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London vs Paris: What’s the Difference? [City Comparison]

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Which is your favorite destination, London vs. Paris? If you still can’t draw a line, here are facts and differences between the two cities to help you make that choice.

Picking a favorite city between London and Paris can be tricky. It is always a struggle since both of these great cities are famous for their soul-refreshing experiences and iconic attractions.

Most tourists find it hard to pick one holiday destination between London and Paris. They are at the heart of two great European nations.

While London is the capital of England and the United Kingdom, it is also the largest city in the country. The city stands on the River Thames in South East England and dates back to Roman times.

On the other hand, Paris is France’s capital city, located in the north-central part of the nation. Like London, it stands along the Seine River. Paris has a rich European history and is regarded as a global center for culture, fashion, art, and gastronomy.

Besides being great cities, each has unique advantages over the others. So, if you are planning to embark on a trip or change your residence and can’t quite choose between the two, don’t get stressed.

These differences will give you a clear distinction to help you decide.

FactorLondonParis
Top AttractionsTower of London, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Big BenEiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Palace of Versailles
MuseumsBritish Museum, National Gallery, Tate Modern, Victoria and Albert MuseumLouvre, Musée d’Orsay, Centre Pompidou, Musée Rodin
Parks & GardensHyde Park, Regent’s Park, St. James’s Park, Kensington GardensLuxembourg Gardens, Tuileries Garden, Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, Jardin des Plantes
Food SceneDiverse cuisine, famous for fish and chips, roast dinners, and afternoon teaRenowned for its gastronomy, known for croissants, baguettes, cheese, and wine
ShoppingOxford Street, Covent Garden, Harrods, Camden MarketChamps-Élysées, Le Marais, Galeries Lafayette, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré
TransportationExtensive underground system (the Tube), red double-decker buses, black cabsEfficient metro system, RER trains, buses, and trams
LanguageEnglishFrench (many people in the tourism industry speak English)
CurrencyPound Sterling (GBP)Euro (EUR)
WeatherMild climate with frequent rain throughout the yearModerate climate with cool winters and warm summers
Day TripsWindsor Castle, Stonehenge, Bath, OxfordPalace of Versailles, Giverny, Disneyland Paris, Chartres Cathedral

Top Differences Between London and Paris

Here are some of the more important differences between London and Paris that you should know.

  1. London vs Paris size

Westminster Abbey with Red Telephone Booth in London
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

London is among the largest metropolitan areas in Europe, as it covers an estimated area of 1,572 square kilometers. The city is quite extensive in terms of square area.

On the other hand, Paris is also a large city but covers much less area than London. Paris covers an estimated 105 square kilometers, which means London is 15 times larger than Paris.

Paris appears smaller than London’s central business district. However, some might argue that the French authorities do not consider the attached suburbs part of Paris, resulting in a small city.

See Related: Best Things to Do in London, England

  1. London vs Paris Population

Eiffel Tower and Trocadéro Gardens on a sunny day
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Although Paris is smaller in terms of area coverage, the city is one of Europe’s most densely populated cities. The greater Paris region is estimated to host 12.4 million people, while inner Paris is home to 2.14 million. Paris has a population density of 20,700 people per square kilometer.

On the other hand, London is home to an average of 8.9 million people. It has a lesser population density of 5,518 people per square kilometer. If you are looking for a less populous city, then London would be a perfect fit for you when comparing London vs. Paris.

See Related: London vs. New York City

  1. Culture

Culture

Although there are lots of similarities between the two cities in terms of culture, it is vital to note some of the differences. Most people fail to acknowledge the cultural gap, and it can be quite a shock for them when they visit the two cities.

These cultural differences mainly stem from the cultural differences between England and France. For instance, in England, a handshake is the standard way to greet a person.

Also, in London, language is not a significant factor as the British assume everyone speaks English. The language here is less tight and free-flowing.

Londoners will also be willing to engage in deep, lengthy conversations. When holding a meeting over a drink, people in London prefer assembling at a local pub instead of a restaurant.

On the other hand, French culture accepts a handshake, although a kiss is a conventional way of saying hello. If you don’t like the whole kissing thing, you can brush your cheeks and kiss the air.

The French are quite protective of their language. Therefore, while in Paris, try to speak some French. The Parisians appreciate it when foreigners work to speak their language, no matter how rusty it might be. Most conversations with strangers in Paris will be small talk and chitchat.

When meeting with someone for a drink,  the French urbanites plan to meet and head to a café where they will drink their espressos as they enjoy their time.

  1. Working in London vs Paris

Working in London vs Paris

London was once declared the second-best city to work or do business globally by the Economist magazine.

On the other hand, Paris appeared in the fourth position. This gap is also evident in the number of businesses in the two cities. London has around 976,000 businesses operational compared to 872,000 in Paris.

The working culture between the two cities is quite different. One significant difference is the working hours. In Paris, people spend less time at work compared to London. Parisians will work a maximum of 35 hours per week, while Londoners will work a minimum of 37 hours per week.

While work tensions tend to be relaxed as you climb the higher hierarchy in London, it is quite the opposite in Paris. The higher your hierarchy level in Paris, the more you work in a tense environment.

Another observable difference is how the chief executives relate to their junior employees. In London, employees are viewed as colleagues and can easily approach their executives.

However, in France, employees are generally treated as subordinates and will distance themselves based on their positions within the company.

See Related: Best Travel Apps for Europe

  1. Food

Assorted colorful French macarons in Parisian patisserie display, priced at 1.50€ each.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

France has always earned global recognition for its cuisine quality, and Paris allows you to confirm this taste of greatness. Paris has nearly 45,000 places to dine compared to London’s 18,110. Over the years, Parisian restaurants have earned higher Michelin Stars than London’s.

Nonetheless, London’s food should not be written off. With an increased diversity among the people flocking to London, restaurants have been embracing food from various parts of the world.

London’s vibrant cultural mix has led to delicious and innovative food scenes. The city offers a wide array of food, such as cheap curries and fish and chips.

Paris, on the other hand, offers quite a variety of bread, pastries, and baguettes. Picking the best between the two can be quite hard as they are unique.

See Related: Best Travel Routers for Europe

  1. Cost of Living in London vs. Paris

Cost of Living in London vs. Paris

London and Paris are known for their high cost of living, but London is more expensive than Paris. Assuming you will rent in both cities, you must spend $5,960 in London to maintain the same living standard of around $5,236 in Paris.

Rent prices in London are nearly 51% higher than those in Paris. Therefore, if you are planning a less expensive trip in terms of rent, then Paris would be a great option. However, grocery and other consumer prices are 4% lower in London than in Paris.

Paris is cheaper than its rival in other aspects, such as local transportation costs and utility bills. There is a significant margin in terms of expenditure between the two cities. Paris will be a great option if you are looking for a pocket-friendly destination.

See Related: 11 Proven Ways to Save Money for Travel

  1. Leisure and Entertainment

Historic Lamb and Flag Pub Sign in London surrounded by lush ivy on aged brick wall
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

London seems to have an advantage in terms of leisure and entertainment spots. There are numerous fun things to do in London. London has 380 public libraries, while Paris has 69. Regarding museums, London has 240, while Paris has 153. Besides, the English metropolitan has a bewildering choice of concert venues compared to Paris.

Most football fans will be attracted to London rather than Paris. London hosts six major football clubs in the top league, while Paris has only one club (PSG).

Nonetheless, if you are looking for a place to chill and have a good time, Paris has the best restaurants and cafés compared to London.

See related: 11 Interesting, Fun Nicknames for London

  1. Transport in London vs Paris

Embankment Station entrance with London Underground logo and greenery
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The two cities are well connected to other major cities and countries around the globe. One of the main ways to get to London is by air, and if you are within Europe, you can also use a car or train.

On the other hand, the various ways to get to Paris include air, sea, bus, and train. London’s transport network is extensive, while Paris is still playing catchup.

The British city has six international airports, namely:

  • London City
  • Gatwick
  • Heathrow
  • Luton
  • Stanstead
  • Southend

On the other hand, the French capital has three international airports which are:

  • Beauvais
  • Orly
  • Charles de Gaulle

Paris has more evenly spread subway stations than London’s, which are less spread out. However, regarding cabs and taxis, it is easier to catch a cab in London than in Paris. London has an estimated 22,500 registered taxis, while Paris has 17,000. In terms of bus and train lines, London has twice as many as Paris. Nonetheless, Paris has been actively expanding its new tramway network.

While both capitals are ambitious to grow their transit routes, it’s evident that commuting from one point to another is not a huge deal. If traveling by rail is your preferred European choice, check out the pricing for an all-inclusive Eurail pass.

  1. Tourism and Vacation

Tate Modern London skyline with historic chimney, modern buildings, and overcast sky. GPS coordinates: 51.507585, -0.0994.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

If England and France attended a tourism contest, the latter would take the trophy. However, things might get slightly tighter when the competition narrows to their capitals.

Trust me; it’s hard to decide on a London vs Paris vacation. According to a report by MasterCard, London was the second city globally to record the highest number of tourists after Bangkok. Paris came in third.

London had 20 million foreign visitors compared to Paris’ 18 million. Regarding tourism revenue, tourists spend more in the English capital than in Paris.

However, it’s crucial to note that Paris hosts three of the top ten most-visited attraction sites while London has none on the top ten list.

See Related: Layover vs Stopover

  1. Trip Duration in the Two Cities

Trip Duration in the Two Cities

When planning a trip, one of the main concerns is whether the trip duration will be ideal and worthwhile. London and Paris have several attractions that would render any time short for an impeccable experience.

While debating how many days are ideal in London or Paris, it is advisable to consider the cost of living in both cities. As discussed earlier, Paris is less expensive than London. Based on your budget, this will give you an extended period to explore the city of France.

In most cases, three to four days in Paris would be enough to skim through the city, while four to five days in London would be suitable for swindling across the streets. However, a week or two will be enough for both cities without budget constraints.

Sites worth visiting in Paris include the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Palace of Versailles, and Disneyland. While in London, some of the top places to visit include the London Eye, Warner Bros Studio, and Big Ben.

See Related: 11 Top Famous Hotels in Paris

  1. People in London vs Paris

People in London vs Paris

Locals from both cities are generally warm and welcoming, but getting acquainted with a local in Paris is easier than in London. People in London tend to hang around in impenetrable cliques, making it difficult to interact as strangers.

Londoners are more open-minded and open to engaging in conversation and criticism, thanks to the diversity within the city. Most of these engagements, however, will happen in pubs. People in Paris are a little bit culture-sensitive but are also fun to get along with once you get acquainted.

In Paris, it’s easy to meet with a random stranger in the market, chitchat, and make some jokes. Despite the calmness in both cities, it is crucial to be careful of pickpockets and chuggers along the streets.

See Related: Paris Hotels with a View of the Eiffel Tower

  1. When to Visit

Sunny Seine River with Parisians relaxing by historic buildings
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Knowing the most appropriate time to jet off to your desired destination is always advisable. As for London, the weather is usually mild; hence, one can visit any time of the year. However, autumn is the most appropriate period to jet in.

Autumn in London runs between September and November, right after the busy summer. During this period, temperatures are warm and lovely. Additionally, the city blooms with British events and festivals.

The most appropriate time to fly to Paris is between June and August. The weather is perfect during these months, and the days have extended hours of sunshine. The winter, too, might be an ideal time to enjoy a price drop.

Which is better, London or Paris? Both cities have unique aspects, making it hard to pinpoint which city is better than the other in general. Therefore, when it comes to London vs Paris, it will solely depend on what you are looking for, as well as your values.

While some may prefer London, others will opt for Paris. And with the above list, I hope you can identify the one that best matches your preferences.

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