The BUZZ

Paris: Amazing or Overrated?

Posted on: 11/11/2009

By Alice Tofts

Paris has a lot to live up to. It has been described as the most beautiful city in Europe, as well as being the most romantic and where the best dressed women live. During my few days there in half- term I wanted to see if any of these claims were true.

First impressions were not great as I lugged my bags on and off the train and metro and along the roads to our apartment. There were certainly no signs of beautiful building or cute little cafes, instead we walked past countless numbers of seedy sex shops selling erotic toys. Of course my view was slightly clouded by my tiredness caused by having only three hours sleep and a little too much alcohol the previous night.

Our first afternoon began to look up as we explored the beautiful old streets on Montmartre. I began to get a feel of the bustling ambiance of Paris as people sat outside cafes and being drawn by street artists.

The next day we set off early for a day of sightseeing and unbeknown then, queuing. Even in October queues lasted for hours, proving Paris really is a city everyone wants to see.

We started by visiting the Musee d’orsee- a huge art gallery that wouldn’t have been on the top of my priorities; however I was glad it was not as big as the Louvre gallery which thankfully I was not forced to visit. After one hour I had had enough and my mum and I escaped to see the Eiffel Tower.

Now that was more like it – a great chance to see the most famous landmark in the world. It really is stunning, especially from afar as it towers over the rest of the city, peaking through the trees.

The next day we visited the Palace of Versailles, the former palace of the French King. Its grandness and magnitude are not to be underestimated. I had never seen anything so expensive and spectacular. The walls were covered in gold and full of crystals and all the ceilings were painted in great detail. We went on a little train through the gigantic grounds of the Palace to the famous Marie Antoinette’s hamlet where she created a miniature peasant styled village in order to escape from the splendour of the palace, understandable really, I’m sure all that gold and crystals would give you a headache after a while. I loved the little village for its cuteness and eccentricity.

At the end of my four day visit I concluded that city breaks are exhausting. My legs, muscles and feet were sore from constantly standing and walking but I was feeling satisfied from the amount of culture I had managed to digest.

Three days is definitely not enough to get to see everything in Paris and I was quite upset about the lack of shopping even though it probably did me good as it is described as an expensive city. Paris is certainly impressive, with its beautiful buildings, breathtaking sky view and sparse parks. It’s definitely got something special about it but I can’t quite put my finger on what.

As for the hot Parisian guys, I didn’t see any. I probably wasn’t in the right places; I could understand why they didn’t hang out in the art galleries.

Top tips for travelling in Paris

• Make sure you have lots of accessible money for metro.

 • Leave plenty of time for travelling when flying from Paris Airport; it is huge and very confusing.

• Buy tickets for attractions at the train station to save queuing time.

• Take proof of age if under 26-years-old as many attractions are free or reduced charge.

Have you been to Paris? Do you agree with Alice? Add your comments below.

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