"Paris - Over 40 years of love and hate." Top 5 Page for this destination Paris by pfsmalo

Paris Travel Guide: 23,099 reviews and 57,392 photos

Paris - Over 40 years of love and hate. - Paris

Having first come to Paris in October 1970, I moved from London in March 1971. Stayed just 18 months, during which time I married, and went back to London. We then decided to come back in May 1975 and have stayed in France ever since, albeit since 1980 in St. Malo.
My love/hate relationship with Paris has been an ongoing thing since those early days. Driving a taxi in Paris is no easy thing and I hated the place for it's traffic, noise and Parisian attitudes. Over the years a fondness for the streets of Paris has developed, a thing that I can't say about London anymore. Although Paris has been re-developed since the 70's there are still pockets of urban life as it was back then. The great thing about Paris is its manageable size. If you get tired walking, you're never that far from a metro station. And walking is the way to see Paris, keeping your nose off the floor (the Paris town hall doesn't allow dogs to s**t anymore) and being aware of your surroundings.
** - Words spoken by Arletty, taken from the 1938 film "Hotel du Nord", directed by Marcel Carné.

The "classic" view of Sacré Coeur - Paris

The "classic" view of Sacré Coeur

Having so many friends around Paris means that you won't find much in the way of hotel reviews here. Having so many friends also means that I don't have to eat out that often but you will find a few restaurants reviews, although now, since I wrote that, in 2012 a couple have now gone on their last journey, so you may now see the odd review for a hotel or restaurant. I am not a museum buff and not an art gallery person so you may not find much in that direction either. I also believe that there are enough tips by Vters like Beatchick, Guyon, Shrimp56, my friend Nemorino and others of the main Paris sights, that I don't feel the need to include them myself, although there may be one or two tips that do include photos of these places.
I certainly do not profess to know all of Paris or discovered all its little passages and courtyards, but if you are looking for the pretty side, the little known, the out of the way, the oddity, then you may find a photo here somewhere. I am trying to organise things by arrondissement to make things a little easier to find them on foot. There is no better way of seeing Paris, just use the bus or metro for the longer distances or getting home. If you prefer a bicycle to walking, I can only reiterate the tips by my friend Don (Nemorino) for cycling around Paris are top of the class and are to be read.

Ste. Genevieve, patron saint of Paris. - Paris

Ste. Genevieve, patron saint of Paris.

I would like to dedicate these pages to my wife and my father in law (RIP), who first took me to those parts of Paris (Belleville, Menilmontant, Charonne and Croulebarbe) where tourists don't seem to go much, and where the real heart of Paris is. Also to Patrice, who was my first friend in Paris in 1970, and stayed my very best friend until he passed away in May 2010.
I must also say that I have been inspired by many of the VT'ers here that have written about Paris. Thanks also to the following in helping plan my routes.

www.parislenezenlair.fr (also good for historical facts and some great anecdotes.)
Leonard Pitt for his book "Walks through the lost Paris".
Editors "Parigramme" for a fine series of books about the lesser known Paris.
Robert Doisneau, Willy Ronis and Gerard Lavalette for being human before being great photographers of Paris.
And lastly to Vt'er Elodie-Caroline for telling me I could write as well as take photographs.

** As we are often asked about toilet facilities in Paris, follow this link and you'll find a full list of the emplacements of the "sanisettes" free of charge maintained by the city council.

I have now added these lists on my "Local Customs "pages to save you the trouble of searching.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:So many things to see and do!!
  • Cons:Traffic can be a pain in the a***
  • In a nutshell:There's always something new to see.
  • Last visit to Paris: Nov 2015
  • Intro Updated Dec 23, 2015
  • Add to Trip Planner (?)
  • Report Abuse

Reviews (407)

Travelogues (17)

  • Pont Alexandre III with Les Invalides. 75007 Paris - Paris

    Written Dec 15, 2009

    8 photos

    Favourite b + w pics of Paris.

  • L'Ecurie,resto, 2 rue Laplace 75005 Paris. - Paris

    Written Dec 15, 2009

    8 photos

    Shop, restaurant and bar fronts in Paris.

  • "Galoche d'Aurillac" 41 rue de Lappe, 75011 Paris. - Paris

    Written Dec 15, 2009

    8 photos

    More bar, resto and shopfronts.

  • Sacré Coeur from behind. - Paris

    Written Dec 15, 2009

    8 photos

    Views of Paris monuments.

Comments (50)

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Jan 17, 2016 at 1:56 PM

    Paul, you've added another batch of fine new tips on Paris just in the last month, even touring the inside of the Opéra Garnier.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Dec 15, 2015 at 12:03 PM

    Paul, you've made some great additions to this page in the past few months. I always enjoy coming back here to see what new/old places you have found.

    • pfsmalo's Profile Photo
      Dec 15, 2015 at 12:09 PM

      Many thanks for your visit, ratings and kind words Don, always much appreciated.

  • Chinggis_n_Borte's Profile Photo
    Dec 9, 2015 at 11:48 AM

    Lovely personal touch in your introduction.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Apr 8, 2015 at 6:21 AM

    Paul, you've added lots of great new Off the Beaten Path tips since I last looked at this page.

    • Nemorino's Profile Photo
      Aug 14, 2015 at 10:05 AM

      I still have one "unqualified tip" with only 77 characters, on my Dessau page. It reads: "Glad to see they haven't removed the bust of Karl Marx from the square in front of the theater." Somehow I can't think of anything further to say about that one, but I suppose for the benefit of the younger generation I could explain who Karl Marx was. (A friend of mine was in Dessau a few weeks ago, so when she returns I'll have to ask her if the bust is still there.)

    • pfsmalo's Profile Photo
      Aug 14, 2015 at 10:11 AM

      You could also mention that there is another one on his grave in Highgate, London.

  • pieter_jan_v's Profile Photo
    Apr 5, 2014 at 7:21 AM

    Paul, that 271 off the beaten path tips very well could be a VT record! Great piece of inside info. PJ

    • pfsmalo's Profile Photo
      Apr 5, 2014 at 7:43 AM

      Thanks PJ, never realised it was so many 'til you brought the subject up.

  • HackneyBird's Profile Photo
    Oct 11, 2013 at 8:04 AM

    I like what you've done to the photos Paul. Nice page ;-)

    • pfsmalo's Profile Photo
      Oct 11, 2013 at 8:24 AM

      Thanks for the visit Shaz.

    • pfsmalo's Profile Photo
      Oct 11, 2013 at 8:28 AM

      Thank you both for your visit, ratings and nice comments, thanks again.

  • rosata's Profile Photo
    Oct 11, 2013 at 7:39 AM

    Paul, really enjoyed your Things to Do in Paris tips - will return to read the rest. Thanks! Lia

    • pfsmalo's Profile Photo
      Oct 11, 2013 at 8:27 AM

      Thank you both for the visit,ratings and nice comments, thanks again.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Jun 10, 2013 at 5:09 AM

    Paul, I’ve just been looking at your new and updated tips since April 30. I didn’t know about Haussmann saving St. Germain l'Auxerrois by building a new town hall next to it. I didn’t even know Haussmann was a Protestant, for that matter. (Just like the architect who built the big Catholic church Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde up on the hilltop in Marseille.)
    And I have never been to Montmartre cemetary; didn’t know Dalida’s grave was so monumental.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Apr 30, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    Paul, you have again added dozens of fascinating new tips, especially the Off the Beaten Path variety.

    • pfsmalo's Profile Photo
      Apr 30, 2013 at 11:52 PM

      Thanks Don, haven't finished yet though. In 3 days I actually walked 55 kms, I had my podometre as I was interested to see how far you could walk in a day. I must say I went back to the flat completely shattered each night.

  • breughel's Profile Photo
    Mar 14, 2013 at 8:17 AM

    Quand je vois votre superbe collection de "off te beaten path" tips je me dis que:
    1° Je devrais sortir des musées (mais on y est au chaud et à l'abri de la neige ou pluie).
    2° Vous devriez-être dans le top 5 (mais il est vrai que vous vous occupez peu des restaurants ou hôtels).

    • pfsmalo's Profile Photo
      Mar 14, 2013 at 9:21 AM

      Merci Eddy pour la visite et ton gentil commentaire. Il est vrai que je suis souvent chez des amis quand je suis a Paris, alors les restos et hotels.....J'ai toujours été un homme de la rue, c'est pour cela que j'aime Paris,c'est tellement facile a circuler et voir a pied. Merci aussi pour les "ratings".

pfsmalo's Profile Photo

pfsmalo Visits Here Frequently!


“"I've spent all me money on whisky and beer!!" ”

Online Now


Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 1 5 0
Forum Rank:
0 0 0 2 3

Badges & Stats in Paris

  • 407 Reviews
  • 1,572 Photos
  • 1,404 Forum posts
  • 28,688PageViews

Have you been to Paris?

  Share Your Travels  

Latest Activity in Paris

Travel Interests

See All Travel Interests (15)