"Charm" and "Touristy" Defined..FINALLY!

Jul 9th, 2003, 02:55 AM
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"Charm" and "Touristy" Defined..FINALLY!

OK, I've probably done more ranting and raving on this board about the use of the adjectives "Charming" or "Charm" and "Touristy" than any of you deserved to read and I have always contended that what these two terms mean to people varies so greatly as to make their use questionable. But perhaps there really is a concensus. So if you have NOTHING ELSE to do (then why are you READING this????) please define, once and for all, the meaning of the words "Charm(ing)" and "Touristy."
Thanks..in advance.
Jul 9th, 2003, 03:26 AM
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Ooops..forgot to mention that I will monitor the responses and try to tally them up and then give a final report.
Jul 9th, 2003, 03:51 AM
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OK, I'll bite. When someone says a hotel is charming or has charm, I take it to mean it's visually pleasing, usually smallish & decorated with good taste-often with the kind of decor expected for that place. A charming town is again, visually pleasing, usually smallish & indicative of the area (ie Cotswold charm).

Touristy is a place that attracts many tourists. Consequently it's often crowded. Some touristy places have a "phoney" feel to them because they've been commercialized. But IMO, a place can be both touristy and charming. St Paul de Vence comes to mind as being both charming and touristy.
mclaurie is offline  
Jul 9th, 2003, 04:00 AM
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Intrepid, you are truly intrepid to ask such a question. : - )

With tongue firmly in cheek....

charming: denotes a place that I find pleasing, and which also supplies such services and shops as I want.

touristy: denotes a place that other people have the nerve to find pleasing, and which supplies such services and shops as THEY want.
Sue_xx_yy is online now  
Jul 9th, 2003, 04:11 AM
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Re: Sue_xx_yy

You were oh so right, even if it was tonue in cheek! Isn't it amazing that two people can often walk away from a place with totally opposite views of it?
Jul 9th, 2003, 04:25 AM
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Mclaurie, you are right. Also true of Yvoire on Lac Leman and a number of other places, which, by the way, I find myself feeling 'guilty' for liking! Silly. J.
Jul 9th, 2003, 04:38 AM
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For me Charming would be pleasing to the eye, friendly locals, not overly touristy but with small shops offering unique items, small restaurants and cafes . Not necessarily many "sights".
Pienza fits the bill for me when I think of charming and touristy.
grimmy is offline  
Jul 9th, 2003, 04:45 AM
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Oh come on, what's charming to one person can be shabby and small to someone else. See recent thread on "American-style hotels."

Ditto touristy--my definition however is,anything that was created or is maintained solely for the purpose of getting a tourist to spend money. That is, no real historical or cultural significance or authenticity.
My favorite example is the London Dungeon. AKA, tourist trap.

Tourists do go to plenty of other places like the Eiffel Tower or the Uffizi, but those were created for other reasons. I hope.
elaine is offline  
Jul 9th, 2003, 05:06 AM
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Great replies so far..truly...I'll top it once to see if we can get anyone else to repond.
Jul 9th, 2003, 05:09 AM
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I honestly don't know what either word really means. I started a thread once (only 1 of 2 starts of a thread that I've made) asking about the word touristy as I saw so many describing sites that way. I wasn't sure if there was a "definition" either.

It's all subjective, just like you suspect. Honestly, how much isn't? Charming, touristy, beautiful, uncomfortable, spectacular, small - they're all undefined and relative to both the speaker and the listener. Even the word "must" (yeah, I know that one gets you )... I think occasionally just means "geez, is this place great or what?" to the poster. At least they're enthusiastic and I figure most of us are old enough that we'll know that we don't really have to rush right off to Vienna or Santorini.

I do the same thing sometimes, read posts and think "well what does that mean??". So, since I do - my answers are

"charming" actually, I hardly say it here or anywhere else. That which charms you? A bit of character, meaning individuality, like the person who can tell interesting stories, but not the guy who is so unique that you're wondering if you'll live through the night. Now translate that to a hotel room.

"Touristy" More souvenier hawkers than any other kind of shop, if the tour busses are lined up further than the eye can see? Shoot, I don't know. If I want to see it, if I can't imagine skipping it, I go anyway. I can live with tacky but just suffer along with crowded (my original hometown=256 people)

On the other hand, if a realtor tells me the place is "cozy", I retreat like the wind.

Clifton is offline  
Jul 9th, 2003, 05:20 AM
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Charming: Rothenburg

Touristy: Rothenburg

Tough question, Intrepid. In my 2001 trip report, I tried to give more straight info and less subjective descriptions, but travel just seems to lend itself to less quantifiable terms (other than "my hotel cost X Euro" or "we ate X for dinner").

I look forward to reading what others think about this, though.
Chicago_Heather is offline  
Jul 9th, 2003, 05:46 AM
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Charming: Venice just after sunrise.

Touristy: Venice at 1:00 PM.
ira is online now  
Jul 9th, 2003, 05:53 AM
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My turn!!

Warm and inviting, comfortable and homey with all mod cons. Usually pretty and somewhere you can imagine you would like to live.
As opposed to the large impersonal modern/characterless hotel.

Anywhere they sell T-shirts with a picture of the place.
Where the only language you hear spoken is English (unless you are in England then it would be only language you hear is American
Where the food is made for Americans.
Where everything costs more.
Where the tour buses are lined up along the street (Notre Dame) which does not make this a bad place, just a touristy place..which is still worth going to, just don't be disappointed by the throngs of Tourists!
Where the amount of time that you stand in line to get in, is longer than the time you spend In!

That should do it for now
Scarlett is offline  
Jul 9th, 2003, 05:56 AM
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Charming: a place that represents the expected 'old world' ambience, pleasing to the eye, moderately comfortable, not overrun, clean but maybe quirky, can still hear local language spoken, where visitors are treated courteously

Touristy: a sight that draws a lot of visitors because it has historical significance, is a cultural icon, or has natural beauty. Overrun BECAUSE it has intrinsic value.

Tourist Trap: a 'sight' created solely to earn tourists' dollars/euros/whatever, with no historic/cultural grounding at all
Travelnut is offline  
Jul 9th, 2003, 05:59 AM
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What an irrisistable question!

Here's my take: Charming is what it used to be before it became touristy. Perhaps Cinque Terre is a good example?

Sometimes I like em both
Jul 9th, 2003, 06:22 AM
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I'll give it a shot.........

A charming home, hotel, town, bar, etc. is one that is on the small side, tastefully decorated, and has understated elegance and class.

A touristy town, site, eatery, etc. is on that is overrun with tourists and depends on those tourists for economic viability.

I need more ~o)
MizzEve is offline  
Jul 9th, 2003, 06:28 AM
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Simple: CHARMING describes something that is pleasing or delightful. TOURISTY describes something that tourists visit for culture or pleasure. Keep in mind the use of the phrase, "tourist class." Both words are subjective. I know some very "charming ladies". I also know some very "touristy" ladies.
GSteed is offline  
Jul 9th, 2003, 06:30 AM
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From Webster's:

touristy--of or relating to tourists, as: a. patronized by tourists b: of a type appealing to tourists.

charm--a trait that fascinates, allures, or delights.

So just about anyplace that anyone at fodors has ever visited is touristy. And shabby hotels with lumpy beds are not charming to the vast majority of tourists.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Jul 9th, 2003, 06:31 AM
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It really is all about you and your perceptions.

Here's a verbatim quote from a recently started thread titled "Trip to Europe for Someone Who Has Never Been Abroad" - - http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34430870 - -

"He's heard horror stories from friends about horrible hotels and bad experiences."

I submit that many (if not most) of the guests who had previously stayed at these "horrible" hotels - - might well have called those places "charming".

Best wishes,


rex is offline  
Jul 9th, 2003, 06:36 AM
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I don't think something is "touristy" just because it attracts a lot of tourists. What makes something touristy is if it has been changed or fabricated to cater to tourists. The Colosseum in Rome isnt touristy, but those fake gladiators outside are.
Nutella is offline  

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