Need some feedback please. I would like to go to either London or Paris in Feb for my b-day. My husband and I have never been to either. My choice is Paris since it's been a childhood dream although my husband is concerned with being treated poorly. I don't to worry about any of that and just enjoy our short time there. We'll be there for about 5 days. Any thoughts?
February will be in the mid-40's probably and the days short (but Paris is at it's loveliest at night!) Also be prepared for rain.
As far as accomodation, there are thousands of choices- I usually flip through a few guidebooks (I like Let's Go, Lonely Planet, and RS) and look for places within my budget, jot them down, then check out the reviews on TripAdvisor.com before making a decision. There are also tons of past posts on here with lots of great recommendations.
I'm kind of amazed at the large number of people who love Paris and had no bad experiences. I love foreign travel, always learn Hello, Good-bye, Please and Thank You for the country I'm going to and was treated as poorly as I've ever been treated in Paris; I was also warmly treated. I don't like Paris for other reasons.
Okay, got that out, I'd say if you have a childhood dream and it's your birthday you should fulfill it. The worst that can happen is you learn what you don't like but the best is that your dreams can come true. I think this of all travel, so go for it. YOu will find that people are people all over the world and some rude ones live in Philly too. You aren't moving away because of them.
In Paris the churches are mostly free and the museums are expensive. In London the museums are mostly free and the important churches have a charge. London is very interesting, but not romantic. Whereas, Paris......
When we stay in Paris for less than a week, we've taken to staying at one of Accor Hotels' Ibis chain hotels. There are about 150 Accor hotels in Paris, with the Ibis and Etap chains offering good, modern accommodations at an excellent price. The Ibis Paris Tour Eiffel is at Place Cambronne in the 15th arrondissement, at the border with the 7th...a typical French neighbourhood and about a 15-minute walk from the Eiffel Tower. Typical rate is 79 Euro/night. It's steps away from the Place Cambronne Metro station, so it's easy to get around Paris. It's also only 6 Metro stops from the Denfert-Rochereau station, an RER-Metro station on the RER line (commuter rail) that comes into Paris from both CDG and Orly airports. Check out the hotel at http://tinyurl.com/5s76e
Well personally, London is my favorite city in the world, but I'm biased since I lived there for a short while. I also adore Paris. If the only reason you're hesistant to go to Paris is the fear of being treated poorly, don't worry about that. In all the times I've been to Paris no one has ever been rude. Just learn a few basic French phrases and don't demand they speak English to you. Be polite and they'll be polite. Paris is beautiful and everyone should see it at least once in their lives! Go for it! And maybe hit up London later :)
I agree with Jennifer. Paris is the most beautiful city in the world. However you get there, make sure you stay underground in the Metro system until you reach the Place de la Concorde. Then come up into the city and be amazed.
You won't be treated poorly in Paris if you learn the basic courtesies in French. For example, always say "bonjour" when you enter a shop. Know how to say "please" and "thank you".
Parisians are very used to English speakers. They experience a lot of Americans, British and Germans who don't even bother being courteous to them. And then when those tourists go back home, they claim the French are rude.
Thanks Doug and Jennifer for the feedback. This seems to be the consensus across the board. Since I just started my research today, I have no idea where to stay. I've read the Latin Quarter is reasonable? As long as it's clean, we're ok. Any idea how the weather is in Feb? I've read it can range in the 40's - 50's.
Paris without a second thought. While London is a terrif city and is certainly a place you should visit, it cannot compare (favorably, at least) with Paris.
If it's a childhood dream, and it's your occasion, go to Paris. I, myself, would go to London. Though lots of people have great things to say about Paris, I find nothing particularly extraordinary about it. There are beautiful sights and historic buildings in and around both places. I love London theatre and the museums, and, of course, you wouldn't have a language barrier. Still, it's your birthday -- have fun!
Just to reiterate what everyone else has said, Paris is wonderful, and Parisians are not, as a general rule, more rude than anyone else. I lived there for a few months and never experienced rudeness that was out of the ordinary(if that makes sense). There are rude people everywhere, just as there are kind people everywhere. In fact, I think I've encountered more rudeness here since I've moved to Los Angeles than I ever did in Paris. As mentioned, if you try to speak their language as much as you can (even if it's minimal) and follow basic manners, you will have great experiences with most of the people. Don't let the possibility of encountering someone rude discourage you from missing out on this great city.
Stephanie, if you want to rent an apartment for your birthday stay in Paris, we suggest this: ...
... which is a US company based in New Jersey, handling the properties of Americans, etc. You would have the key to your Paris (or London) apartment before you leave Philadelphia.
Whatever you decide... Happy Birthday! P.
Go to Paris if for no other reason than to educate your husband -- the French are not anti-American snobs!
It's your birthday and your childhood dream is to go to Paris. Your husband's only input (according to your post) is an old cliché that's not even true. Sounds like a no-brainer to me.
I have to disagree!!!! Paris is dirty and the people are RUDE!!! London is marvelous!!! We have been more than 40 times and still find new things to see and do. In 5 days you could do SOOOOO much in London. A day trip to Windsor. Tour the Tower of London. Greenwich... Bath... York... Statford... the choices are endless.
Paris, dirty? You can't have been there for a while. The city sparkles now following massive efforts to clean things up. Far cleaner than London these days. As for rude....the rudest treatment I've ever received while on holiday was from a driver in Scotland who disagreed with our use of a pedestrian crossing...every Parisian I've had contact with has been unfailingly polite. Just to show that generalizing about peoples' behaviour like that usually ends up being wrong.
I'd have to agree with Norm. I know that the first time I went to Paris (in 1999), I was surprised at how clean it was an how well I was treated by the French. For so many years, I'd gone other places because I had always heard that the French were rude. As soon as I got back from my first trip to Paris, I made my next vacation a 3 week trip to the south of France. I've since made several more trips and had the same impression on each. I find Paris cleaner than London. I lived and worked in London and it is my absolute favorite city in the world, but there is no way that I would ever say it was particularly clean. I regularly wiped black soot from my window sill when I lived in London.
Stephanie, you will have a fantastic time in Paris or London.
Paris hands down. I love and adore Paris. It is Wonderful! It is clean and beautiful and I've met thousands more wonderful French people there than unpleasant ones. I can't believe how people criticize the French...There are lots of rude people here in the US yet we hold the French to a higher standard? The rudest man I ever had the misfortune to encounter was at the top of the Eiffel Tower and he was from NYC! I personally don't like London. It truly is dirty and far more expensive than Paris. Also, when in London/Great Britain the culture isn't that much different than here in the US. To me, it is more fun to go to a different (wonderful) culture. My husband never ever wanted to leave the US, he thought the US was the best and why leave...Well, the first time he went to Paris he absolutely fell in love with the city, the country and the people. He wanted to come home, sell everything and move to France. We didn't, but it sure changed his attitude. I vote for Paris!
I'm studying abroad in France right now, and I LOVE Paris. I've met some girls who are from England, and they say that England isn't that amazing. It's just another city, is what they say. Paris is very romantic and BEAUTIFUL! As far as being treated badly, I haven't run into that at all. If you at least make an attempt to speak French, like using a few key words, then they work with you. The French are very friendly people. I've been here for a month, and am yet to run into the stereotypical rude Frenchman. My parents were here traveling for a week and they don't speak any French at all, and they loved it! I think that if Paris is your childhood dream, then that's where you should go. You won't regret it. Trust me!
My adult daughter and I just spent 8 days in Paris. I was truly shocked how friendly the people are after all the old stories I had heard.
We were spoiled in our favorite restaurant on the corner every time we went in. The joy and laughter from the many folks we met was wonderful. We stayed in the Rue Cler area, which I would highly recommend. It's so close to the river, Notre Dame, the Eiffel tower, etc and there are great shops on Rue Cler for getting a picnic together plus so many cafes.It's where Rick stays on his trips also.
We both got the Carte Orange bus passes and went everywhere on the bus. I was so pleasantly surprised that ALL younger and middle aged folks instantly got up and gave their seat when an older person got on the bus (including me - clearly a foreigner). When folks saw us staring at a map, they offered to help even tho neither of us spoke the other language. It was an incredible experience every day!
I love London more than Paris but that's just me. Since it's been a childhood dream and it's YOUR birthday, (not your spouses) definitely visit Paris. If you and your husband are loud, rude, and arrogant as we yanks can sadly be expect to be treated accordingly. If you are a traveler who understands and repsects that things will be different and that you are guests, DON'T expect ketchup at any meal, and fully appreciate their history and way of life you'll have a wonderful time. Think about how it would be if a French couple came to Philadelphia. What would you take pride in showing them? The Liberty Bell, et al? Probably yes because that's a huge part of USA history. Huge. Get my point? Treat them as you would expect to be treated. Anyway, The Museum D'Orsay will knock your socks off. Walking beneath the Eiffel Tower, across the Siene and over to the Champs d'Elysee is as wonderful a moment in travel as one can get. Beautiful city. Don't miss the Rodin museum.
If you expect rudeness or friendliness, in either case you will be right.
Rudeness on the part of Parisians is a myth dreamed up by those who haven't visited there. Or expected rudeness.
Sounds like you'll be going to Paris. I have a friend who has lived there for the last 20+ years. She mentioned a cheap-and-cheerful chain called Campanile (Holiday Inn type) and the rates will be higher the closer you are to city center. Also she says the best web site in the world for anyone going to paris is http://www.paris.org/Accueil/ and Here’s a newsletter that highlights new and fun stuff to do in Paris and France http://www.parisinsites.com/currentissue.html Hope this helps, I'm heading there myself in July. Margaret
I second Claudia's comments -- show respect - get respect, the French language is not the barrier we only knew four phrases and had a wonderful time twice and are now planning our third visit. Just take in the sights!
Have a great time.
Everyone I know loves London as their favorite city in the world. But I personally thought Paris was my best European experience. We never got treated poorly. Sometimes people were aloof, but never rude. Just make an attempt at some simple French - say good day, please, and thank you - and you will be fine. Paris is an amazing place!
I love both London and Paris. I would choose Paris at this time just because of the exchange rate with the Euro and the Pound. I found everyone to be extremely friendly in Paris.
We are traveling to Paris this weekend. It is my first time, my husband second. He loves it there. I feel like I must have been to a different London than the rest of the responders here. I found London to be very dirty, and the people were pushy and rude. We did see the Lion King there, and that may have been the best part of the trip.
I love Paris and everything French! Be enthusiastic and curious and you'll be fine anyplace in the world. As for that reputation for being rude...
The French are very proud of their language and culture--they give an award (La Legion d'Honneur, started by Napolean) for contributions. But the fact is, everyone in Paris speaks English, and you'll be fine if you're polite by French standards. Ex:
The French always use an honorific in addition to "Bonjour" or "Au Revoir" (because each person is an individual who merits respect). Also, they greet everyone. For ex, when you enter a shop, say "Bonjour Madame/Mademoiselle/Monsieur." Servers in restaurants and cafes are "Monsieur" or "Madame," not "Garcon." Don't mistake all of this for American overfamiliarity: "Hi, I'm Erika and I'll be your server, let me tell you about tonight's specials..." Rather, it has to do with a sense of dignity and decorum that can appear to be rudeness to our casual American sensibilities.
Voila' Paris, for all the reasons mentioned afore, in addition the food is better, and I enjoy hearing a different language being spoken. I haven't ever encountered a French person being rude. Of course there will be some that are that way, just as there are in the US. Just smile and move on. When I think of Paris a lot more famous sights come to mind in comparison to London. Of course, someday you can do London, but start with Paris.
You say you have been to London 40 times, so how often have you been to Paris? And, how long ago,, and for how long?
I assume you have not been recently( since you are busy going to LOndon ) so perhaps dredging up some old memory ( where maybe if examined will give some insight) .
I say Paris. I have been to London twice, and it is not horrible, but the pound kills. And frankly the food is so so at best.
I enjoyed Bath, Warwick,Hampton Court, the Tower of London, the Portrait Museum, and the British Museum, but other then that ,well,itis not what anyone could call a very pretty city.
London doesn't have as many what I would call quaint little pedestrian areas as Paris does, the river is not lined all the way with a lovely walkway, or gorgeous bridges, and the cafe culture is not alive in London as it is in Paris.
Paris is not dirty, and the people are no ruder then anywhere else in the world.
These myths are spread by people who have often NEVER even been there, or were there 50 yrs ago after the war or something, LOL, anyone who is open minded and accepting of other cultures will love Paris.
Go, get a carafe of wine, and sit and watch the world wander by as you sit outside , at a lovely cafe overlooking the Seine and Notre Dame. You'll then know!
We just got home from our first trip to Paris (London last year). To us they were both wonderful, though I agree that Paris has a certain magic/romance to it.
On the other hand, we are museum goers and history buffs, and were frustrated with the lack of English translation in Paris. Although the Louvre has much more than the British Museum, for instance, we were able to enjoy the British so much more because of the ease of understanding it.
Either way you go, you can't lose. Go to the other next time!
Lauren, that is a good point( and I agree) , but there is a way around it, although it is frustrating as it equals spending more money. For the Lourve there are many guide books available that will take you through the exhibits.
I really LOVE LONDON more than Paris, but I think its more of a language factor. My husband speaks French so he loved Paris more.
If you can split the time, do both. With the Chunnel, even a day trip is do-able!