We were in Paris our first time this past April and I want to go back! My husband thinks we should try Rome. Does Rome give you that same "unexplained got to return" feeling as Paris?
Stacey, could you divide your time between the two? I'm sure you didn't see or do everything there is to see and do in Paris. I've spent years there and just got back from a month there, and still there are things I haven't done yet.
I would rather go to Rome than to Paris, but this is truly an individual choice. Much depends on your interests. There is no way that we, perfect strangers can tell you what we think you will like.
What is it that you want to see in these cities? What attracts you the most? I am a huge Roman history fan, so I am going to say go to Rome every time someone asks me which city they should go to.
If history and/or art is boring (not a judgment; you know who you are!), and you weren't born with the gene that makes you repeatedly mumble 'wow, what THAT must have been like' and 'I really wish I could see how they lived then' (uh, yeah, that's me), then I'm afraid you MIGHT find Rome to be overcrowded, dusty, dirty, way too loud, etc. You need that Romantic Gene to really enjoy Rome.
But, if you have that gene - Ahhhhhhhh, Roma! It gets inside of you and never lets go. There's just so many layers to its history - great architecture covering over 2,000 years, the art, I'm rambling...! But, it's the same thing for Paris, too. Just a slightly different gene. It's a very important/historical/interesting city, too, but it's a very different place. Much more 'manicured', I'd say. LOL Some people might call it 'civilized' in the very best way.
My suggestion (if genetic testing is out of the question!) is to watch videos of the two cities (like Rick Steves?!?), and read as much as possible about the 'attractions'. But please don't make either city just about the 'attractions'; that's what makes some visitors come back and say 'I hated Paris - it was so stuffy and rude!' or 'I hated Rome - it was so loud and dirty!'
Do BOTH, if at all possible! But, if push comes to shove, I'd have to go with Rome; you've already seen Paris, so go check out Rome.
I like Rome very much, and would be very happy to return. But, for me, nothing comes close to Paris. I love Paris and every place else pales in comparison.
I love Paris best. But you have to see Rome sometime, whether it's now or later. Rome feels much more chaotic so make sure you're in the mood for that.
Rome has fantastic sights, food, and art to be sure, but to my mind it is not nearly as beautiful a city as Paris is. For one thing, the Tiber river is very shallow, at least it was in Sept. -- not a wonderful place to stroll, with colorful boat activity like the Seine, with picturesque bridges to walk across. (0ne of my favorite things) And I agree with Christy above -- it has a chaotic feel. Much more to say about Paris in relation to Rome. I would definitly go to Rome at some point, because it should be seen -- but once you have seen the major sights -- I don't think you will have the stong feeling to return that you (and I) get from Paris.
Rome is a "must see" place. I haven't been there in 30 years, but I still remember it. Should probably visit again soon.
The one drawback about Rome, in my opinion, is that the number of tourists visiting the place seems to have increased exponentially in the past few years. At the time I visited, there was no big problem getting in to popular place such as the Vatican museums. But now, I understand you can wait in line for hours, especially in the summer.
If you don't mind the rain and can visit Rome in the winter, that's a better time in terms of not having to deal with so many tourists. Same with Florence.
Both are great cities. Since you have never been to Rome, my vote is for Rome. With good planning, I found it not to be as chaotic as others told me that it would be. Of course, you could do both (especially with the relatively low cost of travel between cities in Europe). I love both cities and will visit both next summer.
Thanks for all your help.
Mary, you made some very good points, and no testing was needed.
Jo, history, art and relaxing in cafes or strolling in parks is my idea of a vacation. (Rome is a must for me, but Paris was beautiful!)
We would go in April (Easter week). Paris Easter week was not bad, but what about Rome? Would one week be enough for the two cities?
I am going to Paris in September so I cannot speak on that, but I have been to Rome and spent 7 days there and had something to do every day.
I loved Rome and want badly to go back. I don't think I would split a week between the 2 cities. I am not sure you would do either justice.
If it's Easter week, I would choose Paris. I visited Rome during the first week November, several years ago. The feast days of All Saints Day and All Souls Day are the 1st and 2nd of November. It was so crowded I wanted to shoot myself. I loved Rome, but if all Catholic feast days have that kind of impact on the city, I would wait until another time to visit Rome.
Plus, I prefer Paris, anyway!
The cities in Europe that I return to most (3-7 return visits -- and counting) are listed in order of my overall favorite first:
Florence, Venice, Rome, Barcelona, London, and Paris.
Each is a favorite for different reasons and each has "culture & foodie" appeal. Each has a "MUST-go-back-to" place(s) that puts a sparkle in my eye and makes me smile just to think about it! I always find something new to see and do and always leave with something else on my list not yet covered...
Here's my 2 cents: although I would go back to Rome in a flash, I would put Rome dead last for an Easter week trip (too crazy busy). Weather in April can be very variable, so don't make a decision based on that -- I was in Paris in mid-April once and I froze... I was in London in February and it was sunny and balmy... I was in Venice one April and I wore the same light jacket that I wore there in October another year.
In addition, for one week only, I would prefer one city. Having said that though, there are two combos that work easily: Barcelona + Madrid, Paris + London (super easy if you fly into one, out the other & Eurostar/train in between.)
My pick for an Easter week trip would be Venice. Not so busy yet, nor crazy for Easter (although you may stumble across a neighborhood procession), and lots to see and do. Plus, who would want to go to Rome and wouldn't also want to go to Venice as well?? and in this case, instead, for a very good reason!
Even though the original question was a choice between Rome and Paris, I think I agree with Dianne above -- I would pick Venice over Rome as the Italian choice. I love it almost as much as Paris, and just thinking about it gives me the same glow as I get thinking about Paris (where I have been 8 times -- yes for me nothing is better than Paris) -- but Venice is very, very close.
I agree with James about the fountains, but I disagree about everything else :) It's all subjective...everyone's different.
Both cities are wonderful but offer very different experiences. Roma is full of old world wonder and appeal. It offers a different sort of romanticism than Paris. Paris is more a strolling through the park type of ambiance. Roma has lots of sites that are beautiful in the day and night (trevi fountain, spanish steps, the forum, the colleseum etc). The thing about Roma is that it gets to me after a few days; there are lots of street vendors pushing their wears and vespas zooming all over. It gets too loud and noisy for me after a while. I have been to Roma twice, and Paris once, though I'm going back to Paris in September. You can't go wrong with either choice. I would recommend Roma though as you've already been to Paris.
I have always wanted to go to Italy but keep going back to Paris because I just can't get enough.
I'm the same as Ambrosia, almost, been to Italy twice -- and want to go back, I love it, but if I don't go to Paris at least once a year, I feel deprived.
I agree with Steve from Lansing - Rome can wear on you after a few days. (so can the other large cities, but Rome is more intense) That's when you take a daytrip out of the city, or just go to another part of the city and spend a day walking the gardens, picnicking in the park.
Rome at Easter = :-( Unless you really want to be there for the religious aspects and the crowds.
So, maybe split the week b/n Rome and another city? Or just spend the week in Florence/Siena/???.
Or Munich! ;-)
I went to Paris last summer and just got back from Rome. I loved Paris; it does give you that "have to return" feeling. I would return without hesitation. Rome is different in that it is much more earthy. It has a certain grit to it that Paris does not possess. I would visit Rome before going back to Paris, but either city is a wonderful choice.
If you are into culture, architecture, and art, you will find it in droves in Rome. I recommend a visit to the Galleria Borghese; the artwork and sculpture is beyond description. The public transportation system is phenomenal and very reasonable in cost- similar to Paris. The people are very nice; the food is delicious. The espresso and gelato will make your mouth water. Rome or Paris- you can't go wrong.
Angela,, what about the Rome public transport system did you find phenomenal... I mean, there are only two metro lines. I thought it was not half as good as the system in Paris.
Stacey(OP) ,, I think both cities are must dos,, but having done Rome now twice,, I am not hankering to go back the way I am with Paris,, which I have now done many many more times.....
Pat, many people find the BUS lines phenomenal; I'll assume (at some risk!) that is what Angela is referring to. Or, depending on where you're staying and going, maybe the metro works for you...
The bus system gets rave reviews - when the buses actually show up LOL!
Short answer: go to Rome.
My wife and I have been to Paris together four times .. three times in Rome. Most recently Rome in 2007 and Paris just this past May. When we left Paris this year, I thought "we have to get back." That's a pretty normal reaction in my experience, to visiting someplace magical. Especially if the weather was good when your were there (which it was, for the first time when we visited in May). Be strong and venture out to someplace new! I would love to just head back to Paris but we are thinking about Prague and eastern Europe next.
Rome is one of the great cities of Europe, along with Paris, Madrid and London, for both art and history. You must, must go there eventually if you like to travel -- why not next?
The Coliseum, Palatine Hill, Vatican Museums, Bourghese Gallery, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, Pantheon -- in many ways it exceeds Paris. Napoleon knocked down the whole city of Paris in the early 19th Century but in Rome there is plenty still standing from the year zero.
From your post, I can tell you have the travel bug like most of use here.. assume you will return, as Rick says.
Paris is a beautiful city and well worth a visit, but my trip in 2002 left me feeling satisfied. On the other hand I have been to Rome three times (I've been to Italy four times) and I still long to return to Rome again. If you have already been to Paris then I urge you to go to Rome.
Here's my take on this. I personally feel that Rome is the greatest city on earth. Paris is awesome, but in a different way. If you have strong interests in History, Roman Culture, or the origins of moderna civilization, then Rome is definitely the way to go. Paris has the art (Rome's not too shabby here, either. i.e. Vatican Museum, Borghese, etc.), the bigger city feel, the French civilty, but is different. I absolutely love both cities, but if you've already been to Paris, then I can't imagine going back to it until you've experienced Rome. Both are great, but Rome has a special place in my heart. Keep in mind that my wife and I constantly bicker on where we may pick up a villa someday (sort of a dream). She's the Tuscan vote while I'm the Provence. With that being said, I'd do Roma on the next trip.