44 Days Abroad: Paris, France

I remember a conversation I had with a friend of mine I had before I left on this trip. They told me to “not get too excited for Paris”. I was a bit taken back by this statement. After some research it became clear that Paris is widely considered by many to be a rather disappointing place to visit.

I felt that getting the chance to experience this first hand would either validate this opinion, or hopefully disprove it. Unfortunately, Paris is like black licorice. It’s not necessarily good, but if you eat it enough you might like it. The usual qualms most tourists have is that it’s expensive.

The city was extremely expensive. The streets and architecture are beautiful, but many of the streets looked the exact same. I felt that it was a typical style that became repetitive after awhile. The charm wore thin. The patios were plentiful, but many charged a steep price for just the basics. The cost of restaurants and entertainment made certain parts of the city inaccessible to many inhabitants. Having spent some time on the outskirts it became clear that the government’s priority was maintaining the core, while neglecting the outer communities. It felt artificial. It was almost like being in Disney World. Tax rates are extremely high, most working residents falling in the 30 to 40 percent income tax category. On top of a 20 percent goods and service tax. It’s no wonder the city is mostly filled with tourists, and the opulent.

Paris has been romanticized in almost all forms of media. Paris is extremely significant historically, and culturally. Some of the greatest artists from writers to painters have called Paris their home at one point or another. It was a melting pot for creativity. However, besides areas like Montmarte many artists of today could never afford to call Paris home. There is artists living in Paris, though it does not appear to be any sort of mecca.

The museums are top notch. The Louvre and Musee D’Orsay were some of the best I’ve ever been to. The collections are impressive. The Louvre was massive in scope and size. It’s not something I’d recommend a person do all in one day.

Paris is now another notch on my belt. I probably won’t go back. I don’t hate it, but it definitely wasn’t for me.

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