August 29, 2018

When in Paris – Maybe Don’t …

The poor, the homeless, the scammers. Paris, like other major metropolitan cites. It’s very multi-cultural and chaotic. With immigrants coming from all around the world, you might be walking around in the subway and wondering if you are in the middle east or somewhere else but this said-to-be magical, romantic Paris.
“Paris syndrome” sounds funny, but it appears to be a real thing. There are people who travel to Paris and realize that this City of Light is nothing like what they expected it to be. Sufferers have reported being traumatized by the experience, of fearing ever traveling again.
To balance out that negativity, here goes the famous quote from Ernest Hemingway,If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” Preparing trip to Paris can be whelming because there are simply just way too many classic, “must-see” tourists’ attractions.
But what do you really want to do? Do you really want to pay two hundred dollars for Moulin Rouge show? Is paying extra to go in all the Cathedrals’ special treasure rooms necessary? It’s okay to skip the crazy line (it literally takes hours, and it’s a high pickpocket activity) for Louvre Museum and just get a cute photo with the iconic pyramid and go. Here is the authentic reminder of factual reality. Keep reading if you’re interested to learn the don’ts and the common scams in Paris.

Don’t take a deep breath and look down
It’s no secret this “city of love” smells like urine, there’s garbage everywhere on the floor. The difficulty and expense of using toilets, just make the piss smell worse. But let’s not be too harsh on it, after all, Paris is Europe’s most densely populated city. We all know every major metropolis got the poor and the homeless. Parisians are aware of this issue though. The mayor invested 1,3 M euros in the cleaning of the city and is applying for the Olympic Games of 2024! That sounds pretty promising, non?

Don’t expect to see everything
We tend to put pressure on ourselves to try to see it all. But the “must-see” list for Paris can get really long and it might not even for you. If your stay is short, saving the rest for return visits is absolutely okay. It’s important to think about what brought us to Paris and work the schedule around it. Is it the art that attracts you? Or the history, the architecture, the lifestyle? If you couldn’t care less about Renaissance paintings and you happen to bring a kid, skip Louvre Museum. Get more of street Paris instead!

Don't assume people speak English
The not-so-friendly locals may make “Paris Syndrome” worse. But all you need are “Bonjour, au revoir, s’il vous plait, merci” and a genuine smile. If you try to speak in French, people are usually happy to help. When visiting a different country, speak a little bit of their language is very appreciated. Let’s all keep in mind we’re not in our own country, so don’t expect things to be the same back home. For example, Parisians don't add ice to their drinks. And be prepared to wait for a long time for your turn in the supermarket, or to receive your order in the restaurant. Have fun enjoying Parisian lifestyle. No rush and all romantic.

Don’t bother engaging with “activists” on the street
Or school girls with a clip board, or kids with roses, or woman tries to give you a “ring”. Being scammed really sucks! You probably won’t end up losing lots of money, but the fact that you get scammed because somebody is taking advantage of your kindness can really ruin one’s mood. With busy tourist attractions, professional scammers are working in groups and in any forms. Don’t lose your guard for kids or young, teen girls. Common scams are 1) get you to sign for a paper and request a donation. 2) give you a rose or a bracelet or a ring to and ask you to pay for it. 3) Offer to help out buying tickets in the metro. Btw, the metro machines do not take credit cards and debit cards. With all these situations mentioned above, you would become an easy target for pick-pockets. The key is to just firmly say no, avoid eye-contact and ignore them completely.

Don’t dine in touristy area
It’s no brainer that everything is more expensive in touristy area. And dining out are not cheap. French people would expect you to order wine in restaurants, and water doesn’t come in free. Don’t despair. Tap water is safe to drink and if you would like to save money on food, you can get some ham in the local supermarket, some bread in the local bakery, and make your own sandwiches to go. I wish I had done so instead of buying tons of granola bars for meals when I was a poor student. But I am sure work harder, earn more and have a bigger budget for food can be a good idea as well. Fruit paté, marzipan, cassoulet, glacé chestnuts, macarons… … uh oh

Don’t forget to take lots of photos and share in online
Old world charm, bitchy vibe. Paris is surly the most photogenic. If you don’t know how to frame, just search the location in Instagram, find the top eye-catching photos and compose the same. Tilt your head, chin down and forward, lift the arm from the torso and try different angles to look your best and the skinniest.

While loud Chinese tourists everywhere, streets smell like pee, food being expensive, and English probably doesn’t work, Paris can be not as romantic. But is Paris overrated? Just because one has unrealistic expectations of Paris, doesn’t make this city less remarkable. Get internet connection and share your memorable moments online. 

Go to to order your WiFi pocket.