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tcreath Aug 17th, 2004 05:25 AM

What makes people dislike Paris?
I have never been to Paris, but my husband and I are planning on including Paris in our next trip to Europe, in May of next year. People on this website seem to love Paris, but so many people I talk to in person about Paris tell me that either they don't like it, or "its okay, but I wouldn't go back" type of thing. I'm just wandering what the general consensus is.

I don't really base my decision on where to go based on someone else's disliking (after all, to each their) because, after all, there are so many places I love (such as Rome) that others don't really care for. Its just that Paris, more than most places I've heard about, seems to get more negative remarks about it.

tcreath Aug 17th, 2004 05:25 AM

Sorry, I accidently posted "post" too quickly! Anyways, I was just basically looking for thoughts from others. Do people you know tend to feel this way about Paris and, if so, why?


nytraveler Aug 17th, 2004 05:30 AM

I only know one person who disliked Paris - and it was a combination of her personal preferences (she's traveler, not a tourist - prefers up the Amazon in a canoe - and found Paris "boring - too like home") and her lack of French (she usually learns some of the language wherever she goes - but seemed to have some sort of block with French). Everyone else I know who has been there loves it and can;t wait to go back.

Gretchen Aug 17th, 2004 05:30 AM

The old saw is that the French are unfriendly. It just isn't true. We have begun limiting our travel to Paris and France in particular because we enjoy it so much. You are treated as you treat others. The French do appreciate being greeted in their stores by a "bonjour" when entering and an "au revoir, merci" when leaving. There is so much richness to the French culture and Paris is one of the most fascinating cities in the world.

Travelnut Aug 17th, 2004 05:41 AM

I think Paris provides a much richer experience to those who take time to prepare for their visit. Not just what 'sights' to see, but also reading a book about French culture/society, such as the Polly Platt books, or similar. Some behaviors looked at with an American perspective become much more understandable (and acceptable?) once explained within a French perspective. This is probably true of Italian and other cultures, although I haven't delved into others very much.

Of course, it also helps to know a little bit about why you are there. I swear I heard someone in a tour group standing by their bus behind Notre Dame say " oh look, it's an island!". I later heard someone from an American group on the Metro say "there's a big church on a hill somewhere around here"... I mean, really...!
(now, it will take a lifetime to know about everything of Paris, but you should at least know the basics).

elaine Aug 17th, 2004 05:43 AM

I don't think anyone can pinpoint this for you, some people dislike opera or
the color green or liver and onions.
Cities strike us one way or another, and it is a factor of the city as well as of the individual.

I've been to Paris a number of times and love it, but it doesn't strike me as a 'friendly' city in particular. I've not met many rude people (no more than the average I meet anywhere) but then I don't have especially high expectations of friendliness from strangers, maybe that's because I live in NYC, or it's just me.

Paris has beautiful architecture, a rich history, wonderful museums large and small and on every possible topic, parks, great shopping, easy transportation, a walkable city center, good hotels to fit every budget and whim, a world-class cuisine of its own, and a variety of excellent restaurants at all price levels.
Sound good?
Bon voyage!

tudorprincess Aug 17th, 2004 06:02 AM

I'm wondering the same thing. I know a number of people who have been to Paris and refuse to go back. In fact, on our last trip to Las Vegas my mother in law didn't want to go into Paris Las Vegas because she hated Paris so much.
We're going to Paris for two days in February and while I've always thought I'd like to go someday I do have some reservations because of so many negative opinions.
My husband and I both had 2yrs. French in school and are trying to brush up now. How difficult will it be for us to get around, order meals, purchase items, etc,etc?
We're going with a positive attitude but also a little scared as well because of the language barrier.

elaine Aug 17th, 2004 06:08 AM

In Paris there is essentially no language barrier. I'd guess 90% of the people you will come into contact either speak some or much English, or can quickly find someone else who can.
Not all taxi drivers or hotel room cleaners do, but you can always have your hotel desk write down where you are going or what you want and it will happen. Most cafes and restaurants will have at least one waiter, if not most, who speak English. It might help to bring a menu translator if you're not familiar with French cooking terms.

I don't like making generalizations, but I agree that the French (actually, most people everywhere) do appreciate even a small attempt to speak the local language, even if it is limited to "Bonjour Madame" with a smile.

dickv2 Aug 17th, 2004 06:09 AM

Goodmorning, as the song goes
"I love Paris" all the time.
Have been there three times and loved each time, has not experienced any
negative feelings from city or people.
Richard of LaGrange Park, Il.

tudorprincess Aug 17th, 2004 06:19 AM

I was hoping that the language would not be a problem. We've got the basics down but as far as whole sentences or the familiar form of words, forget it.
I'm really excited about this trip and nothing would be more of a let down than to be treated like you're not wanted there.

mamc Aug 17th, 2004 06:21 AM

As you say, most people on this website love Paris. I adore Paris. My travel is more limited than need be because I want to combine Paris with every other destination. I'm really not sure why some people have a negative attitude or perception of this lovely city. I think if you go to Paris in May, having prepared by doing some research and learning some French phrases, you will love Paris. I love it more each time I go.

ira Aug 17th, 2004 06:21 AM

Hi tc,

As the French say, "chacun a son gout".

ira Aug 17th, 2004 06:22 AM

To answer "What makes people dislike Paris?":

It's full of foreigners, mostly French.

swandav2000 Aug 17th, 2004 06:24 AM

Hi tcreath,

I'm one who didn't enjoy my last visit to Paris despite the fact that I lived there for one school year (so I wasn't exactly ignorant of the place . . .) and visited twice with my dear sister. But as I grew older, I simply outgrew cities, I think. On my last visit, I kept searching for a spot of serene beauty and felt hounded by the traffic, the bustle, the noise, etc. So I think, for me, it was just that I no longer enjoy cities.

So now I go to Switzerland!!


tcreath Aug 17th, 2004 06:27 AM

I just wanted to add to my question above the we do still intend on going to Paris and are planning on having a great time. We have read a lot of books and are trying to learn as much about Paris as possible before we leave. Its been my experience in the past, when talking about my travels, that some people go to places just to travel and sightsee but don't try to immerse themselves in their own cultures and don't take the time to learn about what it is they are seeing.

My question basically came as a result of a co-worker seeing my "Paris" guidebook on my desk last night and telling me that she went to Paris a few years ago and disliked it. I think she is the 4th co-worker I have heard this from. Because I am getting tired of the negative comments the book is now in my desk drawer and out of sight so others cant comment!

tcreath Aug 17th, 2004 06:28 AM

That was supposed to be "the cultures"...not "their own"...sorry!

Surfergirl Aug 17th, 2004 06:32 AM

A colleague of mine does not like Paris because he thinks the French are rude. But he hasn't been there since the '70's and is a bit on the snobby side, so I suspect the way he presents himself to others is the cause.

My cousin's wife was not fond of Paris until we met her there, primarily because she felt out of her element and had a fear of diving in. It was a language barrier thing for her, so she began to enjoy herself and be herself after we arrived, since I was able to play tour guide and speak reasonable French.

RufusTFirefly Aug 17th, 2004 06:37 AM

For many people it is a combo of 2 factors that can appley ot any destination, not just Paris: 1. Personal preference--some people are city people, some aren't. Some people are beach people, some arent'. Some are museum people, some aren't. Some are nature lovers, some aren't. etc. etc. etc. 2. Sometimes a visitor is unlucky in a place--bad hotel, bad food, a series of grumpy people to deal with, something stolen, etc. etc. etc.

Over the years, I've seen these as 2 big factors in determining people's attitudes towards a place. I don't like Florence for a variety of reasons; others love it for a variety of reasons. I love Venice for a variety of reasons; others don't for a variety of reasons. Interests and luck play a big role many times.

Sue_xx_yy Aug 17th, 2004 06:55 AM

You haven't told us much about your coworkers, and how they differ from each other as well as what makes them alike when it comes to evaluating things.

For example, if you were to ask them why they drive the car they do and why they turned down buying alternate models, how would they reply? Would their answers be general or specific? Would the answers reflect an awareness of aspects of the car itself (e.g. how it handled, or whether the seats fit them comfortably) or would the answers reflect more the atmosphere of the sale itself and not the thing under consideration (e.g. they liked the 'attitude' of the staff selling Fords but not that of the staff selling GM, or whatever.)

In other words, you could get an answer as to why people dislike Paris, but it might not really be meaningful to you at all, if it didn't somehow address your own personal concerns or curiosity about a place.

As for why Paris gets more negative remarks, remember that it is one of the more visited cities, and that it also tends to be one of the European cities people visit first, before they have much basis for comparison, or much experience of Europe at all.

ira Aug 17th, 2004 07:05 AM

>...On my last visit, I kept searching for a spot of serene beauty and felt hounded by the traffic, the bustle, the noise, etc. <

I suggest

Parc Monceau

Parc Butte-Chaumont

Jardin du Luxembourg

Place Dauphine

Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise

Jardin des Plantes

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