Two cities separated by only a few hundred miles, the English Channel (or La Manche, to give it its French name), and a tunnel…
But you couldn’t find two cities so different from each other. From the language to the currency, the café culture to the fabled rudeness of French waiters…
So, let’s put the two country capitals head to head, and see which one comes out top.
Cost of Living
Some things are incredibly more expensive in London, notably using public transport, at 167% dearer than Paris. However, on the flip side – average salaries are higher in London by around 22%.
Study and University
But it’s far more affordable to study in the French capital, with university fees being dramatically lower – by around 10 times less.
Despite this, London has a higher percentage of international students than Paris (figures in the top universities in 2014 showed that London’s international student community took up 41% of places, against 19% in Paris).
There’s no way we can announce a winner in this section – both cities are amazing places to explore.
However, as mentioned above, London’s public transport is way more expensive than that of Paris. A monthly season ticket in Paris will cost around £50. In London, be prepared to shell out £130 for the same.
Taxis are also more expensive in London – around £1.99 per km versus £.0.87 in Paris. Petrol used to be much cheaper in Paris, but today that’s not true. You’ll pay around £1 per litre in France against £1.15 in London.
Both the capitals are great walking cities. Although London is somewhat bigger in area, when it comes to all the major attractions, both are easy to navigate on foot. There are many walking guides, both in printed and electronic form.
One slightly off the wall app is Movie Map London – which shows you exactly where some of the most famous films in London were shot. Think Harry Potter, Batman Begins, The Bourne Ultimatum, and The Da Vinci Code to name a few.
A great app for Paris is Keys to the Fleas, which shares the best of the city’s flea markets and brocantes.
Places to Stay
Both are powerful rivers that meander through the very heart of each city. You can take boat trips in London, or the Bateau Mouche in Paris – each providing a unique perspective of the city from the water.
London also has a whole host of other waterways – from canals to subterranean flows – that are known as London’s Lost Rivers.
Paris doesn’t have anything quite like that, but if you’re interested, you can take a tour of the underground Parisian sewer systems – the Musee des Egouts de Paris.
From designer clothes to vintage boutiques, and with some of the best bakeries and patisseries on the planet – it’s a slam-dunk for Paris here.
London – we salute you! Paris may well have cleared up its act over the last few years (we’d now say it’s grubby, rather than dirty), but London has done a sterling job in tidying up its streets over recent years.
OK, so Paris is a little further south than London, beating the UK capital by a couple of degrees if you look on the average temperature scale.
However, both cities are prone to rain, and both have cold winters and warmer summers. Paris does have historically longer hours of sunshine (13 hours per day, versus 8 hours per day) in the height of summer.
We can’t talk about these two great cities without mentioning the option of eating out – and yes, the French are world famous for their cooking skills. Paris has many Michelin starred restaurants – slightly more than London.
However, London has a fantastic selection of food from around the world – more so than Paris.
Paris certainly takes the trophy for independent coffee shops.
Well, we never promised to come up with an out and out winner…
But if we can appear not too biased, there are some other reasons why we think that London just pips Paris at the post…
For example, Will and Kate, Prince Harry, red London buses, 5 airports (yes, 5!) versus 2, The Queen, Boris Johnson…
But seriously – both cities are amazing places, both to visit and to live.
Both are multicultural, diverse, boast amazing historical buildings, are relatively safe, and are easy to get around. When it comes to which city is the best, it really does boil down to a matter of personal choice.