Paris part 3: The Rant
Paris is a great city to visit and can be a lot of fun. Unfortunately, most of my time in Paris was miserable. This is a bit of a rant to explain it and some advice on how to avoid it.
Transport in Paris is not the most convenient in the world. The drivers are crazy and follow no rules of the road, so I would not advise driving. Unless you want to pay for a taxi, you are probably going to use the metro. There are also busses apparently, but I don’t remember seeing that many that were for tourists, and I cannot imagine how confusing busses would be for tourists if I find the buses in London confusing after being here for over a month. The metro wasn’t that different from the tube; it’s like the tube’s smellier, less organized little brother. The Metro is often hard to find because they have no real signs to designate where they are; you have to kind of stumble upon them; not all even have the little “Metropolitan” banner above them; they are just stairs underground. There also doesn’t seem to be that many actual stations; at least not as many as London. Transferring and getting to that platform also takes longer and is more confusing. The trains themselves are often very crowded and not all trains announce the station they are at; you have to look out of the windows and hop you can see the station names written in the tiles on the walls. The metro does stink sometime; mostly if you have to go down deep to transfer. It is also dirty; but all of Paris is pretty dirty. Because of this travel problem; I spent a lot of time both walking around and getting lost.
After all of this walking ( a good 5-8 hours straight everyday) my feet hurt very badly so, I would recommend taking regular breaks and planning out were you want to go on a map so you don’t get lost or have to backtrack.
Most of my problems though, weren’t because of Paris itself but because of the people I was with. My tours were really nice and so were my guides, but we had mostly free time to do as we wish. I didn’t go on this trip with any of my friends or flat mates; just people I knew from school. Because of this I had no idea what they wanted, and since I usually was with a big group, there was a lot of indecision and confusion. So, needless to say, I was not in charge and didn’t get to do many things I wanted to do. They also all seemed to want to rush (we seriously ran down the champs elysee) and not take breaks even for food. I ate no lunch really Friday (just snacks) and didn’t have dinner (pizza) until 9 pm. The next day I had a decent lunch at around 2 pm, but didn’t have dinner that night. The next day I didn’t have lunch or dinner; just a crepe at around 1pm. I get really tired easily even though all I need at like 10 minute breaks, and when my blood sugar goes down I get even more fatigued and quite bitchy frankly.
Basically, for three days I was drug around by people who couldn’t decide what they wanted and didn’t to seem to understand basic ideas (like food is expensive in the champs elysee). There were other pains like waiting over 2 hours to get up the Eiffel tower, and being with people trying to buy longchamps bags only to find out that they are just as expensive in France as in America.
My advice: Go with people you like and know and know you. Bring water with you and take regular breaks. Plan stuff you want to do before hand and do some research; plan out the route you want to do. My biggest regret is the amount of running and rushing; just calm down and maybe have a coffee and enjoy yourself. You can’t do that run ragged.