PARIS - LOVE IT OR HATE IT?

Jan 30th, 2009, 09:25 AM
  #1  
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PARIS - LOVE IT OR HATE IT?

This is probably going to start a fiasco, but here I go! I notice that there seems to be a lot of Paris 'lovers' on this website and not anyone who 'hates' it. In the last 2 weeks, I have heard from my neighbours how much they loved Paris in the week they spent there. Then the other day, my 24-yr old nephew and fiancee just returned from a 2 month tour in Europe and actually hated Paris. They'd planned 4 days and after 1 1/2 days, they said they were actually 'disgusted' with the rudeness of the Parisiennes (waiters, gypsies). They gave me examples of the rudeness in cafes - this young couple are in their mid 20's and very respectable young people. I was very surprised, they did say they tried to speak French (they are both university grads, she is a teacher who has taken many French courses so understands and speaks a bit). What is it - it just surprises me how there is such a 'love' but also such a 'hate'!!!I guess I just have to go myself to find out!!!!
Micah3 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 09:43 AM
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You do that.

From my experiences I have found that the younger crowd is not as enthralled with Paris as us old folks are.

My daughter felt Paris had no night life to her liking. she was 19 at the time she first went there. After coming from Spain the weather is cold in Paris and food and lodging is more expensive in Paris.

Parisians as a general rule, are more reserved and formal than we are accustomed to.

I'm a die hard Paris lover but like anywhere else, Paris does have a few flaws.
Suzanne2 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 09:46 AM
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>>guess I just have to go myself to find out!!!!<<

Yep - that's the best idea.

When we were your nephew's age, we embarked on our first trip to Europe. WAY too fast-paced. We visited Paris last & did not like it at all (we were too exhausted & tried to do too much there). We avoided Paris on the next 3 trips, but hit it as the first stop on about our 5th trip to Europe AND FELL IN LOVE WITH PARIS. That was 30 years ago & we return about every other year - just got back from a 3 week "do nothing" trip there.

The French waiters are efficient, but don't want to become your "best friend". When we lived in southern Calif, waiters would usually greet you with "Hi - I James & I'll be your waiter for the evening. Where are you folks from". This does not happen in France, and I'm glad of that. If your nephew expected the waiter to kinda "join" him for dinner, then he would probably think they were stand-offish & perhaps rude. As others like to point out, Paris is like NYC - as you pass people on the street they don't usually smile at you or even notice your existance. But if you are in a somewhat remote location of Paris & are trying to figure out where you are, a local will often ask if they can help.

Gypsies - you should see the homeless/vagrant problem we have here in San Francisco.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 09:59 AM
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Hi Stu,

We live in Orange County,CA. I was in SF last September and I was really surprised by the number of homeless and how aggressive the panhandling has gotten.

I've never seen anything like that in Paris.

Sad really. SF is so beautiful. I avoid downtown LA as much as possible.

Your comments about the waiters reminded me of why we stopped going to Outback Steakhouse. The servers literally sit down at the table with you.
Suzanne2 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 10:07 AM
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OK, let me just say that I've been vacationing there, almost annually, since the mid 70s, so have experienced Paris over several decades.

I find this "rudeness" situation, that you're speaking of, to be a lot better now than it was some decades ago.

I remember, while living in Scandinavia, during the summers, reading a newspaper article on how some French tourism organization was saying that there needed to be an attitude adjustment, so to speak. Travelers were getting fed up with it. Things have changed and I've found things MUCH better.

I'm telling you I have dealt with some, totally uncalled for situations, over the decades so I understand what you're saying. I'm talking situations that if they'd happened here at home, the employee would have have been fired. I won't go into details.

But, then I've also had the opposite experience,too where waiters/waitresses/hotel staff/shopkeepers have been really great.

I think travelers love Paris for many different reasons. I personally can click out a lot of stuff that might go on and focus on the "city" and what I'm there to do. Then I'm not so bothered.

So, just don't worry about it and go and have a great time. I'm sure this thread will turn into a monster, so to speak. I can just hear the comments coming. And I'm sure there will be comments stating that such could take place in any big cities which of course it could. But, it's no secret that this "rudeness" discussion has come up about Paris in particular and for many decades. Happy Travels!

Guenmai is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 10:13 AM
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As I tell my kids, it's good that not everyone loves to visit the same places!

Your nephew and his fiancee's opinions may be due to the greater formality in France, and specifically in Paris, or maybe the city just doesn't "click" with them. DH and I are more formal, so that doesn't bother us, but on the other hand, the last time we visited Paris, I had a nice conversation with a waiter at a bar about where they get their morning croissants. So not everyone is so formal.

My husband didn't really like Paris the first time he went, during grad school with some buddies. But when we visited, several years later, he enjoyed himself a great deal. I speak a little French - I can't say that's the reason his experience was better, but it does help.
Lexma90 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 10:15 AM
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Love it. But I think if you experience rudeness anywhere and you aren't there long enough to meet all the nice people who make up for it, you might feel the way your nephew did.

Over the years, my tastes have changed. For a while, I preferred vacations in the countryside, but now I'm moving toward appreciating city life more. If you are not a city person, you might not like Paris as much as the French countryside.

But I think your instincts are correct; you'll have to go see for yourself.
Nikki is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 10:18 AM
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Waiting tables in France, especially in restaurants, is a professional occupation - not something someone does while attending classes.

They are highly efficient and usually ensure you a high level of profesionnalism.

So basically, you will rarely (not!) be greeted with a "How's everyon' doin' today'?" Good? GREAT!!! "Tell me dear, you want some fixin' with that?" hmmm-hmmm? "Great! Comin' right up!".

Rudeness? Yes if you compare their style of serving tables with "Sammy" from Boston Pizza.
travelingmad is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 10:19 AM
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I'm curious about why I love Paris. I also love Venice - perhaps even more than Paris. I enjoy almost everywhere I've been outside the US (pretty much around the world).

My feelings about "great" American cities are more complex? I really enjoy trips to NYC, Washington. D.C. (usually - had to go there on business lots for a long time), Boston, and San Francisco. I lived in the Chicago area for several years and really like Chicago. But I'm not enthralled with any of these American cities the same way I am with Paris and Venice, where I love simply to walk and walk and walk and get lost and find places to eat, museums, etc.

Perhaps it's the sense of history and adventure and intrigue that I find in cities where I'm not fluent in the language and culture? Or maybe I'm just a little bit nuts? Go figure!
knoxvillecouple is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 10:23 AM
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Paris?

meh

I can take it or leave it. Certainly not the center of the Universe that many claim nor is it the armpit of the World.

For me the charm of Europe isn't found in the big cities - they all look the same. Explore the countryside and small villages.
Otzi is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 10:24 AM
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yk
 
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LOVE IT OR HATE IT?

I don't love it but I don't hate it either. I think it's a beautiful city with lots of great things to see, lots of history, and fantastic food. Just because a few people said they hated it doesn't mean that you'll feel the same.

I have encountered friendly people, and have encountered rude people - not just Paris, but pretty much everywhere I've visited in the world, including where I live.

I don't let the rude people bother me. Why let them ruin your vacation?
yk is online now  
Jan 30th, 2009, 10:28 AM
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I have never been, nor do I have any desire to go there. I don't like cities very much and Paris holds no attraction for me whatsoever.
My husband suggested going there for a weekend for my birthday a couple of years ago but I said I'd rather go almost anywhere else - so we went to the Mosel and had a truly wonderful time.
I'm with Otzi on this, and not just in Europe but on any continent, it is the country and the villages that hold the charm and the "real" experience of a country.
hetismij is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 10:39 AM
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I like Paris, but I don't love it. I do, however, love Nice.
Underhill is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 10:57 AM
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Don't love it or hate it. Pretty neutral. If I were to go to France tomorrow it would definitely not be to Paris. No desire to return there.

I'm with Otzi on cities. DH and I normally fly into a city like Rome or whatever, spend a couple of days, then are absolutely itching to get into the countryside and small villages. I'm not a city person and feel that you can find more authentic culture and interesting experiences outside cities. Taking those tiny twisty narrow roads in the country can lead to wonderfully undiscovered hidden gems.
travel2live2 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 11:09 AM
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I love cities and I love Paris, but what got me was this comment:

they all look the same

Huh? London looks like Paris? Berlin looks like Paris? Barcelona looks like Paris?
sf7307 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 11:55 AM
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I love Paris!!!!!!! I have run into a couple of rude people, but I chaulked that up to "the authentic french experience". LOL

Depending on when and where you sit down to eat, sometimes the waiters are very busy and they just don't have time to go over the menu and the specials and the like (they wouldn't anyway) that we get here in the US. I actually hate it when the waiter squats down by the table and starts listing a zillion specials and blah blah blah. In Paris the waiters want you to know what you want when they come to the table. I, of course am generalizing.

There are quite a few homeless people around, but personally, I was never hustled by any of them and I'm glad about that.

You neighbors certainly will not be condemed to the fires of hell for not loving Paris. My brother can't stand it there and I can't believe I still speak to him!!!
crefloors is online now  
Jan 30th, 2009, 12:10 PM
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I don't hate Paris, but there are at least ten other cities I would revisit first. But actually, that is probably not even true, because if Paris is convenient, I tend to include it in my trip. Even though I don't get the feeling of natural comfort like I do in many other cities, Paris is still superb for its musical and cultural offerings. I know for sure that I'll never be bored there.

As to why I prefer London, Berlin, Vienna, Mexico City, Rome, Venice, Florence, etc. to Paris - well, for some reason that is just how it is.
WillTravel is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 12:41 PM
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LOVE IT!!!

Can't really explain why, but it's my favourite city on earth.
I love the French language and French literature and am fairly fluent, so that may have something to do with it. French people are like people everywhere - some lovely, some hateful. There's just a vibe about the city that I love.
baladeuse is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 12:45 PM
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Younger visitors often have no idea where to go to find their kind of "scene." Since 95% of the people say to stay as close to the center as possible, they are very unlikely to discover the alternative and inventive places, which are on the fringes of the city.

Too bad for them! Paris is already too crowded as far as I'm concerned, and I would very much like for the number of visitors to drop.
kerouac is online now  
Jan 30th, 2009, 12:52 PM
  #20  
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I love all your responses. I agree with you - a lot of times a person just feels a vibe in a place that others may not. I do have French heritage and that is one of the reasons I'm looking forward to this trip. I also am a person who likes new adventures. The cousins I am travelling with all have a great sense of humour and I honestly think that if we meet someone who is rude, we will simply chalk it up and have fun with it. It certainly won't wreck our time! It really is wonderful that we all think differently, otherwise it would truly be a boring world!!
Micah3 is offline  

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