Have you ever heard of Paris Syndrome? It’s a mental disorder experienced by people upon visiting the city and learning that Paris is not what they had expected it to be. Well, I’m not having a mental disorder (that I know of), let alone this particular syndrome but I can certainly relate to that. I might receive a lot of hate for saying this, but here goes, Paris is not my favorite city in Europe. There I said it. It’s because, my visits to Paris were not as pleasant as what I had expected it to be.
It’s not that I hate the city or anything, but I had such a lovely image of Paris and let’s just say it vanished after visiting it twice. I wasn’t really dying to visit Paris either but saying that I wasn’t excited would be a lie. Who wouldn’t get excited to visit Paris, the most romantic city on earth (or so they say), the city of lights, or something like that. Everybody seems to romanticized Paris so obviously, I got quite enthusiastic when I planned my trips there. Unfortunately, I caught a mild case of Paris Syndrome.
Read also: Paris Photo Diary
Obviously, it’s not out of the blue, I have my reasons. In this post, I’d like to share with you 3 reasons that make Paris is not in my favorite city list.
One of the first things I noticed when I first arrived in Paris that the city is dirty. It’s not like there’s trash all over the street though. But the city is not as clean as one would hope from one of the largest tourists destinations in Europe. The public facilities are not really kept nice and clean. I was once in a Metro station that is so filthy, full of gravity, and kinda creepy. The worst part is, there are lots of dogs’ poo on the street. I’ve never seen that in other European cities. If we’re not really watching our steps we might step on one of those. It is utterly disgusting and unpleasant. I mean, you’d obviously wanted to enjoy the scenery without worrying about stepping on poo, right?
The Public Transportation
Okay this is quite relative. Maybe it’s just me. And I hate to say it over and over again, but I’ve been to a lot of other cities and tried their public transportation. Never have I ever been so confused of the public transport system as I did in Paris. Especially the RER. The Metro is pretty much like any other city. But once I had to use the RER because I arrived from Gare du Nord and boy, it’s really confusing I had to get off the train so many times because I took the wrong route. I heard it’s also true if you’re travelling from the airport. But I’ve never taken the RER from the airport so please correct me if I’m wrong.
Disinclination to Speak English
I’d totally understand if it’s genuinely because they can’t. Quite annoyingly, most of the time it’s because they don’t want to. Yes, yes I understand they have their own rich culture and how French is one of the most important language in the world as well. I totally respect that. I even always try to greet them with “Bonjour” first before I proceed to ask something and close it with “Merci”. But, that’s as far as my French skill gets.
One time my friend and I really need a help of finding a bus station. It was late at night, in a shady neighbourhood, and we almost miss our bus. Naturally we asked for a help; from a taxi driver. I politely greeted with “Bonjour” and ask him to help us to find the address. He proceed to talk in French. At first we were not sure if he understand us or even speak English at all. After I repeated the question several times we began to realized that he was answering to us, only in French. So we were having conversation, only I spoke English and he replied with French. So he did understand English. He just didn’t want to speak it to us; two confused female travellers in the middle of the night. His intention was good (thankfully) and he did finally help us to find the address, but why with such a hassle? We would have been relieved sooner if he would just reply with a simple “I know the address, let me take you there”.
And thing like this happen more than several times, once with a police officer who you, know a public servant and should help the public. It’s not that they don’t want to help. They do. But is it helpful if you can’t understand a word they’re saying?
On top of those three main reasons, I also had the worst experience visiting Paris. The first time I was there me friend and I got lost and almost miss the bus that would take us to another city. As I’ve mentioned in the story above. Another bad experience I had with Paris had something to do with the weather. It was rainy and gloomy all the time when I came visiting it the second time. But the weather can change. I’ve seen lots of great picture of people visiting Paris when it’s all sunny and pretty.
As I’ve said before, I don’t hate Paris. I actually like the buildings, the culture, and the cafes along the cobblestone street. It’s just that I have the hardest time loving the city for the aforementioned reasons. And that’s why Paris is not included in the list of my favorite cities. I’m sure the other part of France is lovely, though. I’d love to have the opportunity to explore it some time.
To those who’ve been to Paris, what’s your most favorite thing about the city?