,, My Likes&Dislikes list:
1. Driving down the illuminated Champs Elysée in the evening
2. The Dali Museum in Montmartre (Espace Dalí Montmartre)
3. The cathedral of Saint Denis, where it’s possible to learn about the history of the Kingdom of France
4. Being able to disprove through personal experience certain negative stereotypes about Paris and Parisians (many of them do speak English, for example)
5. Whenever I tried to speak French, it was always repaid with respect
6. The dog-friendly attitude (though I find it a little grotesque that they allow dogs inside cafés)
7. The catacombs that lie beneath the city, a small portion of which can be explored (the Empire of the Dead)
8. The Cluny Museum
9. The legendary cafés of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, frequented by so many famous artists
10. The Conciergerie complex on the Île de la Cité – a museum where you can see Marie Antoinette’s cell, complete with prison guard puppets.
1. Montmartre – the huge flood of tourists has robbed it of its authentic character
2. After about three hours in the Louvre I was suffering from a serious overdose of art
3. The typical yet effective techniques of the pickpockets on the Paris Metro
4. If you’re visiting non-tourist sights in Paris, distances between them can become very long
5. There are a lot of rude waiters in the old, traditional cafés – they talk down to guests, correct them, and forget orders
6. The bathrooms in many small cafés are smelly and disgusting
7. The difficulty of deciding whether to go by metro, and get there faster but see nothing en route, or take the slower bus, but get a view on the way
“Trying to choose what to see in Paris is an excruciating process. We spent six days in Paris, and even then we didn’t manage to see a third of the things on our list.
I advise everyone not to spend more than four hours in the Louvre, unless you’re obsessed with art history. You have to use a guidebook to decide in advance what to see, so that in this building of four floors on three wings, you know where to focus your attention. You could limit yourself to just a century or two – it’s not the end of the world if you hurry through a few room.
Also, bear in mind that there are some other great museums in Paris, so leave some time aside for them. The Musée d’Orsay, for instance, with its masterpieces of impressionism, is no less important than the Louvre.
In any case, like many of my friends, I’m convinced that a visit to Paris should not be overloaded with too many museums and visits to historic monuments, as there may not be enough time to get to know the Paris of today.
This big city is composed of many different districts, and it’s very worthwhile just to wander aimlessly. The elegant townhouses of the 16th arrondissement are fascinating, but so is the multiethnic ambience in the 10th. Paris is diverse in every respect, including its population.” (S.d. 2018)
“The French capital is both fabulous and awful. I have never seen such striking contrast in one place. On the one hand, there is the beauty industry, with sparkling, aromatic boutique shops, but on the other hand, the streets are filthy, and the parking lots stink (literally – we came across human excrement in one corner) and rats roam freely in the magnificent parks…
The people are free, many are rich, many are artists (or at least ‘artistic’)… but there’s so much poverty, and so many people – often immigrants – living in miserable ghettoes.
“The French capital is both fabulous and awful. Nowhere else have I seen so much contrast – at the same time – as here. To be specific: the shops of the beauty industry and the big perfume houses are wonderful and delicately fragrant… but the streets are dirty, the parking lots are stinky (they literally poop in many corner areas…) and in the wonderful parks cat-sized rats run around… The people are free, many are rich, many are artists (or have artists’ souls) but there are also many poor, often immigrant people living in ghettoes. I know you can even find the same contrasts in many cities, but in Paris, it comes out very sharply on every single street and at every moment…
All the same, I’m happy we came.” (2017)
"The language: the French are really unwilling to learn foreign languages and are even proud of it. This can be forgiven when it’s a random passer-by on the street, a bit more annoying when it’s a server, and really too much when it’s a museum employee. This isn’t some remote village, where it’s to be expected, this is Paris, which is full of tourists. In other words, if you often win at Activity, your language skills may come in handy here.
The smell: a lot of cars, but it’s not the exhaust fumes you smell, but the ever-present reek of urine. There are quite a few public toilets, but I can safely say they don’t bother to use them. The metro is an even bigger ‘experience’: first, because, the smell lingers longer in the tunnels, and secondly because here you get to choose between vomit and urine. There must be some good reason why they don’t keep the city properly clean, but they could make more of an effort.
The dirt: staying with the previous topic: Paris is dirty.
Prices: Not just expensive, very expensive. And you don't get quality for it.
The sights: Nice, nice, really stunning buildings, the banks of the Seine, the sights. But I think the experience loses quite a bit of its value if, for instance, you’ve spent an hour and a half standing in line in front of the Eiffel Tower and is so cold up that your hands freeze solid in 5 minutes. The view is breathtaking, but I would only recommend it in the summer and with a pre-ordered ticket. This also applies to everything else that is preceded by miles of lines.
Survival Tips for Paris:
1. French knowledge/pro Activity skills
2. Nose plugs, though sooner or later you get used to the smell
3. A full wallet
4. A strong stomach or good medicine
5. At least 4-5 days in the city (may lead to complete financial ruin), giving you time to wait in the endless lines and also look inside the buildings that, on a shorter visit, you could only admire from the outside.
Since I’m not going to try to describe a whole city on the basis of just one impression, and since there were also wonderful parts to the weekend (which I’ll list once Paris has been removed from my blacklist) I would actually like to go back. But the city/ country really has to make some kind of effort to tackle its disadvantages if I’m going to be persuaded to forgive it the bad parts.”
“Never in my life have I spent so much time standing in line. At the major locations (the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower) we had pre-booked tickets, but it still took a long time to get in, because there’s a security check everywhere (for obvious reasons). The Mona Lisa in the Louvre now has a separate line, so after 45 minutes of waiting you can look at it for two minutes, but even then the people posing in front of it mean you can’t really see it properly (the rest of the museum is great, though, especially the interactive boards – but it would take you a year to see everything). At the Eiffel Tower, you have to wait half an hour to get in a lift, so it isn’t easy (but it’s still better to get a pre-booked ticket – the lines are even longer without one.)” (sz.m., 2019)