Righto, let's get usual stuff out of the way. Yes, Paris was beautiful - probably the prettiest city I've ever seen, city of love blah blah blah. Yes, we loved it. No, I didn't propose to Jess at the top of the Eiffel Tower (more on that later - the tower, not the proposal. Ok both). Pretty Paris? Absolutely. Picturesque? Is the Pope Catholic? But perfect? Hell no!
GARY RANT ALERT!
The problem with Paris? People. Lots of em. Tonnes. Every square inch of the city is more crowded than a lifeboat on the Titanic. Now I can live with crowds provided everyone keeps to themselves and doesn't get in my face. In Paris? Not a chance! Firstly, every queue is longer than the Western Bulldog's premiership drought. Wanna see the Eiffel Tower or Versailles? That's a minimum one hour wait (one hour and 45 mins in the case of Versailles - and that's just to get to the gate, then you queue for every. single. room.)
Secondly, you cannot see the landmarks of Paris without being harassed and harangued at 3 second intervals by dodgy characters trying to sell you knock-off trinkets of typical Parisian landmarks (if I see another light-up mini Eiffel Tower I'm going to insert it somewhere where it will fit snuggly). If they're not doing that, they're shoving roses in your face or your partner's face (when I say "in your face" I mean the rose ends up with your snot on it). And failing that, they'll pester you to buy warm beer or champagne from them for some ridiculously inflated price (one bloke started at €20 and after ignoring him for 3 minutes, he'd dropped down to €5 - that's falling faster than Fairfax's share prices!). Want a peaceful and (heaven forbid) romantic moment with your loved one under the lights of the Eiffel Tower? You've got better chances of making sense of a statement from Anthony Mundine!
Which brings me to the question…..why in the hell would ANYONE want to propose to anyone at the Eiffel Tower? It's fuller than a fat chick's boot all day long and I had a tourist leaning over me every 2 seconds to take that all important photo of the view. As if their picture will be the first and greatest picture ever taken of that scene. Just Google image "Eiffel Tower" and I think you'll find that it's already covered folks. Put your crappy smartphone away and leave the pics to the experts (like Jess) please! For all these reasons and more I have come to the conclusion that the Eiffel Tower is many things, but romantic is not one of them.
Ok rant over, let's end on a positive note. Paris is unbelievably pretty. It actually hurt to look at buildings because they were so pretty. The Palace of Versailles is the most beautiful thing I've seen since David Coverdale's hair in Whitesnake's "Here I Go Again" video clip. I can't even put into words what I was seeing. I never even thought it was possible for a building to make me feel that way. Pictures don't do it justice. Just get down there and see the damn thing. It's worth all the trouble you have to go through to see it. After seeing it, I can understand why Kim Kardashian and Kanye West wanted to get married there. And after seeing Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, I can understand why the Palace told them to w*** off!
And the Eiffel Tower? Yeah it's awesome. The view from the top is worth the 670 agonising stairs (because the lift is for pussies who aren't travelling on our shoestring budget. And Jess wanted to have a race to the top. She beat me so badly she's still picking out pieces of my ass from her shoes). It's a remarkable tribute to human achievement borne out of nothing other than wanting to impress people and do something because it would be awesome.
The final verdict on Paris? It's a must see place. But once you've seen, you may never want to go back.
Next stop: Bruges, Belgium