“Non-tourist” Paris (13 photos)
Russians are very much mistaken when they criticize the Federation. As never before the proverb: “It’s good where we’re not” and the understanding that Russians judge other “countries of their dreams” by their tourist avenues, by feature films and by their logic that there is hardly any place on earth worse than Russia…
“Undeniably, Paris is one of the world’s most elegant capitals. Through the centuries, Paris has been able to carry the romanticism of the present and the evidence of its glorious past. Any traveler will find entertainment to his or her liking in Paris. The best time to visit Paris is spring. In spring, Paris comes alive with the scent of love in the air.
(c) From a tourist booklet.
In the misconceptions of Russians – the word Europe itself, Paris is a sign of quality of life, culture and purity, D’Artagnan and croissants. But what is really there? Let’s discuss the taste of pineapples not with idle dreamers from Russia, but with someone who ate them – a resident of Paris: When I arrived in Paris, I was deeply disappointed.
I was expecting to see romantic French people, but I saw something else entirely. Well, first of all, the French are not more romantic than we are. And secondly, as it seemed to me, more than half of the population of Paris are dark-skinned. There are a lot of Africans and Arabs. I can give you an example. In the morning, I took the metro to work, and in seven cases out of ten, there were two or five white people in the car, and the rest were black. A third of Paris is in neighborhoods where it’s scary for a white person to enter.
I once had the courage to walk around the Barbes and Chateau Rouge neighborhoods during the day, and I can tell you, it’s not a pleasant walk and not entirely safe. The fact is that no one remembers any tolerance in such places, and the white skin color really stands out in such places. If not to say “cuts the eye”. Moreover, these neighborhoods are a few steps away from “Moulin Rouge,” so it’s far from being a suburb or a suburb. Once out of curiosity I offered my friend, who has lived in Paris for 12 years, to give me a tour by car through the criminal outskirts of Paris, populated by Arabs and Africans. He flatly refused, saying that such trips could end badly. Why doesn’t anyone talk about how many homeless people there are in Paris?
Homeless people are everywhere in Paris, it’s just depressing how many there are. Some live in the subway, some live in tents in the street, and some just sleep around. More than once I’ve seen people sleeping in phone booths and alleyways. I myself have personally turned from the “shopping”, an exclusive street (the area of “Opera”) to the side and came across 15 people camped out on cardboard boxes with blankets.
And nearby, a white man was doing his laundry in the water that they let in the evenings along the roadside to wash away the trash, next to him stood his son, I guess 6 years old. The picture is strongly etched in my memory. I know that almost all abandoned houses and factories are inhabited. Homeless people, immigrants, hippies often live there… And there are real illegal settlements.
Gypsies, for example, build their camps from improvised materials: tents, cars, planks. Others occupy abandoned factories. For some time, even the police were afraid to enter their camps. But last year they started to evict and disperse these settlements. There is also plenty of crime on the streets.
There were two mass fights under my window (Chateau Rouge neighborhood), about 30-40 people got together. I don’t even need to talk about fights on the streets. “They can get beaten up at any time of the day, in almost any neighborhood of Paris. The exception is probably the elite, bedroom communities.
Pickpocket thieves work in all the tourist spots of Paris, wherever there are large crowds of people. I myself was robbed by a pickpocket, taking all the money out of my wallet, which was in the inside pocket of my jacket. I was robbed in the Opera district, which is a rich, upscale neighborhood. On rue Pigalle, where the Moulin Rouge is located, I repeatedly saw thieves.
There were three of them, two men and a woman. Strangely enough, people still buy into their tricks. Outside the Sacre-Coeur church, a group of 10 to 15 strong, young Africans are constantly on the job. They surround the victim and offer to tie a string on his hand – for it you have to pay. And they offer more than intrusive. And they do not look very friendly. At once the phrase from Odessa comes to mind: “Buy a brick”.
Well, those who offer to buy gold, perfume, hashish, girl…… there are plenty of them too, but at least they don’t threaten your health. I did not misspell – hashish, you can buy it right at the metro station “Barbes”, there are guys who are open all day long, offering: “Marlboro, hashish?
Is Paris the fashion capital?
First of all, you shouldn’t confuse tourists in Paris with people who live there! In fact, there aren’t many fashionably dressed people in Paris. Africans and Muslims walk around Paris very often in their national clothes. You feel more like you’re in Africa than Europe, given the number of them. Most French people dress rather modestly and unfashionably. Although, of course, there are rich people who are fashionably and beautifully dressed.
The main thing that catches your eye is that men often look more fashionable and beautiful than women. Gay men are almost always dressed in style and beauty. So if you think that everyone in Paris is fashionable, it’s a fiction!
Cafes and restaurants.
Cafes in Paris at every step. Why nobody talks about how dirty they can be? Of course there are fancy restaurants, but there are also ordinary cafes where people come for a cup of coffee. In these cafes you can often find that the entire floor is covered with sugar bags, crumbs from croissants. I myself have witnessed my friends throwing bags on the floor and crumbling croissants on the floor instead of on the saucer.
The response to my comment was “that’s the way it is here. They also told me that when it was allowed to smoke in these cafes, they also threw cigarette butts on the floor. They say that supposedly this way you can define a good cafe, the more trash on the floor – the more people are there, the better the coffee is. By the way, Parisian cafes don’t really like to let people in the toilet. First you have to buy something, then they only let you in.
The service in Parisian restaurants and cafes is a separate topic for discussion. For some reason, rude waiters and salesmen are mentioned only when the phrase “Soviet Union” is used. But I assure you that service in modern Paris is no better. The waiter can easily insult you, the owner of the store or cafe can easily throw you out if you demand an apology for poor service. And it can happen as in a cafe, where Muslims or Africans congregate, or in a restaurant near the Eiffel Tower. So if you go to a Parisian restaurant, be prepared for rude behavior.
Is the air soaked with perfume and flowers?
The smells near the Eiffel Tower and the Sacre-Coeur Cathedral are fantastic. Near these two tourist sites there are always street sellers of souvenirs. And they, of course, stay there for eight hours at a time. Guess where they go to take a dump? To the nearest bushes. And given that in summer they work there every day, the stench is serious.
And being near these two attractions, you can only inhale the smell of urine, but not perfume or flowers. The subway smells no better. There are homeless people living in the subway, so they often go to the bathroom there. And the subway itself probably gives off some not very pleasant smells.
The life of our immigrants.
Most of the Russian-speaking men I talked to worked at construction sites. Most of them work illegally, because in Paris they don’t like to pay taxes. And in general, there are a lot of illegal immigrants from all over the world in Paris, and that is probably why the natives are used to using their cheap labor. Especially since it’s more profitable financially for the Parisians themselves. Why would they hire legal workers, who have some rights, when there is a queue of those who are willing to work for less pay and do not have any rights.
By the way, in Paris, job-seekers often go to construction stores like our ABC, and there they gather near the stores and wait for someone to come up and use their services. Everyone who wants to hire a construction worker or a janitor knows about this place, goes there and chooses a worker, sometimes even haggling over the price of the services rendered. Immigrant women are more likely to work as cleaners and nannies for families. At least this kind of work is safer than working as a waitress in some Arab café. Take my word for it, working as a waitress in a regular cafe (especially for those who don’t speak French very well), you get to know how “cultured” people are in France. And, of course, working as a cleaner too, do not expect special deference to themselves.
The bourgeois culture is still alive in France, and they look down on their servants or servants. In my personal opinion, rich people who have servants treat less rich people, and especially those who depend on them, like dogs. That is, just as most of us look at a dog, so the rich look at their servants.
I came to this conclusion after talking to some of these rich people personally, and to many people who have worked for the rich as security guards, chauffeurs, butlers, and janitors. And in general, the attitude of employers to workers is very unfriendly, they don’t value the worker there. And it seems to me that this is because there are too many people who want to get a job (I mean immigrants), and many are willing to put up with bad working conditions, pay, etc. Probably the same situation with Tajiks in Moscow.
So, going to work in France, do not think about an apartment with a view of the “Eiffel Tower”, most likely you will find an apartment like a communal apartment and work on the principle “if you do not like it, leave. By the way, cheating by the employer of an employee is very common if the employee is working illegally. Even millionaires don’t think it’s shameful not to pay the full salary to a cleaning lady, or even not pay at all for a month. I’m not talking about small firms or employers.
About the cleanliness of the French.
I would like to cite such short facts. In summer, in the heat, you can often see a Frenchwoman in a light dress and wearing leather boots. In the south of France, the French do not wear socks; I’ve tried it – my feet sweat, and the sweat is absorbed not into the sock, but directly into the shoes. I doubt the French wash their sneakers or sandals every week. You know what kind of smell those shoes have. Barefoot walking around the house, they can even go out “quickly” barefoot.
Lice in schools are common in Paris. All pharmacies advertise a cure for lice, not a cure for colds like we have. Many French working-class families hire a cleaning lady once a week. And they don’t clean their house all week, they don’t clean at all, sometimes they don’t even take their underwear off the floor… because soon the cleaning lady will come and clean it all up.
The French walk their dogs in the city and they go to the toilet right on the sidewalks, sometimes between parked cars next to the sidewalk. And, believe me, no one cleans up after their dog, although, of course, there are exceptions. With a dog you can go into almost any cafe and restaurant, personally saw a man with a bull terrier in a large construction store and a Rottweiler in a restaurant, not to mention the decorative dogs.
By the way, most dogs don’t have muzzles. Smoking hashish and cannabis is very common in France. At least in the south and in Paris. I don’t know if it’s due to the large number of Muslims, or for some other reason. But many people smoke drugs, regardless of their financial situation or nationality.
There are a lot of different nationalities living in France. Of course, they all have different cultures. But I want to talk about Muslims and Africans, because they are the majority of the population in Paris, and maybe even in all of France. There is no tolerance on their part. It is believed that only a person with white skin can insult a person with dark skin because of racial animosity. But in fact the opposite is true. Here are some vivid examples from my own experience.
I was standing in line at a store, two black drunken madams come up, stand in front of me, and wait for the cashier to serve them. I, knowing their manners and speaking poor French, stand in silence. The cashier says that I was the first one there, so he serves them only after me. These women raised a cry of discrimination, with the typical “is it because we’re black?” cry. Stories like this happen very often, believe me.
If an African can’t win with physical force, he’s bound to start screaming about discrimination. And if there is a trial, I’m afraid he has a better chance of proving that he is being abused than the person with white skin. Another example is that a black person can walk safely in a “white neighborhood,” a “white person” in a “black neighborhood” is rare, and it is not safe for him to walk in such a neighborhood.
The Muslims in Paris are mostly from Arab countries. You can judge their tolerance by the way they reacted to the fact that two Arab teenagers, fleeing from the police, climbed into a transformer booth and were electrocuted to death. If you remember, the Arab population responded by starting pogroms and arson in the city. Arabs, just like the Afro-French, do not pay the subway fare on principle. They believe that their grandfathers worked hard enough to build this subway. And they have the right not to pay the fare.
When Muslims pray in the city, they block the sidewalks so that passersby do not disturb them. At the same time, Arabs, blacks, and, of course, the French themselves congregate on the steps of the active Sacri-Coeur Church. Arab music can be played there, alcohol can be drunk, and hashish can be smoked. I wonder if they would let them do the same at their mosque. In general, apart from the financial divide, people in Paris are also divided by skin color and religion. Moreover, the tolerance here is only in words, in fact, the white man is better not to go to the area where white people do not live. In general, “non-touristy” Paris left an impression of a dirty, noisy, criminal city…
10 interesting but non-tourist parks in Paris
Galleries, museums, palaces, monuments, theaters … Paris is a thousand and one entertainment. But you have to rest sometime! Take a break from sightseeing and visit one of the Parisian parks. These green oases among the beautiful urban architecture are worth seeing in their own right.
We’ve told you about the most popular parks in the city of love. And now we’ve collected 10 small, but undeservedly relegated to the back burner.
In the heart of the city, not far from the Arc de Triomphe you can find a green quiet and in a special romantic place – Parc Monceau. It is not a typical French austere park, it is decorated in a more free English manner.
Monceau Park combines beautiful views, artificial rocks and waterfalls, marble statues and spacious walking paths. Here you’ll find various columns, a replica of an Egyptian pyramid, windmills, and even a Chinese fortress! Without leaving the park, you can casually travel back in time.
Here you can also meet celebrities – the virtuoso Frederic Chopin, the writer Guy de Maupassant and the opera composer Ambroise Thomas.
The main beauty of the park is the lack of huge popularity among tourists! It’s a place for quiet walks with children or romantic meetings where you will not be disturbed by the hustle and bustle of the tourist part of Paris.
Address: 35 Boulevard de Courcelles, 8th arrondissement.
Opening hours: November to March: 7:00 to 20:00, April to October: 7:00 to 22:00.
How to get there: Metro station Monceau (line 2).
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Parc Andre Citroen
Parc Andre Citroen is not for fans of traditional parks – it consists of several themed gardens and futuristic terraces around a unifying traditional space.
Here you can visit the White and Black Gardens where only white and black plants are planted, the Green Garden with unusual herbs dedicated to sound, the Orange Garden dedicated to touch, the Garden in Motion, and the Golden, Silver and Red Gardens.
The park has two indoor greenhouses: one grows mimosas, palm trees, and delicious-smelling shrubs, and the other holds temporary exhibitions. And on the platform between the greenhouses you can have fun dodging jets of water from automatic fountains in summer.
The main feature of André Citroën Park is a balloon, which on windless days lifts small groups of tourists to 150 meters. The cost of children’s ticket – 7 euros (from 3 to 11 years), all over 11 years – 14 euros.
If you have free time in your trip – be sure to stop by here. Here you can swim in the fountains, have a picnic on the grass and just admire the very different gardens with an interesting idea.
Address: 2 Rue Cauchy, 15th arrondissement.
How to get there: Metro stop Balard (line 8), Gare du Pont du Garigliano (RER C)
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 08:00 to 20:30; Saturday to Sunday 09:00 to 20:30
Albert-Kahn museum and garden
For lovers of the exotic once again! There is a mixture of English, French and Japanese gardens. The garden is not quite simple, its main idea is world peace. You can come here to see the red carp and stroll through the pine forest. But you can’t have a picnic or just sit on the grass – the garden is not simple, it’s a collection garden.
Free access to the garden is prohibited, but excursions take place constantly and the cost is only 3 euros. The garden has the Albert Kahn Museum, which houses his archives from his travels around the world. Philanthropist Albert Kahn was convinced that studying other cultures was the best way to preserve peace on earth.
Address: 10 Rue du Port, Boulogne-Billancourt, a suburb of Paris
Opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (May 1-September 30
Tuesday-Sunday 11:00 am to 6:00 pm (May 1-September 30), closed on holidays.
How to get there: Metro station Boulogne (line 10)
This garden on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne will please the whole family from small to large. There are quiet green areas, lots of fun rides (about 40) and cultural activities (open-air theater and puppet theater).
The first attraction you can ride even outside the park – from Porte Maillot to the garden is a small train on a mini railroad. You can ride ponies, camels, donkeys or even a boat around the park.
The garden was originally intended as a place to keep newly brought animals. That is why it is called the “acclimatization garden”. And now you can admire the live animals and birds that roam freely in the park, as well as life-size figures of wild animals.
Tickets cost: Admission to the park is 5.2 euros, a reduced ticket for 2.6 euros is for seniors and large families, children under 3 years are free. Attractions are paid separately.
How to get there: Les Sablons Metro station (line 1), Neuilly – Porte Maillot station (RER C)
Opening hours: every day from 10:00 to 18:00
Place des Vosges Park
A park in the heart of historic Paris. Each building around the park is a national historical monument. This place is beloved by Parisians and especially the inhabitants of the Marais quarter itself. Tourists don’t walk here very often, motorized vehicles are forbidden, and every corner is steeped in the history of Paris.
Here come to relax in the atmosphere of a royal square, listen to the splash of water instead of the noise of cars and get lost in a secret courtyard-maze of mansion Sully. How many celebrities have lived in this square! They knew it was worth it. And so can you. See nearby hotels at this link.
Address: Place des Vosges, 4th arrondissement.
How to get there: Bastille (line 1, 5, and Saint-Paul (line 1) metro stations
Opening hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 am to 5:45 pm, Saturday-Sunday 9:00 am to 7:00 pm
A great place if you want to relax on the lawn with a beautiful view of the City of Love or the Basilica of the Sacré-Coeur. If you want to take beautiful pictures or just chat with friends over a picnic, you’re definitely here!
On sunny days the park is especially nice, the trees on the sides of the park create shade for those who do not like the sun, and in the very center on the lawn everyone else can enjoy it.
Address: Place Saint-Pierre, 18th arrondissement.
How to get there: Metro stop Anvers (line 2)
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 8:00 am to 9:30 pm, Saturday to Sunday 9:00 am to 9:30 pm
Even the cemeteries in Paris are decorated in the best traditions of gardens and parks. And in them you can really walk and relax, no one will judge you.
Montmartre cemetery is one of the most iconic places in Paris. Many famous people are buried there – writers, musicians, actors. So you are in good company.
At the entrance you can get a free plan. This is a very useful thing, do not neglect it – Montmartre cemetery covers 11 hectares! It even has its own streets and avenues.
The most visited grave in this cemetery belongs to the national French singer Dalida. And it is believed that here is buried Auguste Montferrand, the architect of the famous St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg.
Address: 20, avenue Rachel, 18th arrondissement.
How to get there: Metro stations Blanche (line 2) and Place de Clichy (line 2, 13)
Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 18:00, on Saturdays from 8:30 to 18:00, on Sundays from 9:00 to 18:00 (from November 6 to March 15 from 08:00 to 17:30)
Jardin du Palais-Royal
An oasis of greenery and tranquility the Jardin du Palais-Royal in the heart of Paris was commissioned by Cardinal Richelieu. How can a place next to the Louvre be so quiet? It’s easy to explain – the garden is protected from city noise by four galleries around the perimeter.
In the southern part of the park you can find a timer cannon, which used to work due to an interesting optical mechanism and fired exactly at noon from May to October automatically. Exactly until it was stolen. At the same place now you can find an exact copy of the cannon, but without the special mechanism. It shoots, but now only once a week and no longer automatically (every Wednesday at noon).
In the garden grow linden trees, chestnuts, here and there are sculptures, and in the center is a large pond. Very close by, in the front courtyard of the palace are the famous black and white columns of Buren, a modern composition that looks like a huge chessboard.
Address: 6 Rue de Montpensier, 1st district
How to get there: Metro station Palais Royal Musée du Louvre (line 1, 7)
Opening hours: Every day from 8:00 to 20:30
Parc de Choisy
Choisy is made with enviable symmetry in harmony with the local nature. Here you will find a huge collection of trees, among which there are rare species. And the first thing you will see at the entrance of the park is a large table made of volcanic stone.
This park is great for relaxing if you get lost in Piazza Italia. Picnics are not prohibited here, you can lie on the grass, listen to the fountain, and there are ping pong tables, basketball hoops, and checkers. On a good day you can catch an open-air spectacle.
Address: Parc de Choisy, 13th arrondissement
How to get there: Subway stop Tolbiac (line 7), Olympiades (line 14).
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 8:00 to 20:30, Saturday to Sunday 9:00 to 20:30
Parc de Bercy
Bercy Park is for connoisseurs of simplicity and elegance. It is rectangular in shape, with straight alleys crossing at right angles, square flowerbeds and a diamond-shaped fountain – a paradise for mathematicians and perfectionists.
More than 400 old trees have survived on the grounds of Bercy: chestnuts, lindens, oaks and maples between 100 and 200 years old. There are also partially preserved historic buildings on the site of the former wine village.
Much attention was paid to the creation of the park relief, it makes it even more interesting, creates a dynamic space. Walking from the west to the east of the park, you will notice an increase in the amplitude of elevation fluctuations. In the west of the park you will see a very interesting sports complex with unusually decorated walls – concrete walls are covered … with lawn!
In Bercy you can skate, play soccer and have picnics. And the huge area is conducive to any activity – grab a volleyball, badminton and anything else you want!
Address: 128 Quai de Bercy, 12th arrondissement
How to get there: Metro station Bercy, Cour Saint-Émilion (line 14)
Opening hours: Every day from 8:00 am to 7:30 pm
Take time out of your trip to see at least one of the parks and you won’t regret it. It will be a completely different Paris, far from the tourist trails, but definitely not less attractive, and even more “French”!