With a three-day travel card in the pocket and motivated by the desire to see a lot of the city, we managed to cross its arrondissements many times during our three-day staying. From the 1st arrondissement to the 16th – with some exceptions – we saw them all and although our eyes were happy to see the beauty of Paris, our feet were definitely not happy at all at the end of the day.
We walked more than we had imagined and the distances in Paris are anything but short. But this was the only way to avoid what I`d call the worst part of Paris: its underground or metropolitain. Basically, whenever I used it, something went wrong, from my bag getting trapped in the turnstile, my ticket not working though still valid, the machine itself not working, the same direction being pointed to in two opposite directions (say, left arrow to exit X and right arrow to exit X!) to me being bumped into and my feet stepped over by people who didn`t seem to notice or care.
I was amused at the beginning and I still am about some of the technical aspects, but the human behaviour in the Parisian metro is something that left me with some bad memories and I think it simply ruins the Parisian experience overall. And this might be true, as I didn`t see one happy face in the metro.
However, the walks above the ground were very pleasant and I`ve had a different experience from one area to another, as it is expected from a big city like Paris. I enjoyed the central arrondissements as much as the not so central ones.
I liked walking on beautiful Saint-Germain-des-Prés boulevard or the streets of Marais, but I actually started to feel the city the moment we stepped into areas like Bastille, Republique and Oberkampf – where the people of Paris seem more interested in having fun and being their own person rather than showing off. The overall vibe is incredible and when you think it can`t get any better, you find yourself in the middle of a market street such as Montorgueil or Roquette – where people are oscillating between rushing to buy a baguette, some eclairs or some vegetables and taking a sit at one of the many cafes along the street and have a coffee while enjoying the sun and the incredible energy of the area.
My favourite arrondissement of Paris remains the 7th – for the quietness of its streets, the beauty of its buildings and quality of its shops and galleries, but I have added a new one in the meantime: the 11th – for the incredibly good vibe coming from the people hanging around, the nice cafes and restaurants with friendly and helpful staff, good food and good prices – in other words, the opposite of what you get in the centre. At the end of the three days we actually realized that the worst coffee we`ve had and the worst service as well were at famous “Cafe de Flore” in Saint-Germain.:)
I`ll be back with photos of the Paris I liked the most and many more!