the problem with Paris...
Paris Travel Blog› entry 11 of 12 › view all entries
From the serenity of Lyon to the chaos of Paris... don't get me wrong, I have always loved Paris and have looked forward to coming back each time... but this time it just didn't quite work. Compared to Lyon, Paris seemed a bit like the Amsterdam of France- dirty, crowded, touristy, overpriced, rude - I was disapointed because it wasn't the Paris I was used to.
Having arrived early on the train from Lyon, and as there was no room available at the hotel, I went for a (very long) walk through Paris hoping to find some of my old favourite spots. The city seems to be undergoing some sort of massive urban renewal project and I found myself dodging scaffolding and manholes and barriers at every turn. There's about a million more people on the street than the streets have room for, and they're all smoking- possibly because only this month France brought in new rules about not smoking indoors in public places, so now they all smoke as they walk down the street and it's like walking with your head in a big cloud of cigarette smoke. I think I've done my passive smoking for the decade.
After walking for two and a half hours, witnessing three car accidents, finding all three of the cafes I'd wanted to visit were either tacky tourist shops now or packed to the brim with tourists, nearly getting run over by a truck and a motorbike, half falling down an open manhole, and having some guy yell something at me in very quick French right next to my face... I'd pretty much had enough. All I'd wanted was to go for a walk through Paris and soak up the atmosphere, remind myself what it was like to live here, but all I got was a face full of smoke.
Returned somewhat despondantly to the hotel and slept fitfully before leaving for London on Eurostar. I never thought I'd say it but Paris really disappointed me this time, especially after Lyon.