So, as you read this I’ll be in Paris; the world-renowned ‘city of light’, most visited capital in the world and romantic destination par excellence.
Now, unlike many of my compatriots, I’m something of a Francophile. I love many French artists – Degas, Courbet and Monet, to name but a few. I’ve read Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex (in English). I adore Serge Gainsbourg, I think French pastries are the best thing since sliced bread and I’ve even tried to learn the language, with somewhat limited success. And Paris is so much more beautiful and elegant than London, so much more intellectual. The food is better, the transport system is better, the shops are way better.
But, as an adopted Londoner, I feel that before I board the Eurostar I should show a little loyalty to my chosen metropolis. So, here are five ways in which London beats Paris hands-down:
I know, there’s plenty of it in Paris too. But London’s museums and galleries are just as good and guess what? Most of them are free. Also, a gallery attendant once shouted at me in the Louvre and a crowd gathered to watch – it was horribly embarrassing. Nothing like that has ever happened to me in London.
2) Pub culture
There’s a certain type of British person who likes to whinge about the lack of café culture here in the UK. I say pub culture is our café culture, and it’s just not the same anywhere else. If you’re near Holland Park, pay a visit to the wonderful Windsor Castle.
I have many more recommendations where that came from!
Paris just has too much of it; the handsome architecture, the endless boulevards and of course the impossibly well-groomed Parisians. It all gets a little tedious after a while, and makes one long for London’s hotch-potch ugliness.
The French have good food. The British have good music. Personally, I’m happy with that.
French is a wonderful language but of course if you want to learn English then London is the place to be! (Although see my previous post How to start a conversation with a British girl if you really want to make the most of it.)
So, those are my five defences of London! Having said all that, I’m sure when I get back I’ll be telling you how fabulous Paris is and how much I’d love to live there! Anyway, I’d love to hear your thoughts on either city.
compatriot (n.) - someone from the same country
Francophile (n.) - someone who loves France and French culture
the best thing since sliced bread (exp.) - excellent, the best thing ever!
way better (inf. exp.) - much better
whinge (v.) - to complain
tedious (adj.) - boring
long for (phr.v.) - to wish for
hotch-potch (adj.) - unplanned, a chaotic mixture of styles