London vs Paris — what are the top differences for travellers

a large building with a bridge going across it

London and Paris are two of the most iconic cities in Europe, each offering unique experiences for travellers. While both cities are rich in history, culture, and attractions, they cater to different tastes and preferences. In this article, we will explore the top differences between London and Paris to help you decide which city to visit on your next trip.

Key Takeaways

  • Travellers tend to stay longer in London compared to Paris, making it a more extended vacation destination.
  • Paris boasts three of the world’s top ten most-visited tourist attractions: the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Palace of Versailles.
  • London is renowned for its museums, such as the British Museum, which offers free entry to its vast collection.
  • Paris is famous for its refined French cuisine, while London offers a diverse range of international flavours.
  • The Eurostar train makes it easy to travel between London and Paris, allowing travellers to experience both cities in one trip.

1. Eiffel Tower

When you think of Paris, you probably immediately think of its most iconic landmark: the Eiffel Tower. You can see the Eiffel Tower from vantage points across the city, and it’s just as amazing from afar as it is up close.

Getting There

  • Bus 42: From Gare du Nord, traveling past the Palais Garnier, Madeleine, Place de la Concorde, across the Seine to the Eiffel Tower.
  • Bus 72: Along the Seine, from the bottom of Trocadero to the Hotel de Ville, hugging the right bank for great views.


  • Enjoy panoramic views of Paris from the top.
  • Visit at night to see the tower illuminated.
  • Picnic on the Champ de Mars for a classic Parisian experience.
The Eiffel Tower is not just a monument; it's a symbol of Paris and a must-visit for any traveler.

2. British Museum

The British Museum in London is one of the world's most renowned museums, offering a vast collection that spans over two million years of history. It is a must-visit for anyone interested in archaeology, history, and culture. The museum's extensive exhibits cover a wide range of subjects, from ancient civilizations to modern times.

One of the best aspects of the British Museum is that entry is free, making it accessible to everyone. This is in contrast to many museums in Paris, which often charge an entry fee. The museum is also climate-controlled, providing a comfortable environment regardless of the weather outside.

Highlights of the British Museum

  • The Rosetta Stone: This iconic artifact was key to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs.
  • The Elgin Marbles: These classical Greek marble sculptures are a subject of international debate.
  • The Egyptian Mummies: A fascinating collection that offers insights into ancient Egyptian burial practices.
  • The Sutton Hoo Treasure: An impressive display of Anglo-Saxon artifacts.

Tips for Visiting

  1. Plan Ahead: The museum is vast, so it's a good idea to plan your visit in advance to make the most of your time.
  2. Join a Tour: Consider joining a guided tour to gain deeper insights into the exhibits.
  3. Check the Schedule: Look out for special exhibitions and events that may be happening during your visit.
  4. Visit the Museum Shop: Don't forget to stop by the museum shop for unique souvenirs and books.
The British Museum offers a unique opportunity to explore the rich tapestry of human history, all under one roof. Whether you're a history buff or just looking for an enriching experience, this museum has something for everyone.

3. Louvre

a large building with a pyramid in front of it

The Louvre Museum in Paris is a must-visit for any traveler. It is the most-visited museum in the world, attracting millions of visitors each year. The museum is home to an extensive collection of art and historical artifacts, including the famous Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo.

Visitors can explore a wide range of exhibits that span from ancient civilizations to the 19th century. The Louvre's vast collection includes works from renowned artists such as Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne, and Henri Matisse.

  • Key Highlights:
    • Mona Lisa
    • Venus de Milo
    • Extensive art and historical artifacts
Paris is renowned for its art, fashion, and exceptional cuisine. Both cities provide seamless transportation options for tourists.

4. Palace of Versailles

The Palace of Versailles, or Château de Versailles, is one of the top day trips from Paris. Located just 20 minutes by train from the city, it is renowned for its incredible gardens, ornately decorated palace, and iconic fountains. This royal palace is one of the most famous tourist destinations in the world.

Key Highlights

  • Gardens: The gardens of Versailles are a masterpiece of landscape design, featuring meticulously manicured lawns, sculptures, and fountains.
  • Hall of Mirrors: This iconic hall is adorned with 357 mirrors and is a symbol of the opulence of the French monarchy.
  • Royal Apartments: The lavishly decorated rooms where the King and Queen resided.

Practical Information

  • Location: Versailles, France
  • Travel Time: 20 minutes by train from Paris
  • Opening Hours: 9:00 AM - 6:30 PM (Tuesday to Sunday)
  • Entry Fee: €18 for adults, free for children under 18
Visiting the Palace of Versailles offers a glimpse into the grandeur and extravagance of the French royal court. It's a must-see for anyone interested in history, art, and architecture.

5. The Shard

aerial photo of city during sunset

The Shard is one of London's most iconic modern landmarks, standing tall at 310 meters. It offers breathtaking views of the city from its observation decks. Visitors can enjoy panoramic vistas that stretch for miles, making it a must-visit for anyone wanting to see London from above.

Key Features

  • Height: 310 meters
  • Floors: 95
  • Architectural Style: Modern
  • Observation Decks: Located on the 68th, 69th, and 72nd floors

Visitor Information

  • Opening Hours: 10 AM - 10 PM
  • Ticket Prices:
    • Adults: £25
    • Children: £20
    • Family Packages available
The Shard's unique design and towering presence make it a standout feature in London's diverse architectural landscape.

6. Eurostar

The Eurostar is a high-speed train that connects London and Paris, making travel between these two iconic cities incredibly convenient. Travelling from London to Paris with Eurostar is simple, smart, and speedy. The journey takes just 2 hours and 16 minutes, going direct from city centre to city centre.

For those planning to use a Eurail pass, it's worth noting that the Eurostar is included in all Global Passes. However, there is a limited number of pass holder seats on each departure, especially during high season, so it's advisable to book in advance.

Key Points to Consider

  • Travel Time: 2 hours and 16 minutes
  • Inclusions: Eurostar is included in all Global Passes
  • Booking: Limited pass holder seats, book in advance
A day trip via the Eurostar from London to Paris is easy to do. Take the first train out and a late train back to make the most of your day in Paris.

7. French Cuisine

Paris is renowned for its traditional French cuisine, offering classic dishes such as escargots, foie gras, and coq au vin. From charming bistros and brasseries to high-end Michelin-starred restaurants, French cuisine and its wine are considered some of the most refined and sophisticated in the world.

Must-Try Dishes

  • Escargots: Snails cooked in garlic butter.
  • Foie Gras: Duck or goose liver pâté.
  • Coq au Vin: Chicken braised with wine, mushrooms, and garlic.
  • Onion Soup: A hearty soup topped with melted cheese.
  • Steak Frites: Steak served with French fries.
  • Duck Confit: Slow-cooked duck leg.

Quick Eats

For those in a hurry, quick eats like the Parisien (a sandwich made of Parisian baguette, ham, and butter) or a croque-monsieur can make your day.

Patisseries and Boulangeries

No city has patisseries, boulangeries, and chocolate shops like Paris. Baguettes, buttery croissants, and sweet pastries are worth the trip to Paris alone.

Clear winner! Paris' food scene is unparalleled, offering a culinary experience that is both diverse and exquisite.

8. International Flavours

When it comes to international cuisine, both London and Paris offer a melting pot of different cultures and cuisines. In London, you can find everything from classic British dishes such as fish and chips and Sunday roast beef, to Indian, Chinese, and Italian. For a burst of flavours, check out our selection of the best Indian restaurants in London.

Paris, on the other hand, is renowned for its patisseries, boulangeries, haute cuisine, and international cuisine. Travelling to London or Paris just for the food is itself a holiday worth every penny. With cuisines from around the world and twists on their local favourites, you’d need to have more than five meals a day to experience every food item worth having in these two cities.

  • London: Diverse and multicultural food scene
  • Paris: Renowned for patisseries and haute cuisine

9. Royal Landmarks

When it comes to royal landmarks, both London and Paris offer a rich tapestry of history and grandeur that captivate travellers.


London is a treasure trove of royal landmarks. Some of the most iconic include:

  • Buckingham Palace: The official residence of the British monarch, known for the Changing of the Guard ceremony.
  • Tower of London: A historic castle that has served as a royal palace, prison, and treasury.
  • Westminster Abbey: The traditional site for coronations and royal weddings.
  • Kensington Palace: The residence of many members of the royal family.


While Paris is not a monarchy, it boasts several landmarks that were once central to French royalty:

  • Palace of Versailles: A symbol of the absolute monarchy of the Ancien Régime, known for its opulent architecture and gardens.
  • Louvre Museum: Originally a royal palace, it is now the world's largest art museum.
  • Notre-Dame Cathedral: Although primarily a religious site, it has significant historical ties to French royalty.
Bold: London offers a more extensive array of royal landmarks, reflecting its long-standing monarchy. However, Paris's historical sites provide a glimpse into the grandeur of its royal past.

10. Romantic Charm

man and woman sitting together

When it comes to romantic charm, both London and Paris have their unique allure. Paris is often considered the epitome of romance, with its picturesque streets, intimate cafes, and the iconic Eiffel Tower lighting up the night sky. The city's ambiance is perfect for couples looking to experience a dreamy getaway.

London, on the other hand, offers a different kind of romantic experience. Strolls along the Thames, cozy evenings in historic pubs, and the stunning views from The Shard provide a more understated but equally enchanting atmosphere.

  • Paris:
    • Eiffel Tower
    • Intimate cafes
    • Picturesque streets
  • London:
    • Thames strolls
    • Historic pubs
    • Views from The Shard
Realistically, I find Paris to be a more beautiful city with the architecture. The food is definitely better, and if you are an art lover, I think you will love it.

Ultimately, whether you prefer the romantic charm of Paris or the subtle allure of London, both cities offer unforgettable experiences for travelers in love.


In conclusion, both London and Paris offer unique and enriching experiences for travellers, each with its own distinct charm and attractions. London, with its diverse cultural scene, historical landmarks, and budget-friendly options, tends to attract visitors for longer stays. On the other hand, Paris captivates with its iconic architecture, romantic ambiance, and world-renowned tourist attractions. Ultimately, the choice between these two magnificent cities depends on your personal preferences and what you seek in a travel experience. Whether you are drawn to the cosmopolitan vibe of London or the elegant allure of Paris, both cities promise unforgettable memories and adventures.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which city is better for historical landmarks and museums?

Paris excels in historical landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Louvre, while London offers renowned museums like the British Museum.

Is there a significant difference in culinary experiences between London and Paris?

Paris offers refined French cuisine, while London offers diverse international flavours.

London Vs Paris: Which city is more budget-friendly for travellers?

London tends to be more budget-friendly for travellers compared to Paris.

What sets London and Paris apart as travel destinations?

London is known for its royal landmarks and diverse cultural scene, while Paris boasts iconic architecture and romantic charm.

Is there a difference in the atmosphere and lifestyle of London and Paris?

London has a bustling, cosmopolitan vibe, while Paris exudes a romantic and elegant ambience.

Which city is more suitable for a first-time visitor to Europe?

London’s English-speaking environment makes it more accessible for first-time European visitors, but Paris offers quintessential European charm.

Do travellers tend to stay longer in London or Paris?

Travellers stay longer in London on average compared to Paris.

Which city has more top-visited tourist attractions?

Paris has the edge over London, boasting three of the world’s top ten most-visited tourist attractions (Eiffel Tower, Louvre, and Palace of Versailles), while London has none.

Curtis Duggan

Curtis Duggan

Curtis is a serial tech entrepreneur, content creator and the host of the Remotely Serious podcast on the future of remote work and digital nomadism.


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