Paris Is Nothing Like What Hollywood Says It Is

image - Flickr / Florian Lacombe
image – Flickr / Florian Lacombe

The City of Lights The Holy Grail of all things fashion. The “Most Romantic Destination” on Mother Earth. And I start off my four days in Paris by stepping in dog shit.

This should have been a sign of the following days and the level of which I would enjoy Paris, but I was too busy staring into the sky in search for the Eiffel Tower to even consider this.

After a month spent in busy cities, visiting every tourist attraction, by the time I arrived in Paris all I really wanted to do was fall into a deep slumber. However, my desire to experience everything I had seen in Parisian based movies fuelled my energy back up to three quarters full. Who knew, maybe if I walked the cobbled streets at exactly midnight, I too would be transported back to 1920s Paris just like Owen Wilson.

Upon meeting the women I was to share a house with for the next few days, my Hollywood vision of Paris had begun to slip away. She started the introductions saying she will not eat any food unless it is delicious, which often results in her not eating for days. She then organised the renovation of her bathroom, which meant no sleep-ins, timed 6am showers and constant drilling. Another perk of living with my new roommate was the way she not-so-subtly swapped every knife, plate or mug I attempted to place my food on for a chipped, stained or rusted replica.

In an attempt to escape what had to be one of the worst bed and breakfast hosts, I visited the Eiffel Tower. Although, it is widely overpriced, there’s a 99.9% chance you will be pickpocketed and it’s populated with millions of “I <3 Paris" t-shirt wearing tourists. The Eiffel Tower is a place where you can (for exactly one minute before you’re knocked over by a family of six), appreciate the romanticism of Paris. You can look down and just make out the ant-sized version of the man who 20 minutes ago tried to steal your wallet and sell you a crappy Eiffel Tower key ring, the overly populated cafes where you pay 22 Euro for a child-sized proportion of a salad, and best of all, dogs aren’t allowed up this high so there’s no need to strategically place your feet to walk around.

I came to Paris ready to meet the next Yves Saint Laurent, fall in love with the culture and the people, and hope the effortless elegance of Parisian women would rub off on me if I stood close enough to them on the Metro. Although my Hollywood dreams of Paris crumbled quicker than a squashed macaroon, I did get to drink some mighty fine cheap wine! And who am I to tell you about the wonders of Paris? I’m just another gullible tourist who stepped in dog shit. TC mark

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