Unpopular Opinion: I didn't like Paris!

Updated: Jun 5, 2019

Back in the spring of 2016, I was sitting in my Italian class on a Monday morning. My italian teacher liked asking us what we did during the weekend and where we traveled to. This one girl started talking about how she went to Paris. "It's totally MY city, I loved Paris." I started thinking about how Rome was mine. We had been living there for some time now, and even though I hadn't been many places, I knew that Rome was the right one for me. (Even after traveling to many cities and countries, Rome is still my city). I just couldn't relate to her at all. Paris? That was the city that was 'yours?' It didn't make a lot of sense to me. I'm grateful to have seen Paris, but it didn't really live up to my expectations.

"We were very nervous, a little untrusting, and completely alone. We were heavily reliant on each other and were not reliant on any one around us because we were nervous to interact with the people. In this location I actually felt purposely ignored and occasionally stared at because we were American [...] In Paris, we saw everything...We ate crepes and croques, we saw the eiffel tower, the louvre, versailles, notre dame, sacre coure, and saint chapelle. I even found a flow artist at the Eiffel tower and got to hula hoop! "

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Despite an experience like this, coming from an excerpt on my personal blog, we still were really unsure of what we were doing and we we nervous and unaware of anything. There was a lot of smog, and we had a lot of nerve-wracking encounters navigating where our airbnb was located and using the metro system. Although we were in a major city, people didn't want to speak English with us, and this is definitely never something I expect when I travel but it was unsettling to have our american voices be met with rudeness when we were nothing but polite.

I've talked to one of my best friends about this and she said she understood how I felt, and if she didn't know the french language, she wouldn't have felt comfortable either. I'm not writing off france completely, on the contary, I really want to explore more of the country especially being a more experienced traveler and discovering my french dna! I also started studying the language, it's difficult yet rewarding.

My advice for anyone traveling to Paris would be to stay close to the center in Paris and don't venture to the outskirts. You should have a set plan of what you want to see for each day you're there and maybe learn some useful french phrases. Don't forget your best French accent! I would absolutely go back to Paris, and I hope you get the opportunity to go as well, but I would try to keep expectations to a minimum. One thing I will say for sure, is that it's architecture is beautiful.

The Localist Abroad
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© Ashley Nicole Weimar.