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

London vs Paris to Visit

London vs Paris, which is your favorite destination? 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 when it comes to London vs Paris can be such a tricky task. It is always a struggle since both of these great cities are famous for their soul-refreshing experiences, as well as iconic attractions.

Most tourists find it hard to pick one-holiday destination between the two. Both London and Paris are found 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 River Thames in South East England, with its history stretching back to Roman times. Paris, on the other hand, is the capital city of France, located in the north-central part of the nation.

Similar to London, the city also stands along a river, commonly known as the Seine River. Paris has a rich European history and is regarded to be a global center for culture, fashion, art, and gastronomy.

Besides the two being great cities, each of them has its unique winning points as compared to 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 all stressed up.

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

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


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 way less than London in terms of area coverage. Paris covers an estimated 105 square kilometers, which means London is 15 times larger than Paris.

Paris appears to be quite small and not much bigger than London’s central business district. However, some might argue that the French authorities do not consider the attached suburbs to be part of Paris, hence resulting in a small-sized city.

See Related: Best Things to Do in London, England

  1. London vs Paris Population

View of Sacre Couer in Paris

Although Paris is smaller in terms of area coverage, the city happens to be one of the most densely populated cities in Europe. 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.

London, on the other hand, 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 suit when comparing London vs Paris.

See Related: London vs. New York City

  1. 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 difference 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.

The French culture, on the other hand, accepts a handshake, although a kiss is a conventional way of saying hello. If the whole kissing thing is not okay with you, you can brush your cheeks and kiss the air.

In terms of the language, 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 stranger conversations in Paris will be small talks and chitchats.

When meeting up with someone for a drink,  the French urbanites will 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 as 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 present within the two cities. London has around 976,000 businesses that are operational compared to 872,000, which are 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 up the higher hierarchy in London, it is quite the opposite in Paris. The higher you are in a level of hierarchy in Paris, the more you work in a tense environment.

Another observable difference is in how the chief executives relate with their junior employees. In London, the employees are viewed as colleagues, and they 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

foods in the two cities

France has always earned global recognition for the quality of its cuisine, and Paris gives you the chance to confirm this taste of greatness.

Paris has nearly 45,000 places where you can dine compared to London’s 18,110. Over the years, the restaurants in Paris 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.

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

Paris, on the other hand, brings quite a variety of bread and pastries, as well as baguettes. Picking the best between the two can be quite hard as they are unique in their own way.

See Related: Best Travel Routers for Europe

  1. Cost of Living in London vs. Paris

Cost of Living in London vs. Paris

Both London and Paris are known for their high cost of living, but London is quite more expensive than Paris. With the assumption that you will rent in both cities, you will need to 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 on a less expensive trip in terms of rent, then Paris would be a great option. But, note that groceries and other consumer prices are 4% lower in London than in Paris.

In other aspects such as local transportation costs and utility bills, Paris appears to be quite cheaper than its rival. 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

Nicknames for London

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

Most football fans will mostly find themselves attracted to London rather than Paris. London hosts six major football clubs that play in the top league, while Paris has only one major 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

Transport in London vs Paris

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 quite 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 subway stations that are evenly spread compared to 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 have the ambition 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 choice in Europe, check out the pricing for an all-inclusive Eurail pass.

  1. Tourism and Vacation

Tourism and Vacation

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

Trust me; it’s quite hard to decide on a London vs Paris vacation. In a report by MasterCard, London was the second city globally that recorded 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 tend to 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 for a trip, one of the main concerns is whether the trip duration will be ideal and worthwhile. Both London and Paris have several attractions that would render any time short for an impeccable experience.

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

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 to swindle across the streets. However, if there are no budget constraints a week or two will be enough for both cities.

Sites worth paying a visit in Paris include the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Palace of Versailles, and Disneyland, among others. 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 it is easier to get acquainted with a local in Paris 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

Illuminated Notre Dame Cathedral de Paris

It is always advisable to be aware of when is the most appropriate time to jet off to your desired trip destination. As for London, the weather usually is mild; hence one can visit at 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 is over. During this period, temperatures are warm and lovely. Additionally, that is when the city blooms with British events and festivals.

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

See Related: 25+ Fun Facts About London


Which is better, London or Paris? Well, both cities have their unique aspects, making it hard to point out 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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Alex Kroeger

Alex Kroeger

Alex is a travel writer for ViaTravelers currently living in Amsterdam. She has lived in three countries, 4 states, and visited over 15 countries worldwide. She enjoys top-tier restaurants, old books, and uncovering historic sites around the globe. She specializes in European destinations, particularly her favorites, Paris, Amsterdam, and Vienna and is an expert at family travel after visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks before her daughter turned 2 years old.

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