Oct 2nd, 2016, 09:00 PM

Busting the Myth: Are the Paris Hot Spots Actually Worth It?

By Zipporah Alcaraz
Image Credit: Flickr/Lin Padgham
Unveiling Paris tourist traps one step at a time.

Myth #1: You must go up the Eiffel Tower

Image Credit: Flickr/Christopher Sammer

Reaction: When you think about Paris, one of the first things that comes to mind is the Eiffel Tower. Following you where ever you go, you'll never miss out on its beauty. Although a fantastic site to see, one downside is how much it costs to get to the top. One ticket is 17€ and the queue line waiting to go up is horrifying. You can skip the line and take the stairs to the first floor, but you're not allowed to take them the rest of the way up. Scaling the Eiffel Tower is quite an experience, but paying for the sight is pretty overrated.

Alternative: Head up to Sacré-Cœur. It's a free view of the entire city and you get the chance to visit the beautiful chapel. One you finish, you can walk around the cosmopolitan Montmartre neighborhood for a true Parisian experience. Also, if you want an even better view, you can climb up to the dome for only 6€, less than half the price for the Eiffel Tower, and you can get an awesome view of the city with all the best monuments. Though it is quite a bit of a workout to get there, the struggle is definitely worth it.

Bonus! For those of you who are lazy or can't climb the stairs, there are elevators but they are not free. Womp.

Myth #2: Angelina's has the BEST hot chocolate in the world

Image Credit: Flickr/Tom Bennett

Reaction: As a lover of hot chocolate, I was very excited to have a taste of Angelina's world-renowned hot chocolate. However, I quickly found myself disappointed after seeing the price tag of 8.20€. C'est trop cher, my friends, c'est trop cher indeed. Being a broke college student, I really couldn't grasp how such a small thing could be so expensive. It's such a tiny cup! Taking it to go is half price, which I obviously did, BUT only get it if you're into rich, intense and creamy hot chocolate. Maybe if I had something else to go with it, it would be as great as everyone makes it out to be, but unfortunately I wasn't impressed.

Alternative: Find an Eric Kayser. That's all I have to say.

Myth #3: Shop till you drop on Champs Élysées

Image Credit: Flickr/oatsy40

Reaction: If you want to go shopping, avoid the Champs Élysées. There are too many people, the shops are over priced, and it's missing the romantic Paris ambience. It's more of a "move out of the way," "people are annoying," hectic kind of vibe. Although I must say the walk towards the Arc de Triomphe is pretty fun if you ignore the hoard of selfie stick-armed shoppers surrounding you. The only acceptable time to hit the Champs is during Christmas time for the market, but other than that it kind of sucks. 

Alternative: Hit the boutiques and thrift shops in Le Marais. It's less crowded, much more local, affordable, AND there are more options. It's basically shopping heaven! If you're a thrifter like me, Kilo Shop is the place to go. They don't charge you on individual pieces, but instead they charge you by the kilo, meaning you get more bang for your buck. If you're looking for boutiques, you'll find plenty just walking around the whole area, but mentionable streets are rue Charlot, rue Vielle de Temple, and rue des Rosiers. 

Myth #4: Ladurée Macarons are a MUST

Image Credit: Zipporah Alcaraz

Reaction: Ladurée is a dreamlike experience, it's like you're entering a pastry palace. As you walk in, the exquisitely detailed interior alone is breath taking, while a rainbow of macarons and assorted pastries await you. However, at this time I must wake you up and bring you back to reality. Once you pay at the counter, you'll be pained to know the price doesn't match with the taste once you try your beautiful pastries. Though delicious and sweet like any other macaron, the price seems to be adjusted in order to make up for the pretty box and wrapping paper. I've had non-Ladurée macarons before, and to be honest, any macaron in Paris is just as good, maybe even better.

Alternative: Forget about Macarons and get some ice cream! You will forget your name once you have a taste of Berthillon's delicious gift to this earth. They have a wide assortment of flavors, and it's super close to Le Marais, so after you finish your shopping relax with a small cup of heaven! 

Myth #5: See the Mona Lisa Smile

Image Credit: Pixabay/Foundry

Reaction: When you go to see the Mona Lisa, the last thing you want to do is smile. The wait can be up to two hours and the end result of your patience is pushing through a massive group of people over a tiny piece of art. I am not a very patient person, so waiting for something is really not my idea of fun, especially for something so unsatisfying. Though the Mona Lisa is a beautiful piece, it's not really worth all the trouble. There are plenty of other pieces of art in the world, even in the Louvre, with much more allure and mystery.

Alternative: Go to the Musée d'Orsay! The museum is not as big as the Louvre, giving you a chance to really take in all of the enchanting pieces around you. The place does not just hold pieces made throughout history, but is itself part of the past, having begun as a train station. If you don't have a lot of time on your hands or aren't sure what to look for, check out our quick guide to the top pieces to see in this stunning museum.