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 observations highlights this tourist significance of Paris and its many advantages and disadvantages as a tourism attraction.
3.0 Advantages of Paris as a Tourism Attraction
Paris also known as the ‘City of Lights’, which boasts of many years of historical development which in more ways than one left and to a certain extent is still leaving a huge impact. Paris a is place of interest where tourists visit for a number of reasons which include cultural aspects, historical buildings, leisure and so on. 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 can get very crowded in peak months between July and December. There are thousands of reviews that are left by various visitors that claim that these location are worth the visit.
3.2 The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower was the main exhibit in the World’s fair in 1889. During the French Revolution, the Eiffel Tower was used to demonstrate France’s industrial prowess to the world. It is considered to be one of the most famous and iconic landmark in history, 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 that includes several buffets, their own champagne bar and unique gift shops. Also there are 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, that takes tourists 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 that vary according to 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 truly is. It is definitely one of the main reasons as 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 detail on stained glass windows that
showed a heavy influence of naturalism. It is now one of the most famous and oldest cathedrals in France. Tourists are free to visit the Notre Dame and it is known to be very busy all year round. Within the vicinity of the Cathedral there are various Parisian 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 was originated in the 1900s for the Universal Exhibition. A tourist would be 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 forms such as decorative photography, and sculptures.
3.5 The Louvre
The Louvre is considered to be the most visited and largest museum in the world. The museum consists one of the richest artistic treasures. It also has paintings and other items going back to 5000 years ago, from Greek, and Roman times. This museum has various works from all over the world, which include some major paintings from World Heritage, such as 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 to see all the museum. Tourists who search for 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. 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 to the locals, that 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 tourists 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. There are also shows to watch such as burlesque or Moulin Rouge that 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 great place to meet new people. 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. There are many places one can 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 what was stated above advantages. In the following text, there can be found a list describing some of the disadvantages that tourist face when visiting Paris.
Paris is a highly visited destination, where restaurants take the advantage of increasing 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. There are other available options, 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 quiet expensive; having prices ranging according to the desired destination. Museums and tourist attractions contribute to additional cost, during the tourists visit which may 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 that occurred with a total loss of 1.3 billion Euros. Tourists became more cautious because of the attacks of the Charlie Hebdo massacre that occurred in 2015.
The Parisian economy suffered huge losses due to the fact that Chinese tourists decreased significantly after the attacks. Chinese tourists spent 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 choosing 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, creating a language barrier.
When choosing a destination, tourists want to be at 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.
In 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. A city has a large quantity of energy and fossil fuels that need to be used to keep running smoothly, which will increase the levels of air pollution. Traffic and congestion can also contribute to the city’s lack of cleanliness. Paris’s population consists of around 2.2 million locals excluding the tourists, which 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 mainly in crowded areas. A tourist or local must stay on high alert when they are in the metro station. The metro stations are practically always full with people, so it is easier for a pick pocketer to steal from tourists or locals. Safety measures are always present, yet they are never sufficient enough to cope with the city’s high crime rate. Additionally, tourists are advised to take precaution and not carry belongings if necessary. This 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 each years, due to crimes that involve homes being broken into, vandalism, physical attacks together with bribery and drugs.
Paris is also prone to a variety of scams. These can be classified mainly into five different scenarios. A well-known scam is ‘The Golden Ring’, where a tourist is being misled by the value of the golden ring being found on the street by those involved in a criminal act. The ‘Friendship’ bracelet scam is also known in the area, with customers being somehow forced to purchase a bracelet. Along with other scams, fake charities petitions are commonly done when requesting money as soon as the ‘petition’ is signed 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 a destination, as the experience is all influenced by the decisions and actions taking place by the tourist. Culture should be preserved, while making room for sustainable future developments. Having said, Paris will continue to be one of the top tourist destinations in the world despite all its strengths and weaknesses.