Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Paris: A love-hate relationship

Unsurprisingly, Paris is the most visited city in the world. It is a well-deserved accolade what with it bearing witness to greats such as Hugo, Wilde and Hemingway. But, sometimes, sometimes, I just don't get the hype. Don't get me wrong, the city is a beautiful place with many a thing to do and many a thing to see, however there are some things about Paris that infuriate me. Yes, we've heard time and time again about the fact that the city is covered in dog sh*t, you will pay extortionate amounts for a measly half pint and Parisians can be downright rude. But I won't bore you with those clichés. Instead, I'll give you an insight into a few of my pet peeves about Paris.


"The most romantic city" Admittedly, I am the last of the great romantics but I couldn't disagree more when people say Paris is romantic. How can it be when you're sharing your precious moment(fans of PDA on the metro, talking to you) with everyone else who had the same great idea to go on a romantic getaway?

Black. Black. Black. Everywhere. To wear grey or navy blue is probably considered a bit avant-garde. I understand, black is classy but surely a little bit of colour here and there and a break from the Parisian uniform of choice doesn't hurt.

Common sense (or lack of it). Not exclusively Parisian but having had many a confrontation with French administration, it had to be mentioned. Contending with French bureaucracy will often drive you to bang a head against a wall and you have to persevere to have a simple request sorted out. Example: having to ask my parents to obtain proof for CAF that they don't receive Child Benefit for me anymore despite the fact I am twenty-one years old.

But I don't want to leave it on a bitter note so without ado, here are some of the things I love about Paris:

Bar culture. You can sit outside on the terraces year-round and people watch thanks to the patio heaters. You automatically get little snacks to nibble on with your drinks, a financial winner for the poor stagiaire. And another added bonus, don't even think about getting up to be served. You will served at the table although you may have to encounter your typical Parisian service.

The quartiers. Le Marais is by far one of my favourite areas ever (even without the falafel fix) and Oberkampf is perfect for a wander before heading to Canal St. Martin. Montmartre, despite its seedy side, has a certain charm with its spiralling hills and gorgeous views by the Sacré Coeur. Each neighbourhood in Paris has its own unique character as displayed by this video.



Sunday is park day. Bois de Boulogne is one of my favourite places especially on Sundays. Families and friends flock to the parks to spend their Sunday afternoons to bike, walk or picnicking. They are the best places to get some much needed respite in the city before the next week starts. And there are hoards of dogs. Heaven.



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