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Paris, France

Here we are!

We spent 4 days in Paris, the capital city of France, the “Ville Lumière”.

Paris, as everyone knows, is the most romantic city in the world… it is lie!

Some say that Paris is the most beautiful city in the world… they lie!

Paris is a city, a big city, an European capital of course, with his history and architecture… and for these reasons it is like any other big European city!

We were thrilled to go there. Both of us has never been there before. Because of the high expectations, we got great disappointment.

Paris is … strange.

It is a beautiful city, it is an European city. His architecture is amazing at first, then it is all the same all over the main touristic districts.

We landed in the early afternoon, flight EasyJet from MXP to CDG, then we dropped the luggage at the hotel, and started exploring.

The Hotel was amazing! Hotel Odyssey is located in District 1, and it is two steps from Palais Royale and Louvre. It is a design hotel with a spaceship inspiration and comfortable rooms. People sometimes complain about the size of the rooms, but in our opinion that was more than enough. Well organised and with a lot of technology available, the rooms are comfortable, and the bathroom is fitted with a rain-shower that was hard to leave. Clean, polite staff, breakfast can be included or paid on the fly, we had it included and the buffet gives us a lot of choices, it was the same everyday but it was a lot! I reviewed it on Google and TripAdvisor!

After the hotel formalities, and got free from the bags, we ran outside and started exploring. Spring is nice and warm, days are getting longer, we could not miss a walk around. We discovered Palais Royale that was two streets on the right, we entered and it was cool. Modern art fountains, column put in artistic way, and a park. We could do a lot of videos to kick start the adventure. We were not tired at all, we walked down to Rue Rivoli where we found the Louvre. We just walked on his side and reached the river Senna. We looked around, took videos, and walked. We went down to the riverside passing under all the bridges. We reached Bridge Alexander III and there you can start see the Tour Eiffel is a nice way. However, you cannot see it as clearly as it appears in the movie “Me Before You”, that we now think it was a green-screen/studio scene.

We did not walk to the Tower, and we headed back to find some food. Nightmare. Eating in Paris is a pure nightmare! We were hungry, we did have some little breakfast before taking the plane and that was all… it was then 18.00 and we were without food or drinks. We were getting tired. We walked back to the hotel area and we looked around, to find only Happy Hour places with no proper food, and few empty restaurants with prices that made us walk away fast. The huger was taking over, and the dark sky too… we found Loup (check out my Google Review), that was kind of ok looking. The design of the place was good, some people were eating dinner already, so we thought it was ok. They were locals and not tourist, so we thought it was honest. We were in District 1, though. We took a table, the service was friendly and my French was warming up, so we needed the help of the waiter to translate part of the menu. Menus are only and exclusively in French in most of places, they do not give a damn about tourists, the just want your money. This time though, the waiter helped us, and being a place famous for his roast, we took a roasted chicken with potatoes, and a cordonbleau. The chicken was tasty only at the beginning, to loose all the taste quickly. My cordonbleau was nothing special, but the price was stellar. The potatoes, as my wife says, are hard to make bad, and they were good. We were hungry, we did not care about price, we were close to the hotel, and we were good. Paid and left, hotel called us quickly. Slept like rocks, we started the next day early.

Second day was all about Tour Eiffel. We walked all the way there passing through parks and Place de la Concorde. Took videos, photos, and walked. We realised that the architecture was all the same all the way. It was not really interesting anymore. We walked next to Grand Palais and Petite Palais, we entered some side roads, to find ourselves across the river from the Tour Eiffel. The crowd of people lining up to go inside, and the number of street-seller walking to you and insisting to make you buy something (we bought nothing) and other random people begging for a signature (we signed nothing) was too much…

All tourist cities are the same, in Milan and Rome is not very different. However here was like ants and keep coming. Crazy. We did not want to mix to those people
under the tower, nor gong up wasting money to feel like sardines in a can. We decided to hit Champs du Mars, that gives a nice view. Well… They were all fenced off because of rats… A working panel was telling us the works should have finished in December 2016… it was April, but maybe winter was not a good time to kill rats…

Anyway, we could not walk the grass and take central photos… we could not take photos without ugly fences either…

We did not give up, walked down almost to the Military College and took photos from there, that was a nicer view away from all the sellers… We hit the northern side of the river and looked for food… we were not very hungry, but a bistro with many locals and working locals inside was near by… we went there, speaking French we could skip the scam of bottled water (7 Euros saving), we got tap water that is the same. We got two salads and they were tasty. But they were salads. The price was crazy… plus as soon as we shown our tourist-status, the waiter told us that service was not included and he took 10 Euro off the receipt, that probably he put in his pocket quickly. Unlucky only a 10 note in my pocket and gave that… I wanted to give 5 Euro, but …ok. We left and felt stupid… Scam is everywhere. Be careful! I published a very honest and bad review on Google for this place on my name, check it out, Le Grand Corona Cafe! Another tourists’ trap!

At that point we walked back, all the Champs Elise, we saw the Arc de Triomphe, videos and photos, and walked all the way back to almost Opera. We headed down to the Hotel and explored some more the District 1. It was quite cool, the location of the hotel is really key.

Paris is very dirty, as any massive city in the world. The problem is “people”. But I bet Paris may be second after London as dirtiest city in the world (I have never been in London, so I say this reporting others opinion).

We looked for a place where to have dinner that was not killing our budget against yucky food. Google suggested us a burger place just across the road: Blend. We went there and it was delicious. Check out my Google Review about this place.

Day 3 was the best! My wife’s birthday! YAY!!

The third day we were excited about going to the Centre Pompidou. It was close to home, so we left it for last. First we crossed the Senna river on Pont Nuveau, and walked to Notre Dame. Reached quickly and decided to skip the queue and avoid the dark gothic interior. We walked around and entered the park on the side. After taking pictures and videos we crossed the river again in south direction. We walked some small roads and we found again on the river. Crossed it fully we hit the museum. We kept walking next to the Louvre, but we kept it for the last day.

Reached the museum, we found it closed… for strike. Two employees were telling everyone that no way to go in and no way to know if it would have opened the day after. Disappointed we walked to the Louvre where the queue attempt demolished us. We abandoned the queue and we walked north to Opera. The amazing building called for photos and video
s. Right behind there was the Lafayette shopping centre, so we jumped in. Only interesting thing between the hyper expensive brands and products was the stationery. However, we did not buy anything. We left and we head to our lunch that was again Blend burger, because it was delicious! The staff recognised us, and let us sit and served super friendly! After that at the hotel we checked online the reasons of that silly Pompidou’s strike. I found out that it was already a week and it would have continued. Too bad for them!

So we were a bit disappointed that Katya’s birthday was going like this. In addition, we were tired of eating little tasty chicken around expensive places. So we took two eagles with one stone: Hard Rock Cafe Paris!! I collect the HRC Pins, and this was missing, plus I was sure the food is as standard as everywhere in the world, with American size dishes, against the price that would have been high anyway. So we headed north. We reached the venue, but we stopped to a clothes shop just in front, where we could steal a 10 Euro bargain on a nice top! It was getting better the day, even if it was almost night. Crossed the road we are inside, the security asked us if we wanted a table, I confirmed after having bought the pin. That was it! Pin in the hand, and 8 Euros lighter, we took our table in a pretty busy HRC. The staff was friendly and our drinks and food came quite fast. Music is always good here, and ambience is typical of this chain. Food came and it was a lot! Fajitas! Vegetables and beef/chicken that we could eat in two days. We ate, we enjoyed and we sent back some food too… it was too much, but it was worth the price! Finally I did not feel scammed on food in Paris (Blend burger apart that is glorious)! Sky was dark, not too cold, in the spring night.

Day 4 was all about Louvre and shopping! We woke up early, so that we could go and queue at the Louvre. In less than 15 minutes we were inside, and we went to buy ticket for me (sad), while Katya entered free! Louvre is massive and if you really want spend all day there, you can! Great art, great museum. Not too many people yet! We have been smart! we visited all the rooms, zooming through the ones that were less interesting for us. We spent a nice time in the gallery of Italians to reach the Monna Lisa. It is smaller than you can think that portrait, it is a bit disappointing, although it is great art! After being mesmerised by that, and purchased souvenir book about the museum, we left that was 13.00 and we were hungry!

We looked for lunch and of course into troubles again… you cannot eat in Paris is you like good food in general!! YUCK!

We were still in  Louvre area, and that doesn’t help the wallet. We got lured by a waiter that was explaining the menu in English to another couple of tourist. We thought it was nice what was written there, prices apart. We went in for a table, the other couple too. We got the menu, we did not remember all the things he said before, ad the menu was only in French…of course. The items explained outside were not in that menu, my French is still sufficient to understand that. I noticed that also the female of the other couple, that they sit next to us, was annoyed and was not happy of the place. It was quite busy. Katya and I looked at each other, and I told her we can go if nothing good is in here. And after she nodded we left the table. The waiter immediately tried to hold us there telling us Omelette and other small dishes that were anyway not cheap for the quantity. We said thanks but no and we left with him definitely cursing us in French. We don’t care. We left, but we were hungry. Louvre area is a pain in the bum. Our hotel staff suggested us Rue Montmartre days before, so we went there. I heard two managers speaking Italian outside an Italian place, so I asked in Italian if they had a table and we got sit. It was Pasta and Pizza place mainly, and it was decent for decent price. Best thing: manu in English, clear correct English. WOW! So they sold, and we ate. It was ok, nothing too much, nothing too little. We did not feel scammed, and we were full.

Afternoon of our last day in Paris was all about shopping. We hit Les Halles Forum, that is still in construction around. We looked all the shops we wanted, we found a lot of nice things for a not crazy price. Then we hit LEGO store, where we got two small sets as souvenir! Dinner was already planned: KFC take away!

The closes was not too far from there, nor from the hotel. It was crazy! Crowded and people was keep coming. Our bucket was ordered in about 15 minutes and after that we had it before another 10 minutes passed by. We left the crowd, big bag in hand, and shopping bags too. Reached the hotel we switched on the TV for the second time and we had Harry Potter (in French) accompanying our KFC dinner. It was a big bucket!

The day after we had to leave in the morning to take our flight back to MXP. And our French adventure finished.

We do not feel like we have to go back to Paris, even if we did not visit everything. We found it very strange, with the impossibility of eating properly. The enthusiasm of the city worn out fast. Other European cities and capitals look exactly the same if not better than Paris. Paris architecture is cool, but repetitive and not much exciting after the second road you walk in. We had fun, but we feel that nothing was very special as you can imagine. The romantic side can be found in other cities easily too. We cannot find a reason to go back there, it is saw and done. We are sure there are much nicer cities to visit and to enjoy!

Our verdict is: Paris is overrated and overpriced.

It is a personal feeling and opinion, we are not going to argue with anyone.

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