With flights between the two taking around 40 minutes, never have two more vibrant, cosmopolitan cities been so accessible to the other. And whether you live in London or Paris, it is undeniable that both cities have tonnes to offer. From river cruises and red light districts to stunning palaces, the English and French capitals have irrefutable similarities. But which city has the most to offer? Let’s find out…
Standing tall and dominating the skylines of both cities, the iconic structures of the London Eye and the Eiffel Tower reign supreme. Although neither are the tallest buildings in each city, these structures rake in the revenue; providing the perfect photographic backdrop and a hard-to-forget experiences for tourists the world over.
Both London and Paris have hugely popular tourist attractions, recognised globally. Of course Paris has Disneyland, which trumps London’s out-of-town theme parks of Legoland and Thorpe Park…but for central attractions…London truly pips the post. Whilst Paris is home to an array of fantastic, world-renowned museums, magnificent historic buildings, a zoo and its very own waxwork museum, the Musée Grévin, the city just cannot compete with London.
From the London Aquarium, HMS Belfast, Madame Tussauds and the London Dungeons, to the unrivalled open spaces of the Royal Parks, the English capital has a wealth of amazing attractions. And not forgetting the Olympic Park at Stratford!
With any large city, it is fundamental to both occupants and visitors to have a great transport infrastructure. And London really does set the tone for great transport links. The London Underground, for example, is the oldest rapid transport system in the world and is currently going through mass renovation and a programme of upgrades. And the ‘tube’ is supported by a vast network of over ground rail, buses, riverboats and to-hire commuter bikes.
Whilst the RER in Paris is pretty decent, the Parisian version of the underground is awful. The ‘Metro’ has some modernised stations, but the majority of the network is smelly, dirty and dark; which doesn’t make for a pleasant travel experience. And since the main attractions of Paris are fairly spaced out, using the public transport system is a must.
Whilst London certainly has the edge for central attractions, Paris wins hands down for day trips. With Disneyland Paris less than an hour away by train from five major RER stations, dreams really can come true. The resort had two parks; Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, and a restaurant/leisure area sitting between the two. You can even stay in one of the many Disney hotels surrounding the parks, with accommodation suiting every budget.
Alternatively, for something a bit more grown-up, the famous Palace of Versailles is a maximum journey time of 90 minutes by Metro and RER, dependent on where in Paris you are located. Although London has its own grand palaces and estates surrounding the city, none of them can beat the majesty of Versailles and its beautiful gardens.
London does have some great out of town attractions, such as Hampton Court Palace, Windsor, Thorpe Park, Legoland and Chessington…Paris scoops the award!
Life in a city is, most of the time, utterly fantastic and exciting…but at times, it can feel claustrophobic; which is why open space is a necessity. London boasts the most incredible open spaces and parks, with 8 Royal Parks and hundreds of smaller parks and areas of green space. From Regents Park to Hampstead Heath and Greenwich Park to the botanical gardens at Kew, there is no other city that rivals London on its parks.
Paris boasts the Jardin du Champ de Mar, by the Eiffel Tower, which, granted, has a stunning view. Similarly, the Bois de Boulogne is gorgeous, and may in fact be larger than London’s Hyde Park. But still, Paris…you can’t steal this crown from London!
If we’re going off Michelin star restaurants, then Paris wins hands down, beating London by 20. And, shockingly, London has double the amount of McDonalds than Paris.
Despite London boasting a varied range of cuisines from across the globe, the French have the kerbside culture down to a tee. Whether you are stopping for a quick baguette and beer, or sitting down to a three course menu, French gastronomy is up there with the best of them. It is classic, simple, yet elegant. Often, in Paris, it is best to wander off the beaten track to discover where the locals eat…look for smaller, bustling bistros, such as Le Bougainville or Bistro Volnay. Or, if you fancy a taste of the high life, try the established Le Tour D’Argent or Akrame.
Whilst Paris does have that ‘je nais se quoi’…London is definitely ‘calling’, pardon the pun! Attracting over 16million tourists a year, the English capital certainly knows how to have a good time! London, we salute you!