Paris is the capital city of France. With over 12 million inhabitants, it holds around 19% of France’s total population. Paris is most popularly known as the centre of fashion, the city is also popular for its fine cuisine, art and architecture. There is a popular saying in France ‘Quand Paris éternue, la France s’en rhume’ which roughly translates to ‘When Paris sneezes, France catches a cold’. This means that what happens in Paris, generally affects the whole country. The following text speaks about the cultural city and its many advantages and disadvantages as a tourism attraction.
3.0 Advantages of Paris as a Tourism Attraction
Paris, known as the City of Lights has had a vast growing history since it was first founded in 3 BC. Important timeframes such as the commencing of construction works on The Notre Dame in 1163, the Plague killed half of Paris’ population in the late 14th century and Napoleon’s reign in 1804 are still notable to this very day. Nowadays, Paris has become a very popular place for holiday-makers and tourism in general.
3.1 The Attractions
One of the main advantages of traveling to Paris would be its endless amount of touristic attractions. A few of the most popular ones are The Eiffel tower, The Notre Dame, The Musée d’Orsay and The Louvre. These places get very crowded in peak months such as July and December, but most of the thousands of reviews left by various visitors claim that these locations are worth the visit.
3.2 The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower was the main exhibit in the World’s fair 1889. During the French Revolution, the Eiffel Tower was used to demonstrate France’s industrial prowess to the world. One of the most famous and iconic piece of history in all of France is the Eiffel Tower which is located in Paris.
There are hundreds of tourists and visitors that line up everyday to go and witness a remarkable view from the top of the Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower consists of three platforms such as several buffets, their own champagne bar, unique gift shops and two restaurants. The two restaurants: Le 58 Tour Eiffel and LE Jules Verne, which are run by Michelin star chefs.
There are also educational tours that are available for both children and adults showing around the tower.Tickets can either be purchased online or at the office located at the bottom of the tower. It is opened all year round with visiting times varying on the season.
There was a total amount 6,917,000 visitors at the end of 2015. Since it opened in 1889 there were around 250 million people from all around the world who visited the Eiffel Tower. The above statistics show what a popular attraction the Eiffel Tower is, definitely one of the reasons as to why a tourist would pick Paris as their next destination.
3.3 The Notre Dame
The Notre Dame gothic Cathedral was built in the 1160s. The cathedral was built with sculptures, unique gargoyles and the incredible detailed stained glass windows that show a heavy influence of naturalism unlike most architecture. It is now one of the most famous cathedrals in France and one of the oldest ones too. It took a long time to build since there are various styles of architecture that took place within the building. Tourists are free to visit the Notre Dame and it is known to be very busy during peak months. Within the
vicinity of the Cathedral there are various stunning hotels and restaurants that are fortunate enough to have a view of this Cathedral. These establishments have an advantage as tourists often visit just to enjoy the incredible view.
3.4 The Musée d’Orsay
The building is quite unusual, as the museum was installed in the former Orsay railway station which originated in the 1900s for the Universal Exhibition. A tourist would be amazed or impressed by the beauty of the interior design of the old ‘railway station’.This museum is internationally known for having its rich collection of ‘Impressionist art’ which also displays other artistic creations from the 1848s. Musee d’ Orsay has a variety of collections that represent all kinds of expressive form such as decorative photography, arts, sculptures and paintings that have to do with architecture.
3.5 The Louvre
The Louvre is considered to be the most visited and largest museum in the world. The museum itself is incredible since it consists one of the richest artistic treasures. It also has paintings and other items going back to 5000 years from Greek, Roman, and Oriental ancient cultures. This museum has various works from all over the world, some major paintings of World Heritage are called Venus de Milo or the most iconic painting Mona Lisa painting. Apart from paintings the museum hosts a variety of other types of art work such as sculptures and artefacts. It would take a tourist typically around 3 days to experience and see all the museum that has to offer. Tourists in search of culture and art will definitely visit this museum and there are also various restaurants and shops next to the Louvre, this allows the travellers to spend more time there.
The Parisians are very proud of their cuisine. When it comes to Parisian food, it is a known fact that you will not be left hungry or craving something better. Both professional chefs and amateurs go to Paris to experience their cuisine. There are many cooking classes being offered by professional Parisian chefs and this is very popular with tourists in Paris. Most Parisian restaurants must be pre-booked and often have dress codes. This shows that to the locals, food is viewed more as a celebration rather than a necessity.
4.1 Traditional French cuisine
Traditional French cuisine varies from little desserts such as macaroons to appetisers such as snails. In Paris, many of the restaurants take pride in their traditional food and it is rare to find them promoting generic foods such as pasta, pizza and burgers unless they include a French twist. One can find that the French cuisine is a great advantage to traveling to Paris as they will definitely eat well.
5.0 A city for all types of tourists
Paris offers attractions for all types of holiday makers. This includes families, couples, solo travellers, and big spenders. There are activities, hotels and attractions to suit all types of tourists.
Paris by day is a great place to spend with your family. One can often visit museums such as the Louvre and landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower. Paris also has its own zoo and aquarium which can be a fun activity for both children and adults. A visit to Disneyland Paris would also be suitable for families travelling to Paris.
Paris is known to be a very romantic destination. The City offers many activities for those in love, the Parisian atmosphere is enough to make an average visitor love struck. The restaurants give off a romantic atmosphere and hotels are very couple friendly, meaning that most accommodation offer different types of rooms for two, from standard to couple’s suites. Shows such as burlesque or Moulin Rouge are suitable activities for adult couples.
5.3 Solo travellers
The city also has various living communities such as hostels and bed and beverage accommodations. The group activities such as cooking classes and wine tasting is a good place to meet new people and local bars and cafes would be a great place for a solo-traveller to integrate with locals and learn city secrets.
5.4 Big spenders
If one desires a holiday without a budget, Paris is a good place to start. Many places to shop such as Avenue des Champs-Elysées. This main street is packed with high end designer shops for these types of travellers. Fine dining restaurants are very popular in Paris and there are also many hotels for these types of tourists.
6.0 Disadvantages of Paris as a Tourism Attraction
Despite all its advantages, Paris is seen to have numerous drawbacks in comparison to the stated above advantages. Below can be found a list describing some of the mutual disadvantages that tourist face when visiting Paris.
Being that Paris is a highly visited destination, restaurants take the advantage of inflating their prices especially if the location is located in a tourist attraction area. The tourist must have knowledge of what he/she would expect from that particular restaurant. Other options are available although they might not offer the same standard, or having them located in more of a remote area from the tourist attraction. Entertainment and transportation are also considered to be vastly expensive having prices ranging according to the desired destination. Museums and tourist attractions contribute to additional cost during ones visit which might influence one’s decision for visiting Paris.
In addition to the legal city tax, Paris gathers 4 euro per person every night. Rome’s city tax can go up to €6. This makes Paris’ city tax, the second highest in comparison to surrounding capital cities such as London and Berlin having their city tax as low as 5%.
According to recent statistics, this accounts for the 0.8 per cent decrease in tourism in Paris, which indicates serious economic consequences as it incurred a total loss of 1.3 billion Euros. Tourists became more cautious since the attacks of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in 2015 took place in Paris. The Parisian economy suffered huge losses due to the fact that Chinese tourists decreased significantly after the attacks. These used to spend an average of 1400 euro per head according to statistics given by the famous Galeries Lafayette stores.
Despite the fact that Paris is a highly populated destination for tourists, the fear of terrorism is still existent when selecting their destination.
6.3 Language Barrier
Apart from its cuisine, the language is considered to be conserved within Paris’ elements of culture. Locals are quite conservative when it comes to their language resulting in being a hindrance for the tourist not knowing French. The need of knowing basic words is somehow considered a must in such a city as few locals are fluent in English, making the language barrier more evident.
When choosing a destination, tourists want the peace of mind that their chosen destination has the same communication behaviour that they do. If tourists find difficulty in this, they will simply opt to visit other destinations and will not promote the place with their friends and relatives.
Like any large city in the world there can never be too many cleaners to keep the city clean 24/7. When walking along the city one might come across litter around certain corners. Being a city, a large quantity of energy and fossil fuels need to be used to keep it running smoothly, which will increase the levels of air pollution. Traffic and congestion can also contribute to the city’s lack of cleanliness. Having a population of around 2.2 million locals excluding the tourists can cause large traffic congestions resulting in pollution on a day to day basis.
A fair amount of pick pocketers could be associated with such city principally in crowded areas. One must stay on high alert when in the metro and large queues to go into any touristic attraction as these places are always targeted first. Safety measures are always present yet they are never sufficient to cope with the city’s high crime rate. Moreover, tourists are advised to take precaution and not carry more belongings than necessary. This factor could serve as a disadvantage to those seeking high level of safety being aware of such crimes going around in this prominent city. Summer is the peak season for criminality being the period with the highest number of visitors. Crime is increasing as time goes goes by, introducing different sorts of crime involving homes being broken into, vandalism, physical attacks together with bribery and drugs.
With relation to the above mentioned pick pocketers, unfortunately Paris is also prone to a variety of scams. These can be classified mainly into 5 different scenarios. A well-known scam is The Golden Ring where the tourist is misled by the value of the mentioned golden ring being found on the street by the bribing woman. The ‘Friendship’ bracelet scam is also famous in such area being pushed to buy such bracelet without the individuals’ consent. Alongside with other scams, fake charities petitions are commonly done requesting money as soon as the ‘petition’ is signed, often times the tourist himself not knowing what he/she is signing for.
After having evaluated several aspects with regards to Paris, one can conclude that it all depends on the tourist himself and how he/she makes use of the time allocated for such destination as the experience is all influenced by the decisions and actions taking place by the tourist. Culture should be conserved while making room for sustainable future developments. Having said all this, Paris will continue to be one of the top tourist destinations in the world despite all its strengths and weaknesses.