Paris: I’m Sorry, But I Just Don’t Get It!

Paris is a City famous for love & art. A place where you will lose sense of time completely, leaving nothing but you and Paris. I’m sorry, but no. No, no, no!

All the movies, songs, TV shows & even blog posts lied to me about Paris. One of my earliest memories of wanting to visit the City was when I watched the Mary-Kate and Ashley classic “Passport to Paris” as a kid. In true Mary-Kate and Ashley fashion, the girls jet off to an exotic location for a few weeks where they find adventure, hunky boys & friendship. When your young adolescent self watches these girls being whisked away for a double date all inclusive of views of the Eiffel Tower in the evening, it will become ingrained into your list of places that you absolutely must visit yourself.

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So what exactly did I not like about the City?

1) The people.

Firstly, before I get a bunch of angry Parisians calling me out and getting offended. This is not aimed at all of you, just the people I met.

For me, one of the best things about travelling is the people that you meet along the way, and Paris just didn’t give me good ones. When you’ve met a tonne of other French people who are wonderful, funny, caring & generally just the sort of people that you really do want to spend your time with, Paris is such a giant let down of all that you thought you knew.

Parisians are like Londoners, however in less of a rush and a lot ruder.

2) It’s expensive as hell.

I’m stingy as anything, so this really is a problem for me

3) More on the people, what is with the harassment?!

I’m not normally one of those people who feels uncomfortable walking around on her own, but in Paris I really think I would be.

We all know that trick that when you’re travelling and someone puts a bracelet on your arm and says it’s a present, you need to take it off and hand it back immediately, because that is about to be the priciest present you have ever received. When this happened to me when I was walking along minding my own business in Paris, more men appeared out of nowhere and had me surrounded. I also didn’t have any cash on me at that moment in time and they weren’t taking no for an answer. If it wasn’t for a couple of guys from the group turning around and noticing what had happened before darting to my rescue then I don’t think that would be a very nice story to tell.

Following on from this I later got surrounded by a group of young girls. At first it was hilarious before they started shoving me around in broad daylight and shouting at me in French.

People complain about how dangerous London is, but I have never felt harassed or in danger in London, Paris on the other hand…

4) You have to hold on to your stuff for dear life.

To be fair, there are pickpockets everywhere that you travel. But I have never been warned so much about it in any European City as I was when I was in Paris. You will see that even the locals are holding onto their stuff just as tightly as you are.

5) The drivers.

After living in Spain for a while it became a bit of a joke about how dangerously people would drive, but the Spanish have absolutely nothing on the Parisians.

A green light indicating that you can now cross the road, doesn’t really mean that it’s going to be safe crossing said road as the driver’s will go whenever they please. The tight little roads that aren’t made for cars will even invite some of the driver’s down to test it out regardless of whether people are walking down it or not. In certain area’s there is a constant stream of traffic from all directions, the cars going whenever they want making it damn right impossible for any pedestrians, or even anyone in a car that doesn’t know how to drive as carelessly as they do.

6) It’s incredibly dirty.

Get some more bins Paris.

7) “Paris syndrome”.

I’m clearly not the only one who was disappointed by Paris. In Japan they have coined something called “Paris syndrome”, for it’s inhabitants who have made a trip to Paris only to return home ill and shaken over the fact that the Paris that they have always dreamed of was absolutely nothing like they thought it would be.

There is even a 24-hour helpline set up by the Japanese embassy to help people dealing with the condition, while I feel this may be slightly dramatic, my heart goes out to those poor Japanese sufferers of the “Paris syndrome.”

8) That Paris is the capital of France.

I think it’s such a shame that most people will visit Paris and leave it thinking that Parisians are a great representative on all French people and all of France. They are not, and it is not. France can you get a new Capital now please? Because Paris sucks…

9) Waiting, waiting & more waiting.

You will be left waiting to order your food, coffee or to buy something in a shop for a very long time if you are clearly not French.

10) Rudeness.

Mentioned before, and quite a lot actually. But this really is the biggest killer of Paris, the attitudes are barbaric towards Tourists, and even French people themselves who come from outside of Paris.

I really do think that if you’re going to another Country then you should get a couple of phrases from that country’s language under your belt so that you can attempt to converse in that person’s language. In every country I have done that in, I have found that people tend to be really pleased that you are making an effort, and that they in turn will make an effort to help you. But in Paris for doing this, I received dirty looks and snide remarks.

Some day I will return to Paris and give it another chance.

But until then, incase you hadn’t noticed, I hate Paris…

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13 responses to Paris: I’m Sorry, But I Just Don’t Get It!

  1. Oh..so sorry to hear you had such a tought ime in Paris..I am going to visit the city next month probably and am a bit concerned! I’ll try to pick up a few phrases or so before I leave…

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  2. phildange says:

    Expecting a city to be like its Hollywood fantasy is a bit …er… If you want a good capital for France try Toulouse, that was for centuries the capital of the most advanced part of France in the Middle Age . Toulouse people are quite different …

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Katie says:

    I really think it depends on when you visit because I have been in both Autumn and Winter and loved it while most people I have spoken to that hated it went in summer when there are a lot more tourists and the city smells like pee (so I have been told)

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  4. Faye says:

    Some tips: The French are very proud of their language and of a certain politeness upon greeting strangers. Make sure to greet merchants with “Bonjour Monsieur” or “Bonjour Madame” before asking for what you want. Also be sure to say goodbye and thank you when leaving the store. “Merci, Madame. Au revoir.” That being said, I arrive by plane to Paris, party with friends, and go south as soon as possible. Coming from New York insanity, I don’t need Paris insanity. Once out of Paris, be sure to apply the rules of “politesse” wherever you go.

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  5. Oh no that doe not sound too great! I believe Paris is one of the cities a lot of people start hating because so many others love it so much. In the end it is “just” a city, such as any else.

    I believe you would love the south of France. For instance French Nice and the area. I perceived the people so so friendly over there πŸ™‚

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  6. Samantha says:

    I’ve been to Paris three times and planning a fourth visit. I loved the city, and each time I went there, the people were some of the nicest I’ve ever encountered on my travels. Yes, there are annoying parts sometimes (with all the people trying to sell you those dumb Eiffel Tower toys, etc.), but I think the city is so beautiful that each time I go, I get captivated by the gorgeous architecture and hidden streets and lovely people. I think if you avoid tourist-y parts and try to explore the less populated areas, you may come to like it. But as a photographer, I’m all about the visuals, so that’s probably why I loved it so much. I can find something new and interesting to photograph each time. http://www.samsfifthavenue.com

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  7. Jamie says:

    Personally, i enjoyed Paris. It wasn’t like I expected but I really enjoyed it and found the only thing I can relate to on this list was the drivers πŸ˜› . But I also enjoyed reading your post. It’s interesting to read about the different experiences people have. Hopefully, Paris will change your mind if you give it another chance one day πŸ™‚

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  8. kim says:

    I totally agree with you! This is exactly the same as what i felt about Paris when i was in Paris. I still dont get why some people think paris is the best city of the world. People there are unbelievably rude.

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  9. So sorry to hear about your terrible time. We loved Paris the first time we went in fall of 2008 – we only had one rude-person encounter (a shop-girl who refused to get a jacket off the rack for me to try on) and one bad-tourist-trap story (Moulin Rouge). But when we went back in summer of 2014 with our kids, they seriously disliked it. They saw the dirt and the grime and the garbage and could not stand the urine smell of the metro. I know we’ll go back again, too much art and food and loveliness to ignore, but I’ll stick to shoulder-season. And, like a prior commenter mentioned, it *really* helps if you have a phrase or two of French and follow the greeting protocol!

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  10. Winnay says:

    I agree 98% with your post. I found Paris way overrated. I realized though, the people genuinely don’t know how to speak English so it may come across as rude. There are a few nice people. The Champ D’Elysees was the only clean and pretty place I can remember. We travelled to other parts of France which made up for our shattered experience in Paris lol…I guess people out there should be warned about the illusion that surrounds the magical city of Paris..

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