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Paris vs. London - Which one to choose?

Updated: Apr 1

About the Author: Stefanie Lambert - I have spent years traveling around Europe and now I want to share my first hand knowledge and expertise to help others fall in love with it as well.

Pont Alexandre III Paris France

When it comes to iconic European destinations, Paris and London are stand out favorites, each with its unique charm and allure. Whether you're a seasoned traveler or a first-time adventurer, choosing between these two cities can be a tough decision. Many travelers do both in one trip but these cities and surrounding areas are worthy of a trip all their own. How do you decide which one to choose? I love them both, for different reasons. Let's delve into a comparison of Paris vs. London across various aspects to help you make an informed choice for your next adventure.

City Vibes:  

building in Paris

There is no doubt about it…Paris is a beautiful city. It is stylish and grandiose, elegant and sophisticated. It has a feeling of being planned out and built to impress. Everywhere you look there are charming bistros,  characteristic streets and exquisite buildings. It is, however, a little more uniform in its vibe than London.

Street in London England

London, on the other hand, feels more eclectic. You will find tree-lined streets with rows of graceful townhomes, trendy areas with an edgy vibe and homey neighborhoods that feel like the same families have been going to the same corner pub for generations, all within a few tube stops of each other. This can make exploring London exciting because you get a bit of everything, however, it has a more haphazard vibe than Paris and feels a little less refined.

Culinary Delights: 

Crepes in Paris France

One of the delights of travel is indulging in local cuisine, and both Paris and London offer diverse culinary experiences.  French food is famous throughout the world  for its elegance. Beef Bourguignon, Coq a Vin, Gruyere cheese souffle and Escargot are all French dishes to be experienced. A stroll through the cobblestone streets might lead you to a charming boulangerie, where the aroma of freshly baked croissants fills the air. The city's bistros serve up delicate dishes with a focus on presentation. Creperies can be found everywhere and are a wonderful place to stop for a sweet or savory treat. The patisseries in France are on another level. They are absolute works of art both for your eyes and your taste buds. 

scones with clotted cream in London

On the other hand, British food has traditionally not had the renown that French food has enjoyed, but this is changing.  London's food scene is a vibrant tapestry of global flavors. From traditional fish and chips to the kaleidoscope of offerings in Borough Market, London caters to diverse tastes. The city's cultural diversity is reflected in its culinary landscape, making it a haven for food enthusiasts seeking variety. Although you can get amazing food from around the globe easily in London, make sure to try some traditional food as well. Enjoy an English high tea or afternoon tea. Pub foods are also amazing. Along with a fun and inviting environment you can get some wonderful food. These are comfort foods through and through. A Sunday roast at a neighborhood pub on a crisp fall day is an absolute delight. Shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash, toad in the hole and pot pies are other mouth watering options. Don’t forget dessert either. Sticky toffee pudding, treacle tart and strawberries and cream are some favorites…..And please, oh please,  do not forget to have scones with clotted cream and jam! They are a favorite of mine. Just ask my kids. I go on and on and on.

Day Trips: 

Versailles France

Both Paris and London offer enticing day trip options for those looking to escape the urban hustle. There are so many options in both cities it will be hard to narrow them down. Versailles is a quick bus or train ride from Paris and is absolutely astonishing. Giverny, home to Monet's gardens, is picture perfect. The Loire valley, with its fairytale chateaus, lush gardens and magical lakes is also within reach. Charming towns such as Provins, La Roche-Guyon and Gerboeroy are all memorable choices that will fill your camera roll.  

Cambridge England

London has an abundance of day trips to choose from as well. A short train ride takes you to Oxford or Cambridge, where centuries of academic excellence unfold in stunning architecture. I love to rent a boat and go punting on the river or attend an Evensong in the chapel. Alternatively, the charming town of Windsor, with its iconic castle, provides a regal retreat just outside the city. For Potterheads a visit to Warner Bros. studio is a must. You can walk through the sets that were used in the movies such as the great hall, Diagon Alley, the cupboard under the stairs and the dorm rooms. I absolutely love anything butter beer so don't miss out on that. You can even get butter beer ice cream. If picturesque villages are what you are looking for, you can’t beat the Cotswolds. Rent a bike and ride between the villages or just pick one or two and spend all day wandering and enjoying the beauty. You can also reach the south coast of England in under two hours where you can see the white cliffs of Dover or wander through seaside towns.


Language can significantly impact the travel experience. In Paris, French is obviously the language. While many locals understand English, an attempt to converse in French can endear you to the Parisian. A few basic phrases go a long way in fostering a warm rapport with the locals. You should be able to get along pretty well without knowing French, especially in the tourist areas but also be prepared for times when you need to point at the croissant you want or use google translate to ask a question. 

London, being an English-speaking city, offers a more straightforward linguistic experience for international visitors. However, the diverse array of accents can be both charming and challenging to navigate. If you speak English and you are a nervous traveler or new to European travel, it may be worth considering London as it will be easier to navigate everything in a language you understand. 


Paris France metro

Both Paris and London have great transportation options. They are both well connected to places outside the city by trains and buses. Public transportation within the city is abundant and relatively easy in both cities as well. Paris boasts an efficient metro system, weaving seamlessly through the city's iconic landmarks. The River Seine offers scenic boat rides, adding a touch of romance to your transportation choices.

Double decker bus London England

London's red double-decker buses and the iconic Underground (tube) system are not just practical but also iconic symbols of the city. The Oyster card system simplifies travel, and the extensive network ensures that no corner of London is out of reach. If you have never used a subway system before it would be wise to watch a you tube video on how they work so you can understand some of the tips and tricks. Give yourself time to get to know a system and find where you are supposed to be so that you are not stressed when trying to find a train. The citymapper app is a great tool to use when in either London or Paris. It will tell you what train to take, when it is coming and even what car of the train is the least busy.

You won’t need a car in either city. Both London and Paris are difficult to drive in and there is no need as the public transportation is excellent. Many of the areas are walkable as well. Of course, renting a car can be a great option if you want to do some day trips. Just remember that in England you will be driving on the opposite side of the road. This takes a little getting used to but can work out fine. Expert tip: If you are going to drive in London, spend some time on you-tube watching videos from the dashboard of someone driving in England. This can be very helpful in training your brain for what it will look like when you are driving.

Arts and Culture: 

Louvre Paris France

Both cities are cultural powerhouses, but they showcase their art and history in different ways. There are so many world class art museums in Paris. If you are into art, Paris is a dream come true. Paris is home to the Louvre, a sprawling museum housing some of the world's most celebrated artworks, including the Mona Lisa. Other amazing art museums are  Musee d’Orsay, Musee de l’Orangerie, the Picasso museum,  the Monet museum,  and the modern art museum.   

Natural history museum london england

London, with its West End theaters, is a global hub for performing arts. If you are into theater then London is where you want to be. I grew up on musical theater and have been to many, many events in London's west end. It is the Broadway of Europe with 39 theaters showcasing musicals and plays. The British Museum, Tate Modern, Victoria and Albert Museum, Natural History museum, National Portrait Gallery, Science Museum and the National Gallery are all fantastic museums as well and are free. Of course both cities boast world class symphonies, ballets and operas.

Must-See Sites:

Eiffel tower Paris France

No visit to these cities is complete without exploring their iconic landmarks. The Eiffel Tower stands tall as a symbol of Parisian elegance, offering panoramic views of the city. Strolling down the Champs-Élysées and visiting the Notre-Dame Cathedral (under construction) are quintessential Paris experiences.  The Sacré-Cœur, the Opera House and St. Chapelle are architectural marvels and also must-sees. Paris has some beautiful parks to relax and enjoy nature as well. Luxembourg gardens and Jardin des Tuileries are examples.

Tower bridge London England

In London, Buckingham Palace, the official residence of the British monarch, is iconic. The Houses of Parliament and the Tower Bridge are symbols of the city while a walk along the Thames River provides stunning vistas. Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral and the reconstructed Globe theater are other sites not to be missed. London's parks, including Hyde Park and Regent’s Park offer green oases within the bustling city.

London England

Paris vs. London can be a difficult choice. It ultimately depends on your preferences and interests. Paris is a city of romance, haute cuisine, and artistic elegance, while London embraces cultural diversity, historical grandeur and a vibrant theater scene. Whichever city you choose, you will not be disappointed. 

Paris France

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