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Opinions on Paris

I am planning a trip to France in the Spring. My boyfriend and I are going to spend some time in Paris and then head to the Alsace region. Anyway,I have never been to Paris and want to spend at least 4-5 days there. My boyfriend would rather do more of other areas of Paris. I have always heard such great things about Paris. But I know a few who don't care for it much. What do people think? Your imput is greatly appreciated. -Kim

Posted by
12040 posts

Many people on this website would probably love to help... but what is your question?

Posted by
104 posts

Hi Kim,

Personally, I loved Paris, but I guess it really depends on your interest. Paris has amazing art museums - Louvre, Orsay, Orangerie, Rodin, etc., - plus Napoleon's Tomb and the War Museum if you are interested in history, not too mention beautiful churches like Notre Dame and Sacre Coeur. The architecture is lovely, and the food is fantastic. Outside of Paris is Versailles, which is really breathtaking - especially the grounds. The shopping is pretty great, and the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomph are beautiful.

That said, Paris is a big city, so if you are not looking for a city vacation, then maybe it is not for you. Parts of it were rather dirty, but I think you find that in most big cities.

However, it really is an amazing place full of culture. I spent six days there this summer, and I could have spent double the time!

Have fun!

Posted by
632 posts

"I love Paris in the Springtime....." you probably know the rest of the words...

Posted by
378 posts

Paris is my absolute favorite city (so far). I found it absolutely beautiful, with views that took my breath away. It has many great sites, restaurants and people watching. That being said, I enjoy city vacations, love sight-seeing, trying new restaurants, shows, and just the general hustle and bustle of a big city, etc. If that's not your cup of tea, you may be better off spending more time in other regions of France. Although I think 5 days would be fair to both of you. That would give plenty of time to hit all the highlights, but then spend time seeing other part of the country.

Posted by
4132 posts

Kim, I'm guessing you meant to type "France" after the phrase "do more of other areas of...."

The case for Paris, for someone who is interested in France, is as follows. Paris is not only a world-class city, and not only the French political capitol, it is the center of France in a way that has no parallel in the U.S. In U.S. terms, it is not just Washington DC but also New York and Los Angeles.

There the two of you can find cultural representation (and food) of not just of every French region but also of French-speaking countries such as Senegal. If you are in a hurry and want to see a lot, it is a very efficient choice.

I am sure there is a case to be made for the provinces too, so I won't say your boyfriend is wrong. If you and he are both clear about what you want, better reach some no-regrets no-complaints compromise. But really, five days in Paris on your first trip is hardy unreasonable!

Posted by
2030 posts

Kim, Has your boyfriend been to Paris? What is his reason for not wanting to spend time there? Like the previous posters have described, you will like Paris if you appreciate fine art, history, architecture, food, shopping, culture, people watching -- and just being in one of the most amazing and beautiful cities in the world. It even eclipses NYC (including Brooklyn) in my opinion. (Though if you mention NYC to a lot of Parisians, they get really excited and express their love of it! My sister and travel partner is from there). Anyway read up about Paris and its culture, learn basic French phrases, be willing to enjoy the French people and their way of doing things....Don't miss Paris, spend at least 4 days there and form your own opinion about it. I think you will love it.
And PS - get the latest Rick Steves Paris guidebook, and don't leave home without it.

Posted by
186 posts

After reading all the comments/reviews of Paris, and reading all kinds of articles on Paris, I know that my upcoming trip in May does not allow me enough time in Paris since my main purpose is in going to Spain. So what does that leave? Another trip of course! I know that I will have to go back and make Paris and the surrounding areas the focus of my trip. Oh well, one must do what they have to do! I'm looking forward to the whole experience!

Posted by
32227 posts


Your Post was a bit ambiguous, so I'm not too clear on what you were asking? If you could clarify your meaning, it would sure help.

I would definitely recommend stopping in Paris, and 4-5 days is a good time frame (but 5 would be better). Does your time allotment for Paris include your flight day?

You might find it useful to review Rick's France or Paris Guidebooks, to get ideas on which sites you most want to see there, so that you don't waste any time. I normally make a list of all the sites I want to visit, but invariably don't get to all of them (they get added to the list for the next visit). Each day I just pick whichever items from the list seem most interesting to me that day.

As far as those "who don't care for it much", I'm assuming they were referring to unpleasant experiences they had there? Those experiences can happen anywhere, so I wouldn't let it stop you from seeing Paris. It's a wonderful city with LOTS to see and do! One thing you might enjoy would be a Segway Tour of the major sites. They are a bit expensive but lots of fun.

Good luck and happy travels!

Posted by
23351 posts

I agree with most of my fellow posters about Paris but a slight different response to your question. Paris is a place to relax, people watch, a leisurely afternoon at a cafe over wine or coffee, enjoying long leisurely meals or strolls along the river bank -- get the picture. If the boyfriend is more action orientated, he may be bored. Lots to see and do but Paris is an attitude (state of mind) as much as a place to visit.

Posted by
267 posts

Paris is an attitude (state of mind) as much as a place to visit.

Great quote.

Posted by
263 posts

My wife and I have been to Paris twice. I love the city, she does not. I loved going to the art museums, having coffee at a cafe and watching people, eating lunch in Luxumbourg Gardens and going to the Flea market. The big attractions, Eiffel Tower, Nore Dame, Sacre Cuouer (not sure I spelled that correctly) in Montmarte are impressive. But the city is noisy, dirty, busy and you do have to be aware of your surroundings..... but that is true in any big city. That was what turned my wife off about the city. Maybe if you found out what your boyfriend is most interested in (art? underground sewer systems?) then you can find activities and areas that would appeal to him. Then he will have a more of a reason to go to Paris.
Personally, I think being young ( or middle aged, or old, or breathing) is reason enough. I would go back in a minute.
How long is your total trip going to be? That also makes a difference. Maybe in four days you could get a taste of Paris that will bring you back later in life.

Posted by
689 posts

Since we're all European-travel lovers here, I think you'll get a lot of positive responses about Paris. It is my favorite place on earth. I've never met anyone who didn't love it--the only negative things I've heard were from people who haven't actually been but "they've heard" bad things.

I'd try as hard as you can to convince your boyfriend of 4-5 days. That really is a nice amount of time for a first visit though I guarantee you'll want to go back. Doing big, world class cities in 2 or 3 days is just exhausting and not fun at all. You don't have time to lounge in cafes, take nice walks, etc--you're too busy running from one site to the next. Maybe try that angle. Promise he never has to go there again if he hates it.

For the record, my husband didn't think he'd like Paris at all, but after one trip it became HIS favorite place on earth too.

Posted by
191 posts

I'm going to disagree with a lot of people here.

I LOVE Paris, but I prefer the Loire Valley and Bordeaux. To me, it was just more quaint and romantic and relaxing. We spent 3 days in Paris and 2 in each of the regions. While I think 3 days in Paris was great, I would have preferred the extra day in Bordeaux. And less luggage to cart around. Lesson learned ;)

Posted by
264 posts

When I die, never mind heaven;

just send me back to PARIS!

Posted by
655 posts

Hi Kim,

You MUST visit Paris - espeically in the springtime. Consider another boyfriend but don't omit Paris.

Posted by
157 posts

Been to France a few times and Always spend a few days in Paris.

Yes, I personally enjoy Normandy & the Loire Valley but, for a 4-5 day trip experience Paris it is Wonderful.

Posted by
1158 posts

Well, Paris is the most beautiful city in the world , IMO of course.
I would think that something is "wrong" with someone who doesn't want to see Paris.

And...."America is my country and Paris is my hometown" - Gertrude Stein

Posted by
67 posts

My wife and I are among the few who are not Paris lovers. We enjoyed the areas outside of the city. Why are we different than most? Perhaps we do not enjoy museums or eating out. Our enjoyment comes from chatting with the locals and seeing the landscaping and village life outside of any large city. Ask yourselve what kind of a person you and your boyfriend are. By the way our favorite location in France was the Alsace area. We stayed in Colmar and it was the highlight of our French trip. To us this was far superior to Paris.

Most travelers are unique.

Posted by
6 posts

My wife has been resolute for years that a couple of days in Paris was enough for her so we could spend the majority of our time in the wine country when/if we made it to France. Last winter I was getting antsy to travel, so I spent spent five (5) days alone in Paris (she stayed home to tend to her business). Paris is absolutely stunning. While I wished my wife would have relented and traveled with me, another comment posted here said it best. Stand your ground for an extended amount of time in this great city or snag another travel partner.

Posted by
2 posts

Like everyone else posting, I to LOVE Paris and am getting ready to leave in a week to spend New Year's in Paris. I think it is such a magical city and will always recommend it for a vist. It is a very large city, so you will have to utilize taxis or the metro to get around. It isn't like Manhattan where you can pretty much walk from midtown to the financial district.

In my opinion Paris is best enjoyed by getting lost. Wander around the streets and take things really slow. Sip a coffee and people watch in a cafe, stroll along the Seine, enjoy a patisserie (une millefeuille and tarte au fraise are my favorites!) Also splurge a little and try out a Michline rated restaurant. I assure you, it will be a meal to remember. Be sure to enjoy it with french wine of course! Mix museums and art with people watching and eating.

I travel often and Paris is my favorite place on earth. I am sure it is different for everyone, but it is a place you should go to at least once and make your own opinon. Try to stay in a small hotel in a good neighborhood to really make the most of your trip.


Posted by
67 posts

I hesitate to make my final comments on this subject, but have to comment on a common thread on many travel posts.

As I said ealier, people are unique. We enjoy different experiences due to our genes, upbringing and learned interests. My wife and I are pleased that so many fellow travelers love Paris. There are many that do not have the same emotional feeling.

I seem to remember a post a year ago from someone who felt like we do. The resposnse to his post was eye opening. 80% of those responding agreed with him To me this indicates that people normally respond to positive experiences --unless they have a forum which allows them to speak otherwise. His posting gave them this opportunity.

Don't misunderstand me. I did enjoy Paris. I have been there four times over a period of 50 years. I do. however, feel that so called "paris lovers" are generally the type that enjoy what Paris has to offer and do not get a kick out of less cosmopolitian areas. If I had to guess they probably enjoy New York more that Yosemite. They are not wrong - only different.

Kim. On balance Paris is a city that must be seen seen. I do feel that you can spend three full days there and reep the many benefits that this great city deserves. More time than that only reinforces the same experience.

Have fun!

Posted by
8 posts

Kim, I have been to Paris on vacation several times and through Paris numerous times on business. My family and I love the city. However, I will say that many of the people I have taken through Paris on business do not like the city.

You have to go with the right attitude. The Rick Steve's attitude- explore, enjoy, get lost, experiment with new things and meet people. The biggest fear of people visiting Paris is dealing with rude people. If you go as a loud, Larry the cable guy type of tourist then you will be treated rudely. Otherwise, you will be fine.

The key is to choose a hotel and location wisely. Go to Trip Advisor. I prefer a smaller hotel in the Opera district. It is a couple of blocks off the main streets and out of the crowds. However, the owners have been there forever and are very friendly and helpful. I can also walk to the some of the main areas in minutes. Many of my business associates do not like the hotel because it doesn't have most of the American hotel amenities.

I also prefer to spend several days in Paris and then train to a smaller areas to get away from the crowds. Enjoy.

Posted by
10261 posts

I have to disagree with Dean about one thing - I personally love Paris, and I also love Yosemite. I know that there are people who are only "city" lovers or "country/rural" lovers, but it is not impossible to enjoy both experiences equally. I love going to the coast, to the mountains, to the redwoods, etc. and also cities. They all have something to offer.

Posted by
264 posts

It would really be interesting to see a tally on this question: culture, nature or both!

Personally, I'd only check the city culture column.

Posted by
76 posts

Paris is.............sublime.

Plan accordingly.

Posted by
3211 posts

I love Paris. However, if you are unsure, spend 3 days in Paris. Take the TGV train to Nancy, a miniature Paris, and then rent a car for day trips. You can visit Verdun, Strasbourg(by train from Nancy), and drive over the Vosges Mts and visit little German influenced villages(cobble stones, half timbered buildings, etc.) in Lorraine, each village with its own wine and often castle. That way if you are sorry you left Paris you have Nancy. And there are fewer tourists in this direction, in my opinion. There's also Baccarat for a nice purchase. Or Galle styled vases from Nancy.

Posted by
875 posts

I agree with Lee. Paris is truly sublime. However, the Alsace region is lovely also, but in a very different way. If you've got the time, split it between Paris and Alsace (Colmar, Riquewihr, Eguisheim, Strasbourg, etc.) You'll enjoy the contrast.
To me, nothing compares to Paris -- but we truly loved Colmar, etc. also.