It's easy to romanticize this city—and just as easy to denigrate it.
You've heard the people are rude, museums are crowded, traffic is horrendous, Champs-Elysées has become a McDonaldized strip mall, and everything is far, far too expensive. But don't think of these as obstacles to a good time.
So the people aren't as open-armed welcoming as those in the Sicilian countryside—if you don't expect them to be, you won't be disappointed.
The museums are indeed popular, so go early to beat the crowds.
As for the traffic: Don't drive; the Parisian Métro (subway) is fantastic.
Accept the Champs-Elysées for what it has become, go see a French movie in one of its multiplexes—and look for elegant Paris elsewhere.
And while Paris has the potential to be the biggest wallet drain of your entire trip, I also know of no city more chock-a-block with great values on everything from meals and hotels to shopping and museum passes.
Top hotels in Paris
Sights in Paris
• Top sights in Paris
• Free sights in Paris
• Reid's List: Paris
• Museums in Paris
• Churches in Paris
• Parks & gardens in Paris
• Markets in Paris
• Paris sightseeing discounts
• Paris in one day
• Paris in two days
• Paris in three days
• Paris in four days
Dining in Paris
Sidetrips from Paris
You've just got to be willing to search them out—and this site is devoted to helping you do just that.
Most important, while those positives and negatives are all true to some extent, they aren't the sum of the city.
Paris is a city alive, one that has managed to achieve some sort of balance between being a vibrant, modern metropolis and also a city of yesterday's heroes and dreams.
It's a town both of trendy nightclubs, cutting-edge cuisine, and the highest of high fashion, and one of venerable museums, café memories of literary greats, and a sweeping 18th- and 19th-century grandeur.
It's this balance, and the contrasts of the good sides and the bad, that keep Paris intriguing, keep it attractive, and keep an army of visitors and faithful admirers coming back year after year.