13 wonderful things about Paris

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Paris adopts an aloof attitude: take it or leave it, this is what I am like. Paris is a lovely city, just not in the way that I expected it to be... it definitely requires some adjusting to, after which I irrevocably adored the city all over again. Even though travelling around the city takes a lot of stamina, patience and energy, Paris has many features that I would want to return for.

Here are the 13 wonderful things I love about the city.

Don't let your guard down in Paris. Read about the 10 things you need to be careful about in the city.




1. Friendly people
Contrary to popular belief and hearsay, most of the Parisians I met are actually very friendly and warm. Even if they do not know how to speak fluent English, they try to help you sincerely with sign languages when they see you struggling with a map. One of the Parisians that left a greater impression on me include a road sweeper who went out of his way at the Versailles town to direct us to the spectacular gardens. It is obviously not within his job scope but he chased us across the road to help when he saw us looking confused (that was his finger on the map). Another elderly woman tried to help us take a photograph in an ice-cream parlour at Montmarte. Initially I was resistant (though not visibly) due to the horror stories I've heard - I was worried that she will run away with my camera. In the end it was all good, she took a picture, told us to enjoy our stay in Paris and bid goodbye. :') Although not all of them will be kind and helpful, they are not obliged to do so. The level of friendliness I've experienced already exceed my expectations by miles. Merci beaucoup, kind Parisians!



2. Consistently good food everywhere
I might be very lucky, or paying too much for meals (approx. S$25/pax per meal), but I would say 99% of the food I've tried at the restaurants in Paris are pretty darn good. Normally, I would consider that price expensive in Singapore, but once I've tasted it, it feels justifiable suddenly. It's quality you can taste with every bite. I also like how they are particular about the cutlery used, and they will change according to who is having what dishes - so naturally too. I always look forward to meal times... and wish I could stay longer to try more restaurants. Food in Paris delights and surprises every time!



3. Cheap and sweet fruits
Travelling with the parents is inevitably different from travelling with friends as they look at new cities with fresh perspectives... like fruits. Paris, or France as a whole, has a greater variety of fruits at more affordable prices and much better quality. Worthy saccharine mentions: Blueberries, peaches, avocados, strawberries. It would be a heavenly city for people who love cooking and/or baking as there are endless great produce and ingredients.



4. Highly interconnected metro system
Previously I complained about Paris's horrible metro system, but I have to admit that its interconnectedness made traveling around Paris much more convenient. You get a metro station about every 500 metres or less, which is perfect for wanderers... Those who wander are not lost because you will somehow find a metro station even without a map. Nevertheless, you should still take note of my warnings about metro stations.



5. Fashionable street wear... effortlessly chic
If the ladies and men in Paris don't know their fashion, nobody else will. Decked out in apparels that dictate their own styles, Parisians ooze of effortless confidence and elegance in their everyday activities. Tres chic! Somehow, even ice-cream parlour girls look like they stepped out of the television. That's why millions flock to Paris annually as their ideal tourist destination - to immerse themselves in a city that worship beauty and perfection.



6. Grace in artwork, intelligence in kitchenware... pretty things everywhere
A parallel of how Parisians' demand of excellence to be in vogue, their artwork and kitchenware reflect another level of human brilliance. From state-of-the-art furniture pieces to funky small decoration and majestic artworks, you can see their dedication to maintaining their edge over other cities. There is something waiting to impress you in many quirky shops in every lane. Go forth and discover, traveller! Let Paris surprise you.



7. Awesome ad visuals
This might be my own obsession, but I just love the artistic visuals everywhere in Paris - their magazines, brochures, advertisements, billboards, shop displays... they are just so inspirational, I want to know every font they use and pin them to my Pinterest boards! I'm just a simple girl, in a high tech digital world... what to do? One of the series of subway advertisements that caught my eye had the taglines "We're sorry for the miniature monuments", "We're sorry for all the airplane wings", "We're sorry for all the beach photos"... crafted by company Three's marketing team. They tried trending #holidayspam, which is also a cute hashtag unlike tacky ones that a lot of local businesses try to popularize. Found the digital version on Google here. Every of their advertisement grips my attention so much without celebrity endorsement, just pure marketing ingenuity.



8. Graffiti
You will never see this in pristine Singapore. I totally dig how I can see graffiti everywhere especially the metro tunnel walls! It gives the city so much character and personality - this is one of the features that made me LOVE Paris to bits. I wonder how the graffiti artists managed to climb into the tunnels dead in the night with torchlights and their equipment to create actually artwork that make sense and look good! They scribble everywhere, not just in the less visible places. Their culture feels built from scratch by its inhabitants, rather than you know, imposed or guided by a larger authority (ah-hem). This is why Paris is considered one of the cities that value freedom of expression. You truly feel free to do whatever you want. I guess this is an appropriate situation that illustrate how you can't have your cake and eat it. You either have your freedom and feel the adrenalin-pumping goodness of danger mixed in it (think: The Purge, but less extreme) as compared to mild oppression but safety (think: a certain city I'm living in).



9. Summer weather
The weather is awesome especially for a sun-loving girl like me - as long as I slapped on a good dose of Avene sunscreen products. Looking beyond the aging/ darkening effects of the sun, I would love to bask in the sunshine forever. It's the sort that's comfortably warm, dry and makes you sweat minimally because perspiration evaporates pretty quickly. Having said that, you have plenty of excuses to keep hydrated with all the coconut water, orange juice, milk, wine (not a good idea though) you can find. And of course, ice-cream. Sunlight also means awesome photographs because you know good lighting means half the battle is won.



10. Walk till you drop attractions
Two and a half days are definitely insufficient to finish all the attractions in Paris (and the outskirts). Just the necessary ones like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Montmarte/ Sacre-Coeur, the Luxembourg Gardens, Tuileries Gardens, Musee d'Orsay, Versailles Garden, Champs Elysees, Arc De Triomphe, Lafayette could give your legs a numbing workout... not to mention the other non-conventional stops you may want to make! But I like how there is a never-ending discovery process of Paris. The mysteries of a city should never unfold right before you all at one go - that's how she keeps you interested.



11. Escargots & alcohol
Okay, hear me sin. I love escargots. There, I said it. How can anyone lie to themselves and say they don't?! The garlic buttery sauce swathing the chewy, smooth yummy escargots... and to enjoy it with good wine or separately - it's definitely one of life's greatest pleasures.



12. Attempts at "Asian"
Not all reproductions of Asian things are racist in nature, quite a lot are pretty funny and entertaining to look at. There are a lot more funny misusing of the languages especially in restaurant menus!



13. Flowers, flowers everywhere
Seriously, the Paris metro stations might be dirty but their floral and fauna variety in the open puts Singapore's widely acclaimed name of "garden city" to shame. Greenery is really not exclusive to any global city, and given Paris's climate, they have much greater potential at growing more exquisite and glorious flowers than we do... sigh.



Travelling to Paris? Be sure to read the 10 things to be careful about and tips to overcome them.

Photography by Canon D550.

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