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Friday, 14 April, 2000, 11:26 GMT 12:26 UK
Paris or London - Which do you prefer?
London or Paris, Paris or London - which do you prefer? Laetitia Casta, the model so beautiful she was chosen to represent Marianne, the icon of Frenchness, her likeness to grace town halls across France, has rented a flat in London.
Is she about to abandon Paris for London? It's triggered a bout of protestation - with sniffy comments from French politicians - they might have lower taxes in London, but have you tried the tube?
Europe Today's Mark Reid brought together in Paris an Englishman who has chosen to make his home in the French capital, Jon Henley of the Guardian newspaper, and first a Frenchman who has chosen to live in London, journalist Olivier Deslandes.
Listen to this week's edition of the Europewide debate and tell us what you think.
Opinions in this particular poll are worth nothing. Parisians will think Paris better and people from London will think London is a better place to live. I definitely like France, as the weather is better!
London and England, as a whole, are far superior to Paris and France in every way. England is so cool and wealthy and you can find anything you want in London. Oh I would love to live in England rather than dirty, unemployment-stricken and rude France and Paris any day!
After living in both cities for a year each. They each have good and bad qualities. Paris has much better transport and great sights. While London has great clubs and great people.
London is not as beautiful as Paris, but people there were friendly and kind. I was shocked how the French were rude and xenophobic. I have seen everything I wanted to see in Paris, and do not want to go there again, while I would like to visit London once more.
I have visited both the cities and the city that I love is Paris. It is very lively and truly French. The people are moody but willing to help you. London is more American than being English. You can see American influence every where and it is becoming an American colony and a dumping ground. Hard to believe the English ruled the world just fifty years ago.
As far as Ms. Casta's decision goes, however, if you are going to represent a cultural Ideal, you should live in the country where that ideal is based - otherwise take yourself out of consideration.
London more cosmopolitan than Paris? You are joking? Paris is the first tourist town in the World, London is a just a bit better now, since about 200000 French
cookers, bakers, doctors, designers, fashion designers etc... work over there, but it's still the second class of the French quality workers "artisants du savoir vivre"
you could find in France.
The clubs in London are among the best in the world but they are not on the whole, significantly better than those that typically set the trends in New York.
Paris or London? But even if Paris is the best place, I was in Toulouse, Bordeaux, Montpellier and Nice, they seem better places to live than Paris...
Name dropping now...London, fantastic, friendly historic city. Paris, beautiful and aloof. NYC, lively and fun. Bangkok, exciting. I've spent time in them all, but the best place I've visited was dirty, smelling, poor and full of the friendliest people I'd ever met. I'd choose Kathmandu every time! Failing that, anywhere out in the wilds!
The French metro stinks! It can't carry that many people, goes much slower and keeps stopping every 50 metres! Give me a LONDON Underground any day.
Dave Strong, UK
Edward Limon of USA, an American living in Paris regrets that London is being swamped by American consumerism.
He seems not to have noticed the growing proportion of Parisians now eating at the fast food chains he mentions and that 70% of cinema tickets sold in France are for Hollywood films.
As a frequent visitor to both London and Paris, London wins every time. The people are friendlier, the entertainment better, but most important of all, they have an understanding of the whole world, not just their backyard. The French are even worse than the Americans in their insularity!
Why should anyone prefer Paris to London? It is a vast, dirty city with rude, arrogant inhabitants. London is built on a more human scale, it is cleaner, far more interesting, truly multi-racial, colourful...London is a world metropolis, Paris is the capital of France. I'd choose London even if I was offered a chateau in Paris!
London is slightly better than Paris while talking about the atmosphere and friendliness of it's habitants. But not much better! Why are not places like Madrid or even San Francisco mentioned here? Is the Eiffel Tower or British Museum reason good enough to spend your lifetime among millions of hostile, arrogant individuals looking down their noses at anyone else? Or is it more reasonable to visit Louvre or Buckingham Palace once in a while, living in some friendlier place rest of the time.
No contest. Paris is far superior to London in every way, from the overall quality of the architecture, restaurants, museums, parks, public transportation, shopping and fashion down to the small details such as superior road signage and plentiful (and clean!) public restrooms. The French have spent an enormous sum on Paris and every centime shows. London, however, looks like the British haven't invested a penny in it in the last 50 years. Regarding the people, I find the French to be refreshingly straightforward and infinitely more interesting to talk with. The British, however, I find to be cloying and condescending, as though they believe Kipling is still alive and the United States is still a colony.
After Paris a couple of weeks ago, we were in London last weekend. I found the city not only very dirty, but too crowded and too expensive! We tried to get on the Ferris wheel but that also would have taken 5 hours waiting time to see the rubbish in the streets from above in snail speed. Great fun!
Paris has dramatically improved the last couple of years. Although less cosmopolitan than London (who wants this anyway), Paris has character in the French way, and not as the English have distorted the meaning of this word. Give me Paris any time.
I think the fact that I am leaving the UK for good in a couple of months speaks for itself, and guess where I am going back to... PARIS.
I am not French either, yet I love France and compared to Paris I find London appalling.
Roman Frolov, Russia
After experiencing Paris for the first time during the Millennium celebrations, I have to say that Paris is a very beautiful city to visit in terms of the sights, but the majority of its residents did seem to be very rude, particularly once they got behind the wheel of a car! London isn't the friendliest place on earth, but it's much better for general politeness. Plus the fact that the average price for a pint was about £4, makes London far superior!
As an American living in Paris, I was very disappointed after visiting London one weekend. The city is so run-down! I could not believe how 'American' London is becoming. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with becoming 'American', but it is very sad when you look around Leicester Square, Soho, Oxford Circus and Trafalgar and see 'American' trash everywhere, more Gap, Burger King and McDonald's ads than pub signs, internet ads and trash on the side... It will be very sad to lose London to American consumerism. Paris is doing the right thing by keeping the city truly French, and truly European. I was glad, to my surprise, to return back 'home' to Paris that weekend.
A Parks, UK
I agree with Pascal that the Paris Transport system is better, but London is far bigger and deals with greater passenger numbers especially during rush hour. The French throw money at transport which is why income tax is higher and why Latetitia Casta has been living and working in London for three years.
I've spent two years in each city and wished there was a mixture of both: London's surroundings (Kent, Thames Valley etc), the quality of food you get even in the tiniest place in Paris, the open-mindedness of London, the Public Transport system of Paris (provided there's no grève...), the bookshops of London and a certain French attitude to work & Life... But I guess a Hybrid would be boring, so let's put up with the ups and downs of both places...and besides, are they pretending to compete at all?
Paris is beautiful, but London, on the other hand, has something or everyone and has the distinct advantage of being in an English speaking nation.
Why bother to choose between one huge great monstrous city and another. I'd rather be in the countryside any day. I can see the sky, hear myself think!
BJ Vandenberg, Australia
I don't care what Oscar said. When I think of my times in Paris I shall like to go there when I die even if I've been bad.
Uh, choose A or B, well me being a Texan I choose C for Copenhagen! As for as people saying the residents of these two great cities are rude I don't believe it. They act as any other big city residents. Though I do prefer being brushed off in French!
I was born in London, and have grown up in Australia, I have visited London 5 times and Paris 4 times. There is no comparison in my mind, Paris is the greatest city in the world bar none. It was not worry me if I never go back to London again, but it would break my heart if I thought that I would never see Paris again.
I have lived in both London and in Paris, right now I live in Montreal which is a beautiful blend of London and Paris and my favourite city in the world. But frankly speaking, London beats Paris hands down any day, and not just because it is more cosmopolitan, Londoners as a people are just plain nicer and friendlier than Parisians.
I prefer London, but England, like the rest of Western Europe has become so Americanised, one might as well be in New York.
Alex Smith-Ryland, Australia
I visited both and I have very mixed impressions. Paris is pretty, yet I think French people could be nicer when it comes to foreigners. London is a very stylish and culturally advance city. As nice as both of these cities are, I think they are very overrated. Rome, Prague, Yerevan are much more interesting.
Paris is far better than London. It has such style and youthfulness, whereas London seems like a faded old man. In Paris the food is not overpriced and is wonderful. In London I have paid nearly four pounds for a soggy tuna sandwich on pre-sliced white bread. Whereas in Paris I can buy a wonderful large fresh baguette for approx. two pounds fifty.
The people in all major cities are not particularly friendly and I would say that in this respect that London and Paris are equal.
Both are nice for a while. Each has it's cultural and architectural merits.
London has the oldest underground system in the world, but Paris has a much better system. It looks as though the French came to London and thought, "this is a good idea, but we can improve on this". And did!
Paris doesn't need any trophy... Comparing Paris to London is like comparing a 500SL to a Skoda....
No contest. Paris wins by a mile. It's cleaner, friendlier and the range of places to eat is unbeatable. What more do you want?
M. Conomos, Australia
Paris and London are both beautiful, but you Brits have it all over the French.
Well it really is no contest. Paris is a lovely place but the people are quite dreadful, and that is what sways it. London is far more cosmopolitan with people from every corner of the World. The cuisine is now far better with a far wider choice. Try getting a curry in Paris! The underground is also much safer in London.
Pascal Jacquemain, UK
Paris is for yuppies and artists and French. London is for human beings. London has a face and feelings. It has a universal cultural atmosphere, not a village atmosphere of Paris.
For a person who has seen and experienced it all there is only one choice when these two cities are compared. That choice is London with its lovely smelling underground!
26 years in Paris and it never palls.
London may be buzzing and Britannia cool but I am sure I live better on less here than over there. £2 for a tasteless cappuccino at Waterloo when you get off Eurostar is just the beginning.
I think both London and Paris are pretty similar - overpriced, overhyped and not particularly architecturally pleasing!! Give me Roma any day!
Petar Peric, Holland (formerly Yugoslavia)
I must agree with my compatriot Mr Wilde who believed that when "the good die they go to Paris".
I think that you are all being really silly, it doesn't matter which is better they are both nice places to live in and visit.
There are hundreds of cities that surpass both London and Paris and I would rather live in one of those.
Derek Payne, Gibraltar/Barcelona/London
I prefer London. Londoners were more hospitable, courteous and friendly. This coming from a Black American is quite a compliment. Paris was cold and seemed corrupt...worse than NYC.
I've been in both cities and Paris is far, far better than London.
But a city which is even better than Paris is Prague.
It's no Contest, I'd vote for London!
Paris is nice, but the residents of Paris tend to be too arrogant for their own good. Miss Casta has every right to live where she chooses without childish pressure from her home government! And you Londoners, you shouldn't complain about your rail system, try ours (what little we have of one)!
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