London or Paris: which city to visit?

London or Paris

Are you trying to decide between London or Paris for your next trip? Both cities are undeniably iconic in their own right, and are two of my all-time favourite cities to visit.

Whether you’re drawn to the romantic streets of Paris or the bustling life of London, each city has its own allure. Unsurprisingly, each city attracts millions of visitors every year.

Having explored both cities on countless occasions, I’m here to share my experiences to help you make that tough decision a little easier.

From the world-famous landmarks to the cosy cafés tucked away in hidden corners, join me as I uncover what makes London and Paris two of the most exciting cities to visit.

No matter your preference, whether it’s art, food, or just soaking in the sights, I’ll help you decide whether to visit London or Paris for your next European city break.

Although spoiler alert: I really don’t think you can go wrong with either!

Author Bio: Jessie Moore

Jessie Moore is a luxury travel expert with years of experience travelling the world to find the best destinations, hotels and adventures.

This post contains affiliate links.

A brief overview: London or Paris

London: where the old meets the new

London is a city where history meets modernity. A wander through the heart of London immerses you in the buzz of contemporary life, while the city’s history simultaneously oozes out of every nook and cranny.

It’s a melting pot of cultures that creates an atmosphere of excitement and openness. One thing’s for sure – you could never accuse London of being boring!

From the fast-paced lifestyle of the City to the serene expanses of its parks, London offers a diverse array of experiences and activities.

Tower of London

London is world-famous for its iconic landmarks, such as Big Ben, the Tower of London, and the London Eye.

It’s also known for its world-class museums like the British Museum and the Tate Modern – and the best part is that they offer free entry!

You cannot go wrong with catching a show in the vibrant West End – from classics like Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera to modern revelations like SIX The Musical and Book of Mormon.

Additionally, I love that London’s foodie scene is a reflection of its multicultural population, with an array of international cuisines and Michelin-starred restaurants.

Let’s not forget the quintessential British tradition of afternoon tea – I can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon in London.

Paris: The “City of Light and Love”

Paris is synonymous with romance, art, and fashion. The city exudes elegance and a timeless charm that inevitably captures my heart on every visit.

A stroll through the streets of Paris takes you past iconic architectural marvels, chic boutiques, and the subtle yet unmistakable scent of freshly baked croissants.

The city’s ambiance is one of leisure and sophistication, encouraging you to take your time and savour each moment.

Famous for the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, and Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris is a city of artistic and cultural heritage.

Louvre Paris

It’s a place that has inspired countless artists, writers, and thinkers throughout history.

Paris is renowned for its fashion prowess, with prestigious events like Paris Fashion Week drawing crowds from across the globe.

The culinary experience in Paris is second to none, with its cosy cafés, vibrant markets, and world-renowned restaurants serving up exquisite French cuisine.

Additionally, the city’s picturesque neighbourhoods – Montmartre and Le Marais are my favourites – offer a glimpse into the local Parisian lifestyle.

Getting to London and Paris

Whether you’re jet-setting from the UK, the US, or elsewhere around the globe, both London and Paris are incredibly accessible.

There are various options to suit different travel preferences and budgets.

Getting to London

From the UK: For those already in the UK, London is exceptionally well-connected. You can easily reach the city by train, coach, or car from various parts of the country.

The train services include the high-speed Eurostar, connecting London with several European cities.

While national services like Virgin Trains and Great Western Railway, offer frequent and rapid connections to London’s heart.

Coaches, although slower, are a budget-friendly option, with services like National Express and Megabus.

View From The Shard

From the US: London is one of the most accessible European cities for American travellers.

Direct flights are available from major cities across the US to London’s Heathrow, Gatwick, and, to a lesser extent, Stansted and Luton airports.

Getting to Paris

From the UK: Travelling from the UK to Paris is a breeze, especially with the Eurostar train service that connects London St Pancras International to Paris Gare du Nord in just over two hours.

This comfortable and speedy option brings you right into the city centre, making it my personal favourite way to get to Paris.

Flights from various UK airports to Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports in Paris are plentiful, offering another quick way to reach the City of Light.

Aerial view of Arc de Triomphe, Paris

From the US: Paris is similarly well-served by direct flights from numerous American cities.

Charles de Gaulle Airport, as the primary international gateway, and Orly Airport, offer extensive flight options for travellers coming from the US.

Things to do in London and Paris


  • Both cities are rich in history, culture, and art, with numerous museums and historical sites.
  • London and Paris are both home to iconic landmarks and architectural wonders that are recognised worldwide.
  • Green spaces and parks can be found in both cities, providing beautiful pockets of peace amidst the hustle and bustle.


  • In my opinion, London offers a more diverse culinary scene due to its multicultural population. While Paris focuses on classic French cuisine and patisseries.
  • The vibe in Paris is often described as more romantic and leisurely, whereas London is known for its dynamic and multicultural atmosphere. I find London can be somewhat chaotic!
  • London’s theatre scene is a major draw, with a huge number of exceptional shows. While Paris is renowned for its fashion, art, and café culture.

Top things to do in London

Explore iconic landmarks: London is packed with iconic sights such as the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, and the Houses of Parliament. Discover the best tourist attractions in London.

Museum hopping: London is a haven for museum lovers. And the best part is that the majority of London museums are completely free, including the likes of the British Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the Tate Modern.

Enjoy the green spaces: London’s parks, like Hyde Park and Regents Park, provide a peaceful escape from the chaos of the city. Perfect for picnics, leisurely walks, or just enjoying a sunny day out (when the sun decides to show up of course!).

Theatre and nightlife: The West End offers some of the best theatre productions in the world. London’s nightlife is also vibrant – you’ll be spoilt for choice with pubs, clubs, and bars to explore.

Top things to do in Paris

Marvel at architectural and artistic masterpieces: Whether it’s the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, or the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, Paris is a showcase of stunning architecture and art. Discover the best museums in Paris.

Stroll through charming neighbourhoods: Parisian neighbourhoods like Le Marais, Montmartre, and the Latin Quarter offer a glimpse into the local life. Each brings its own unique charm and history.

Culinary delights: Paris is world-famous for its cuisine – whether you’re enjoying a croissant at a Parisian café or dining at Michelin-starred restaurants.

River Seine cruise: A cruise on the River Seine offers picturesque views of Paris’s most famous landmarks and I think it’s a wonderfully romantic way to see the city from a different perspective.

Read my guide to the best things to do in Paris for more inspiration.

Food and drink scenes: London or Paris?

While both cities boast impressive foodie scenes, their food and drink offerings do differ somewhat.

London celebrates diversity and innovation, reflecting its multicultural status, with a food scene that’s wonderfully international.

Paris, on the other hand, is more about tradition and refinement, with a focus on its French culinary heritage.

Both cities, however, place a strong emphasis on enjoying meals as an integral part of the day, which is something I can definitely get onboard with!

Whether it’s a leisurely afternoon tea in London or a long dinner in a Parisian bistro.

London: A melting pot of global cuisines

Diverse culinary scene: London’s food scene is as diverse as its population, offering everything from traditional British fare to the flavours of former British colonies and beyond.

You can enjoy an authentic Indian curry, savour Vietnamese pho, or indulge in Italian pasta, all within a few tube stops – or even on the same street.

Read my guide to the top Michelin star restaurants in London.

Street food and markets: I adore London’s street food scene.

It’s incredibly vibrant, with markets like Borough Market, Maltby Street Market and Camden Market offering a mouth-watering array of options ranging from artisan cheeses to gourmet burgers. 

Maltby Street Market

Afternoon tea: A quintessential British experience, afternoon tea in London ranges from classic settings like The Ritz or Fortnum & Mason to more contemporary takes in boutique hotels and cafes.

I think it’s an utterly delightful way to spend an afternoon, enjoying scones, sandwiches, and, of course, tea.

Pubs and bars: London’s pub culture is legendary. What better way to spend an evening in London than with a pint of ale or cider and a cosy, convivial atmosphere.

Beyond the classic pubs, London’s cocktail scene is world-class. Choose from an impressive assortment of innovative bars across the city featuring some seriously talented mixologists.

Paris: the art of French cuisine

Gourmet dining: One thing we’ve all come to expect from French food is quality and precision. It’s therefore no surprise that Paris is home to numerous Michelin-starred restaurants.

Café culture: The Parisian café is an institution – just do a quick search on Instagram and you’ll be indundated with that Paris café culture!

Settling down in a café in Paris is one of my favourite ways to while away an hour or two in the city, simply relaxing, people-watching, and enjoying a coffee.

Cafés like Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore have become world-famous – or at least Instagram famous!

You’ll be in good company here too, as many of these cafés have been frequented by well-known artists and writers.

Bakeries and patisseries: I don’t think any visit to Paris would be complete without indulging in freshly baked bread, croissants, or pastries from a local boulangerie.

Macarons, éclairs, tarte tatins… I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!

Wine and cheese: Two of my favourite things! France’s wine and cheese are world-renowned – luckily Paris offers ample opportunity to sample these delights.

Wine bars dot the city, offering tastings and pairings, while the various fromageries are bursting with delicious French cheeses, from creamy Brie to tangy Roquefort.

Want up to 25% off hotels?

Subscribe to my newsletter and get immediate access to my guide on how to save money on flights and hotels. Our weekly emails are filled with adventure inspiration, insider travel tips and exclusive discounts.

Paris or London: other considerations


London: English is the primary language, which might be an appeal for travellers from English-speaking countries or those comfortable with English as a second language.

Paris: French is the official language. While many people in the tourism industry speak English, there’s certainly no harm in learning a few French phrases.


As much as I love London, it is known for its unpredictable weather. There’s always a possibility of rain throughout the year and there are generally cooler temperatures.

London in Spring

Paris tends to have more distinctly seasonal weather, with warm summers and cold winters. Spring and fall offer mild and pleasant weather, ideal for exploring the city.


Both cities are known for being relatively expensive in terms of accommodation, dining, and attractions. However, budget options are available with careful planning.

London might have a slight edge in terms of higher costs, especially considering transportation and dining, but Paris is not far behind.

I’d recommend researching current exchange rates, seasonal price variations, and budget tips specific to each city.

Transportation and accessibility

Both cities boast comprehensive public transportation systems, with London’s Underground (Tube) and Paris’s Metro systems.

Uber is available in both cities and taxis are pretty easy to find in both Paris and London.

Paris is a little more compact and walkable, which might make it easier to cover in a short span, whereas London’s attractions are more spread out.

Cultural nuances

London offers a more multicultural vibe with a vast array of global influences.

Its historical ties to numerous countries around the world make it a melting pot of cultures, cuisines, and traditions.

Paris epitomises French culture, art, and history. It’s a city that takes great pride in its heritage, language, and culinary traditions, offering a deeply rooted sense of place.

Events and seasonality

I’d advise looking into any events, festivals, or exhibitions happening in either city during your planned visit.

Seasonal attractions, like Christmas markets in December or the Chelsea Flower Show in London in May, might also sway your decision.

Final words

In the end, choosing between London and Paris is a delightful dilemma that hinges on personal preferences and interests.

Both cities are steeped in history, brimming with cultural riches, and offer a plethora of dining and entertainment options that cater to every imaginable taste.

London at Night

London, with its dynamic blend of the old and new, multicultural vibrancy, and sprawling green spaces, offers a lively and diverse experience.

Paris, the epitome of romance, art, and culinary excellence, captivates with its timeless elegance and deeply rooted cultural heritage.

In short, if you have a penchant for a vibrant atmosphere, theatre and international cuisine, I suspect that you might find London more appealing.

If art, architecture, fashion, and French cuisine are your passions, I’d say that Paris could be the better choice.

My personal opinion? I simply adore London – it’s my favourite city in the world. However, I am a little biased because I live on the outskirts of the city.

That said, I am often drawn to Paris for its romance and artsy appeal. Plus, being a couple of hours away from London by train, it’s very accessible to visit.

Which city would you choose: London or Paris? Let me know in the comments below!

For more London inspiration, you may also like: 

For more Paris inspiration, you may also like: 

Want up to 25% off hotels?

Subscribe to my newsletter and get immediate access to my guide on how to save money on flights and hotels. Our weekly emails are filled with adventure inspiration, insider travel tips and exclusive discounts.

Jessie Moore
Jessie Moore

Jessie is a luxury travel expert with years of experience travelling the world to find the best destinations, hotels and adventures.

Find me on: Web | Instagram


Want up to 25% off hotels?

Subscribe to my newsletter and get immediate access to my guide on how to save money on flights and hotels. Our weekly emails are filled with adventure inspiration, insider travel tips and exclusive discounts.