Do you remember that British TV advertisement for cars from a few years ago, which featured the dishy Jeremy Sheffield and the beautiful Annelise Hesme? They were flirtatiously playing top trumps with the best things about their countries - Britain vs France. Well, that is precisely what this infographic reminded me of: “The most romantic city in the world? Let’s see...”
The infographic is really helpful for the age-old decision between a luxury break in the City of Lights (Paris) or opting for fair London town. If you ever wanted to compare the vital statistics of two of the greatest cities in the world, look no further. HouseTrip London have called this offering of theirs ‘The Urban Head to Head’. So what will it be - croissants or cornflakes? Voltaire or Shakespeare?
Both cities are roughly the same age – with settlements dating back to about 4,500 BC. In terms of size however, Paris seems to have grown infinitely since then! It sprawls out over a whopping 607 square miles and houses 8,173,194. London, on the other hand is a compact 40.7 square miles and packs in 2,234,105 inhabitants, making it far more densely populated. In that space, however, London has 1,976 hectares of Royal Parks (8 in total). Paris, for all its space, only has 39 green spaces dedicated to public parks and woodland areas.
It may come as no surprise that Paris has the larger number of Michelin starred restaurants – 101 to London’s 69. Paris is the second most Michelin-starred city in the world. London still ‘languishes’ back in 8th place. A meal at an Alain Ducasse restaurant is reassuringly more expensive (?217pp) than an average meal for two in London at a comparatively cheap ?90. Interestingly, the infographic points out a quote from ‘the greatest chef of the 20th century’ Joël Robuchon in 2011, declaring it to be the year that “London outstripped Paris as culinary capital of the world”! Quite the claim.
If you want to fill your day with a bit of culture, London blows Paris out of the water, with its 4:1 ratio of UNESCO World Heritage Sites (that’s Maritime Greenwich, Kew Gardens, Tower of London and Westminster versus the Banks of the Seine). There are also more museums in London than Paris (240:153), but Paris’ Louvre houses the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. Despite all this, of the two, Paris is the only one that has been named a European City of Culture (1989). Paris also boasts over 200 million visitors since 1989 to its enormous Eiffel Tower – which, at 1,063 feet, soars above most London landmarks. The nearest is the newly opened Shard building which is 1,017 feet tall.
For the children, Paris easily takes the lead with the well established family favourite, Disneyland Paris, which has a number of luxury packages on offer. What price happy children? London’s offering is the Harry Potter World, just on the outskirts of the city at ?85 for a family ticket. Disneyland Paris, with its 49 attractions and rides, had 16 million visitors last year. I suppose the winner of this particular round will depend on your children’s tastes.
Have a look through the infographic’s facts to see if there’s something that will push one city into the lead. It’s a tough decision, as both cities have so much to offer for any discerning visitor – honeymooning couples, vacationing families, day-tripping singletons. The wonderful thing is, it doesn’t matter what time of year you visit. The least said about London’s weather the better, but as Adrian Leeds is quoted as saying (and could be applied to London too I’m sure), “It’s Paris, you don’t come for the weather”!