I often hear and read about this beautiful city and some even have ambitions about spending their honeymoon there as it is the fabled glittering city of light, on “THE” hill.
It is the city where I spent the first 20 years of my life. So, I do know it better than those who write about it but have never been there.
So, I will now give you a glimpse of the Paris I know and still lives within me...
For instance, a romantic boat ride on the Seine is not as romantic as one may think. In fact, the Seine is heavily polluted, and in the summer months stinks. It is also the source for drinking water in Paris.
The renown Metro, a very efficient transport system for the inhabitants but, during the rush hours, when everybody is packed in like sardines, the air quality is very bad, making it hard to breathe and it is THE place to go to be groped, as it is the preferred home of perverts.
Well, I used to live in central Paris, on an Avenue, perhaps comparable with Hollywood Boulevard but without all the fancy shops. To a tourist, it sounds good! However, any woman who pauses for a moment would be extremely likely to be approached by some stranger and asked how much she charges for her services.
Living on a 6th floor “penthouse” in central Paris, with a view of Montmartre, can also sound very glamorous but, it must be remembered that the buildings in the city centre have been there since before the revolution, which of course means, that were built without lifts (or elevators), electricity and all modern conveniences.
Due to the constant stair climbing, I grew up to be very fit.
Paris, as other cities, has many parks and fountains. However, they are all ornamental to be looked at and admired. There is no walking or sitting on the grass, or even paddling in the fountains and this is rigorously policed.
Well, this is the Paris I have known and the reason why I couldn’t wait to leave. But, of course, most inhabitants believe their own myth and think it´s wonderful and it is the centre of the universe.
Overlaying the map of the city is an archipelago of tourist attractions, to name but a few:
First of all, the famous Eiffel Tower that, despite millions of tourists climbing all over it, is still standing and some even try their skills at skydiving from the top.
The Louvres is full of unique artwork, many of which were stolen from elsewhere by our great General Napoleon.
The Cathedral Notre Dame is a famous example of Medieval architecture.
Montmartre is the famous home of many artists and not far from where I lived. Still worth a visit, and you can have a portrait of yourself for a reasonable price - even in the nude if you so wish!
And, not to forget, the famous Arc de Triumph and the Champs Elysees, home of the President.
For those who still wish to visit Paris, the best time is August
, when the majority of the natives have left. Although the weather is very hot and sticky, it is quieter and easier to get around.
A quote that comes to mind:
“Tell me a story of who you are, and see who I am in the stories I live. And together we will remember that each of us always has a choice”.
Yes, I made that choice – I left in order to taste greener pastures.
Many will tell you that "you can take a girl out of the city, but cannot take the city out of the girl".
Well, it was not my case as I was never a city girl, but more of a "country girl" at heart.NEWS UPDATE:
Regarding the Premier tourist attraction "The Champs Elysées", it now has some "must see" new attraction.
There are now many burnt out buildings and kiosks, the tarmac bears the scars of burning tyres, and it is now patrolled by heavily armed soldiers and armed vehicles.
All worth seeing!