Took the family to Paris earlier in the week and didn’t enjoy it is much as I expected to. The family seemed to though and it was good to show the kids around the sights but Paris is not the city I remember from previous visits.
We booked through Eurostar for a two night break. Being a family of four we needed two hotel rooms and those along with the train cost over £1,000. Eurostar travel was fine from Ebbsfleet although the Gare du Nord was really busy on the return.
We stayed in the the Hotel Corona Opera in the Cite Bergere street/alley and it was a typical Paris hotel I guess. Dim and pokey and with a tiny lift. Our two rooms were 3 floors apart but that was okay. It was the hotel location that put us all off really – effectively off an alley accessed through archways where tramps sheltered from the rain.
We visited the Eiffel Tower a couple of times, did an hours boat cruise on The Seine, visited the Musee D L’Orangerie to see Monet’s waterlillies (fantastic), visited the Sacre Coeur and the Pompidou Centre and lastly visited the Dali Museum so we did our fair share of sight seeing which the kids enjoyed.
I don’t know if it is because I am older, or maybe that I had children with me, or even maybe the feeling resulted from the general arrangement of buildings and streets in Paris but I just felt the place was rather menacing. Vandalism and graffiti seemed far worse than in London and there were a lot of people begging and living rough on the streets. Begging on the street and in the Metro tunnels appeared to be uncontrolled and prevalent.
I guess also that I have become used to our UK shops and the simplicity of life for moderately well off people in the UK. I was surprised by the lack of supermarkets or mini-marts to buy basic provisions and that restaurants where not particularly appealing places to want to eat.
My view of the place was probably soured as I didn’t get the opportunity to go for a run along the river for various reasons and as I spent the last day limping in pain from my right leg with the associated disappointment of that meaning that I wouldn’t get to do the Southend Half Marathon at the weekend.
I think maybe if we visit Paris again we’ll do differently although I don’t know what that would be. Having seen the sights a few times now I don’t actually feel all that inclined to return. This is a shame as for some reason I actually quite like the French and their attitude to life.
Maybe it is just the way I saw things and that I am getting older and soft. Perhaps I am being unfair on the city of romance. For me though it was not the city I remember.