Is Paris overrated? Paris is often known for its history, art and culture, French gastronomy, famous monuments, and love. I know this is a French based website which promotes the French language, however, I do dare pose the question : is Paris overrated? Just so you know, this article is coming from a guy who has lived in Paris, worked in Paris for two summers, and visited Paris on multiple occasions.
Why do people have the preconceived notion that Paris is a perfect city?
The assumption that Paris has no trash, no crime, no beggars, no noxious odors and no traffic is just plain wrong. Paris is a large metropolitan area. Parking is difficult to find, the buses rarely run on time, emergency vehicles are loud, and it’s no surprise when there is a ton of other people on the streets. At night, drugs, violence, and prostitution all get involved.
Essentially, Paris has problems like every other large city.
Paris is Over-Attracted
The monuments and museums at Paris are amazing, without a doubt. In fact, if you are a cultured individual who likes art or music, Paris is for you.
However, you have to be witty enough to avoid the zillion other tourists who plan on visiting the same attraction.
In Paris, expect lines, long lines. You should avoid using the metro during rush hour. Don’t take the elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Don’t go to the Louvre Museum or the Chateau of Versailles on a Saturday. Don’t try to go shopping on the Champs-Elysees; you’ll wait in a line just to get into an overpriced store.
Actually, if you want to avoid the other 28 or so million tourists who flock to Paris each year, avoid tourist attractions all together and try to find events which French people tend to frequent. Skipping the tourist-trapped, tourist-filled McDonalds and opting for real French cuisine is a great start. Another alternative is to not visit Paris during peak months (May, June, July).
Paris is Expensive
Even though I’m financially well off, oh lord, Paris is expensive.
It’s also deceptive because at the moment, Euros are more valued than dollars (exchange rate). A nice hotel? Forget about it, you’re better off sleeping in the rental car (okay, I’m over-exaggerating a bit).
Unless you shop during the sale season, don’t plan on buying clothes in Paris, after seeing a pair of Levi’s jeans selling for over 150 euros, you’ll know what I mean. Restaurants offering quality dishes are hard to come by without paying a pretty penny; opt for cafés, brasseries, crêperies, and boulangeries which still make great French food for a lower price.
Use student discounts, lazy-day admissions, and family discounts to your advantage, otherwise you may end up paying a lot more for common attractions.
If you plan on using public transportation, try to buy a carnet of tickets, or a ticket for the entire day depending on your needs.
“The City of Love?”
Ah, Paris! La ville de l’amour. Sure there are people who find love in Paris or rekindle their passion with that special someone. Famous writers and film producers often hype up Paris as the enchanting city of love.
But think about this.
Any city can spark love, if the two people are in love. Honestly, it matters WHO you are with more than WHERE you are. If I found love in a dumpster, that doesn’t make it “the dumpster of love“… it’s still just a dumpster. Are you following me?
Fast-Paced and Rude?
French people stereotype Parisians: they are snobby, fast-paced workaholics who are all about business and money.
It’s true that in Paris, taxi drivers will practically run you over the moment a light turns green. It’s true that Parisians get angry at tourists who get in their way when they are trying to get to work.
French people joke that in Paris, you don’t walk on the sidewalks… you run. These people have things to do and places to be, some areas are not compatible for tourists who want to dawdle and take in the atmosphere.
Americans tell me stories about how rude the French are. From my experience, this is just a French stereotype.
However, is it because I speak in French well? Waiting tables is a regular paying job, and tips aren’t really expected. The server won’t baby you like they do in the United States, so sometimes it’s really hard to get their attention when needed.
Of course, this all depends on where and when you eat; some dining establishments are less packed than others during peak hours. I avoid the extremely touristy establishments in the first place, eating with friends or family far away from the attractions.
I’m not saying you should skip Paris. There is always that certain allure of saying “I’m in Paris.” Yet, take some time to visit other beautiful parts of France and appreciate the different lifestyle. After seeing Strasbourg, Lyon, Grenoble, Bourg-en-Bresse, and Besançon, I don’t really enjoy Paris as much as I used to.
What happened on your last trip to Paris? Share you experiences below, no special subscription required.
I just discovered your sight, magnificent, awesome.
All you said about Paris is sooooo true. Not only Parisians, in general The French are simply not service folks.
I am a Duolingo nut, after trying Babel, not bad.in class too much paperwork.
Now I enjoy the new program of being rated and can compete with others.
But——-what does it mean Johnnie is speaking French.
During that yime he was not rated in the club. I need speaking, though I live in Southern France and have French friends, they like to pracyice English with me.
Is there a speaking program with Duo to singn on, so I get to speak with other another Duo person?
Do you have a conversation program. Che
I’ve been to Paris every year since 1993 on Business. I’ve stayed in some of the best hotels in the city including the Ritz and the Park Hyatt Vendome, I can honestly say the city is overrated. It is more expensive than New York, Tokyo, or London, with most five star hotels costing $900 U.S. Dollars a night during high season. last year I could not find a hotel and got stuck at The Westin Vendome which was awful and almost $700 a night, the whole place is just terribly overpriced.
I went on a small eurotrip, with my last destination being Paris. I did not like it. It didn’t help that it was raining, cold and gloomy all weekend. I also felt a sense of loneliness, but I was traveling alone. Yet I didn’t have this feeling in the other euro cities I’ve been in. I was surprised by the huge amount of tourist.. I’m from NYC, so the vibe felt familiar, but the city just did not excite me. Besides one expensive restaurant, the food was ok. I felt Paris is hyped up a lot in the media, and having experienced it myself.. it’s ok. It is a beautiful city, the architecture is amazing, and I don’t think the french are as rude as ppl claim. But my dreamy magical view of Paris is no longer. Will I visit again? Yes. Is it my top destination? Certainly not.
Just returned from a weekend in Paris and googled “Paris, dirty and expensive” just to see if there are others who think so too. Glad I went but will not go back anytime soon.
I’ve been to Paris every year since 2009 – it’s still as dirty and expensive in 2016 as it was back then. So no, you’re not alone.
I agree with everything you have said. I just come back from being in Paris for 4 days. I’m the crime there is just unbearable. It’s not a city I would feel safe in let alone alone. Overall I enjoyed going for the experience and I would go again at one point in my life but I’m in no rush to go back lol :)
I agree with all that you said. I just came back from a 3 weeks trip to France, split between Alsace, Perigord and Paris. After seeing Perigord and Alsace, we left Paris asking ourselves: “That’s it? Why is this so hyped?”.
It is definitely a great city, and to me the Louvre is what made it worth, but I surely didn’t leave wanting to come a second time.
“The dumpster of love”! Thanks for the belly laugh. (We’re leaving for Paris in 12 days…)
Haha, I’m glad you enjoyed it. Have a great trip Kate!!!
I’m actually going back to Paris soon.
I went to Paris with an ex-boyfriend.Romantic? The best part of the trip was leaving him there. It was far from romantic experience, but I don’t blame the city for that. I loved Normandy & Dijon. I’ll probably return to Paris some time but yes it’s overrated. I think people all want it on their “been there! done that!” List. I didn’t find the people particularly rude but we don’t routinely tip waiting staff here in Australia either, it’s optional & they are paid a guaranteed minimum wage. TD
Paris offers lots of old and beautiful architecture, but is expensive and in a state of disrepair with too many pickpockets, petty crimes and many rude Parisiens. Would I visit again? Most probably not, but am glad that I made the trip to really see the city for myself.
Very overpriced, dirty, in many areas over run by arabs who will harass girls just for fun.,seedy in many areas .There are so many big capital cities that are so much better-Barcleona, Lisbon..
over run by gypsies, crime, petty thieves, pick pockets, graffiti, dirty, definitely overrated
Almost anything of major value in life requires a little work. Getting used to the idiosyncrasies of any great city of complexities such as Paris necessitates some effort—notably in the form of advance research.
We’re about to embark on our 23rd trip to the City of Light, and we’ve even published a book on how to avoid Paris pitfalls, maximize the Paris experience, and bond quickly with Paris. I’m not trying to promote the book, so I won’t mention the name. But, despite our backlog of Paris experience, the reason I found this blog was because I make a weekly habit of randomly googling all sorts of resources in an effort to learn more about this beautiful city. So far today, I’ve googled “Paris under the radar,” “Just plain food in Paris” (some Parisian Chefs can get carried away by adding one fussy ingredient too many), and “Favorite Paris Experiences.” As a result of this and other searches, we’ll be experiencing some new and undoubtedly fascinating elements of Paris during our coming trip, and we’ll be incorporating at least some of them in the next edition of our book.
One portion of our book is entitled, “But What about all those Parisians?” It’s a virtual primer on how to understand and relate to Parisians. For instance, consider that most Parisians you’ll meet will be in service-related occupations. Parisians regard their professions with an almost artisan-like pride. Condescend to a clerk or waiter and you’re viewed as insulting his/her profession. Especially on the Right Bank, where many service people develop a defensive veneer to counter the anticipated arrogance of some visitors. Good rules to consider in dealing with Parisians: (1) Smile, smile, smile. (2) Try to speak at least a little French, because most Parisians actually regard struggling French as better than no French. (3) “Bonjour” (or “Bonsoir” in the evening) is often the key to starting off a constructive relationship with a Parisian on the right foot. (4) In a small shop, in which the clerk is often likely to be the owner, ALWAYS say “Bonjour” or “Bonsoir” upon entering and “Merci” when you leave, even if you have purchased nothing. (5) If an employee seems to be following you around the store, it’s not because you’re acting suspiciously or (s)he wants to pressure you to buy. Parisians consider it a form of good service. Heck, you’d probably pay a premium for “concierge” or “personal shopper” service in the U.S. “Je ne fais que regarder, merci” means “I’m just browsing, thank you.” (6) When in doubt about how to relate to a Parisian, simply practice the Golden Rule.
Some Paris tourists are mainly interested in seeing monuments, clicking cameras, and eating great food; and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of that. But, rather than being quick to complain about Paris’ idiosyncrasies, a little curiosity and research about the underlying reasons can actually broaden your perspectives on Paris and make your trip all the more rewarding.
Probably one of the best comments that has ever blessed my site.
Hi I would like to find your book. Please email me back. I am new to this site so if it does not let you email me, then if I must I will post my email (but trying to avoid doing that due to potential online scammers.) Thank you to the author of this article and to the writer of this comment! Thanks a bunch!
When it comes to choose a holiday spot, undoubtedly most of the people prefer to go Paris as it is literally the haven on this earth. No doubt, Paris is the heart of France as it is the most attractive places in France with eye-catching sights and uneven cliffs and mountains Paris is a city rich in culture, transportation, accommodation and beautiful countryside. I think one should definitely plan their trip to Paris once in a while their lifetime. Living in beautiful Paris apartments and exploring the beauty of this wonderful city via car can be one of the most thrilling and memorable experiences of your life.
bonsoir, écoute je ne suis pas immature, au contraire je m’intérresse a ce que disent les étrangers sur nous,because beaucoup de chose faussent sont dites ailleurs ou sont des cliclés et la ma surprise je voit 12 millions (ok not 8 sorry)d’habitant a paris,alors que non c’est tout,ce n’était pas méchant ta réponse extremement agressive ma surpris, désolé si tu t’es senti piéger parce que je suis français. ma réponse était donc aussi agressive, mais je me défend^^ donc voila désolé et merci de t’interresser a des abrutis comme moi et a mon pays^^ au revoir bonne journée a toi peace
I own an apartment in Paris and have visited the City of light many times over the past 30 years. I have never been mugged, robbed or threatened in any way. It is a great walking City and I have walked its street many times. I have always found the Parisians polite and rarely encountered rudeness.
It is not perfect. Dog poo is a major problem. The Parisians seem to think it is their right to let their dogs shit everywhere. Watch where you walk. It is hard to fing good restaurants at reasonable prices. You will find better value and quality in my own native Dublin. But for magnificent architecture, culture and art, it beats everywhere else hands down. C’est magnifique.
hi in paris there are 2 millions inhabitants not 8 ^^ are you spécialist on france ? really^^
You are correct that Paris has a population of 2.2 million but the metropolitan area has over 12 million. I’ll just quote wikipedia because it’s the easiest resource for people with reading problems to understand:
“Within its administrative limits (the 20 arrondissements), Paris has a population of about 2,230,000, and its metropolitan area is one of the largest population centres in Europe, with more than 12 million inhabitants, who are referred to as Parisians”
I never claimed to be a “specialist” of anything, I’m only here to share my experiences and talk about French, why are you here? Trolling is not nice at all. Numbers constantly fluctuate, so to make such a moot point on a number is rather immature. The book I read (yes I read) indicated 8 million, so I left that number in my article. Nonetheless, 12 million is still “over 8 million” so I am correct in a sense to just leave it.
Have a good day