A little while back, I wrote a post in defense of that which is dismissed as too ‘touristy’ and therefore shunned. I don’t know what’s prompting me to do so now, but I’ve decided to make a brief list outlining examples that support the argument I was making in said post:
“…just because something is frequented by tourists, it does not make it an undesirable place to visit per se […] shun all things “touristy” and you will miss out on some of the most fascinating or beautiful things the world has to offer.”
So, to illustrate this point with some actual examples, I give you…
5 Extremely Touristy/Cliché Things to Do in Paris Which Are Also Really Wonderful (in no particular order…):
- Picnicking on the Champs de Mars. Often not as crowded as some of the less ‘touristy’ parks, and the surrounding trees lend a surprisingly secluded feel to the spot.
- Taking a river cruise along the Seine. Especially in the evening. Especially one of the dinner cruises. But also just the normal sightseeing cruises. Aim to catch both sunset and full sundown.
- Having a hot chocolate at Les Deux Magots. Barely-liquid heaven, so thick and rich is that stuff. Although I do think doing likewise at Café de Flore is overrated; I tried their house chocolat chaud, and it was nice, but not in the same mind-blowing, tastebud-bedazzling league as its aforementioned neighbour and rival. For more chocolatey details, you can read about my experiences at Les Deux Magots here and that at Café de Flore here. Warning: not to be read whilst hungry.
- Taking a wine-and-cheese tasting session/class. Yes, it will probably be in English. No, that will not diminish the taste of the wine or the cheese. The sommeliers really know their stuff, whatever language they’re conveying it in.
- Visiting Shakespeare & Co. Be sure to go upstairs, and feel free to stop and read a while. If you’re lucky, someone might be adding to the ambience via the old piano in the corner of the cosy little back room.
Of course, there are many, many more examples I could add to this list – these are just the ones I had in mind this afternoon. To be honest, I’m pretty sure I’ve enjoyed just about every typically ‘touristy’ activity I’ve done in Paris so far… What can I say? Tourists love ’em for a reason!
I don’t usually do ‘questions to the audience’, but I really would be interested to know – what would you add to the list?