what is real life Paris like? Is it anything like the way it is depicted in movies, pictures or books?

I have never been there but would like to go some day but I’m tired of seeing the cliches views in movies, pictures, and books? what is it really like?

You have two Paris, the romantic one with beautiful buildings, Eiffel tower, funny named restaurants and kissing on the bridge, wide avenues and history at every corner.
And then you have the Paris I live in. The central point of a sprawling metropolitan area of 12 millions inhabitants (2 millions inhabitants in Paris itself). A busy city, always rushing, a business city, with offices, shops to go to and buy food, clothes, other items, an old front hiding a modern place with plenty of high tech. Yes, we have phones, we have internet, we have credit cards and ATM, we have cable TV (for our sins) and smartphones and wifi. A place with its pleasures and its dangers, with gangs coming from the subburbs to gather in some places and with big events like the Night of the Music or the White Night, with its old infrastructures showing its age even though still well maintained and running smoothly.
A crowded city, with five millions people rushing inside the perimetres of its border during the working days, crowded metro, RER and buses during rush hours where we avoid killing each other only by ignoring each other (did I say that French are rather high strung and Parisians have a bad reputation to maintain?), jammed streets as our mayor is hostage to the green party and gave them control of street management and they have deliberately created a nightmare for cars and are constantly improving on it. Cars and scooters and bikes fighting for room on the streets with the well known Parisian aggressive style and gusto.
Avoiding the tourist areas and avoiding the tourists while running to the office, going to places never seen by tourists, the shadier places, the poorer areas, the every day Paris, the streets where you just see ordinary Parisian buildings, the areas where immigrants are more numerous than the French and where you go to buy exotic food and such in shops where nothing is in French. I still don’t know why I made that old Chinese lady laugh so much the first time I went into that supermarket, but she smiles at me every time she sees me. I suspect I picked up a food item usually reserved to prop up male virility. Don’t ask me what it was, it was all written in Chinese. It was good though.
And during the weekend internet, TV, cinema, a restaurant with friends, staying at home puttering around, or a restaurant with my husband choosing one of the many small and dinghy ethnic places in our area from African to Korean to Urghur, for the younger set going out to bars or night clubs, hanging out in cool places, or for ourselves walking around in Paris just to enjoy the city, and there we come closer to the clichés, strolling in small streets hidden from view or along the river to see the book sellers, finding new places to see, new shops to discover, going to the farmer markets to buy our fresh food, visiting a museum, seating in a small garden square and enjoying the feeling of enclosed and timeless village, and still avoiding the tourist areas packful of people who are seeing another Paris than the place I love so much.
Paris does have a soul.

10 Responses to “what is real life Paris like? Is it anything like the way it is depicted in movies, pictures or books?”

  1. WHRobin says:

    It’s a big city with several areas, each one having its own personality.
    It’s like small villages put together. In the touristic areas there is a lot of people, too many people if you ask me. And the crowd, especially in the transport, is exhausting.
    But I love this city, I love the artistic scene. There is so much to see : lots of interesting exhibitions, museums, monuments and all the department stores. The city is alive and there is soul in each area.
    One thing very displeasing is the pollution and the noise, it’s almost everywhere !
    But even if it’s not like in the movies, Paris stay my favorit city !
    References :
    I’m a parisian girl ;)

  2. InExcess says:

    Which books are you referring to? I’ve also read novels based in Paris and lived there and no, the place cannot be fully described by any novel or movie. You have to see it yourself, Paris is so diverse that she cannot be captured by a book or movie :) you’ve got posh areas, run down areas, polluted places and even areas where you feel you are in Africa rather than France! The emotions you go through when you’re in Paris, you can never get them with a movie!
    References :
    Lived in Paris and still love the place

  3. Mo L says:

    Hi there,
    I’m a foreigner in Paris for several months by now.
    It is a big city, very noisy, a lot of traffic, dirty and cold.
    Don’t get me wrong, it is still worth it to see it with your own eyes.
    But my problem with the city is that it’s too overwhelmingly materialistic.
    People seems to be living in another world, illusionary world, where Paris is still the center of the world (probably true in some novels).
    When I was passing by the most famous spot of Paris (yeah, the Eiffel Tower), I took a short clip. You can see it yourself :)
    References :
    http://youtu.be/g41y4rgaC5s

  4. lingua06437 says:

    If you have money it can be great. If you don’t life can be very hard. It is a big city with urban problems just like any other city. But Paris expresses itself in so many beautiful ways. There is so much history and architecture. It is a living entity with strengths and weaknesses.

    By all means go there and see it for your self. You need at least a week.
    References :

  5. ironfever says:

    Real life in Paris is like any other large city, Monday to Friday you work, weekends you spend with family and friends. there is almways something to do (attractions, museums etc).
    References :
    http://www.expatriateparty.com

  6. Heidi-Carico. says:

    Paris is truly beautiful and enchanting. You really won’t want to leave one you have visited even for just a short weekend break. In my opinion, having visited the city in each season (mother’s french,her brother lives there so we visit often) , Autumns probably the best. I just love the hustle and bustle of Paris. It’s great to just people watch, the fashionista’s, the street performers… it’s just great! The thing the movies don’t tell you about is the coloured people around the sacre-coeur and the eiffel tower who can get quite aggressive in the wrong situation. They are usually very friendly and quite sweet but they really will push there hardest to get you to buy their products. But overal it’s fabulous! It’s an expensive city but remember the best things in life are free!
    References :
    Go to Paris about 4 times each year and my Mother’s a Parisienne.

  7. Diane says:

    Real Life. Not sure what that means.

    Paris is a magical city. It’s a city filled with history, landmarks and monuments. There truly is something for everyone. Enjoy just walking. Go for it. Stroll along the Seine and discover the hidden, small moments that happen daily in Paris.

    I recently watched Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris and thought he captured the Paris that I see when I’m there.

    Go to Paris.
    References :
    http://www.parisinsidersguide.com

  8. Cabal says:

    You have two Paris, the romantic one with beautiful buildings, Eiffel tower, funny named restaurants and kissing on the bridge, wide avenues and history at every corner.
    And then you have the Paris I live in. The central point of a sprawling metropolitan area of 12 millions inhabitants (2 millions inhabitants in Paris itself). A busy city, always rushing, a business city, with offices, shops to go to and buy food, clothes, other items, an old front hiding a modern place with plenty of high tech. Yes, we have phones, we have internet, we have credit cards and ATM, we have cable TV (for our sins) and smartphones and wifi. A place with its pleasures and its dangers, with gangs coming from the subburbs to gather in some places and with big events like the Night of the Music or the White Night, with its old infrastructures showing its age even though still well maintained and running smoothly.
    A crowded city, with five millions people rushing inside the perimetres of its border during the working days, crowded metro, RER and buses during rush hours where we avoid killing each other only by ignoring each other (did I say that French are rather high strung and Parisians have a bad reputation to maintain?), jammed streets as our mayor is hostage to the green party and gave them control of street management and they have deliberately created a nightmare for cars and are constantly improving on it. Cars and scooters and bikes fighting for room on the streets with the well known Parisian aggressive style and gusto.
    Avoiding the tourist areas and avoiding the tourists while running to the office, going to places never seen by tourists, the shadier places, the poorer areas, the every day Paris, the streets where you just see ordinary Parisian buildings, the areas where immigrants are more numerous than the French and where you go to buy exotic food and such in shops where nothing is in French. I still don’t know why I made that old Chinese lady laugh so much the first time I went into that supermarket, but she smiles at me every time she sees me. I suspect I picked up a food item usually reserved to prop up male virility. Don’t ask me what it was, it was all written in Chinese. It was good though.
    And during the weekend internet, TV, cinema, a restaurant with friends, staying at home puttering around, or a restaurant with my husband choosing one of the many small and dinghy ethnic places in our area from African to Korean to Urghur, for the younger set going out to bars or night clubs, hanging out in cool places, or for ourselves walking around in Paris just to enjoy the city, and there we come closer to the clichés, strolling in small streets hidden from view or along the river to see the book sellers, finding new places to see, new shops to discover, going to the farmer markets to buy our fresh food, visiting a museum, seating in a small garden square and enjoying the feeling of enclosed and timeless village, and still avoiding the tourist areas packful of people who are seeing another Paris than the place I love so much.
    Paris does have a soul.
    References :
    Parisian

  9. Orla C says:

    It’s like real life anywhere else. But in Paris.
    References :

  10. ♥live4thebreathtakingmoments♥ says:

    If you’re expecting to see men in barets playig the accordion on every cornler, you are sadly mistaken. However, if you are expecting to see a crêpe vendor that is 1 block away from a Starbucks and a GAP, next to a souvenir shop with "I heart Paris" sweatshirts, and close to a gorgeous church with 100s of years of history, you’ve hit the nail o the head. There’s a fair amount of trash, and the subways don’t smell amazing, but the sights to see are charming, incredible and amazing. The culture is unique, the food is undescribable, and the history in unforgettable. I know i didnt make it sound like some perfect getawy– im just beig realistic. But Paris is amazzzzinngggg. I loved it.
    References :

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