As I come back to Paris for what will most likely be the last time in a very long time, I am starting to realize that Paris is a crazy city, and not necessarily in a good way.
If Paris were a woman, she would be great in bed, albeit quite dirty, but horrible with everything else – small talk, personality, emotions, hygiene, etc. In other words, you wouldn’t want to wake up next to this woman the next day, let alone forever.
If you don’t want your pretty little image of Paris ruined, don’t read any further…
A Good Lover
Paris is a good lover in that it has a great many beautiful things to see and do. You can not compare the sights here to any of the more modern large cities, such as New York City, Tokyo, Shanghai, etc., because these cities lack the old world grandeur that still thrives in Paris.
This includes everything from the Louvre museum, to the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, the Opera, and even to newer examples such as the Eiffel tower, Sacré Cœur, and the Musée d’Orsay.
These attractions provide a great many things to do and to enjoy in Paris, things which you may not find in one place in any other city.
But, the problem with Paris lies with its deranged form of ‘metropolitan’ness.’
Someone You Don’t Want to Wake up Next to…
Paris is dirty, cramped, rushed, and full of street-people and other general miscreants.
No matter where you are in the city, unless it is in a park, everything always looks dirty. Trash cans are over-flowing with trash, streets and sidewalks always seem to look like there was sludge running over them the night before, and the exhaust form the cars seems to permeate through the pores of your skin. The worst thing about the congestion is that the sidewalks are generally so small that you are mere inches from the vehicles that are zooming by you.
It feels like you are entering a war-zone just to do simple things like buy a loaf of bread. The city is simply so full of people that the quality of life here is greatly diminished. You feel like sardines in a can and like you can’t even stretch out your arms without hitting someone. Other big cities also have this problem, but I’m focusing on Paris in this article.
I also want to talk about the biggest problem with Paris and what sets it apart, in a very bad way, from cities like London, which are also very crowded. Paris is FULL of street-people.
Street-people is a blanket term that I use to describe anyone on the street that tries to illegally sell you something, tries to scam you, rob you, or otherwise annoy the hell out of you. Paris has so many of these people everywhere that it really does pollute the experience of being in this city. Go to any main site or tourist attraction, or even metro stop, and you will encounter these people – and they will grab you and they will put their hands in your face. This is the biggest problem with Paris. It feels like it is impossible to find peace in the city.
You should know that I LOVE Paris and I HATE it too. I love all of the wonderful things that this city has to offer and I love how crazy and diverse it is and I do love the people that I meet here, though that can be hard to do at first.
BUT, every time I come to Paris from another part of Europe, I am wishing I was back in that other part. I just came back from a couple weeks in Spain and had a wonderful time. Some cities in Spain, such as Barcelona and, to some extent, Madrid, have similar problems to Paris, but, at least for Madrid, it is not to the same extent as it is in Paris.
Madrid is a huge metropolitan city in Spain and yes, it has street people, but no where near as bad or harassing as those in Paris. There are many walking areas where cars can not drive, which provide a sense of relaxation and enjoyment that cannot be found in the chaotic streets of Paris, and the people move at a generally more relaxed pace, think siesta (which actually annoys me greatly, but that is for another article). Madrid is cleaner than Paris and generally more enjoyable while, at the same time, providing many great attractions, parks, and night-life.
When I come to Paris as my first stop in Europe, I always love it. It’s only when I come from other parts of Europe that I start to despise the city and wish that it was better taken care of than it is today.
As a final note, I want you to know that I could happily move to Paris. Given all of my qualms with the city, I still really do enjoy it and I enjoy all of the great times that I have had here on my own, with my friends and family, and with Alexandra. But, just beware, because it is a roller-coaster ride of a city. 😉