Maybe I’d been watching too many chick flicks or maybe I had been living in an parallel utopian world altogether, but Paris is definitely not how I had visualised it to be. It was dirty, to the extent of being filthy sometimes, literally and metaphorically. All I know is that what I saw in my stay only managed to break my heart.
I had finally saved up and decided to go to Paris with my girlfriend in the beginning of May. I was so bloody excited about the city that out of our three-week long Eurotrip, I had planned to stay in Paris for an entire week. As fate would have it, both of us would have had enough of it sooner than that and we decided to leave on the fourth day itself. Although it was supposed to be a romantic trip, it was anything but that. It was so bad that by the end of the second day, we had discreetly realised that it was going to be nothing but a disappointment, but we were just too dismayed to mention it to each other. We finally discussed it on the third day, and by the fourth morning we were off.
I’ll briefly try to list down my woes in the “most romantic city of the world”.
Pardon me if I sound condescending about my own nation, but a few cobbled alleys later I could make a successful analogy between Paris and some villages in Delhi/NCR. That’s because there was poop at a lot of places. The only probable difference was that of the animal which must have caused it. Paris is dirty and even urban roadsides are full of dog poop. The entire city is generally unhygienic. There are OPEN urinals at metro stations that stink worse than a crowded horse stable. I’d never seen litter on the roads when I saw Paris in the movies, but there was plenty of it everywhere, my friends.
Lust, not love
Although I personally have no issues with it and nor do I wear the moral police’s badge on my chest with élan, but I personally did not come across “love” on the streets of Paris, it was always extreme PDA instead. There were couples (straight and gay) all over each other, everywhere in the city. Dark lanes were sure shot to scandalise, and the best part was the crowded metros where couples making out would physically contact others while in the act.
Crowded as hell
Extending the point started above, Paris is REALLY crowded. I know it shouldn't concern an Indian at all, but dude the standards were still quite high and that’s why I mention this exclusively. Apart from the obvious tourist population from across the globe, the indigenous French people also densely inhabit the city. After a point, we really could not distinguish whether it was really the Main Paris Square or Manali’s Mall Road.
Still rude af
I mean it was so hilarious at times because my girlfriend and I would place bets before entering every cafe or restaurant; and the bet would be whether the person at the counter would smile on seeing us or not. Although I won every time, but Paris was always on the losing side since nobody greeted us properly wherever we went. Also on instances when we would ask someone for directions, we would end up feeling as if we had committed a cardinal sin because either we would be responded with a scorn or an outright refusal.
Food fit for hospitals
We Indians are simple people. We forgive everything if the food is nice. Don’t you remember the wedding of that distant cousin in Karnal where it rained like hell and spoiled the party? But if the Dal Makhni was delicious there, that wedding would only mean good memories for you. Such was sadly not the case in the French capital. Food was insipid everywhere, and there were very few vegetarian options (sometimes, none at all). The coffee was good though. Another very peculiar thing was the erratic opening hours of the cafes. Like c’mon, how can you put up a signboard saying “Closed for lunch” at a cafe? It defeats the fundamental purpose of an eatery! This irony extended to many a shop and entire markets as well.
Inhabitable only for Ambanis
Although it can be a personal thing because I’m poor, but it is very VERY expensive. And because obviously I do not go by a surname that starts with an “Am” and ends with “Bani,” I was very wary of even stepping inside a roadside cafe for a light meal.
I would be fine with the fact that you do not know how to speak English, but I’d be extremely pissed if you just pretend to ignore me if I do not speak to you in your mother tongue. I know you’re rude, but you can see that I’m absolutely helpless. And for the sake of humanity at least, either help me or politely refuse because you’re unfamiliar with English, but do NOT make fun of me just because I don’t know French. Yes, it’s directed to all you high-collared Parisians. This was probably my biggest turn-off in the capital.
With my stupid bubble burst and my mandatory Eiffel picture clicked, I discourage all of you to go to Paris thinking it’ll be great for your honeymoon or love life. Trust me, my girlfriend has not been picking up my calls ever since.