Every major capital in Europe is always looking to attract visitors, especially when the summer months come around. It seems they each face stiff competition from each other in a bid to bring in the tourist dollar, and as always there is an eternal debate about which of the various cities happens to be the best. Most seasoned travellers would perhaps choose London or Paris if they had to select just one destination, but which is better?
While Paris is home to the spectacular Eiffel Tower and the majestic Arc de Triomphe, the city would perhaps lose out to London’s extensive range of iconic landmarks. From the historic beauty of the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey to the more modern charms of the London Eye, the Shard and Canary Wharf, the UK’s capital would almost certainly win out in this category.
London has an enjoyable sense of hustle, especially in the centre of the city, and there is a pleasingly rich sense of heritage in the air. Having said that, Paris is wonderfully atmospheric, and it’s home to a sense of exotique that simply isn’t found anywhere else. If you settle into a chair at a pavement café and just watch the world go by while sipping a coffee, you’ll soon realise that nothing matches the atmosphere in the City of Love.
A river cruise along the Seine is one of the highlights of any Parisian trip, partly because it offers a wonderful opportunity to see some of the sights while enjoying a well-earned rest. However, the Thames is close to a vast number of London landmarks that boat passengers simply pass by casually. It’s almost as if the city is waiting to show off, like a peacock that’s feeling particularly proud.
One of the most pleasing aspects of any city break holiday is the chance to enjoy some of the local cuisine, whether it’s at one of the finest restaurants in the metropolis or a run of the mill eatery that can be found almost anywhere. This is one aspect in which London, to put it bluntly, is simply unable to compete. The food in France will almost always be better than most dishes served up in London.
In many ways, the two cities cannot be separated when it comes to value for money. There are bargains to be had from time to time during any trip, but in general the tourist needs to be prepared to spend more than they would back home. The centres of London and Paris aren’t cheap, and everything from a glass of wine and a decent meal to a pair of theatre tickets and entrance to major attractions are still likely to set you back a tidy sum.
In conclusion, both cities offer the visitor a wonderful experience, and should be at the top of everyone’s must-visit lists. If you’re debating whether to visit London or Paris, try visiting both.
David Showell lives close to London and works for a Heathrow Airport car hire company.
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