Why Paris Disappointed Me


It looks best at night.

I really hate to complain. Well, not really. But I hate to complain about such a great city like Paris. I mean, it’s the heart of France. Yes? No? There’s a lot of culture. International recognition. It boasts of Napoleon and the Louvre. The Louvre! But there were several things that I see as the downside. They kind of disappointed me. Maybe London has spoiled me (not that this is an English verses French kind of thing).

What Mona sees everyday.

10 Reasons Why Paris Disappointed Me:

  1. Watch out for land mines because there’s dog poopy everywhere
  2. The winter gardens aren’t as well-kept as other cities like London
  3. Smells similar to a waft of air from sewage plant
  4. There’s an exceptional amount of litter
  5. If you attempt French out of courtesy, you’re still greeted with hostility
  6. The metro smells worse than the waft of airs outside
  7. Lots of gypsies come up to you asking, “Do you Speak English?”
  8. There’s a startling number of homeless people, or at least that can be seen
  9. The automatic metro doors wait for no one – don’t get your head slammed
  10. The Louvre is more busy than a shopping mall


Entertainment for the kids.


Too bad you have to pay... more than its really worth.


If you take a boat ride, do it on a sunny day.


More free entertainment for the kids.


Update: March 9, 2010, 10 p.m., London

FYI – Major Cities I’ve been to:

  1. Barcelona
  2. Florence
  3. Kaunas
  4. London
  5. Madrid
  6. Montréal
  7. Nice
  8. New York City
  9. Paris
  10. Quebec City
  11. Rome
  12. Valencia
  13. Vilnius 
  14. Washington, D.C.


Filed under Culture, documentary

96 responses to “Why Paris Disappointed Me

  1. Wow! I’d always thought of Paris as such a relaxing city to visit. Sounds like just another tourist trap in some areas 😦 So much for leisurely strolling through the Louvre.

    I do like that they seem to have a lot of free activities, though!

  2. Karen P. Vargas

    Hi!. i’m just reading… I can’t be more agree!
    Last year I travel to France, it was the travel of my life, and I really had high expectations about a beautiful city.
    The city it’s really really amazing, but it’s true… most of the french people need to be more polite… and try the tourist with more respect.
    Also about the Louvre… i was expecting a place with silence and with the time for you to appreciate the fabulous art pieces… but instead i found something more similar to a market.
    Thanks a lot for your opinion.. and don’t feel bad for express it. I feel better now that i know someone else thinks similar to me.
    It’s true France it’s an amazing and beautiful place…and deserves to be not just a place beautiful in the exterior… it would be perfect if the people can be beautiful in the inside.

  3. I love Paris!! I so would go back!

    My friend told me the same thing about the sewage smell. And the one thing that disappointed me was the Louvre; it was tiring being in that crows and the infamous, taking-the-world-by-storm Mona Lisa seemed so small for the big deal that it is (she is). That picture of the crowd there is it exactly.

  4. If this is what you came away with after a trip to Paris, maybe you shouldn’t travel so much. I’ve been three times. . . and never once encountered a single thing on your list, other than the busy-ness of the Louvre. I speak next to no French, but never once met a rude Parisian; in fact, they went out of their way to help — from the stranger on the street who led me to Galeries Lafayette to the owner of a tiny chocolate shop, from the street artists at Montmartre to the guy making lattes at Starbucks.

    • rosiewalunas

      Out of all the major cities I’ve been to – and I’ve been to a lot, Paris, I’m sorry to say was simply disappoint. I’m sorry you disagree. You must have gotten lucky with the kindness of the Parisians you met. The list is exaggerated but it has some truths. oua re right about the street artists, but Starbucks isn’t anything to impress. Thanks for your comments.

      • I’m inclined to agree with Robert (although I don’t think you shouldn’t travel). Part of the problem with Paris is that people have such high expectations and when all is said and done it’s still just a big city with all the good and bad things that big cities have to offer. Give it another try with a friend who likes to laugh and you’ll probably change your mind!

      • I just went with my sixteen year old daughter; we had a great time, once again nothing u said except for the louvre- and that was generally around the mona lisa. I don’t think London compares- the people are far, far, more inconsiderate in England. They revel in it. But perhaps if you went thinking: these people are living there daily lives, they are not tourists, nor do they cater to them, you might think differently. It is what you make it. ALL Parisians that I tried my rudimentary French on were pretty helpful. When I consider customer service and waiters in our own ciyies, well, Paris was fine: a great, major city.

    • lisa

      I could not agree more, I tarveled there alone for 3 weeks with very limited beginning french, and everyone was incredibly friendly and helpful. People even stopped me on the streets while lookign at my maps asking me if they could help direct me. I believe travel can me made into a positive or negative experience… Did the subway smell? Maybe, but I was too busy falling in love with the rest of the city to even notice. I make an attempt to correct so many of these sterotypes every time someone asks me about my trip and the peopel of France!

      • My first trip to Paris was this last Nov. and I was thrilled. The Louvre was not overly busy but what I would expect, the people I came in contact with were all very friendly and helpful to this traveling American. We had a wonderful time and enjoyed everything, even the metro, just fine.
        I believe you find what you what you’re looking for – except in Atlanta: there it IS just as you describe. Perhaps you were really in Atlanta, Georgia? =)
        Don’t base the entire experience on one brief trip! That’s all I’m saying.

    • nita

      I totally agree with you Robert. I have been to Paris 3 times now as well and have never met a rude person in Paris. I speak very little French as well but I found people coming up to help me find my way without me asking when they overheard me trying to figure out where I was going. I’ve been during the middle of winter, spring, and fall, and I Paris was equally enjoyable during those different times of the year. Yes, the dog poo is a bit much, but man, the culture, food, and vibe of the city is absolutely amazing! I’ve visited and lived in many large metropolitan cities, and homelessness was also a major problem in those cities as well-just check out San Francisco!

    • luigi

      Hi Robert and all others,

      This post is quite true. I live in Paris since 7 months now. In a few days Rosie has hit the major flaws of Paris. I have lived in other big city before, and I am from other different country plus traveled around a lot of countries. Paris is the most beautiful city in terms of architecture, but the worst city so far in every other possible terms, mainly the ones given by Rosie.

      Is not by chance that most French think the same of Paris and Parisiens. Parisiens itself recognize that, all foreigners I have meet here say exactly the same thing, and btw.. read “A year in the Merde” and others.

      Waiting for the summer though.


  5. The Completely Ignorant Fashion Blog

    I always have such high expectations for my travel destinations. I have never been out of the country but one of my bosses is in Paris for the shows and she was talking about her apartment which is across the street from the Chanel atelier. And she was talking about the bistros and the parties. Of course, she has a lot of money so that will make a huge difference in what you experience…

  6. Hi, I have to say that I love Paris like you wouldn’t believe but I read your list and I’m sorry to say that there are a things in your list that sadly are true. However I think that we have to understand the Parisians and that as many cities the bad things in your list are part of what we call Paris, I mean Paris is formed of the good things and bad things. If the purpose of the trip is to get to know a city like it is; we should try to deal with these things, understand them and try to enjoy as much as we can.

  7. blogdojornalismo

    That is Paris – dirty, smelly, where all the men think you are looking for them. Hated!!

  8. Rosie, I totally agree. Three years ago my BF and I went to Spain and Paris. Spain was AWESOME. Paris was bleh. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it is pretty awesome to walk down the Champs Elysees and visit the Louvre (which is sadly a tourist trap), and go to Sacre Coeur and all, but it does smell funny and parisians are rude, which I’m guessing is very similar to other huge cities, but still, a bit more effort, pride and niceness could be put in place so that tourists could feel a bit more comfortable. I tried speaking spanish, and not imposing english … my fingers and drawing worked better. Like my BF said, Paris is Paris and visitors come here despite being Paris. Barcelona and Sevilla on the other hand are …. truly lovely. And BCN and Sevilla were much more romantic than Paris could ever be, in my opinion.

  9. I have the exact opposite opinion of France. I got to travel there 2 years ago, in the winter (hint: bring a COAT!) and was blown away by the people and the architeture. I do agree that the Louvre is a mess in front of the Mona Lisa but I still enjoyed it immensely. Being an artist it was exhilerating to see all the works that I’d seen in books in real life. The displays in the malls walking towards the Arch di Triumph were truely mind blowing, as were the prices. I was struck at how kind the people in France were, we were not subjected to an ounce of rudeness. The one complaint I had was that there was a transit strike going on so the roads were chaotic and the busses randomly stopped and made us get out. Another plus, I had the best creme brule (sp?) of my life there! Viva la France!

  10. I agree about Paris. I have been twice and it does not really excite me compared to other european cities. I think you get the gypsies and homeless folk in your face all over Europe, much worse than England, especially when trying to enjoy a meal outside.

    I didn’ really notice the smells, I guess you get that in many cities. But definately hostility when attemping the language – they laughed at me in a cafe once.

  11. simiyellow

    have you ever been to rome?

    • Cmc

      I have been to Rome, twice in fact, and have never encountered any of the irritating traits from this passage about Paris if that is what you are trying to imply. I rarely hear the same complaints about Rome as the ones people associate with Paris. Romans are friendly in general, and will try helping you, not scoff at you. Rome is not so dirty in many areas just old looking as it is much older than Paris, and it does not have the smells like Paris. Rome can get crowded like any big city but to me I much prefer Rome.

  12. Did you find Londoners friendlier than Parisiens? Yikes! Londoners are notoriously unforgiving of tourists, although I can’t disagree that Paris smells kind of funky and not in a good way

  13. Tom

    Having lived in Paris for over 18 months, I feel well-qualified to issue this enthusiastic rebuttal:

    1. There’s no more dog poo in Paris than in any other major city. This is a myth perpetuated by mischievous guide books and travel writers. If you spotted a turd (or turds) in the street it was probably because you were trying too hard to look for evidence to back up your preconceptions.

    2. Nonsense. Paris’s public gardens are absolutely wonderful and lovingly looked after. Did you visit Parc Monceau? Or the Jardin du Luxembourg?

    3. It simply doesn’t. And even if it did, whence the smell? Is the Seine that much smellier than the Thames or the Tiber?

    4. Again, I have seen no evidence of this in all the time I’ve been here.

    5. French shopkeepers and waiters have to put up with more tourists wantonly massacring their language than almost anyone else on earth. There’s a difference between trying to blend in and trying to show off. And I’d much rather sincere surliness than American-style faux courtesy.

    6. Some parts of the metro do smell horrendous. But so do some parts of the metro in London and New York (and the Parisian metro is one of the most reliable in the world). Don’t like it? Take a taxi.

    7. ‘Gypsies’ are looking for money. Tourists have money. If you go to tourist hotspots, you will be therefore accosted by ‘gypsies’. A polite ‘Sorry’ will usually suffice (unless you’re feeling generous). They’re not going to follow you back to your hotel.

    8. This is true and very sad.

    9. It’s the 21st century. What do you expect, a uniformed metro attendant in a top hat and tails helping you get your luggage onto the train? Just be thankful you’re not being wedged onto the metro in Tokyo.

    10. Hardly surprising. If you really want to get the best out of the Louvre, get there as soon as it opens. Then you’ll have the Mona Lisa all to yourself. For a few minutes at least.

    • Tom I agree completely, except for one thing: american “faux courtesy” is just as much a myth as the French stereotypes- often just as in many countries, Americans are genuinely sweet, when you get to know them.
      Other than that, I’m entirely envious- my eight days in the city were a taste- i hope you have put every day of those eighteen months to goood use!!

  14. Ooooh why so negative? I bet if you had to put together a list of the things you actually liked about Paris it would be longer than 10 items.
    Perhaps your expectations were just too high?
    I live in Paris because I love it. I wasn’t born here but I chose to live here.
    Parisians are one of the most intelligent, cultured people around the world. You should definitely give the city a second chance. But that’s just my opinion, and of course I respect that yours (for the moment) differs 😉

  15. Hannah

    Hi. I have to say, I agree with you on some of this. I went to Paris (it was quite a while ago) and was really disappointed by it. It was so grubby and messy, even around the most beautiful buildings.

    But I don’t think it helps that when its in films and TV programmes, its always the most glamorous side that we get to see, with all the designer shops etc so it is always the glamorous aspect that we get. And after that, anywhere would be disappointing.

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  17. i visited paris @ 14…more years ago than i care to remember. the summer of love in the city of love turned out to be the first time i was mugged,yes,literally within 1 hour of being there…the first time i saw a real life hooker…and the first time of many times i was treated rudely by a french person. Loved the cathedrals….sad the rest hasn’t changed….

  18. Jessica

    I am French and reading this doesn’t surprise me but people have to stop thinking Paris is France and I think it is just a question of expectations. The Louvre is the Louvre what do you expect?Be alone in front of Mona Lisa.? I had to wait more than 1 hour to be able to go on top of the Chrysler building in New York it’s normal! Please travel outside of Paris, I am sure you will have better luck.

    • My daughter and I just returned and Paris was lovely. Yes it has big city qualities, but what a difference. Like New Yorkers, I think Parisians might like to think they can turn there nose up to tourists, but in reality everyone was sweet. Can’t wait to go back and explore outside the city.

  19. I can’t agree more. I went for a 16 day visit and left after 7 days.

  20. Well, I had a very similar experience when I visited the highly praised city of love, but out of different reasons. The problem is just that you are extremely focussed on finding the “cliché-/high gloss-Paris” that you see in all the Hollywood movies (e.g. Ratatouille, Sabrina, Devil Wears Prada), that you actually forget enjoying all of the culture that’s right under your nose. The fact that everything is really pricy doesn’t really help either.
    But I’ll go back anyway because Paris is really inspiring.

  21. Having never been to Paris myself, I’ve heard similar experiences such as yours and it saddens me. Such a beautiful city with rich history, and I’m no longer left with desire to visit.

    Looking forward to reading of where else you’ve traveled…

  22. I definitely agree with some of these points, but I didn’t really notice these things when I was there! I went to Paris when I was 16 though, and found it so romantic and wonderful. I also lived in New York, so I think that garbage smell is just something that comes with big cities haha! I think if you look outside the tourist attractions, it is a much more interesting trip. For example, the Musee D’Orsay was my favorite museum, I enjoyed it much more than the Louvre. It was still quite crowded, but a different vibe altogether.

  23. Grace

    aw I’m sorry that you were disappointed- Paris may be my favorite place on the earth. You need to go in April (crowds are way worse but the city is twice as beautiful), and you need to take time- I find the real pleasures of Paris are very small and absurd, and, more often then not, out of the common way.

    I hope you have a happier visit next time!

  24. Grace

    additionally however (shameless self-promotion here), I have to agree on your choice of grievances. I did my foreign study there and had some similar complaints: http://crazygrace.wordpress.com/2009/02/12/bitching-and-moaning/

  25. I went to Paris last year in summer and I have to agree.

    (Except about the Louvre, that was incredible and I would go back to Paris just for that. However, the Mona Lisa was a big let down – I wasn’t really interested in it anyway, though).

    Though the people weren’t rude to me, I was surprised by how dirty Paris was. And the smell. And the rubbish and how everything needed a good wash. Paris is an incredibly historic city, but people seem to gloss over these problems due to nostalgia or rose coloured glasses.

    Amsterdam, Copenhagen and London were far better.

  26. Other places in France are much better. In fact, French people from other parts of the country will tell you that Parisians are rude!

  27. Hmm..I disagree with you. I believe its more of a personal experience, instead of you generalizing it as a disappointment for all..When I went to Paris, I never came in contact with such things, however maybe it was due to the fact that I never noticed them..It can be argued both way.

    I liked your pictures though 🙂

  28. vixstar1314

    Hey! I’ve been Paris twice. And both time I enjoyed it a lot. But there are some things that you are right about, like some of the streets are quite dirty. And there are lots of homeless people, and those who ask if you can speak english and then ask you for money.
    Oh and the Mona Lisa is WAY to overrated, the picture is small and the crowds to see it are massive.
    However Paris I believe is still one of the most beautiful cities around and it is fab at night. I will def go again in the future.
    p.s Effiel Tower is one hell of a great architectic and view from above it is awesome

  29. I lived in Paris for a year and been several other times. Two years ago I went to Paris for a month for my 40th. I took my husband who was a French hater because of their reputation. He fell in love with the city and the people more than I could have ever hoped.
    Dog poo is a given – they don’t clean up even though there are signs everywhere. The Seine sort of smells slightly like sewage but the B.O. is the big problem. You do get used to it after a while. I speak French fluently – maybe that’s why my husband had an easy time. They spoke French to me and English to him – or I just interpreted. Gypsies are shady – watch out. The Louvre is crazy. The homeless in pup tents along the Seine is a perfect example of why socialism doesn’t work. Have you ever been to NYC?
    In any case, I love Paris and can’t wait to retire there some day. I hope if ever go again, you’ll have a better experience.

  30. Amir

    Why did you go to Vilnius? That is so weird, my fathers’ family is from there. I have always wanted to go. I’ve been to Poland, which was the closes I have gotten to Lithuania. Maybe someday. By the way you are a lucky girl. Enjoy your time and make sure to make a killer documentary about it lol

    • rosiewalunas

      Amir! I didn’t know that. I went because my family lives in Kaunas and Vilnius is the capitol, so you know, have to go there! No killer docs about London, but I’m really thinking about making one for Lithuania and stuff. Still brainstorming.

  31. J.

    I’m goin gto Paris the 26th march, and I was really excited about it, because everybody says it’s a beautifull city and you just HAVE to visit it once. But I think that because of that it’s overrated. E.g. .. I had really high expectations of Paris, until I read this blog. Seems like I should expect THAT much. Oh well… I’ll see how it goes


  32. mts

    Paris suffers from the curse of high expectations. Like when someone sets you up with his or her friend, and makes her sound like the next Ana Kournikova, and when you finally meet her, she’s cute and pleasant, but like the average girl, and you’re disappointed when you should’ve been happy.

    The upside of the crowds at the Louvre (and Versailles) is the fact that they do get thousands of people through daily. When I was viewing Classical Greek and Roman figures that I only saw in an encyclopedia before, or walking through the room with the David paintings, or standing in the Hall of Mirrors, the others never blocked my concentration on the awe. And though I dawdled, no one ever hustled me along or made me feel rushed once inside.

    All European cities have the stale urine smell, not just Paris. But sooty instead of dirty is a word I’d more use for Paris. For a city lit and warmed with nuclear power and natural gas, and not coal furnaces or coal plants anymore, the soot gave a Dickens’ 1800’s London feel it didn’t deserve. It can’t cost that much to hire a pressure washer battalion to scour the city once every 20 years, especially when your city is advertised at the pearl of France.

    My girlfriend commented on the sootiness, and how women were dressed down, and truth be told my “frumpy” German girl looked snazzier than the locals around us. (Btw, this was 1991.) Seeing guys publicly masturbating there took us both by surprise, but from what I was told, it’s not that uncommon.

  33. Aww I am sorry you feel that way. I love Paris and have actually been looking to relocate and work there. It is not only beautiful and full of history but it is just full of life. Paris felt so alive and people were really friendly that I came across, gypsies and homelessness are hard to solve and you get versions of that all over the world. There were hoards of tourists but checking out non-touristy places is where I found my most enjoyable moments.

  34. I dig Paris and don’t especially agree about the street cleanliness. For illustration: In Tokyo, I heard all about how spotless it was, while knowing anyone who walks around on a Sunday morning will be impressed by the mountains of rotten trash (which are then gone within hours). Same exact experience with Paris. In my experience, Kuala Lumpur has spotless towers with filthy restrooms, but I bet if I were there on the right day I would think differently. Millions of people make millions of messes, wherever they are.

    I saw plenty of clean-up efforts while I was there. I agree with the guy who asked if you went to Luxembourg gardens–very well taken care of. People asking for money? I dressed down and had fewer issues than I have daily in Seattle (not that I care if they ask, so long as they don’t care when I mumble ‘sorry’).

    I also loved the Louvre, though I went on a weekday and tended to like the crowds… people in places like that interest me. I took the same type of photo as you did at the MLisa, but I enjoyed the people more than the painting.

  35. Well, I have been to Paris many times, also London, Rome, Athens, DC, Chicago, NY, L.A., San Fran, Zurich, Vienna, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Madrid, Miami, San Juan, Mexico City, Venice, Berlin, Hamburg, Casablanca, Bombay, Honolulu…..guess what? They all have terrible things about them. I choose consciously to look for what is fabulous, and let the BS slide right off of my back! It works!
    Luvs, Deb

  36. The pictures are fabulous… I always wanted to get over there to France.

  37. lenabrownwrites

    Well I see much has not changed in good old Paris… I was there back in 1986 and with the exception of the smell all else is the same. I don’t remember it smelling that bad though. The people were as rude as the city was dirty. As well there were no homeless people on the Seine. (I just thought about that). What I did like the best, well when I could find a restaurant that was not filled with waiters/waitress that absolutely hated Americans and would not tell us what was on the menu (they were in French) the food was heavenly. You should have asked me before you went; I would have saved you the trip.

  38. I couldn’t agree with you more. I took part in a study abroad in London in 2001 and absolutely fell in love with the city- everything about it was charming and even the busiest places like Piccadilly Circus were clean and the people so nice.
    … So one weekend we went to Paris and being the Honeymoon Capital of the World, I had high expectations… and I don’t think its possible to have had them dashed further.
    The people were extremely rude (and yes, I too at least attempted French) and it was by FAR the smelliest, most disgusting, dirty city I’ve ever visited or imagined (for being a First-World Country!) – even in the nicest parts. I washed my hands at least 100 times a day and for the life of me could not get the urine and feces smell from the metro out of my nose.
    Never again!

    • rfrancesca mcandrewf

      Same experience plus the food in restaurants is soooo disappointing and expensive. Also difficult to get around, distances between places are often too far to walk to, so need to take public transport which is not an enjoyable experience and taxis are very expensive, so one finds oneself exhausted and unable to find a cafe of good quality where they don’t pack you in like a sardine and there is never any place for one’s coat.

  39. I agree with points 7, 9, and 10. But I’d still visit Paris again, only because I spent only one full day there.

  40. It’s been several years since I’ve been to Paris – but I agree – they have to be one of the rudest culture of people ever!

    Being English was never going to help (you see, the French hate the English) and despite learning & passing French at school – it had been many many years since I’ve ever had to speak a word. But try I did in Paris – but they would still roll their eyes and complete the sentence gruffly in English anyhow.

    One waiter in particular was so rude that I was forced to tell him exactly what I thought of him – although the Engishman in me still apologised for not being able to tell him how rubbish he was at his job in his own language.

    I hasd wanted to go to Paris for years and years – I was disappointed in the people greatly – which has put me off going back. howeverm the place itself is stunning – and I would highly recommend it to anyone.

    Sure, there are homeless and litter – but isn’t there most places these days?

  41. fred

    I was in France for 18 months. I took French proficiency classes offered by the government. I bought and old Citroen and tried living like the people.
    I loved France. Party city wherever you go. Lot’s of women who were ready for a good time.
    Paris is a big city…what the heck do you expect?
    It’s a big city!
    You don’t go to someone else’s house to complain about how they do things or how they keep house.
    You go to enjoy their company.
    With that said, if you complain about Paris or France you would complain about anyplace you go.
    I enjoyed cruising the metro. I enjoyed the sleazy Pigalle section. I enjoyed the cheap hotels and and all the hoopin and hollerin.
    France was fun…sometimes crude, sometimes dirty.
    The people were fun to watch and deal with.
    I wouldn’t trade my time there for anyplace else

  42. I always thought Paris must be overrated. I’ve never been, but it’s just one of those cities I have no interest in. I’m sure it’s nice, just not GREAT as everyone seems to think 😛

  43. CHG

    Wild! Like a few other people who commented, I too did not encounter much of what you describe. I honestly did not see one bit of dog poop, even though I saw dogs galore, and I was there in July, a time when folks were out in droves.

    I’d actually gone to Paris expecting rudeness but found quite the contrary. I had read my travel book beforehand that Parisians consider themselves to be exceptionally polite so I think when they don’t get the same level of politeness, they thing WE are rude. I read to enter every shop with ‘bonjour’ and to not depart without saying ‘au revoir’ or ‘merci’ and everytime I followed that simple nicety, I was always treated in kind.

    In one perfume shop, the salesgirl could not speak English and I barely speak French. When I asked, “Parlez vous anglais?” She said, “Un peu” and in her best Franglish said that between the two of us, we would figure it out. And so we did, giggling all the while.

    I found the people to be lovely, overall. I live in the DC area where you get all kinds. I can tell you that when an American in DC crosses your path, they certainly do not say, “Excuse me.” I cannot tell you how many times I heard, and learned to say, “Pardon” when having to step in someone’s path.

    Yes, the metro stunk, but I pretty much expected that. It is an old city. I adored it and will most definitely go back.

  44. that is why I love Paris … it accept you or reject you so know wonder that people hait or love that city.
    To me … it was one of the most magical places i lived 🙂

  45. I’ve always been more interested in Ireland myself (probably that Irish blood), but thought Paris might be a nice little visit. You’ve got me thinking it might be best as a stopover someday rather than a main attraction.

  46. I was waiting till I had a bit more kessef to go. I think that will help my views of the city…

    I do agree though, the French are a bit cultish.

  47. Thank you for your honesty I wasn’t planning on going to Paris unless we won the lottery (which would be hard since we seldom play it) I suspected something like your experience. There was that fashion episode can’t think of the name right now but the designers made bueatiful dresses for their models and the camera caught someone throwing and egg on the gown before it could get down the runway. The perpitrator was slinking around on a porch not trying very hard to escape the camera. What did we do to them.?

  48. Hi ,I just reading your articles!! picatures nice!

  49. Totally disagree on this one! People were totally cool with my wife and I and never ran into one rude person. A guy tried so hard to oblige me when I was trying on some jeans that when my wife came in looking for me, he said, “Baggy jeans? You look for baggy jeans?” Also, sounds like you have a thing against poor people or something. Yeah, I noticed the poor and the gypsies and the smells but it was no more than what I noticed in NYC or what I see out here in Los Angeles. It’s real!

  50. justfitri

    I never traveled to Paris before, but do you know? there are another paris in the eastern hemisphere? Formerly, the Dutch who had colonized the country is called this city like paris city, I do not know if you come to this town you will be disappointed as you go to Paris? hmmm ..I dont think so 😉

  51. I lived in Italy for a year, and I could make my own list about what was wrong with Italy. There was dog poop under the magnificent portici – odd smells drifted out of street sewers. We had no water pressure, and little hot water. But it was so beautiful. And fascinating. And there was so much history, and art, and fabulous architecture. And I thought most of the awful stuff was funny. I enjoyed every moment.

    I also spent a week in Paris. We saw so much – Sainte Chappelle was the most gorgeous interior I’ve ever seen. We were in Notre Dame for the end of Easter Service, and I can feel the cathedral’s organ reverberating through my chest even now. We spent 10 hours in the Louvre – my daughter was only seven, but there was so much to see none of us could leave. It’s not crowded after 4 or 5. We waited at the base of the Eiffel Tower way too long – but I saw and heard very funny things, that I wrote about, on my blog. (The Paris story is called “Paris Scenes,” it’s about the many sides of Paris love.)

    In a year I travelled to 50 European cities, including Rome, London, Paris, Brussells, Venice, Warsaw, Gdansk, Amsterdam and Tenerife. There were bad things in each of them. Graffiti and dirt and poop and cranky people. And there were fabulous buildings and lovely brides and flowers blooming and hidden churches that made me catch my breath for wonder that I was lucky enough to see it all.

    Life comes with dog poop. And bad smells. And cancer. When life gives you the chance to travel, you’re already way ahead of all the people who had to stay home. And smell dog poop. I hope your next trip meets your expectations. But maybe you could pack a set of smaller set of expectations, so there’s room to enjoy what is there.

    • 4initalia

      If you’d like to see why Paris is funny, my blog is on wordpress, it’s called 4initalia. Check out “Paris Scenes.” There are other funny stories about European travel, including”Venice” and “Signs” (about driving in Wales) and “Thar She Blows” about a disastrous lunch in Tenerife. Or “Fabio On the Balcony” about my gorgeous neighbor. Travelling is fun!

  52. Susan

    Um… I think Americans need to be more polite actually. Is everyone here in the good ole USA nice? Give me a break. But seriously if you didn’t like Paris please don’t go back.. then it will be less crowded for me.

  53. Susan

    PS) umm.. I hate to point this out but there are homeless in DC , NY, and LA. does that mean that capitalism doesn’t work either ??

    • Sean

      I hate to point this out but I don’t remember her blaming France’s economic model for the homelessness or claiming that Paris was the only place this is a problem.

  54. antondewantoro

    Try Jakarta and then you reconsider again about Paris. If Paris still even worse, then it is awful indeed

  55. the one thing that blew my mind in Paris, was that french is my first language (but from quebec city) and while talking to people in french (at restaurants, in stores ect ect) they would talk to me in english.
    The same happened to my friends who went during the same month. I thought it was really weird and rude

  56. I visited Paris in December, and I couldn’t disagree with you more.
    I attempted to speak French to the Parisians and expected the notorious French Hostility, but I was VERY surprised as everyone was so friendly.
    Everyone went out of their way to help me, and helped me out with my French just pleased that I’d tried.
    And letting little things like dog poo and smells ruin your visit to such a breaktakingly beautiful city is sad.
    I’d say it was the most beautiful city and the world.
    And I did not see a disproportionate amount of homeless people for a city of that size.
    Sounds like we visited completely different Parises.

  57. Parisians seem to accept dog poop as completely acceptable. The French authorities are trying to tackle the problem but are making little progress and even heavy fines (440€ for a first offence) have little impact. It is estimated that in Paris there are 16 tonnes of dog piles every day, which causes 4,550 accidents a week. Removing it costs 15m € a year!

  58. Actually I am an Indian and think Paris such a beautiful place as shown in films and pictures.After reading this blog and the comments that say the ugliness of Paris I really turned disappointed, nevertheless, once in my life I will visit Paris and find it beautiful definitely.

  59. arcane

    wow! so many comments…

    to the owner of this blog, rosie, i feel sorry for your paris experience. i could imagine your frustration. nice pictures by the way.

    i haven’t been to paris and i’m not so into it as well. egypt so far is the place that i have been wanting to visit and i’m not keeping my hopes up. most likely, the place has been and in a way abused by tourists or foreign historians/explorers. nevertheless, i want to experience it.

    well probably, you have expected too much of the place. i too was surprised of your claims. i guess, there isn’t really a perfect travel destination. it will always have a pretty and ugly side.

    as for how people treated you there, your negative experience may be brought about by cultural difference or language barrier. then again, people are all individually different and generalizing things could really upset the parisians. you just have to keep in mind that you can’t always expect people to treat you in a way that you would want it to be. might as well learn how to deal with them so it won’t ruin your trip.

    then again, this is your opinion. it may be exaggerated but it is also a good information for parisians to learn from and a learning experience for you as well.

  60. Hi there!

    My friend just emailed me this link and I both agree and disagree… Maybe it’s different for me because I live in the Paris region- -but not IN Paris proper.. I’m an American and I’ve lived here almost 4 years… I agree with the dog poop… However, there is MUCH more of it OUTSIDE of Paris… like on the streets in my town as they don’t have the scooter poop patrol ’round here! One thing I can’t STAND… is looking at everyone’s SPIT in the street… it’s everywhere– much more prevalent than poop .. and it’s even more gross to see the guck inside the spit … YUCK… sorry, TMI, maybe…
    Also, the Louvre is a HUGE tourist spot, so it’s to be expected.. Can you believe I’ve NEVER been inside the actual museum, though I visit the shops in the mall (I just went to buy my Aerosmith tix the Virgin Mega Store there last week.
    The gypsies… Well, they’ve been here forever, and while I don’t like it and I don’t give them money.. I sometimes like to pic their brains and make up all kinds of non-English languages to respond when asked that question… One time, I lectured a young gypsy woman in front of the Gare du Nord for smoking a cigg while pregnant! I also always smile friendly at them in the metro when they ask for money but tell them, “No, sorry…” in English. I live off the RER B line, so when I go south of Paris, I see the same people all the time, and some of them know me by sight and don’t even ask or put their card down next to me anymore… They’re not homeless, they are illegally here in France, they also beg instead of working legit. b/c they don’t have papers… and choose to be here…
    If I’m wrong about this, anyone feel free to correct me, please.
    The smells… haven’t smelled them a lot.. depends where you are in Paris, maybe… some metro stops DO smell bad and their are sometimes homeless people who stay there… pee there, etc…
    People DO litter without regard… I see it all the time!!! They have no concept of putting things in the trash… but I sometimes think this is NOT always French people, but a lot of immigrants to French from countries where littering is common… In the U.S., we were taught NOT to litter at a very young age, and I do NOT litter, in fact, sometimes I pick up litter.. .and I can’t stand it!
    Cigg. smoke is one thing that bugs, since I’m asthmatic and very sensitive to cigg. smoke! YUCK! Can’t escape that here.. except inside, now.. Thank God!
    French people are NICE, Parisians, less nice and sometimes reputed for being rude and arrogant.. but for the most part.. I find them okay except for when dealing with public transport… and on the street- walking and driving… There is a great lack of respect between drivers and pedestrians here. I know and understand why and could write about it…
    I speak French pretty fluently as my hubby is French (Parisian region) and we speak only French at home… TONS of people in Paris DO speak English now … compared to 10/20 years ago… I teach English here and ALWAYS try to keep the French around me on their toes with my English quips…
    Sorry this is so long, and sorry that Paris disappointed you.. It’s loved by soooo many (frankly, I don’t know why)…
    I’ve been all over the world and Europe and some of my fav. cities are: Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg, Madrid, Lison, Sydney, Dubai, Moorea, Huahine, Cairns (in Australia), Brisbane, Biarritz (France), Strasbourg, Signosse, Aix-en-Provence… and MANY MANY other regions, towns, places in France.. France is a BEAUTIFUL country and I recommend ANYONE who reads this or who comes here to visit to explore more of France and not just come to visit Paris..
    Visit Strasbourg, esp. during the Christmas Markets… and the Loire Valley.. Come in spring and visit Giverny… Monet’s Gardens…
    Visit France (not Paris) and you won’t be dissapointed…

  61. I have been to Paris many times, but its a long time since my last visit. I have always loved Paris but I guess many things and attitudes have changed. I find it sad that your visit was marred by the things you found wrong. I am sure if you listed these against the things about Paris that you liked and enjoyed, your views about Paris would change.

  62. Hai . I’ m Molly from Indonesian . Nice to read your blog , there’s so many nice pictures . Son’t forget visit my blog okaay 🙂 xoxo

  63. Paris is a proud city and must learned to easily find one’s place as tourist or observer.

    Although not the “soul of France”, it is France’s largest city and demands respect.

    I believe the most common expectation from tourists is “expectation”… Paris is busy, people work and they are not there to be guides.

    However, a well-mannered bonjour opens most doors and to the more gentle side. It is not rudeness on their part, but disrespect from us that elicits a curt response.

    Paris is well funded and offers more venues and public attractions than anywhere I have visited. It sincerely takes care of it’s residents with exhibitions, events and educational opportunities.
    I am continually impressed with the city’s ability to coordinate and fund their various activities.

    The amount of litter, “poopy”, the homeless are common anywhere. If one gets up with the sun, a tourist or resident finds all city employees hard at work spraying down the streets and picking up.

    Further, a short walk at 7am reveals a tender view of shop owners and residents shining brass, putting up displays and making ready for the day.

    Paris is not London. Paris is not like any other city in the world.

    It is historically mature, demands a respectful perspective and is “not easy”…

    As for being met with hostility when attempting to speak French, I disagree. In most cases, I have found the French thrilled that I make the attempt to communicate. If I am corrected and feel “scorned”, it is only perception. They are energized by my floundering and are eager to correct.

  64. oh, i loved paris! i actually went into it with very low expectations, but absolutely fell in love with it. didn’t have the same experience as you though… i found paris to be a lovely city with friendly people who seem to know how to slow down to enjoy things in life. i will admit though, i was not super impressed with the louvre and preferred the musee d’orsay.

    try chicago next 🙂 one of my all time favorite cities!

  65. Hamns

    Rosie! So many comments! Glad to see you’ve inspired such intense discussion about your stay in Paris. And I must say, I very much agree with you! Especially when we had dinner at the so-called “french” restaurant…our waiter was completely unamused by our American accents and he seemed furious that we didn’t order dessert!

    However, I still think that it is worth a second visit. So if, or more certainly when, you make it back there, try to go with an open mind and treat yourself to another nutella&banana crepe! (While producing your obligatory documentary, of course).

    • rosiewalunas

      Oh well, I will be back to Paris some day. Maybe in the summer, maybe during a film festival. It will have even more to live up to the next time I come back.

  66. Brigita

    I see Kaunas and Vilnius in your list. Did these dissapoint you as well as Paris?

    • rosiewalunas

      I loved Lithuania and I wish I could go back. I’d go back any day, any time of year. Even when it rains there, everything is great. Nothing dissapointing at all.

  67. Greg

    Maybe it is all about expectations.

    I thought the French were going to be rude and offended by my inability to speak French. But I found Parisians to be exceptionally friendly and easy to meet. They freely and happily spoke perfect English. True, when you hack their language, they get snippy and ask you to switch to English, but I am fine with that. They are much better at speaking my language then I am at theirs. Instead of being offended by my lack of skill, they instead had pride in their multi-lingual ability. I think that’s cool.

    The litter and dog poop comments surprise me. I found Paris to be very clean for a city that size – -certainly cleaner than Barcelona, which you say you like a lot (me too, but that’s another story!) There were a few “gypsies” panhandling near the bigger tourist sites, but anyone with any street smarts can avoid them as easily as any beggar anywhere. I found the entire city to be walkable, and stunning beautiful, with great architecture and alfresco cafes and dinning.

    I was truly charmed by Paris.

  68. Michael

    I can’t share your opinion. Certainly, Mona Lisa is an attraction everyone of the 50.000.000 tourists per Year wants to see. Do You Imagine the statue of Liberty in New York was only 3 feet high! What would You see of it with all the Crowd waiting in front of?
    People here in Paris usually are very helpful if you ask them. And they are open minded. As well as they don’t hide all the luxury, they don’t hide the poverty. So homeless people are not chased away, they are part of the society as well as the Porsche and Mercedes-drives are. If in other Citys you don´t see theese People but that does not means, that this part of population does not exist.

  69. I love Paris.. I went there for the first time last April.. when I met my blogger friends, and then I went last August for nearly 3 weeks.. I love it. Everyone I met was so helpful, and I did see more than the tourist places as my friends live over there. I do not speak French but tried my best and they were so great. People stopped me in the street and asked the way to places. London is not like this, London is a hard place to go and I am from the UK!

  70. MEZZO

    I live in Paris area, and sometimes i’am really bored of the nasty comments, coming most of the times from Anglosaxons who always spread the same dumb cliches. Paris is a big city, and above all a CITY, not a theme park. With people working, dying, good or bad people like in any other places. Each country has his own culture, and you can meet rude persons everywhere, in London, Hong Kong, Rome, New York or Berlin. Individual people in France are like all over the world. I don’t understand how some people are able to judge an entire nation based on their personal experience or cultural miscperceptions. Really boring sometimes.

  71. girlwhojustgotbackfromparis

    Just got back from paris and I found a lot of french people very rude and unhelpful. I know they’re not all like it, some were even extremely kind and helped us with directions, but the ones that were rude weren’t just a little rude, they were the rudest people I’ve ever met. Every time I was in a queue a french person would push in right in front of me and the server would let them, and even help them more just because they were french. I found this so horribly predjudiced and felt this was incredibly racist, as I have never treated a tourist in this way in my work. I enjoyed my stay in paris, even though the eiffel tower was a disappointment and was just full of scammers. I enjoyed seeing paris – it really was a beautiful city even though there were some odd smells, seriously, however I wish that some of the people wouldn’t have treated me so differently, when I was trying my best to be courteous and speak some french to them, as they realised that I was english spoken. Especially when everything costs around three times the price there – I would expect good service when paying that much. Also, I found it incredibly difficult to eat there being vegetarian. Everything had fish or meat in it, I mean, FISH AND CHEESE SANDWICHES??! Yet, not just a cheese sandwich? I thought the french were famous for their cheeses? And we couldn’t seem to find cheese and tomato pizzas. If I was going to go again, I would self-cater. Even Berlin catered for vegetarians, and they’re famous for sausage.

    I don’t mean to judge french people, but how can I not just slightly when they treated me so badly slightly ruined what could have been a really great holiday. I got screamed at by one french person because she pushed infront of me in the queue and I tried to get served after she pushed in but she paid again. I’m sorry but I know that doesn’t tend to happen over here with tourists, it’s always the other way around – LEARN HOW TO QUEUE! It’s a joke that we get fleeced for being polite.

  72. Voyageur

    I am a foreigner living between London and Paris currently – and both cities have their good and bad points. I dont find Parisians or French people to be particularly rude – however they are very misunderstood and percieved as being rude when they can mostly be just bland and boring. It’s true – parisians are difficult to understand as are most french people – they are nice hearted (much better than Americans and British) but french can be very deep / emotionally messed up and not too expressive which is why most people think they are rude. The things I hate most about Paris is the fact it is impossible to park your car at most times, and also that basic things in life are either inaccessible or just way too expensive – for example finding a decent laundry service or dry cleaners is very difficult – they charge 100 times more than what I pay in London for the same service. There’s a million boulangeris, pattiseries and cafes / brasserie’s as well as boutiques all over paris but try finding a decent place to eat cheaply.. or a dry cleaners… or a shoe maker… its all very difficult and expensive as hell.

    As for London – it is an open minded city where you can be whatever you want and no one will judge you (but they will still hate you secretly)… British people are condascending and natuarally nasty as well as extremely racist – the French are not and are in fact very down to earth people who are open to all other cultures. As a foreigner I only experienced racism in the UK – despite their being such a self-proclaimed “tolerant” and multi-cultural society – in France I never had any problems…

    • rfrancesca mcandrewf

      The food issue is sad, after all France used to be the capital for eating well, this is no longer true, one eats far better in Italy, even London offers better eating choices. To eat well in France I would say after living here for 8 years requires a large budget 100 euros at least for a descent meal with wine.

  73. shak293

    i went to paris last november…what a disappointing place!! everything was under my expectations…from the city itself( unbelievable overrated!!!!) to the food,people,garden…..i have travelled a lot especially big cities..paris won’t be in the top 10 list..not even near!!! maybe becasue i was coming from italy and after i visited rome,florence,venice, i felt like my expectation for paris were too much high..so i stayed near place vendom and after 3 days i booked a fly to go back to italy,i am in istanbul now..and i love the city..PARIS NEVER MORE!!!! I will go back to tokio next monday

  74. young traveller

    Went to Paris-then-London recently. The urine stench filled up my nose when I was at Notre Dame, poopies everywhere at Sacre Coeur, and it smelled funny in all of the metros. The Parisians had been a friendly lot, though. Never once I encountered a rude Parisian. Some of them helped us with directions too without us approaching them in the first place. They didn’t make fun of me when I spoke to them in (broken) French. I think Londoners were a bit more unfriendly to tourists… some people working at the ticketing counters were even more so. And one man we encountered while queing at the Oyster-refund counter made my eyes roll, picking up on a girl with one of the worst pickup lines I’d ever heard!

  75. Tourist

    The first sight I got when I first arrived in Paris was a group of youths forcefully getting through the fare gates of the metro without paying, in plain sight of the metro workers. The whole city reeks of urine stench. Greeted by ‘do you speak English’ scammers near all tourist sights and shady characters aplenty. Won’t be coming back even if everyone speaks English. Impeccably overrated.

  76. 365daysofica

    Yes! Paris is the most overrated city.

  77. Lindsay

    Absolutely agree. I’m literally in Paris as I write this, and I’m ready to get outta this place! Smells like piss everywhere you go, I saw a naked passed out homeless man sleeping in a box, puke poop and blood on multiple occasions on sidewalks, broken glass bottles, etc. as a solo female traveler felt very uncomfortable with filthy men cat calling me. GET ME OUT!! Only thing I disagree with, the local Parisians have been very nice and helpful towards me. And no, I’m from LA, have been to NY, Ansterdam, Munich etc and nothing tops this porta potty of a city. EW.

  78. Jake

    I don’t agree with this. If it is so disappointing why do all of the Hollywood A set come here in Summer, why do all the billionare Chinese/ Qataris/ Russians own most of the property on the Ile de la Cite and why does Karl Lagerfeld live on Quai de Voltaire? I am english but now live in Paris. In my experience Parisians are usually very polite. The metro and train system is one of the most efficient in the world and i have been to many cities- rarely have i ever waited 2 min for a train (compare that to a 15min wait in London). Yes some stations in the metro/ RER are not so clean eg Auber but this is because of its age (Paris underground structures have water/ damp inflitration issues due to a high water table and underground reserviors). and yes there are some homeless like in every city even Tokyo (the only cities that don’t are those police states that deport their homeless- or worse). The city also gets trampled and worn out by the 40m+ tourists that visit the city ever year. BUT ON THE PLUS SIDE: these are minor blemishes to me – more than made up by the history, architecture, ambience, culture, fashion, food, wine, vibe, lots of bling and glam if you need/want it or have enough money, all coming together in an amazing mix of “city that never sleeps” and western capitalism while achieving a balanced attitude to lifestyle/ enjoying the finer things in life. It is an epicurean’s delight.

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