Let me first admit that I came to Paris, not wanting to like Paris. I knew it is an expensive city and I didn’t need yet another expensive city to be crazy about (i.e. like London or NYC). The thing is I knew a lot about Paris before I even came here. I knew that if I didn’t resist its charms I would regret it later. Sort of like when offered a burrito with extra jalapenos.
The thing about Paris is, it’s like a supermodel. Super hot but high maintenance. It’s unreasonably expensive in my opinion if you want to take full advantage of everything the city has to offer. Compare that to Krakow and Prague, and they seem like the equally hot sisters who just never got as famous.
Yes, Paris is beautiful. Gorgeous even. But still I think it’s overrated. Like Megan Fox in Transformers 2. But the tourists here seem completely infatuated with the city. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Eiffel Tower gets dry-humped a few times a day by overzealous tourists.
Perhaps if I had visited Paris when I first started traveling 7 years ago, I’d have a different opinion. Or maybe one needs to visit Paris as a couple. Or perhaps I just have a completely different idea of romance. (How is a huge metal tower resembling an asparagus romantic, again?)
Admittedly, I’m sure I missed out a lot by not knowing French or not having a background in art or history or not having any desire to spend 7-8 euros on a pint of mainstream beer. But I can see Paris as a very livable city, if you are earning a local wage. The public transport system and bike-sharing system is the best I’ve seen anywhere. It’s almost like the Parisian city planners practised on Sim City before doing the real thing.
And I can see the appeal of Paris as a vacation spot for tourists. There’s art and culture everywhere so it’s like a massive orgy of tourism. And I guess there in lies the problem. I stopped being a tourist about 6 years ago. My ideal way to travel now is to feel a city as a local. And when you try to do that in Paris, you feel like a pauper. Cheap in Paris is still expensive.
One stereotype I’d like to refute however is that Parisians are unfriendly. In the two weeks I was there, I found people pretty helpful especially considering I can’t speak any French apart from “Bonjour, parlez-vous anglais?”. I mean strangers weren’t exactly inviting me home for cups of tea, but I didn’t find them any more rude than people in New York, Toronto or London. What I did see was a number of rude tourists just ramble on in English without any introduction. And if they weren’t understood, they would just speak louder. They aren’t fucking deaf – they just don’t speak English.
Oh wait, I take that back. In Paris, people seem happy to just walk into you as if your invisible. (I guess that happens in London as well but when I’m there, I’m usually too inebriated to notice.) But I don’t know if this a deliberately unfriendly gesture or if all Parisians suffer from cataracts. You’d think after spending all that money on hipster black-rimmed glasses, that eye health would be a bigger priority.
Should you visit Paris? Sure, it’s definitely worth visiting. It’s unlikely that I’d go back but I’d glad I checked it out.
If you’ve been to Paris, what did you think?