout her new starship through the Badlands in search of her lost security chief who had been undercover among a Maquis crew Paris had served with, led by former Lt. Cmdr. Chakotay
From The Official Star Trek Website