Has Paris changed?

Old Jul 23rd, 2018, 08:48 PM
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Has Paris changed?

Hello, I visited Paris three years ago, stayed in the 6th and loved the whole experience. There was high security at the time and I felt very safe.I have an opportunity to return for a few days next year. Friends have told me Paris has changed since my visit. I'm being informed there are more homeless on the streets, the metros are scary and it's dirtier. I will have my teenage children with me. I'm sure it's still wonderful and people have different views, but I don't want to tarnish my memories. I was there in the early summer last time, and will visit in spring this time.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2018, 09:58 PM
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I love Paris in the springtime.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2018, 10:13 PM
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I have been to Paris five times over last two years. I have stayed mostly in the 6Th arrondissement. I have been visiting there over twenty years.
Each person has a different reference point. It seems you are assuming there are limited way to assess the environment. What does scary mean to that person? What does it mean to you? For people with phobias many things completely irrelevant to you are scary. Same for dirtiness. If you want to get beyond subjective evaluations perhaps totally irrelevant to you. Dig out objective evidences.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2018, 10:33 PM
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Paris has never stopped changing. I live on a completely different planet from the 6th arrondissement, and in the northern 18th arrondissement, we are learning to adapt to the large number of Somali and Sudanese migrants who have elected domicile here. They are silent and try to be discreet because the last thing an undocumented alien wants is to cause any sort of trouble. Quite a few NGOs look after their needs, but housing is a big problem. At the moment, it isn't too terrible to sleep out in the street, but that will change soon. In any case, I can't really say that I am glad to see them, but I at least have the satisfaction of have a personal understanding of the situation far better than people who see brief reports on television and quickly look away as they eat their macarons and foie gras.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2018, 10:35 PM
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Hi beccab,

I first knew Paris in the 1970s, when I lived in Paris for a year as a student. Then I visited in the 1990s and the 2000s. Now I visit often (twice in 2017... lucky me!!).

Paris is one of those cities that is ever changing. There are far more tourists and tourist busses there now than there were in the 1970s... like by a factor of 1,000. Bistros pop up and disappear, with rock-star chefs making a name and then moving on and opening satellite restaurants. Designers make a name, open shops, then move on to the big time. Unknown gardens and paths become "hidden gems" and then well-known delights and then tourist traps. Monuments become surrounded by fences and gates, and department stores have full-time security guards at the doors.

And Paris is one of those cities than never changes. Its stately architecture. Its vibrancy. Its history. Its monuments. Its place on the world stage.

When I visited last year, I didn't notice that the metros were any dirtier than at any other time.... but then these days I prefer to take the bus. There are more refugees and more homeless world wide, so of course there will be more of them in Paris too. That's a fact of the 21st Century, not of Paris.

I actually tarnished my own memories of Paris once, when I visited just after a personal trauma, and nothing in Paris reached me. But then after a few years, I went back, and the city opened up again for me. Since then, I've found that every visit is different and unique, with its own special flavor and tint.

I suspect that your next visit will be very different from your first, ideal, visit. But it will also be wonderful. I say give it a go.

Have fun as you plan!

s
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Old Jul 23rd, 2018, 11:02 PM
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Thank you for your insight. I feel very sheltered here on the other side of the world.The reports we get tend to show us the worst scenario.
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Old Jul 24th, 2018, 03:48 AM
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Recently got recommended on YouTube some vids on Paris. Some of them show the worse side of the streets. I think they were filmed after the clearance of the camp in Calais.
One thing for sure you will find has changed is an anti terrorism wall has been erected around the Eiffel Tower.
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Old Jul 24th, 2018, 04:25 AM
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Where are you from, BeccaB? Sensibilities about things like safety & cleanliness differ according to what people are used to in their home environment.
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Old Jul 24th, 2018, 06:30 AM
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I was stunned on one visit to learn that the métro no longer offered 1st Class, and that the portillons automatiques were no longer in use.
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Old Jul 24th, 2018, 06:34 AM
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I just returned from Paris and yes, it was changed from much earlier visits, but not from last year. I stayed in the 6th and spent time in the 11th and the 19th (much like the area of the 18th as described above by Kerouac) and I never felt uncomfortable or put off....but then, I do live in a big city. The only time I had a moment's concern was in the taxi ride back to my hotel after the Demi-Finale of the World Cup watched in Montmartre ....so much glee in the streets, etc. Made a high sign and the happy revellers let us pass with a smile. I don't think you'll find Paris sufficientlly changed to alter your enthusiasm for a visit.
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Old Jul 24th, 2018, 08:34 AM
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Of course Paris has changed as has any other city. I started going, regularly, around 1976 and up to summer 2017. As far as I'm concerned Paris was best in the 1980s for me personally. But, I still go although I'm not really that into Paris anymore and basically go to quickly see remaining friends and then move on to other places that are much higher on my list.

Happy Travels!
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Old Jul 24th, 2018, 09:28 AM
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I am in Paris right now. Sleeping in the 17th, the untidiness I noticed today was more the fact of the tourists who drop all sort of things than of dog poo or homeless people.
I feel perfectly safe, bt now I am French so I guess I am used to seeing people from all races and ethnicities and some beggars.
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Old Jul 24th, 2018, 09:40 AM
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"I at least have the satisfaction of have a personal understanding of the situation far better than people who see brief reports on television and quickly look away as they eat their macarons and foie gras."

kerouac, I rarely eat the two at the same time. LOL. But seriously, most tourists do want to sample a macaron and or fois gras in Paris. Why not? They want to get away from their regular lives. Unfortunately, one reads/sees the worst news from any city, beccab, but I hope you return and help make new memories for your children. In 2016, I made my 7th trip to Paris (first solo one FWIW) and was able to enjoy it almost as much as the previous ones. I never felt unsafe. Not sure where you live now, beccab, but I dare say you would be safer in Paris than in the U.S. The Paris I saw was more crowded so do reserve ahead if possible. To avoid lines, you might consider a guided tour of the Eiffel Tower.

Please go, and report back.
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Old Jul 24th, 2018, 09:52 AM
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Three years in the time frame of the development of a metropolis of over 10 million people isn't much. The changes you see may be more in you. First time visitors look at certain things. Next time and time after that visitors have changes in companions and changes of viewpoints. Perhaps you spent most of your first visit in or near the 6th. Maybe this time you'll venture farther out and see a different Paris. As a poster above mentioned, the changes in Paris are much the same as those elsewhere in other major cities. One thing that I notice in my out of the way neighborhood is the increase in the youth population, students, young families, young professionals as they prefer city life where stuff happens and find housing in my area available and cheaper than that in the center city, If you read French, you might like the book by LeGoff, "L'autre Paris - 10 promenades dans les quartiers qui bougent." Creative Paris is moving east and north while central Paris is focusing on tourism.
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