I visited the magical city known as Paris almost 8 years ago, as a budding architect student, ready to weep in all the glory the city had to offer. I was naïve and young – and hadn’t really travelled much. I did all the tourist things of course, went up the Eiffel tower, took the boat across the river, visited the Louvre, it was love. I fell in love with the city, the vibe. I was walking around the streets, staring in awe at the buildings. Fell in love with the street music, the fresh smell of crepes. It was all pretty glorious.
I visited again, 8 years later, as a grown married women. Someone who has travelled more, has general more life experience. Paris didn’t seem all that magical anymore. It’s like when you go to watch a play, the first time it’s all glorious because you don’t really know any better, second time round is a whole other ball game. You spot the flaws. Similar situation here.
Apart from Notre Dame which I found to be super peaceful, everything else seemed to be a money exploiting business. The number of homeless people/families on the streets has for sure increased. Seeing a baby of no older then my nephew who is 8months, being wrapped up by his mum whose sleeping outside Gard de Nord made me feel sick to my stomach. People sleeping in the metro stations. It was like I’ve stepped into a 3rd world country. Metro is not what I remember it as. It used to be a buzzing place, with music being played, people happy and smiling. 8 years later, the trains are in a state, broken chairs and graffiti everywhere. What has happened to Paris in 8years?!
Locals have even found a way to not pay for their travels by jumping over the ticket barrier (okay, maybe I should try that one in London) it was really sad to see a city that I once loved now seems like a distant memory. It makes me question what foreigner deems London to be, do we have the same issues, because I see it every day it doesn’t stand out to me as much? Is London soon heading that way too?
Please don’t let my post put you off of Paris, it is still an awesome city with great architecture. You can pretty much walk everywhere, the city is quite small and all main tourist sites are closely packed together. If you go autumn season then wrap up and wear comfy shoes. Converse are not comfortable shoes. A must-go to place is St Germaine, there’s something quite arty about it with lots of chic little cafes. Monmarte is awesome if you want to see a breath-taking view of what Paris looks like from above. Climb up to the top of the steps and sit. Breathe. Take in the beauty of being in a busy yet peaceful place. Lastly if you get the chance, definitely visit Versailles – it’s a beaut of a train journey, you get to see the real suburbs of Paris which is where I would want to live.
I re-did the touristic shiz, (as you do) and husband isn’t into the art, he’s patient for sticking with me whilst I ‘ooo’d’ and ‘aaaa’d’. Whilst going through my SD card I realised I’ve taken a lot of random pictures. I was aiming to capture images which weren’t tourist-esque yet of touristy things at the same time. Does that make any sense at all?
I do massively regret not taking my SLR with me, these are all taken from a point and shoot Canon camera.