Audrey Hepburn used to say that Paris is always a good idea. And some people might still think so even though many years has passed. I am a bit hesitant if you asked me whether I love it or hate it. I know that few days in a city like Paris is not enough to fully appreciate its particularity but this is not my first time here and I see that some things has changed and in a way I don’t like.
Paris. A Home for Artists
The most impressive thing about Paris for me is its rich and outstanding history. There was time when Paris was an unquestionable capital of Europe. It was trendy – if not necessary – to speak French, to dress like French and to listen to French music and to reading French books. This time has long gone but Paris still wants to impress its visitors. Paris shows off with its houses: if you look at the details of windows, balustrades, balconies or even chimneys you will understand how hard it tries to impress the tourists.
Paris has more landmarks per square meter than an average European capital. Tour Eiffel, Sacré-Cœur, Louvre, Notre-Dame to name only few world wide known touristic spots. People know it by heart and they come here to see it with their own eyes. It makes Paris one of the most visited places in Europe and in the world. Bringing all problems typical for touristic destinations along.
Art Is Everywhere
The number of paintings, sculptures and drawings made by the most famous artists is impressive. Count also the museum focused on art or houses with small inscriptions: “The famous X lived here”. Even graveyards of Paris turned into a touristic attraction because artists were so in love with Paris that most of them decided to be buried here. So, yes, Paris is a city of art and I am pretty sure that this is a real paradise for art lovers.
Poor Quality For High Price
Tourists in Paris get scammed! Yes, they do and yes I did! In only few days spent here I paid unbelivible high price for drinks and food. Now, I know that tourists’ destinations tend to be expensive and logically is Paris is one of the busiest touristic places on earth than you cannot expect nothing else. But what I do mind is the poor quality of the products you get for exceptionally high price. If you think about famous French wines don’t come to Paris and don’t drink it here. I have no doubts that you can’t taste excellent wine for a reduced price in every cafe of restaurant. But it is hard to believe that wine for 6 EUR a glass is such a poor quality! Seriously?
I would simply like to enter a cafe and have a decent (not outstanding!) glass of wine. Just decent. Especially when France is SO proud of its wines. It is hard to understand why this country serves such a low quality stuff to people who come here to enjoy and appreciate it!
Maybe this is my fault and lack of preparations to this part of my around the world journey but I find it very difficult to understand the habits of the locals. First, they seemed to get scammed in cafes and restaurants they share with tourists. There are many of French people paying exaggerated amounts of money for poor quality stuff.
Then, it was hard to find a place to have a breakfast on Sunday morning. Either there were gloomy and empty bars opened with no locals inside, or crowded pastries with fresh bread with long queues in front. So I realized that it is not their habit to have their Sunday breakfast in bars. Fair enough. I bought a fresh brioche and ate it and it was delicious. I though it will be similar on Monday but – surprise! surprise!- no, it wasn’t. My mistake. Some bakeries opened on Sunday are closed on Mondays and those open ones serves brioches baked the previous day.
Paris, I do like you but some things I really can’t figure out. So I think I will just need more time here.
Here is my advice: if you want to try the French cuisine and don’t go bankrupt try this place. Auberge de la Reine Blanche. It is located on the island of St. Louis (30 Rue Saint-Louis en l’Île) and they serve very good food with decent wine. You can eat entree and first dish for less than 30 EUR. We went there in 4 and we shared a bottle of very good white Chardonnay. Highly recommended!