Sorry, Paris, I am not coming
Why would I write about the capital of fashion and luxury flats on the 17th floor if I enjoy red skin on my face and a dress waving in the ocean breeze? Most of Salvadorians who I had a luck to get to know don’t stop telling me about their dream trip to Europe mentioning only London, Paris, Milan and Berlin. One by one, locals repeat the capitals as a magic spell that will buy them round-way tickets. Or no, one way sounds even better.
I remember how I was crying in the pillow in the middle of the night after seeing the photos of my friends with Eiffel Tour on the background. Don’t make the same mistakes. These metropolises lost the authentic soul once they were claimed as MUST-SEE places. With the population more than 5 million, with Asian tourists holding selfie-sticks and ice-cream for 15 euros, you pass yourself a sentence to go from Louvre to Royal Palace and to Notre Dame in a long queue with a city-guide sold you by your agency.
Do you really want this?
I don’t blame you if the location in your Instagram photos is more important than the desire to feel France and hear the real accent of an old manufacturer of the wine. Almost always a trip to a small city in any regions of France would be cheaper than one dinner with a view of Champs-élysées.
I visited Paris twice in different seasons with different people and every time I felt that I was a tourist guide showing the places from TripAdvisor rather than a local that buys croissant in the bakery that speaks only French and serves coffee with a sincere smile.
Paris has become a center of business, finances, politics, fashion, beauty, and money. You are just a prey for every trader and restaurant owner. You are just a new white rich European with pockets full of guides and magnets. Every corner has already been checked and labeled.
I feel that at this point many people will already feel uncomfortable or even angry with my opinion, so I feel obligated to add that such must-see museums and palaces are incredible and inspiring. But at night or just after the dawn when you can see Mona Lisa not standing behind the backs of tourists or waiting in 30-min queue for the crepes. That just has no sense. Traveling has to be a pleasure not suffer. Traveling has to be for a picnic on the grass in a white dress with a wineglass but not in McDonalds cause all restaurants are already full.
Go to Paris, but stay there 2-3 days, take a photo with the Tower and macaroons but then run away from it as far as possible to medieval castles and flourished streets with the smell of morning coffee on a terrace.