I’m going to be honest here. I didn’t love Paris, France.
Maybe my expectations were way too high. Maybe we were starting to feel a little tired of traveling. Or maybe Paris, France isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
I found that the Parisian reputation of being mean though, was completely unfounded. A little rude and pushy, yes — big on cutting in line, or just stampeding rather than forming a neat and orderly line — but I digress. All the French that we had contact with were extremely friendly. One Frenchman told me that they’re only rude if a tourist comes up and immediately starts speaking in English without bothering to even try in French, and we always gave it a go with our minimal French before switching, so maybe that’s why, but I really thought that the French were pretty nice. Stinky, YES. Mean, no.
Going into the visit to Paris with visions of the “most romantic city in the world,” dancing in our heads, Seba and I were both let down. Seba’s parents, who are French teachers, and met in France, talk about this city all the time. But they failed to mention a few things. There was dog-poop all over the sidewalks — not to Valpo levels, but enough that you had to watch were you walk. There was a lot of graffiti. I got a general impression that the city is rather dirty. And, THERE ARE SO MANY TOURISTS EVERYWHERE. Part of that is our own fault for going to the tourist-y places — how could we possibly visit France and not see the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame or the Louvre. You have to. But, even walking on side streets down into residential neighborhoods, away from the big sights, we could never escape others strolling around with their cameras.
I’m not anti-tourist at all. I’m not one of those people that goes into everything saying, “I’m going to stay off the beaten path!!!” But, honestly, Notre Dame felt like a Catholic Disney World. I mean, there were machines that you could put a few Euros into and get a coin with a stamp of the Notre Dame on it. There were little booths inside the church selling souvenirs. It was disgusting. That was the first place we went to, and maybe because I hated it so much that shaped the rest of my time. The other thing that was disgusting? The metro, dear lord, the metro. People were not into deodorant and/or bathing way more so than any other place we’ve been to in Europe.
And the Louvre? Don’t even get me started. I have a bone to pick with the Louvre, although I think I’ll leave that for another post.
In short, I really wasn’t crazy about Paris. I LIKED it. I’m glad we saw visited. I just didn’t love it. And I was soooooooooooooo hoping to fall in love with France, because since Seba has French citizenship that would definitely be the easiest place for us to move!
Although, it would be really romantic to shoot a wedding there. In a castle or something. There were so many gorgeous little streets and nooks and crannies just begging to be photographed. I know that a lot of people have fallen in love in Paris/fallen in love with Paris. I’m not saying it’s not a cool city, because it is. It just wasn’t our favorite place from this trip, that’s all.
On an upside, we stayed with Fned and her hubby and I love them so much. I’m a huge fan of her blog, her writing always strikes a chord with me and we’d even met once before when they came to Chile. But, this time around, we got to know them so much better and I thoroughly enjoyed every second we spent hanging out. I’d go so far as to say that they were hands down the best part of Paris