- Paris and France from a Parisian eye/2023-09-21/0 Comments
France, especially the Parisian lifestyle has inspired many cultural fields, including cinema, fashion, cosmetics, architecture, nutrition, etc. Known by multiple nicknames such as the city of love or the city of light, Paris and the Île-de-France region is one of the most visited places in the world, with millions of visitors landing in the city per year. What makes Paris the centre of attention? Besides being the French capital it’s also the capital of fashion, luxury, culture and gastronomy. But do you know Paris and France? Then, let me introduce you to our lovely country and city from an honest Parisian eye.
Paris, the city of Love?
You can’t talk about Paris without talking about its attractive urban design. Thanks to its sumptuous architecture, impressive monuments and romantic parks, the city of love is the embodiment of sophistication and glamour. Many tourists travel to Paris or Versailles only to propose to their partner with a nice bottle of champagne.
Paris retains an appeal based on its architectural and cultural heritage, but surprisingly it has not always looked as attractive as it looks today. We have to thank Baron Haussmann, who began a complete transformation of Paris from 1853 to 1870 under Napoleon III, hence the name Haussmann apartments, which you can recognise by their six floors offering the best views of Paris and front walls made in dressed stone, with mouldings and cornices. The idea was to modernise the medieval streets of Paris and recreate the capital by making it more elegant, airy and bright and therefore facilitating circulation. Thanks to that ingenious project, Paris is now widely seen as the very epitome of elegance, finesse and luxury.
If the Haussmann apartments have an attractive charm, the interiors are marvellous. Parisian chic decors have always influenced international trends and furniture businesses. Refinement and authenticity are prised concepts in France. La Luxurious Parisian Maison is characterised by its refined detailing and exquisite materials. Marble coffee tables, chandeliers, long windows, French mirrors, every piece ooze classic, antique and luxurious styles inspired by antiquity and the Renaissance. When it comes to purchasing furniture and accessories, Paris has a large number of independent and second-hand stores called “brocantes”, antique shops and furniture markets that offer unique pieces of furniture and accessories.
How is it to live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world?
What does Parisian life look like? A dream life or hell? How is it to be Parisian in France? One of the biggest paradoxes is that Parisians love hating Paris and despite the smell of the metro and the stress of urban life, we would never change our incredible city. Faraway from the image of riding a bicycle with a baguette under the arm, a long cigarette and a beret on the head, living in Paris has a lot of pros and cons. Transport-wise, most people take the metro, the place on earth we dislike the most but couldn’t live without. With the 2024 JO coming soon, Paris is also extending its metro line “Le Grand Paris Express” to improve and unify the connection with the rest of the Ile-de France region which is also great to visit, especially Versailles. Paris is also perfect for cycling and you can easily go from one end of Paris to the opposite in a few hours and the best is you don’t even need a bike, a lot of electric bicycles such as the famous “Vélib” are available for everyone on the streets. Be careful with traffic though, Parisians are internationally known for their bad driving! From my personal experience, I would say that the best time to live in Paris is in your 20s when you are a student or later during your active life. Studying in Paris allows you to visit any museum for free, access to reduced-priced transport tickets, the best universities in France and great parties on barges and live events.
French cliché: truth or false?
As a French person, I can tell that the number one hobby in France is criticism. So here are a few critical cliches of Paris and Parisians from a French point of view.
French people see the capital as a city of fine and luxurious taste, but inequalities are blatant. Did you know that because of the direction of the wind which pushes the smoke from the factories towards the east, the north and the east are generally more disadvantaged and poorer areas?
Compared to other French towns, Paris is a very active city, but Parisians are seen as people who run after time in the metro. We are also very criticised for being moody and cold, which I can’t disagree with, but living in an international city allows Parisians to be very connected and open to the rest of the world and improve their language skills, especially English. Despite the cliché of French people not speaking any foreign languages, the new generations speak more languages and see a real benefit in helping tourists, which has not always been the case. Does any of this sound familiar?
The second French hobby is protesting: famous for our French Revolution and for being the country of freedoms and human rights “Le pays de la liberté et des droits de l’Homme”, protecting our and others’ rights and freedoms is very present in the French culture and is, therefore, our first duty. Expressing ourselves is the most precious freedom, and I would not recommend trying to get rid of this right in France.
What to do in Paris for a holiday?
One piece of advice I would give to anyone would be to take time to plan your holiday to avoid any frustration. It’s always busy, and you will quickly be spoiled by choice. Paris is great to visit all year round, moreover, during spring when the gardens and parks are in full bloom or during December when the city is adorned with Christmas decorations, but due to hot weather and Parisians being on holiday, I recommend avoiding August. With shopping centres, street art, museums, bars and cafés, live events, and gastronomic restaurants, Paris is a fantastic destination for anyone who loves visiting big cities.
Are you planning to have a romantic date? Paris at night is incredibly magical, for everyone. A romantic evening thing to do is walk from Notre Dame and follow La Seine to the Eiffel Tower. Don’t hesitate to cross bridges and admire the silent streets of Paris. On the way, I recommend stopping at the Louvres, which you can also visit in the evening, Le Champ De Mars, and the Palais de Tokyo, which offers a beautiful view on the Eiffel tour, and if you are lucky, you may also see fire dancers performing.
Are you travelling to the city of the lights during Christmas? A unique experience is waiting for you. Whether you are going to Paris with your family, friends or partner, you must have a look at the “Gallery Lafayette” during the Christmas holiday. Let yourself be rocked by the magic of Parisian Christmas: mulled chestnuts, mulled wine, foie gras, champagne and Christmas songs, in addition, all store windows are decorated and animated.
Finally, no words will do justice to describe Paris, so I’ll leave you to discover our amazing city yourselves and hope you will have a fantastic experience.