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What are we missing?

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What are we missing?

We are currently in Paris for 4 days and to be truthful we are a bit dissapointed with the place.

We had such high expectations that somehow feel we are missing the true essence of Paris.

I think it has been the big attractions that have been a let down?

The Eiffel tower, Notre Dame, The Louvre have been awful due to the huge crowds and massive queues at nearly every point of intrest. We have queued at a few places only to find that was the pre queue bag search only to go in and find another mass of hardy souls who must have more patience than us.

Montmarte was the biggest dissapointment, just one big tat fest and "art" hawkers trying to fleece the good will of tourists

I think it is because we came in high season, would never consider coming this time of year again.

We enjoyed strolling around the Jardin du Luxembourg and the Ile Saint Louis but the rest has been anything but enjoyable. We live in a big city but the crowds are insane for everthing.

We were thinking of going to Versailles tomorrow but might give it a miss now.

Can anyone suggest how we might rekindle our initial excitement for our last day tomorrow????

One last point is the Parisians have been some of the most friendly people we have encountered in the shops and restaurants which debunks the myth of the in polite Frenchman in Paris :)

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Albuquerque, New...
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21. Re: What are we missing?

Some wonderful suggestions here, I hope you can end your trip on a better note.

Sunshine Coast...
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22. Re: What are we missing?

To be honest maybe Paris just isn't YOUR special place?

You say that you had high expectations and although you seem to have enjoyed yourselves you feel there is something missing. Perhaps you are putting too much pressure on the idea that your time there must be fabulous?

I was seriously underwhelmed by Florence - I had listened to my best friend rave about Florence and how much she loved it and how she wished she could live there and how it was just so incredibly amazing for over year before my first visit. When I got there it was nice and I had a good time and there were interesting things to see but I have never felt the urge to go back. At the time I was so disappointed and felt sure I was doing something wrong but then I realised that we can't all love the same things and we can't love everywhere.

Maybe Paris is your Florence?

Please enjoy your holiday time and don't worry about absolutely loving every second.

Edited: 08 July 2012, 02:46
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23. Re: What are we missing?

I don't get the rant. You travel to the most visited city in the world in the high season and you are disappointed by the crowded conditions? That's like going to the beach in the summer and complaining there are other people there. (For what it's worth I only go to Paris and to the beach in fall/winter!) Oh, and don't tell me you are staying in one of the single-digit arrondissments too! Talk about setting yourself up for failure.

Try Pere Lachiase cemetery -- or any of the others; they are wonderful, and the Victor Hugo house at the Place des Vosges. Have lunch at Le Train Bleue.

Paris, France
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24. Re: What are we missing?

Perhaps we have detected another case of Paris Syndrome.

Sydney, Australia
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25. Re: What are we missing?

It is sad that you are not as smitten as you hoped. It happened once to us in Rome, though we have since remedied that.

I love the Bastille Market. There will be crowds, sure, but very different from a throng of tourists. The food is gorgeous and the whole thing very different from even our own growers markets.

Our last trip we resolved to see those things we hadn't yet seen, like the covered passageways (like so many Strand Arcades) filled with interesting shops and cafes. We stayed in Montmartre by choice, but didn't go near Sacre Coeur or Place du Tertre; I agree they are quite tacky. Instead we wandered Rue des Abbesses and Rue des Martyrs, buying lovely food, flowers, eating in the cafes, sitting at one of those impossibly tiny tables with a glass of Sancerre and trying to guess who was French and who a tourist.

We went to the Marmottan Museum which is a bit out of the centre, and also to Musee Jaquemart Andre (there was a queue as there was a special show on) another one of those private collections of impossibly rich people.

We visited the Place des Vosges, so symmetrical and typical of French architecture and ate at a little cafe under the arches there, while families pic-nicked on the lawns and lovers lay and kissed. Very French!

We revisited the Palais Royal for the courtyard and the lovely hidden garden where they fire a tiny cannon at noon, then wandered the arcade with lots of lovely shops, window shopping for luxurious leather, coins and medals and 10,000 pipes.

We didn't go into Notre Dame this time as for us the queues were too long also. But we did go into the gardens behind and chatted to the bird watchers about the eagles in residence in the facade of the church, before L'Isle St Louis, a revisit to the gorgeously renovated church that bears his name and of course ice cream at Berthillion.

In the Louvre (no line when we entered through the metro entrance) we chose to visit the Napoleon Apartments which we had not previously seen, and to really take in the sculpture areas. We loved both.

Perhaps finding the dragon sculpture at Place Augusta Holmes was a bit of a highlight as well.


So I hope you find your own little bits that sing to your heart.

Jakarta, Indonesia
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26. Re: What are we missing?

Paris is for "strollers" not "sightsee-ers". If you're a sightsee-er, you'll find London to be the more amazing city ( in my opinion the best city in the world for sightseeing )

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27. Re: What are we missing?

Some of my favorite parts of Paris were not the "must-sees" but were places I stumbled across....strolling a beautiful tree lined street in autumn with the leaves falling down...grabbing a crusty cheese sandwich and eating it on the train to Chartres...getting lost and meeting a very nice people who helped us along the way.

That being said I still enjoyed the "must-sees" too!

Jakarta, Indonesia
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28. Re: What are we missing?

"Some of my favorite parts of Paris were not the "must-sees" but were places I stumbled across....strolling a beautiful tree lined street in autumn with the leaves falling down"

that's so generic. you can do that in almost any city.

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29. Re: What are we missing?

>>> that's so generic. you can do that in almost any city. <<<

Yes, but the fact those leaves are falling in a Paris street transforms generic into unique.

Or maybe you don't get it either.

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30. Re: What are we missing?

I wonder sometimes if Paris would appeal to me at all if I didn't remember what it was like before it became overrun with tourists, and if I didn't find the language so amusing. Florence is also kind of a lost case (it used to be really charming but is now mostly an American university town).

The thing that Paris still has going for it is the terrific mix of retail, business, and residential neighborhoods, despite the unfortunate influx of Starbucks and Subway. It's not too hard to find people who speak French and are willing to use it in conversation. I suspect I would prefer some other city in France now but I haven't really given it a lot of thought. :-)