22 1 min 14 yrs

ATW Regular Colm has been in Rome. His verdict:

But I loved Rome, a better city than Paris in my opinion.

I’ve lived in both and agree. In fact I believe that Rome is astonishingly beautiful, endlessly fascinating and truly civilised, and that Paris is a dirty toilet. Others may disagree.

If you have an opinion you can discuss it here.

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22 thoughts on “ATW Cultural Corner

  1. I don’t think Paris is a dirty toilet, although it has its share of problems that are more visible to the naked eye that Romes’. While in Paris I saw queues of destitute people lining up for meals being served in the street, poor immigrant housing inside the city limits, but it has its grand sights. Once inside the inner ring road,or perifique. Certainly outside of that certain areas can be dangerous for tourists.

    However Berlin is a toilet. There is definitely an underlying aggressiveness in the air, its devoid of ‘sights’ for the tourist since it was devistated in the war, and what they are doing now is building a lot of new immitation of older and grander buildings and what are they putting inside them? Shopping malls!! Their sights are a joke, its nothing but a multicultural sink hole – but friendly to tourists if nothing else.

  2. Rome is indeed all the things that you mention Pete and Paris pales into almost insignificance by comparison. However, IMO, neither are a patch on Venice.

  3. Alas, I have never seen Rome, and I have only ever experienced Paris on a dark, foggy night one December, when you could hardly see your hand in front of your face. Hopefully in the future I’ll enjoy both cities under more relaxing circumstances.

  4. I wouldn’t say Paris is a dirty toilet, only that it doesn’t have the genuine old world charm that Rome has. It has grand buildings and it’s famous romantic vistas but it comes across as cold and aloof with it’s architecture , admirable but not really enjoyable. Rome however just has delightful little spots around every corner, lovely little squares, loads of winding cobbled streets, more elaborate little statues and baroque structures protruding from little buildings than you could shake a stick at. Also the street cafe culture is a lot more naturalistic and embedded than the rather more posey artifice of Paris’ version. Wander into many of Romes churches and you are taken aback by the treasures and sculptures within and I also found it a hell of a lot less noisy and chaotic as expected. Plus the natural and untarnished preservations of the Roman ruins and the Colliseum are awesome.

    It may have just been the time of year I was there but it impressed me. Plus I love Italian food better French and enjoyed every meal I had. It is expensive in Rome though but hey, what Capital isn’t.

  5. Paul McMahon –

    Well cities have their levels and their senses. The fabric of Rome appeals to me since I’m fascinated by the story of republican and imperial Rome. The architecture is a bonus.

    Of course, Venice also has its levels and it’s a stunner. But I have to say, in the summer it literally stinks.

  6. Paris is always worth a mass …visit! I always find the Parisians friendly, eager to talk and generally very interesting people. There is something very earthy about them, despite all that flair, that you can’t help but admire.

    It’s very hard to admire the Romans, on the other hand. Their city is so badly organised, dirty and dangerous – and everybody seems to be intent on keeping it that way – that even a lover of everything Italian, as I am, can’t be there for more than a few hours without getting impatient with them. They are far too eager to cheat, and think nothing of telling the most far-fetched lies just to get around the next corner. They also generally know little about their city, and have nothing of the deep pride in it you find among Parisians, despite what they pretend to tourists.

    Certainly Rome is a great place to be if you want to immerse yourself in history and architectural beauty – tho you can’t help feeling the beauty is more by accident than design – and if you’re willing to negotiate your way thru hoards of tourists. (One day I heard that famous quip "Quod non fecerunt barbari, fecerunt Barberini" being translated to witless visitors no less than three times, and by the looks on their faces not one of them got the pun or understood its relevance.)

    The Parisians deserve and demand respect, whereas a visitor will get away with finding the Romans "cute", which is probably why foreigners feel more at ease among the latter.

  7. Fair enough Pete, in historical terms I agree that the Venitian Republic dosen’t quite have the same prolific imperial credentials as the Roman Empire.

    Strongly disagree with you regarding the supposd smell of Venice. Have been in Venice at the height of summer [most recently having returned home three weeks ago after spending nineteen days there, averge temp 37*C], and a small part of the lagoons smelled bad on only one occasion.

  8. ‘However Berlin is a toilet’

    Afraid i disagree Gosh. I though Berlin was excellent. many a great museum, one with the original Ishtar gate of Babylon built by Nebuchadnezzer. I actually thought Berlin held its own museum wise when compared to other major cities. I was pleasently surprised. There was an excellent Stasi museum. The buildings were noticibly diff from the east and west of the city. Event the traffic lights differed. The ample man is a little green man t elling you to walk which isn’t present in the west of the city. Berlin I felt also has one the best public transport systems, trams(only in east though) tains, buses and those wierd bicycle things. All on time (am I stereotyping). The Russian embassy still has a big Lenin Face on the rear side street. All the hisory, Checkpoint Charlie is basically a micky D’s though. The nightlife in Berlin is unreal too. I can’t imagine anyone not liking it.

    Paris, is no toilet either. Pere Lachaise cemetery is off the beaten track but a must. So many famous people buried in one cemetry. Also some of the Tombs are the size of mansions. All the usual sites lived up to the hype so much so that each of the 5 times I’ve been there, I’ve still went and vistied them all again. I lived in the Lourve pissing off my better half who isn’t really into museums (Im boring).

    Rome is great, Easter mass at the Vatican is awesome. Although as i was in my teens while I was there (years ago) a swiss guard had to tell me to get down off the ornate lamp stand i had climbed on to gain a better view. Milan I remember being very industrial looking, but Florence I liked the most.

  9. Noel Cunningham –

    It’s funny. We’re not even discussing (geo)politics here and my view is the exact opposite of yours. I lived in Rome for two years and found Romans to be genuinely warm and joyfully nuts. For the two years I was there I’d think nothing of strolling through town at any tme of night. It’s as safe and civilised as anywhere Ive been.

    On the other hand I always found Parisiennes to be cold and aloof, the city a (well I’ve said that already) and more dangerous than Romans could believe.


  10. Well Milan is, [was?], the industrial heartland of northern Italy RS but I don’t think that it can be described as industrial in the same way as Belfast, Glasgow or Birmingham. Perhaps industrial in the same sense that Bilbao is an industrial city?

    BTW, agree completely re Pere Lachaise, one of Paris’s hidden gems.

  11. Daphne

    The beauty of Rome and Paris combined cannot compare with that photo of you in the Fur coat on your blog.

  12. Daphne, mia cara, ma chérie d’amour, Rome and Paris, you, me and my ten gallon hat, it’s a date.

  13. I woudln’t get too attached to either city. Another few years or so and they’ll all look like Tehran, Cairo etc…..

  14. Point taken Colm.

    From your past threads I’ve noted the effect Daphne can have on you. :0)

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