Posted on March 17, 2013 by Fraser Doherty

Taken from the top of the Montparnasse Tower.

Over the years, I have visited Paris about a dozen times and, although I always like going there and of course find it a beautiful city, I usually come away with a feeling that I have missed something - that somewhere in there is a Paris that is cool, fashionable and arty - artist squats and anarchist bookshops - or at least something more than just a good view of the Eiffel tower.  I expect that there is a cool side to the city and that I just haven't been in the know enough to find it - I guess if you can speak French and have some local friends you'll have better luck than me.  

I am not sure why it is so hard to find the good stuff; I feel like it only usually takes a couple of trips to most other big cities to start to discover your own little gems that are off the beaten track.  Maybe the French keep the good stuff to themselves, or perhaps Paris is just the most over-rated city in the world; a place for Russian tourists to spend a hundred euros on a steak and call it romance, who knows.

Also goes without saying that France is among the worst countries to visit if you are vegetarian (surpassed, in my experience, only by Spain and Japan).


This year, I have visited a few of the sights in the city that I enjoyed.  None of them are off the beaten track, in fact they're all right in the middle of it, but I guess they are there for a reason.

Of course, you have to walk along the Champs Elysees, go to Le Louvre, Arc Du Triomphe and all that stuff.  Last weekend we visited the Pompidou Centre, which was really massive and could easily have filled a whole day.  


We also went to see a harrowing but fantastic photo exhibition at Le Bal about prostitution and the underworld called 'Anticorps' by Antoine d'Agata and the checked out Le Fausse Boutique, a funny little 'surrealist concept store' selling all kinds of weird and wonderful creations by local designers.

Katie Price's desired wedding location.  Disney declined.

I think i've been to Disneyland Paris about six times now, so know most of the rides pretty well!  My favourites are Space Mountain: Misson 2 and the Hollywood Hotel Tower of Terror.  The only things that let Disney down for me are the food (very poor and wildly overpriced!) and the 1.5hr long queues for most of the good rides.

Despite maybe not sounding that enamoured by Paris, I still feel like I want to explore it more, hopefully next time with a local who can point me in the direction of the city's soul.

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