Everyone’s experiences are different. I’m sure there are people who have travelled to Iraq and said, “I had a good time.” However, If you’ve ever found yourself getting yelled at for no significant reason, chances are, you were in Paris.
As a naive young adult, I wanted to reconnect with my French heritage. I pictured that I’d be sitting outside with a borrowed poodle in my lap, joyfully eating a crepe and drinking a glass of chardonnay. I didn’t know that Parisians had a bad reputation for being snobby and unwelcoming to tourists, making New Yorkers seem like your beloved grandmother. Lately, I’ve been learning that I’m not alone. I’ve been hearing more and more stories about people’s horror trips to this once charming place. I spoke with an engaged friend the other day who said, “I was going to go to Paris for my honeymoon but so many people told me not to, so I opted for Hawaii.” Like a good friend, I also tried to steer her in the right direction but I wondered, should anyone ever really go to this disappointing city? Why go when you can experience similar wines, cathedrals, and interactions in Spain or Italy while truly bonding with another nationality?
I will try to put my bitterness aside for a moment and discuss.
The Eiffel Tower – Like most things in Europe, this is smaller than you would expect. While it didn’t live up to the hype for me, it did shimmer beautifully at night.
Notre Dame – this cathedral is stunning. I can certainly appreciate the love and work that made it magnificent, but I do believe other European countries have their comparable versions.
The Louvre – If you love art, you could spend days in here. Let’s be honest, art isn’t a fun thing for everyone. You might be more excited about the pyramid mentioned in The Davinci Code. If that’s the case, you’ll take a picture of the outside and get to say, “I saw the Venus Demilo and Mona Lisa.” While that’s something to be proud of, did seeing it truly move you? Because really, that’s what traveling is all about.
The Catacombs of Paris – I know a few people who have said the Catacombs were the highlight of their trip. This underground 18th century crypt features walls made from human bones. It certainly has its long history but moreover, it’s mesmerizing, eye widening, and sure to give you goose bumps.
The Arche de Triumph – This is definitely a pretty arch with some fine details. It’s worth a picture but honestly doesn’t take my breath away.
La Sainte-Chapelle – Even though the gothic chapel typically doesn’t make the top of people’s lists, I found its beauty exhilarating. There’s something about the enormous 13th century stained-glass windows that were awe-inspiring, keeping me in a peaceful trance. Through my travels I’ve never seen anything similar, making it the one place in Paris that’s truly stayed with me all these years.
After these fantastic sites, what else can you expect to get from Paris? Our waiters were rude, forcing us to pick up bread and cheese at local markets. I somehow ended up getting yelled at and hosed down in a cafe. The Parisians almost expect you to know French, often rolling their eyes at Americans. It’s hard to have a real connection with these people unless you’re with a local or someone can speak fluent French. Yes, Paris has great fashion but do you want to explore it while getting yelled at for messing up their folding arrangement?
Luckily after a few days, I soon realized there’s one place were the French are happy to see you. A place where there’s truly no eye rolling, judgments, quick responses, or hoses of any kind. Strip clubs – some truly beautiful strip clubs, I might add.
I’ve been to some famous strip clubs from Prague to Montreal and Las Vegas. Believe me when I say, Paris had the classiest naked girls around. Not only do they often wear gorgeous gowns fit for Marie Antoinette, but they know how to work a pole or stage while being artistic with their performance. Similar to Crazy Horse in Vegas, their cabarets are tasteful, respectfully showing off their goddess physiques. Even if you are a woman, I’m sure you’d be able to appreciate the scandalous entertainment just the same. Because let’s face it ladies, we’re not going to Paris for the feminine guys.
Here are my suggestions:
Paradis Latin – this is known for being the most authentic Caberet. It’s charming, entertaining and on the cheaper side. The many attempted jokes aren’t funny but who’s coming here for French stand up?
Moulin Rouge – Small yet stunning. The outer facade is iconic in itself and worth taking a visit
Le Crazy Horse – If you’ve ever found yourself wishing the Rocketts would get naked, your dream has come true. With so many girls with similar body types, their “nipples even at the same height,” your eyes are sure to be aesthetically pleased. Synchronized boobs aside, it’s obvious the creator of this show truly sees the female body as art, and is exceptional at showing it off respectfully.
Stringfellows – By far the prettiest strip club I’ve been to. This place is rich with deep red furniture and a chandelier above the center pole, making it feel luxuriously regal. I’m sure most men don’t pick a topless bar based on the furniture in it, but it was much appreciated. The girls here exchange their feathers for gorgeous gowns, so beautiful I almost wished they stayed on.
If Paris was a non-hyped city I happened to stumble on, I’m sure I’d have a different opinion. Paris has some beautiful attractions but I couldn’t tell a friend with any confidence to spend their hard earned money and PTO on a place that has disappointed so many others. When I think about my vacation, my memories unfortunately don’t involve the Mona Lisa or a shimmering tower. I think about how it wreaked of piss and irritable people, the occasional pretty gown on the floor, and la Sainte-Chapelle
So should you go to Paris? The optimist in me still says sure, why not? Don’t put Paris in your Top 20; don’t go for your honeymoon but think of it as the city equivalent of Dick’s Last Resort – the restaurant where people are purposively douche bags. Go experience it while taking in some cultured strippers because at the end if it all, you’ll surely have an amazing story to tell.