Deciding whether you should visit London vs Paris can make for a difficult choice.
I’m a London local who regularly visits Paris and, in this guide, I rank both cities on where they excel, along with highlighting specifics in each across a range of categories. After reading this guide, you’ll have a clearer view of which city is best for you to visit first.
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Which is Better: London or Paris?
London is best for families, history buffs, and foodies, due to the number of free attractions and things to do. The city has an incredible amount of history and holds a range of museums and world-class cuisine for every taste.
Paris, the city of love, is the perfect destination for couples, people looking to shop for luxury goods, and art lovers looking to see the famous Mona Lisa.
Advantages of London
- Fascinating museums
- Variety of unique neighborhoods
- User-friendly public transport system
- Free attractions
- Amazing range of restaurants from all around the world
Advantages of Paris
- Top visited attractions
- Beautiful architecture
- Less pricey than London because of the currency
- Romantic restaurants and activities
- Easy to get around on foot
London is Best For
- History buffs
- Family vacation
- Day trippers
- Arts and culture seekers
The London Pass by Go City is a great way to see multiple attractions in the city efficiently without breaking the bank. Through purchasing the pass, you can save up to 50% on London’s top attractions and choose from a range of sights and activities.
Paris is Best For
- Short romantic weekend getaways
- Art lovers
- World-famous attractions
The Paris Pass by Go City is a great way to explore many of the world-renowned Paris attractions at a fraction of the cost. Through purchasing the pass, you can save up to 50% on Paris’s top attractions and choose from a range of sights and activities.
London vs Paris – Detailed Comparison
There are many reasons to visit both Paris and London, two of the most sought-after cities in the world. However, if you only have the time or budget for one, it’s important to narrow down which option is better based on your priorities. Here is a summary of the key differences between the two cities based on various characteristics:
|Food||Variety of international cuisines||Word-famous French cuisine||London|
|Transportation||A great transit system – the underground London tube network, buses, and trains||Well connected through the metro, tramways, and city buses||London|
|Safety||A generally very safe city, with reliable law enforcement and well-lit neighborhoods. Theft is the most common crime committed||A safe city, however, there are common crimes committed against tourists including pickpocketing and burglary. It is best to stay aware of your surroundings||Tie|
|Nightlife||Diverse range of clubs, speakeasy cocktail bars, and pubs||The French capital is known for its vibrant clubs||London|
|Attractions||Attractions ranging from historic world class museums to modern art and adventurous activities||Home to the world’s most famous attractions including the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower||Paris|
|Hotels||London has some of the most beautiful and luxurious boutique hotels, including The Savoy||Parisian architecture is very elegant, and there are many gorgeous hotels, especially for a romantic getaway||Tie|
|Affordability||London is known to be expensive, but there are ways to do it on a budget||Paris is a popular and expensive tourist city however, the Euro is worth less than the British pound||Paris|
|Family Friendliness||The English capital city offers a great range of family-friendly activities, many of which are free of charge||This French city has Disneyland Paris, a great family-friendly offering||London|
|Shopping||Vintage shop paradise and high street fashion||High end shopping for a better deal||Paris|
|Nearby Day Trips||Short train ride to Cambridge, Oxford, Brighton, Margate, and many other historic cities and coastal towns||Loire Valley, Champagne Region, and Chateau de Versailles are all excellent day trips from Paris||London|
|Walkability||London is easily traversed foot, but it’s best to plan your days by neighbourhood as the city is so large||Paris is an excellent city to roam around on foot, and is particularly picturesque during the daytime or at night by the Eiffel Tower||Tie|
London vs Paris: Restaurants & Food
Both London and Paris have incredible culinary scenes, offering food from cultures around the world as well as local delicacies.
London is better for foodies who want a diverse offering of cuisines and London dishes served in different formats. You’ll find plenty of London food establishments including restaurants, food markets, food trucks, and food festivals. You will not struggle to find a place serving up whatever cuisine you might be craving.
Paris has a better offering when it comes to its own country’s cuisine, and France is typically more known for its signature dishes than the UK. You can find delectable French staples including world-famous baguettes, escargots, Croque Monsieur, steak frites, and beef bourguignon.
Overall, London wins in the food department as the offerings are more adventurous and cater to everyone.
🏆 Winner: London
London vs Paris: Transportation
Both London and Paris have excellent transit systems and you won’t have a hard time making your way around the sights. The two cities’ transit systems slightly differ, although they both offer many of the same modes of transport.
London is known globally for its public transit system, helping locals and tourists get from point A to point B seamlessly in a variety of ways. The main modes of transport you can take when you visit London include:
- Buses (both single and double-decker)
- London tube
- London overground
- Uber boat or riverboat
The French capital of Paris also offers a great selection of transit options for locals and visitors, helping to make the city accessible to get around. The main forms of public transportation include:
- Paris metro
- RER suburban express train
- City buses
- Batobus riverboat
Both cities are easy to get around, however, London inches ahead with this one.
🏆 Winner: London
London vs Paris: Safety
London and Paris are both very safe. With their continuous urban development and high levels of security, you can safely roam around either city.
In the British capital of London, you can feel safe as long as you take the usual precautions:
- Protect your belongings, especially on public transit
- Keeping your phone in a place where you can see it
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Avoid walking alone or with headphones at night
- Read more information in my guide to safety in London
Paris is also known to be quite a safe city, although you need to watch out for common tourist scams and crimes to stay vigilant by:
- Locking up your belongings in a safe for security
- Keeping an eye on all belongings and ensure they are within reach
- Remaining aware of your surroundings to avoid pickpockets
- Making copies of your IDs
- Read more information in Rachel’s guide to safety in Paris
Both cities are fairly even when it comes to their level of safety.
🏆 Winner: Tie
London vs Paris: Nightlife
In terms of nightlife, London excels in the department of casual pubs and dance clubs, while Paris is known for its burlesque nightclubs and jazz bars.
London’s pub culture is unmatched, and can’t be replicated anywhere else in the world. You will find locals and tourists rain or shine, standing in and around a London bar or pub on any given day of the week with friends, colleagues, and family.
There is also a big underground dance music scene in London, with famous clubs including Fabric, Ministry of Sound, and the former Printworks, which was an institution. LGBTQ+ clubs and drag shows are also a prominent night out.
Paris also brings quality nightlife to the table, with clubs rising in popularity and competing with other famous European cities like Madrid and Berlin. The city has a great selection of jazz bars and clubs for music lovers.
London is a bit more known for its diversity of nightlife, taking the win.
🏆 Winner: London
London vs Paris: Attractions
London and Paris are two fantastic cities with plenty of things to do, so you will not have a hard time finding appealing attractions to explore when you visit either city.
London’s attractions appeal to a wide audience. The city specializes in historic museums, multiple forms of art, glorious Royal Parks, and famous attractions including Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, The London Eye, Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral, and many more.
The attractions in Paris are truly world-class. The city has some of the most sought places to visit in the world, including the famous art museum The Louvre, where you can view the Mona Lisa up close and personal. Other famous Paris attractions include the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and Notre Dame Cathedral.
Due to Paris having two of the most world-renowned attractions (The Louvre & the Eiffel Tower), It has rightfully earned the win in this category.
🏆 Winner: Paris
London vs Paris: Hotels
There is no shortage of luxurious, quirky, and boutique hotels in both Paris and London, and this category simply comes down to the style of trip you’re after.
The hotel scene in London ranges from edgy artistic joints to some of the classiest and most posh hotels in the world. There are plenty of places to stay in London, but you’ll be stunned by the beauty of the hotel offerings in Mayfair in particular. This neighborhood is home to 5-star hotels like Claridges, The Berkeley, The Dorchester, and others.
Paris doesn’t fall short either on the hotel front, especially when it comes to its upscale offerings. There are many places to stay in Paris that are frequented by celebrities, including Hôtel Plaza Athénée, Le Meurice, and Shangri-La Paris.
London and Paris both have incredible hotel options, ranging from budget to luxury, and you’ll be sure to find something unique in either city.
🏆 Winner: Tie
London vs Paris: Affordability
As they’re both incredibly popular cities for tourists, both London and Paris are both fairly expensive cities to visit and come with similar price tags.
In London, you’ll find a multitude of free attractions and things to do that will help you visit London on a budget. A few great things you can do for free in London include visiting museums, roaming around the world-famous landmarks, and visiting the luscious parks.
In Paris, walking around and exploring the neighborhoods is a great way to see the city, and is perfectly free. A fun idea for saving money but still taking in the sights of Paris is posting up by a landmark like the Notre Dame Cathedral or Eiffel Tower and enjoying a picnic with a view.
Paris is a slightly cheaper city to visit as the currency (Euro) is worth a bit less than the UK currency (Pound Sterling).
🏆 Winner: Paris
London vs Paris: Family Friendliness
Both London and Paris could happily be visited by the whole family, as they each have a selection of activities and attractions that cater to any age group.
In London, the city is your oyster when it comes to things to do. There are constantly new exhibits, festivals, and events, many of which make a great day out with the family. Many cost-effective attractions offer family discounts and activities to keep the kids occupied.
One of the top places I’d recommend for families is the Natural History Museum in South Kensington.
Your family can experience the magic of Disney abroad by visiting Disneyland Paris, one of the top-rated family attractions in the French city. The kids will also be fascinated by the iconic attractions.
London has a lot of free attractions, especially places that would be great to go with kids such as museums and galleries, giving it an advantage over Paris.
🏆 Winner: London
London vs Paris: Shopping
Both London and Paris are reputable cities when it comes to fashion. Each city has its own fashion week dedicated to global designers showcasing their latest innovations to fashion lovers.
London boasts famous shopping districts including Oxford Street, Covent Garden, and Knightsbridge for those looking for high-end brands. There is great diversity in the offerings, and you’ll find everything from high street retailers to vintage threads in London’s markets.
Paris is a city known for its fashion and couture. Partake in some of the best shopping in the world when you visit this city, with hotspots including the famous street Champs-Élysées and Paris’s signature high-end department store Galeries Lafayette.
A fun fact about shopping in Paris is that when you buy designer goods, you can claim a tax refund at the airport, encouraging tourists to contribute to the local economy.
There is no question that Paris takes the cake regarding anything fashion or shopping-related.
🏆 Winner: Paris
London vs Paris: Nearby Day Trips
Both London and Paris have some lovely places to visit that are merely a hop, skip, and a jump away, providing the best of both worlds when it comes to city and country exploration.
You can visit famous prestigious university cities, quaint coastal towns, and other countries in the UK on a train day trip from London, such as:
- Windsor Castle
Paris also offers a lovely selection of nearby day trip destinations, where visitors can experience incredible historic architecture including castles and palaces, or even other nearby European cities and unique French regions. Some of the best day trips from Paris include:
- Loire Valley
- Champagne region
- Château de Versailles
- Brussels (Belgium)
Both cities have great proximity to other sought-after spots for day trips, although London is slightly ahead due to the convenience of the trains and the number of places accessible within a short distance.
🏆 Winner: London
London vs Paris: Walkability
Both cities are very walkable and arguably best seen on foot. Whether you’re taking a stroll through the city centers or getting lost in neighbourhoods, you will have plenty of sights to see as you enjoy the fresh air.
Each neighbourhood in London brings its own unique charm and character. It is worth picking a specific neighbourhood or region to explore each day, allowing for as much walking around as possible and limiting transit time.
Paris has many charming neighbourhoods that are worth exploring, and many of the famous landmarks can be viewed on foot. I would recommend mapping which attractions you’d like to hit up for the day and planning your route based on that.
The two cities are comparable in terms of walkability, making this one a tie.
🏆 Winner: Tie
Final Verdict – London vs Paris
London and Paris are both incredible cities and you cannot go wrong with visiting either of them. They each offer their own charm, sophistication, and special features that make them so sought after.
London is a historic and cultural city that’s better geared towards travellers who love museums, foodies looking to try a bit of everything, families, and nature lovers. Paris is better for visitors who are looking for their next romantic getaway, admirers of fine art, and shopaholics who are on the hunt for their next one-of-a-kind piece.
FAQs About London vs Paris
Which is better: London or Paris?
London and Paris are two of the most popular cities in the world to visit, and which one is better is based on preference and what your priorities are on your holiday. London is better for families, history, and a range of free attractions offered, while Paris is better for a romantic getaway, girls’ trip, and overall affordability.
Is London as beautiful as Paris?
London is a beautiful city, and every borough and neighbourhood is truly unique. There are parts of London that have very elegant architecture, but overall, Paris takes the cake for being a more beautiful city.
Is Paris or London more popular?
Paris and London are both super popular cities to visit and are world-famous. However, Paris contains the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, which are two of the most visited tourist attractions in the world, giving it a slight advantage in popularity over London.
Which is cheaper, Paris or London?
Both London and Paris are equal in price when it comes to prices of food, accommodations, and activities. The currency in Paris is the Euro and in London it’s the Pound Sterling, the latter of which is worth more out of the two against the US dollar. This makes Paris slightly cheaper out of the two cities.
There you have it, a quick summary of London vs Paris, and what each city has to offer over the other! I hope this guide has made your choice of travel destination easier based on what types of restaurants, activities, and attractions you want to explore.
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