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Paris Isn’t For Lovers, Paris Is For Friends

Last Updated on July 22, 2015.

Sadly even the sixth time was not a charm last May when I spent four nights in the most overrated city in the world. Paris fans, you might just want to stop reading right now…


Or don’t. The thing is, I have no hard feelings towards the City of Light. I am an equal opportunity traveler and do realize that there are pros and cons to every place, but every time I have been there it has just been con after con. I’m also tired of hearing how “amaaazing” Paris is when there are so many other cities in Europe and France that are equally as beautiful, cleaner, and much more pleasant.

For whatever reason, I have always felt pressure (maybe peer pressure?) to fall in love with it which is why I guess I have given it so many chances and with a variety of people. I’ve been there with family, I’ve been there with friends, I’ve been there with a lover…and it still never fails to disappoint.

Tour Eiffel Paris

Instead of being bitter though, I basically came to the conclusion that Paris and I are just not meant to be. That doesn’t mean we can’t be friends, and more importantly, enjoy it with friends should the opportunity arise like it did this past May. Joining up with me this time were two of my favorite girls from Asia – Yanzi Z from Beijing who had just moved to Paris with her husband and my Japanese sister, Aiko from Osaka, who came over for the weekend from London.

Paris may not have won me over the sixth time around, but it didn’t matter. Hanging with these ladies is ALWAYS a good time and in the end that’s all that matters when traveling.

Paris streets

So out of all Paris apartments, Yanxi happened to be living in Bulgari’s apartment. Yeah, that Bulgari since her husband works with them. It’s right in the middle of the city which made it easy for us to do what we do best: wander around and drink rosé/champagne in public places.

French rose paradise

Pont des Arts Paris

Pont des Arts Paris

And how fitting that our first impromptu picnic took place on Pont des Arts – one of the most unromantic spots in the city. Unromantic, you say? Sitting in the midst of several hundred “locks of love” in the most romantic city in the world, it is easy to overlook what’s really going on here. This bridge isn’t for lovers, it’s for suckers on lockdown and I think most would agree that there is absolutely nothing romantic about that. If you don’t agree with me, maybe you will agree with the Parisians.

Pont des Arts Paris

Unfortunately (and FYI), drinking rosé/champagne or any other kind of alcoholic beverage in public is forbidden in the city of Paris so our picnic only lasted for so long. We got shut down by the po-po on Pont des Arts, but thankfully they were cool about it and no arrests were made.

Our stamina, however…well that could never be shut down so we continued our wandering.

Louvre Paris

The Louvre Paris



Metropolitan Paris

Paris Street

I guess the moral of this story is that good friends make everything better. Even cities that have done you wrong. It’s also proof that Paris can be just as enjoyable, if not more, with friends. Contrary to popular belief, it is not all romance and roses there so if you’re waiting to go with some lover because that’s what happens in the movies – DON’T. Take them to Lisbon instead.

Paris is a legend as far as European cities go, there is no doubt about that, but I am still always going to think it is overrated. Or at least be skeptical of its grossly inflated ego. I think my main problem with Paris is its narcissism – I’ve yet to encounter any humility there and to me that is a big deal. I’m definitely not ruling out the possibility that someday I will and that it will grow on me, but I do know that I will never go again hoping for that to happen.

No expectations, no disappointments…voilà!

Paris sisters

Sacre Coeur Paris



  • Reply
    February 11, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    I had a love-hate experience with Paris. I got literally lost (in a fun way) in the Egypt exhibit at the louve. The catacombs are unreal, the food and appearence of the city is excellent.

    Yet, I was hounded everywhere, and in one case had to physically confront pushy touts! And my french, while broken, was only responded to in English (arg!)

    • Reply
      February 11, 2013 at 5:41 pm

      I only know how to kiss in French which has gotten be nowhere there. This last time could have been a little more enjoyable since Yanxi is pretty fluent (she prevented us from getting arrested on Pont des Arts for chrissakes). All the other times the language barrier has definitely played a role in my dissatisfaction which is partly my fault, but also their fault for not at least appreciating broken French efforts if that makes sense…

      You want above excellent food, head to Lyon. More on that soon.

  • Reply
    February 11, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    I`ve been through Paris a few times but NEVER felt the urge to explore it. It`s similar to Vienna, Austria for me in that regard. Maybe one day but no real rush, at all.

    • Reply
      February 11, 2013 at 8:18 pm

      What’s there to explore? Everyone has already uncovered everything, pretty sure. Maybe that’s why I’m also not a huge fan.

      We love challenges and finding diamonds in the rough, think we should just stick to that!

  • Reply
    February 12, 2013 at 12:12 am

    i hate paris. ive been hatin paris since trip #1 in 1988. but i think id enjoy it if you’re friends were there to ‘show’ me around.

    • Reply
      February 12, 2013 at 12:52 am

      I think you would too so let me know if/when you ever make it back. I’ll put you in touch :)

  • Reply
    A Montrealer Abroad (@amontrealer)
    February 14, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Great post – I love how you didn’t bash on Paris over and over, but simply stated that you have to visit with NO expectations whatsoever. I feel the same!

    (Although I can go ooooon and on about how I hate Paris, the smells, the rudeness, the dirt, the stupid traffic)

    • Reply
      February 14, 2013 at 6:07 pm

      Paris is like the super hot and seemingly confident dude you’ve always been enamoured with from afar. Then you finally hook up and you’re like “This is is?!” Sucks in bed, isn’t that romantic, confidence is actually arrogance, kinda dirty/smelly and will never care about you at all. I may decide to hook up with him again for fun in the future if it is convenient, but definitely not going out of my way.

  • Reply
    February 14, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Sis, I totally agree with you! Now I need to go to Lisbon for that romance you are talking about. ummmm. Nice photos. miss you more now.x

    • Reply
      February 14, 2013 at 6:08 pm

      You do need to go. Maybe with me? I’ll show you some romance. Thank you and I miss you more <3

  • Reply
    February 28, 2013 at 1:12 am

    I’m actually quite intrigued by this post. My husband and I are finally taking our honeymoon in May and we decided on France. It’s really been a “dream” of mine (and everyone and their dog’s as well?) to visit Paris someday. I lived in Hong Kong for years, so I think I can understand where you’re coming from. In my experience, the bigger the city, the less of a good thing it becomes. I definitely won’t be surprised if I discover Paris to be not all it’s hyped up to be. Luckily though, we’ll be spending a bit more time roaming the rest of France during the trip. (We weren’t even thinking Lyon at all but we may have to consider it now)! :) Thanks and looking forward to following you!

    • Reply
      March 1, 2013 at 6:48 am

      Sounds awesome, congratulations! I’m sure you’ll be impressed by Paris, my main thing is just don’t expect that it’s going to blow you away or you might be disappointed. Better to go not expecting anything and have the best time ever than to go expecting everything and have it be horrible. Definitely consider checking out Lyon while you’re there! It’s a great contrast. The south might also be a really nice place to be that time of year. Good luck with the planning and let me know if you have any other questions, would be more than happy to help if I can!

  • Reply
    March 12, 2013 at 2:00 am

    Me and Paris used to have a great relationship until I explored more of France (I’ve fallen in love with Montpellier). I find it so cliché, generic, and the people are so arrogant. People go there for the Eiffel Tower and the pretty views, it has lost most of its French sentiment. You can’t even speak French there. I’m a French speaker and they replied in English! I think that’s awfully rude. Since then, me and Paris aren’t on speaking terms, until then, it’s not the best city in France.

    • Reply
      March 12, 2013 at 6:24 am

      Sounds about right. I would have welcomed responses in English but seems as if a lot of people there seem to forget it when they meet someone who doesn’t don’t any French aside from “bonjour” and “merci”. Oh, and “merde”.

      Did a short-term study program in Montpelier and really liked it too even though it was the middle of summer and the town was pretty dead. I heard when school is in session it gets wild. Also, Pizza 4-2-1 is there and is my favorite pizza place ever.

  • Reply
    October 15, 2013 at 12:26 am

    Paris has lost its charm, its no longer a “real” progressive city as it used to be in the old days when it was at the forefront of fashion, art, technology, culture etc. Now Paris is just a museum rotting away in its old glory and the new Parisians who have taken over the city are all useless people mostly mental, very mean and selfish to the core….but u cant blame them for it. Its the way France and Paris have evolved, and socialism has destroyed their country. The best things in France were created in aristocratic times and in the early to mid 20th century but after that their socialist views destroyed their own future. Labour laws in france are so horrible that no one wants to open a business there anymore….tax laws are so horrible that no one wants to live or invest there anymore especially if they are rich people…the rich are economic generators but french hate the rich thoroughly thats why all the rich are leaving france. Dont get me wrong, there are still plenty of good things about Paris and France but certainly that country doesnt have a good future the way things are going. Ive spent 3 years in Paris trying to build a life there, its impossible and just doesnt exist. I am not the kind of person whomis happy making 30,000 euros a year and living like a dog in Paris and yet feeling all proud that I am a Parisian…its a false sense of pride these Parisians have really…they have no money to enjoy life or travel the world the majority of French can barely afford to pay their monthly bills thats why they all head over to Nice in August cuz they cant afford to travel abroad. Parisians live like peasants and yet have a huge attitude, they show off like hell in front of others but if a foriegner shows off in their country they look down upon u and call u nouveau riche….well they seem to forget as a country up until they killed off Marie Antoinette they were all slaves and peasants themselves…and now are a nouveau middle class with an attitude problem. Paris is tolerable – its the Parisians I cant stand at all, but even Paris with its dog poop lined streets full of garbage is totally overrated. FACT – if Paris didnt have the Eiffel tower which they have so cleverly marketed to the world, then no one wud ever go to Paris. Other cities in the world are way more exciting.

    • Reply
      December 17, 2014 at 11:12 pm

      Wow, heavy comment but incredibly insightful. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and thinking about it, I think you are absolutely right – particularly about the Eiffel Tower!

    • Reply
      March 15, 2015 at 11:15 am

      OH MY GOD, I think this is the funniest comment about Paris I ever red ! You can feel the frustration from the very beginning to the end, it’s incredible. I was born and raised in Paris and then we moved to the suburbs with my parents cause they bought a house in a cosy place less stressful and cheaper for them.

      -“Paris is not a “real” progressive city as it used to be in the old days.”
      Ok this one I have to be honest, that is quite true.

      -“new Parisians who have taken over the city are all useless people mostly mental, very mean and selfish to the core”

      Actually no. The fact is that Parisians are made of people from all over the french regions and all over the world. So yes for sure there is an amount of bastards, you were maybe unlucky but there is also bright and genuinely good people. It just take more time to find them. Having a good life in Paris takes sometimes 2 years if you know no one which is different in any other place in France.

      – “socialism has destroyed their country. The best things in France were created in aristocratic times and in the early to mid 20th century”

      You know nothing about our political system obviously. Former socialist president Mitterand gave a lot of money to the cultural area. He was not perfect for sure and made mistakes but during his mandate and even after he died several beautiful projects took place. For example “La Vilette” in the Nord- Est part of Paris
      ( ) that counts some theatres, concert hall, gardens, cinema, an industry museum, kids activities and even a circus !!!

      So before you tell such as stupid thing like socialism killed French culture, open a history book man because you are very ridiculous.

      Paris for sure is not an easy city to settle, but do you think that NY or other big city are easy places to build a life when you’re a stranger ?

  • Reply
    September 1, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    I love Paris. I love the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Montmartre and la Seine. At the same time, I understand people who aren’t fussed about it. It was interesting reading your Lyon-article – I’ve been to Lyon, albeit not as “properly” as Paris, and I didn’t find it anything special. The Alps were superamazing but apart from that… but then, I realised reading your blog, bar the Eiffel Tower, the view of the city is pretty similar. I will always love Paris, but I am also a bit bored of it. Maybe it’s that I love France and the Eiffel Tower and friends embodies my love for it? Haha I will go to bed now and analyse myself :D

    • Reply
      September 3, 2014 at 3:34 pm

      How did that analyzation go? I think that’s a great reason why. I could spend a week in the depths of hell, or Paris, and as long as my friends are there, I will have a great time :) Definitely give Lyon another look if you ever have time and maybe for Fete des lumieres – really a great time to go.

  • Reply
    October 23, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    Aaaah thank you finally someone is reasonable with Paris ! I’ve been living in the parisian suburbs forever (and my train stop is on the line that goes between Paris and Disneyland… Meaning a lot of tourist). I’ve been studying in Paris for more than 3 years now and I’m still stunned to see all those tourists that find everything so pretty and romantic… I mean, I like the parisian architecture but… That’s it. And as a suburbian I get often treated like shit, only because I live at a 20 minutes ride from Paris. Doesn’t matter because when the sun shines I get to lie peacefuly under the sun along the Marne river without having to fight ( see this picture of the Buttes Chaumont : ). Have you ever tried going to the north of France, cities like Lille ou Dunkerque ? It’s a totally different atmosphere. I also like Rennes, in Brittany, it’s a really lively city, there’s a lot of students there and cultural events

    • Reply
      November 11, 2014 at 7:16 pm

      I’m not surprised to hear this at all, but sounds like you at least make the best of it. The Marne River looks like an amazing place to chill ~ more lively than the Seine, that’s for sure ;) Will make a note of these places you mention for the next time I have an opportunity to visit France.

  • Reply
    December 13, 2015 at 5:29 am

    I love Paris and I make no apologies for that, but I understand where you’re coming from.

    The first time I went there was with an ex. We did all of the touristy things that you did in this blog post; the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower etc.

    The second time I went on my own in winter. I stayed in Montmartre. Just up the hill from the main street were less touristy winding streets I spent days exploring. A local friend took me to Belleville. I went to a nice bar there ‘Aux-Follies’ where Edith Piaf performed in her early days. It was adjacent to a pedestrian only street lined with street art which led to a back street. It was here I discovered a Tunisian-Jewish cafe which became my daily haunt.

    Then I stayed in Le Marais which is the unofficial Jewish district filled with pedestrian only streets and kosher restaurants. There aren’t many hotels there so there aren’t many tourists.

    Around Stalingrad are numerous different cheap restaurants and a hammam where I had the best massage of my life. There was a restaurant there on a boat permanently moored in the canal. Hardly any tourists there either.

    Yes, it’s dirty, expensive and I wouldn’t want to live there. But if you get off the beaten path you may find that Paris has its charms.

    • Reply
      March 20, 2016 at 12:44 pm

      Absolutely, I think this rings true for many capitals in the world who have been done a million times before. Just takes a new little pocket of it to change all perceptions so hopefully the next time I visit I can put myself in a place exactly like this as I WANT to like Paris. I really do :)

  • Reply
    February 20, 2016 at 7:33 am

    I spent three weeks in Paris a few years ago. It completely crushed my view of it as beautiful. Every place there could be trash, there was. A pretty fountain on my street was always filled with trash. I saw a fashion shoot on the fountain one day. That was the only time it did not have trash in it.

    The most beautiful monuments all have graffiti on them. Everywhere you go, everyone is smoking. You cannot walk down the street for 5 minutes without plumes of smoke making you gag. I actually had to leave early because I got so sick from the smoke.

    The people in general are nice, but the cab drivers are Satan’s spawn. They revel in their rudeness. They have a reputation for being very rude that they seem to enjoy.

    Yes, the Eiffel tower is beautiful, and there are very pretty buildings, but it is hard to overcome the filth. You see people walking around pretending to pick up trash. I stayed within 10 minutes of the Louvre. That should have been the cleanest part of town.. Very sad experience.

    I love France though and want to go back. I read your article on Lyon and am very interested in that now. I will not give up on France, just Paris.

    Great article!

    • Reply
      March 20, 2016 at 12:16 pm

      I feel like it take a lot of courage to speak negatively about Paris (so thank you) just because it has so many fans and its “icon” status. The taxi drivers are seriously the worse and to be honest the first bad experience I ever had in the city which unfortunately by default is the common experience of many. France is indeed wonderful country though and the rest of its regions and cities deserving much more attention than they get. Thanks for the comment!

  • Reply
    May 15, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    I visited Paris when I was a student with little money in my pocket. I hated it, it was cold, expensive and I had the luck to encounter few rude people. I do believe Paris is loved mostly by Americans and people from other continents with relatively new history and lots of Hollywood culture.

    • Reply
      May 17, 2016 at 12:27 pm

      Being on a budget can definitely add a lot more stress to a visit there. And totally agree – Hollywood has helped tremendously with the hype!

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