I Hated Paris – But I’m Going Back
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I Hated Paris – But I’m Going Back

I Hated Paris – But I’m Going Back

As a small child, I often dreamed of Paris. The Eiffel Tower, croissants and macarons, and lovers joining their locks to bridges, it seemed to be a place of delicious food and love. What’s not to like about that?

At one point in time (now long gone) I had hoped my future husband might just propose to me on top of the Eiffel Tower. In case you’re wondering,  I am very original.

I first visited Paris almost four years ago, in the second half of 2010. I should have liked it, after all it is a beautiful city.

From the beginning it was obvious Paris and I were not to be friends.

The trains were on strike, making getting around challenging.

I don’t speak French, and despite saying Bonjour enthusiastically and accidentally massacring some French words in my best attempt, I was not well received.

In fact, the store keeper of a deli refused to serve me because I couldn’t ask for a weight in French and ushered me out of the shop.

I had some more staff at a French equivalent of Subway refuse to serve me because I didn’t speak French.

Basically, the locals hated me. 

There was also the fact that everywhere seemed to smell like urine.

Now I’m not sure what constitutes romance for you, but for me romance tends to be a urine-free affair.

Walking beautiful streets of Paris that were full of history and urine was an interesting experience and frankly not what I was expecting.

I started to wonder if I was the only person in the world who wasn’t happy that Paris smells like pee?

Despite this terrible time I had in Paris, we’re going back. In fact it is the first stop on our itinerary in Europe.

Why Am I Going Back to a City I hated So much?

Truth be told, Paris is probably in my top four most hated places in the world. The other notable mentions are Laos (although I liked Luang Prabang), Kuta in Bali, Sofia in Bulgaria and Paris in France.

The real reason I’m going back to Paris is: It was the cheapest place to fly into.

The truth is, I don’t want to hate Paris. I want to ride around on bicycles in Paris, buying giant baguettes and croissants and overdosing on good cheese and wine. I want to visit the Louvre and go shopping on Champs-Élysées. I want to have breakfast in Laudreé and people watch.

I want to like Paris.

That’s where I need your help.

Have you been to Paris before? If so, please suggest some must see places and things to do in Paris, so hopefully I can fall in love with it like so many others before me.


  • Fabian Hambüchen says:

    Just wander around the city naked. Then the Parisians heart will open up and you will even get your baguette for free.

  • Well, i can tell you that having just been in Paris 2 months ago, the urine smell is alive and well there! Unfortunately, I’m not going to be much assistance helping you love the place since, apart from Lisbon, Paris was probably my least favorite stop during our 5-week jaunt through Europe. Didn’t have trouble with rude locals (but I do speak French), but we got pickpocketed on the Metro and, to be perfectly honest, just found the city pretty boring. I do like France and would like to explore and see more of it, but I don’t think I’ll be returning to Paris any time soon!

    • Izy Berry says:

      Interesting… I loved Lisbon but didn’t fancy Paris. Lisbon is so fun. Did you go to Sintra when you were in Lisbon? Lovely little place. How did you get pickpocketed? E.g. from bag, pocket/wallet etc? I am quite aware that Europe is ironically probably the most ‘dangerous’ place we’re going.

  • Crystal says:

    Did you go to Rue Cler? The market is so sweet and with no car traffic, it makes a world of difference. Sometimes I think it’s best to just sit in the grass near the Tower and watch. To me, it was watching the people in love that made it so romantic, not the museums or architecture. There’s something about the way the women are effortless and full of self worth…and how the men salivate over it. I’m glad you’re trying again. Notice the love, not the urine. LOL

    Also, how do you afford travel if you don’t mind me asking?

    • Izy Berry says:

      Hi Crystal, thank you so much for your comments. No I didn’t go to Rue Cler, I’ll certainly add it to my list of things to do.

      I will try to focus on the love and not the urine – great tip.

      I’m not sure if it’s your first time to my blog, but I haven’t actually been traveling for the past 1.5 years. I’ve been at home, working, saving and getting set up so I can travel indefinitely. My partner and I both work online, so we can afford to work anywhere. Living at home can be really expensive, things such as rent, petrol, car insurance, power and internet bills etc really add up. So we’re moving out of apartment, selling or giving our stuff away and leaving indefinitely. We’re spending 2 months in Asia as it’s a lot cheaper than Europe then probably 4-6 weeks in Europe before making our way to Panama where we’ll see up a base :)

      Let me know if you have any specific questions and thank you for your comment :)

  • Tom Bourlet says:

    My experiences in Paris were sadly similar, nobody would serve me or answer me, despite my best attempts at broken French. I love helping tourists out when they visit England, so I was a bit sad to see people so rejecting to travellers. Then again, I reckon it would be a lot better if you know a local, so going to give it another go next year

    • Izy Berry says:

      Maybe I need to learn some French haha… I think it would be better with a local friend, unfortunately I don’t know any French who live in Paris.

  • NZ Muse says:

    Funny, had the exact opposite experience! A lot of people talk about the urine smell but we didn’t experience any bad smells at all. (Spent time in both touristy and non touristy places) We had a great Airbnb experience with a lovely gay couple and spent a whole week in Paris. Amazing bakeries and quite possibly my fave subway/metro system in the world.

    • Izy Berry says:

      How did you avoid the pee smell?! I’m so impressed.

      I found the metro there old and dingy… haha I am really hoping to have my mind changed this time :)

  • Gonzalo says:

    Hey there, I went to París last november and the pee smell Is definitely the landmark of París Metro, outside Louvre, River Sienne and so on, I do speack french but the rudeness was everywhere, I did found very helpfull parisians, but only if you greet them properly in french! I was in London and Amsterdam as well and the manners, order and sympathy are no match! I hated París, not everything, but it was so not romantic!