Like most growing-up girls, my dream foreign destination was Paris, the city which speaks for love, romance, art and architecture. Ah…Paris, the city of Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty (yes…you read it correct), musee du Louvre, Grevin wax museum, beautiful churches, Disneyland, lovely gardens, long array of cafe, and much more. Every single thing contributing to making Paris everyone’s dream destination.
The city welcomes its guests at it majestic airport, Charles de Gaulle or CDG airport. It is the largest international airport in France. However, Paris feels quite hot in July. Lack of air-conditioners at certain areas of the airport make us take off our jackets and put them in our bags. Roadside vendors selling cold water and drinks in a bucket filled with ice is a common site there. They can be found in buses, metro stations and at all tourists spots. Paris is doubtlessly a crowded city. Being the first choice of every traveler, makes it heavily crowded even in such hot summers.
Eiffel Tower is synonymous with Paris. No visit to Paris is complete without seeing Eiffel Tower. Visiting Eiffel Tower is one thing and going to the summit is other. The tower is giant, sturdy and intricate. Getting on the elevator to go to its 1st, 2nd and top levels means standing in long queue for hours. Even after you get on the elevator the first time, standing in queues continue on first level and second level to go further up, and top-level and second level and first level respectively to come down. It is so much pain in order to view Paris from the height of 300m. I think it is not worth it. So, next time I am going to Paris, I am definitely going to skip the summit view.
Fortunately, there is an alternative available to get the panoramic view of the city which doesn’t involve standing in long queues for hours, breaking your legs and back. The ‘Montparnasse Tower’ is a corporate building which offers an observation deck at a height of 200m to its visitors with a ticket. It is the perfect vantage point for taking in all the city’s vibrancy. I think it is wise to go by this option instead of the former.
Louvre museum is one of the finest museums in the world. It is a home to original Mona Lisa painting and much more. But, again, entering the museum requires you to wait in long queues. Thousands of people are present at a time at Louvre. In order to avoid lines, it is good to buy the ticket to the museum in advance or get a Paris pass. You’ll pat yourself on your back for doing that once you reach there.
Not many people know that there is a Statue of liberty in Paris also. It is situated in a tiny island in the river Seine. Visiting this beautiful statue is worth a shot. You may also like to experience a ride in a boat in the river Seine followed by a romantic dinner in the scintillating boat at night.
The monuments, museums, bridges, churches…all buildings look sturdy, uniformly off-white and artistic. The European architecture is mesmerizing and beautiful.
Well, actually Paris is much more…much more than just beauties…it is also about arrogant people, adamant French speakers, hot weather, pollution, crowd, dirty public toilets and super bad metro network.
Long tunnel-like metro stations which make you walk a kilometer inside to reach your target platform. They are just like a maze. Several platforms at every station confuses its new comers. The trains are noisy and bumpy, and crowded even at mid-night.
Language is a major barrier in Paris. Some can pretend to not listen to you just because you are not speaking French. Even the security officials at the airport tend to be judgemental quite often.
The city claims to have 850 drinking water sources spread across the city but only few are functional.
Road-side sellers push you into buying stuffs which you already bought at another place. Most of the road-side sellers are either Indians or Africans. Rickshaws, auto-rickshaws and bikes significantly crowd the city. It is just like in India, maybe just a little more organized.
After my recent visit to Paris, I was a bit disappointed and I feel that it has been over-hyped world-wide.