The constant river Seine flows through the heart of Paris, a meandering muse that divides the city into two distinct halves, the rive droite (the right bank, or northern half) and the rive gauche (the left bank, or southern half). Most travelers find themselves strangely attracted to one side or the other and remain fondly enamored for the rest of their lives.
Are you gauche or droite? Answer the questions below and find out.
1. On the flight to France you are dreaming of the perfect Parisian dining experience. You see yourself:
A. Seated in an elegant restaurant having a fabulous five-course meal
B. At a sunset picnic overlooking the river Seine or under the Eiffel Tower, savoring a bottle of red wine
2. You arrive in Paris, but your luggage does not! You need some new clothes, and fast. You grab some euros and go:
A. Right to rue Saint-Honore to the houses of high fashion and haute couture like Louis Vuitton and Chanel- after all, you are in Paris!
B. To browse at street markets, boutiques, and small student shops on the Boulevard St-Michel- maybe you can find a deal!
3. Ah, a night on the town! You can’t understand much French, but you know that body language will help you comprehend the story of the:
A. Ballet at the opulent 19th century Opera Garnier
B. Comedy show in a restored art house theatre near Odeon
4. Before the show, you want to celebrate cocktail hour à la française. You are found:
A. With a glass of champagne in the swanky bar at the Ritz hotel
B. Sharing a carafe of table wine at a sidewalk café
5. You’re hopping on the train for a day trip. You take the:
A. RER C to Versailles, the magnificent gilded chateau and expansive gardens built by France’s greatest king, Louis XIV
B. Train from Gare St-Lazare to Giverny, the small cottage home and tangled gardens of Impressionist painter Claude Monet
6. Which other city do you dream about visiting (or LOVED when you were there)?
7. After an inspiring week in Paris, you only have one afternoon left to take in an art museum. You take the Metro to:
A. The Louvre, for a quick foray into the largest art museum in the world; enough great artwork for a lifetime of afternoons, but you can still see the classics in a former royal palace: the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Delacroix, Michelangelo and Raphael
B. The Musee d’Orsay where you head to the third floor to stare in wonder at an amazing array of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists such as Monet, Manet, Renoir, Gauguin, and Van Gogh, all housed in a converted train station
8. Paris is the capital of style. Which words best describe yours?
A. Classy and refined with a touch of glamour
B. Bohemian and unique with just a little funkiness
9. If you left Paris without doing this, you would be crushed:
A. Strolling down the Champs-Elysées to the dramatic Arc de Triomphe
B. Sitting in a sidewalk café with a coffee or a glass of wine, watching the world swirl around you
10. And finally, imagine yourself as a soon-to-be-famous Parisian living three hundred years ago. Who are you?
A. The future King or Queen, in line to take the throne and rule the country
B. The next big avant-garde artist, soon to be discovered for your innovative style
What is your score?
If you answered mostly A’s: You have an innate appreciation for the finer things in life and are drawn to Paris for the glamour, elegance, style, and romance it epitomizes, and you are in good company. You will love the RIGHT BANK, just as kings, queens, nobles and celebrities have for centuries. Stroll down the tree-lined boulevards, relax in the garden of the Palais Royale, imagine yourself with a chic address in the Place des Vosges, and enjoy the pomp, grandeur, and sophistication of the rive droite.
If you answered mostly B’s: You are attracted to the unconventional and the offbeat and are interested in experiencing the real Paris. You belong on the LEFT BANK, drinking a café express at the tables that countless writers, artists, and philosophers have occupied before you. Get lost in the winding streets of the Latin Quarter, explore the art galleries of Saint-Germain, plan for a picnic in Luxembourg Garden, and immerse yourself in the free-spirited energy of the rive gauche.
Of course, no city can be broken down into two definable parts, not the least Paris. There are dozens of neighborhoods in this cosmopolitan city, each with their distinctive feeling and moods; even a certified leftie can find themselves drawn to the royal Tuileries Gardens, and a rightbanker may become captivated by the boisterous Mouffetard Market. So don’t define yourself or the city so easily, instead, travel toward what thrills you, explore all that you can and you will always grow into a more enriched human being!