Paris has got quite the reputation for itself. The city of love, culture and cuisine. All of these things are summed up best on one specific night of the year – New Year’s eve. Now, having finally experienced New Year’s eve in several different places around the world, I feel that I am suitably qualified to comment on whether it is actually worth going to the world’s most romantic city on the world’s most romantic day.
It is, without doubt, a special city. The amount of history and beauty crammed together into it is just amazing. Couple that with all the hidden gems that it has to offer, as well as the food and the wine and you have a recipe for a “world-class” city.
We do not go to cities more than once, generally speaking, but this city is one of those exceptional places that you have to just keep going back to. It doesn’t matter if you have seen the Eiffel Tower before, seeing it again just makes it even more astounding (even if I did first think that it looked like an overgrown electricity pylon – probably due to my British bitterness). Everything about Paris (and by this I mean the centre – as opposed to the outskirts, about which I have next to no knowledge) reminds you of why it is a fantastic place to be.
New Year’s eve in Paris had to be a success. Not only did we have a plan, but we had the means to carry it out, as well as no doubt that it would be one of the most memorable days of our lives- there were, however, a few surprises.
What we expected:
What we got:
Our expectations turned out to be founded on a very poor basis. New Years = fireworks. No.
Although the bottom picture is beautiful, it is no different to any other time in Paris, as opposed to the top photo.
The problem is that the first photo is actually not from New Years, as there are currently no fireworks that are launched from the Eiffel Tower at that time, instead they are launched on Bastille Day (July 14th), which commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution. This was a stupid mistake from our part, but since we made it we are sure that are others would do the same, so take our warning and don’t expect it!
What actually happened was a 5-minute light show projected onto the arc de triomphe which you can watch here:
This was a massive disappointment for us, not only did we not have any show to see at the Eiffel Tower, but the replacement was what could be politely referred to as “vanilla”. It was neither good, nor bad. Okay in the moment and then instantly forgotten.
It turns out that most French people for New Years prefer to have private parties, go to a club, or simply go out for something to eat. We had booked ahead at an Indian restaurant that was a stones throw from the hotel, but we decided to eat quite early so that we could go to see the show if we fancied it, but having seen the previous years offering, we decided it would be best to just watch it on television. Yes, that’s right. We were in Paris, on New Year’s eve, watching the celebration in our hotel room.
We had spent the whole day doing everything there was to do in Paris, things that are truly amazing and beautiful – really too many things to name. So, in comparison to that, it was simply a non-starter.
However, the day after the main event, when everyone was still in bed asleep, we got in the car to leave. Just when we thought all hope was lost in terms of a magical experience, we realised that we had the whole of Paris to ourselves – and this will truly be a memory that lasts forever, slowly meandering our way along the Parisian roads with no other cars in sight.
In short, Paris is a lot cheaper at other times of year and still has exactly the same amount of beauty to offer. Going at New Years, for us, is just buying into the hype rather than actually going to see something amazing. If you want to go at Christmas, then fine, it’s beautiful. But, if you want to go somewhere to experience a “magical” New Year (which, let’s face it, usually involves kissing under some fireworks), this really isn’t for you.
Have you been to Paris for New Years? What did you think of it? Are we simply over-reacting?