It’s known as “Little Paris” (it even has its own Arch of Triumph), but Bucharest doesn’t quite have the same feel as the city of lights and love—at least, not at first glance. With a mix of glorious French-styled palaces, a scattering of medieval ruins and grim communist-era housing blocks, it seems as though Bucharest doesn’t quite know what it is. But therein lies part of its appeal. Bucharest is a city with a story to tell, one that can be seen through the mixed personality of its streets. Much of Bucharest’s medieval architecture was destroyed under the rule of communist president Nicolae Ceauşescu, who tore down and rebuilt the city in his own version of grey modernism. And the city’s massive Palace of Parliament is the world’s second-biggest building—and a story of excess in the face of poverty. Bucharest is fascinating, intriguing and moving forward in culture, entertainment and tourism, but remains with its past firmly remembered in every inch of the city.