Comparing Travel to London and Paris – Where Should You Go
I have been asked by Americans who are planning a vacation to Europe whether they should spend their time in London or Paris. My first impression is to divide your time equally, because to me each city is an absolute treat to visit. So I did a little online research, and the strong feelings tourists have of each city, especially Paris, is very strong. I’ll try to give a few unbiased thoughts, as I think both places have amazing, and yet different strong points.
The two cities can be covered on a one-week trip, as it is less than two and one-half hours between St. Pancras in London and Gare du Nord in downtown Paris. Plus going through security on the Eurostar is much quicker than by flying. There are also a lot of options to choose from.
So let’s cover a few great things about each city.
• Paris. Of the two cities, London does have good architecture, but Paris’s is great. Both have iconic structures, but in Paris they’re all over. Paris also has one of the great city thoroughfares in the world: the Champs Elysees. You really should try to walk this street, and it has the iconic Arc de Triumph on the west end that you’ll see the entire walk. London in contrast doesn’t have a street that can really be called its main street.
Most people who have issues with Paris will talk about the language difficulties and the people. People can be arrogant everywhere, but when the French are arrogant it’s apparently because they’re French. I have met wonderful people in both Paris and London, as well as a few in both cities I’d just as soon forget. I think it goes with the territory no matter where you are.
• London. The West End has the finest theater in the world, and you can get same-day discounted tickets for many shows. I also think London has a greater sense of history, although Paris does as well. The pubs in London all come with stories, and I think every pub in London claims to be haunted.
On the negative side, London’s weather is not as good. I thought that there were probably about 30 days in the year when the weather was glorious, and on those days the Londoners come out in droves.
As for what both cities have to offer, start with public transportation. You will have to do some walking, but both cities have an online transportation sites that can help you immensely. Both cities are centered on great rivers: the Thames in London and the Seine in Paris. Both are also great walking cities, with those rivers the two focal points. Both cities are well work any time you are able to spend in them, and you can’t go wrong wherever you decide to go.