Paris, France. June 2013.
Paris is one of the cities with the highest volume of tourists each year. It is the oft-romanticised, oft written about, oft dreamt of penultimate European city that many aspire to but never get the chance to visit.
But like any city, there is an unpublished reality: the ugly Paris that smells of dead rats and piss, with crumbling concrete walls stained with graffiti and garbage, and vagrants in the street who are more unnerving than welcoming… The Paris you end up finding might be less than the idyllic baroque renaissance landscape you’ve read about.
Mind you, that Paris exists, sure. But don’t expect it to be one continuous panorama. Postcard Paris can last a few days, especially if you stick to the tourist spots, but if you’re able to spend a little bit more time–walking, taking the metro, going beyond the city center, buying bread at a local boulangerie–you’ll find time to really examine things and to see and experience a little bit more than what brochures say.
The first time I was in Paris, I only had a couple of days, and strictly did the tourist route. I suppose I didn’t know any better; I was twelve.
I was lucky enough to find myself back in Paris for a few weeks in 2012 and 2013, so even if I went back to some touristy spots, I was more observant; I was able to take my time.
And although a couple of weeks is better than a couple of days, it is hardly enough time to do Paris justice. I just barely got a peek into real Parisian life, and I’m always hankering to see and experience more. Maybe it’s partly because my name sounds really good in its native tongue. Ha.