Paris and London are two of the most visited cities in Europe, great destinations for themselves, and the starting point to more extended vacations in France and the UK.
London and Paris are both vibrant and cultural cities, with a fascinating history and incredible heritage. At the same time, they offer different travel experiences.
London or Paris, which is better to visit?
Ideally, you want to visit both! London and Paris are a short distance apart, so you could consider a vacation visiting Paris and London. But if you want to visit only one, this article will provide (more or less) unbiased opinions of Paris vs. London to help you choose the best city for your holiday.
The article is divided into different topics and can be jumped to using the links above.
Tourist Attractions in Paris and London
Serious sightseers will enjoy both cities. Paris and London have many interesting sites to visit and learn more about the city’s history.
The list of top tourist attractions in Paris includes the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, and the Sacré Coeur.
The list of famous landmarks in London includes Big Ben, the London Eye, the British Museum, Buckingham Palace, and Westminster Abbey.
First-timers in London may consider the London Pass, a tourist card valid for 1 to 10 days with access to over 80 attractions.
In general, people spend more time in London than in Paris. However, Paris has three of the world’s top ten most-visited tourist attractions (the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Palace of Versailles). London has none.
We also prefer Paris for a stroll. There’s no better place than in Paris for wandering aimlessly…
Food & Drinks in Paris vs. London
Food is an important part of any traveling experience, and some trips are inspired solely by the cuisine of a city or a country.
As a cosmopolitan city, London offers an eclectic mixture of classic British and multicultural cuisine.
The list of the best food in London includes fish & chips (usually cod), Sunday roast (roasted meat, roasted potatoes, gravy, and vegetables), ideally with a Yorkshire pudding, Pie and Mash, Bangers and Mash (essentially sausage and potatoes), lamb chops and Cockles (a small type of clam).
If you like beer, you will enjoy London’s beer scene, with new breweries offering eclectic ales.
With the English breakfast, you are set for a busy day of sightseeing! The traditional English breakfast incorporates sausages, eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, blood pudding, potatoes, and toast.
Finally, you cannot miss the traditional afternoon tea. Meant to be an experience; the tea of your choice is usually served with finger sandwiches, scones with jam and cream, and pastries, so be sure to take your time.
The French capital is known for many delicious traditional dishes like coq au vin, onion soup, steak frites, or duck confit. More courageous people may want to try escargots (snails), steak tartare, or foie gras.
The typical Parisian breakfast includes a simple croissant or a toast with jam and butter, coffee, and juice. Sure, the Parisian breakfast is lighter than the British one, but this gives the perfect excuse to stop later for a coffee break in one of the typical Parisian cafés 😉
There’s no afternoon tea in Paris, but the cafe gourmand – a delicious combination of coffee + different mini pastries – is the new trend in Paris and a great way to finish a meal.
Finally, don’t miss the French apéritif. These pre-dinner drinks with a few snacks are among the most sacred traditions in Paris and all of France.
London has a much better culinary scene than many give it credit for. But when it comes to the best food and restaurants, it is a big win for Paris. The number of restaurants in Paris is incredible – 45,000 places vs. 18,100 in London – and they all serve delicious food and some of the world’s best wines.
Parks and Green Spaces in London vs. Paris
In both cities, you will find plenty of green places to relax on a sunny day, wild and undulating or manicured parks. Playground for picnickers, dog-walkers, strollers, and nature-lovers in general, you will love the parks in London and Paris.
The list of best parks in Paris includes the Tuileries Garden, the Luxembourg Gardens, Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, Parc de Belleville, and Parc Montsouris.
The list of popular London parks includes Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, Greenwich Park, Victoria Park, and Hampstead Heath.
As much as we like the parks in the French capital, London has 3 times more green spaces than Paris, and we love that!
Day Trips from Paris vs. London
If you need to get out of the city, there are many great trips from Paris or London, and you will definitely be spoilt for choice in both cities.
Thanks to Eurostar’s direct connection between the two cities, you can also decide to visit Paris from London (or vice-versa) on a day trip.
London is closer to the ocean, while Parisians need to drive more than 200km to take a dip. Not far from the UK capital, you will find spa sites, woodland walks, seaside towns, or impressive castles.
The list of must-day trips from London includes Bath and Cambridge, Windsor, Salisbury, Stonehenge, and the Cotswolds. Also, there are many beautiful castles near London to visit on a day trip.
The countryside around Paris is beautiful, with pretty medieval towns to explore. There are also many beautiful castles near Paris to visit too. Thanks to the TGV (high-speed) trains, it is also possible to visit other French regions on day trips from Paris by train.
Hard to choose! However, with beach days so close to the city, our vote goes to London.
Shopping in London or Paris?
In general, people seem to prefer French products to British products, from food to clothes.
Fashion areas are more spread out in London, but the British capital has more choices, from experimental brands to vintage shops.
Sales and customer service seem to be better in London vs. Paris.
Paris seems to be the best place for luxury brands, and it also wins in terms of the proximity of its shops. Also, materials and components are better in Paris, so it is easy to craft your own luxury stuff when you can buy Hermès leathers or Dior fabrics, for example.
When it comes to food, Paris has more specialty food shops and great daily markets you can buy stuff from whilst in London, people rely more on supermarkets.
Winner: London and Paris (depending on what you want to buy)
Nightlife in Paris or London?
Both cities have a fantastic array of cocktail bars, cabarets, and fun small theatre venues but the theater choice in Paris is very limited if you don’t speak the language.
London’s nightlife is very colorful. London has some of the most iconic clubs like the Printworks, Fabric, EGG LDN, Kurv, Familia, X Presents, and Supernova.
London also seems to be more fun for a young person with all the bands playing in pubs, and the local scene really fun and interesting. Live music in pubs is really missing in Paris.
But nightlife in London is very scattered, located here and there, while in Paris it is more concentrated, which helps a lot to travel – particularly at night.
Paris is a great city to explore during the day, but when it comes to nightlife in Paris and partying, London wins it hands down whether it’s variety, atmosphere, location, and price. Sure, there are night Seine cruises and fun Parisian cabarets, but these attractions are mainly for tourists.
Parisians had some of the world’s best clubs at their disposal (Les Bains-Douches, le Régine, la Locomotive), but clubbing has been in steady decline since the 1960s. Some bars are cool, but clubs are not really attractive. And you really need to know where to go (or go with locals).
Overall, London’s nightlife is more diverse and democratic, and people are friendlier, but Paris can be amazing if you know the right people.
Transportation in London and Paris
When it comes to the integrated transport network, London is best served, with 6 international airports (3 in Paris) and almost twice as many bus lines and more overland train lines than Paris.
The London tube network is just better presented, more accessible, and more pleasant to use.
Paris’s public transportation is much more affordable (it’s a rip-off in London!). Sometimes it is also more adventurous, thanks to all the transportation strikes.
The Paris metro is more extensive, and it has more metro stations than London’s tube, but it is always dirty and often at night full of homeless people sleeping. Accessibility in the Parisian metro is an issue, and navigating the metro in Paris with bulky luggage or a prawn is challenging.
Accessibility in London vs Paris
London is one of the top holiday destinations for wheelchair users and people with disabilities. Most of London’s top attractions are wheelchair accessible to a large degree, and the city has a large number of wheelchair-accessible hotel rooms.
The majority of London’s transportation network is wheelchair accessible, though there are still some limitations to access on the tube and the trains. Wheelchair users will feel more comfortable using city buses in conjunction with some sections of the London tube.
Most of Paris’ top attractions are wheelchair accessible to a large degree. The city’s parks are also very wheelchair-friendly, with paved or gravel paths throughout. Due to its geography, the Montmartre neighborhood is more difficult to explore for tourists with physical disabilities, but the little tourist train that does the neighborhood tour may help.
The Paris metro is not accessible, but the city is working hard to change this. However, city buses and RER trains are accessible.
Which is Better, London or Paris?
London or Paris, which is better to visit? As you can see, every city has strengths and weaknesses, so it really depends on what you are looking for and what’s important to you. However, be sure there’s ultimately no wrong answer: no matter which city you choose to visit, you will have a wonderful trip.
AND if, in the end, you decide to settle in London, here are some ways to organize a day trip from London to Paris.