The best of Paris versus the best of London—which comes out on top?
It’s really impossible to compare these two truly great cities, but it’s sure fun to try, particularly if you have a wonderful illustrator at your side. So this is what we set out to do in the first issue of our new digital magazine, Girls’ Guide to Paris ET PLUS, a guide to Paris and the rest of the world. We chose some of the most iconic places, tastes and sights in each town and then compared them. We have our own opinions, but we want to hear yours, too, so read on and share your ideas on the matter.
All illustrations by Fifi Flowers.
Galeries Lafayette vs. Harrods
Both of these department stores are old, classic and grand, but in this close contest, Galeries Lafayette wins for us. Why? It boasts a gourmet food area that’s equally impressive in substance, if not size, to the great food halls at Harrods; the opportunity to taste entire flights of first-growth Bordeaux wines; VIP shopping rooms, where you can have a personal shopper bring you what you are looking for while you sip champagne, rather than fight the crowds; and a rooftop bar and restaurant with a view. But we do love the iconic Harrods green bag, and having high tea at Harrods with scones and clotted cream—yum!
Croissants vs. Fish-and-Chips
Perhaps a bit unfair here, but croissants tops fish-and-chips. Why? While we adore a crispy helping of fish-and-chips with malt vinegar, wrapped in yesterday’s newspaper, we simply can’t eat like that every day. But a croissant 5–6 times a week is a definite possibility.
Notre Dame vs. Westminster
This is a tie for us. These cathedrals are equally old and prestigious, entwined in history and symbolic of their host cities, and one can’t walk around either of them without feeling a sense of awe, whether considering the Gothic architecture of Notre Dame or, in Westminster, the tombs of oh-so-many famous Englishmen buried beneath your feet—and of course how 38 kings and queens of England have been crowned here over (almost) the past 1,000 years.
Eiffel Tower vs. Big Ben
Here’s another tie. How can you have Paris without la Trip Eiffel, as much the symbol of this city as Marianne is of France? And what about Big Ben and the houses of the British Parliament? Imagine a New Year’s celebration in London without the backdrop of Elizabeth Tower, as Big Ben was recently renamed as part of the Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee celebration. You can trip both the Eiffel Tower and Big Ben and actually go up inside them (but you can eat a good meal inside the Eiffel Tower, giving it the slightest hint of an edge).
Paris Taxi vs. London Taxi
Well, this isn’t even a contest. The only taxi drivers in the world that rival London’s are perhaps the incredibly polite and well-dressed (captain hat and white gloves) drivers in Tokyo. And what could be more wonderful than the incredibly roomy backseat of a traditional London black cab? The test the London cabbies have to take sets them up to really know their city in and out, and that’s an important skill, as you know if you’ve ever tried to drive in this maze of a town. London comes out a winner, as it did when it won the bid for the Olympics.
The Paris Metro vs. the London Tube
Well, both are fairly efficient and will pretty much get you anywhere you need to go in town. Some of the classic French metro signs or, better yet, the art nouveau “Metropolitan” signs you can still see around Paris are simply gorgeous. But we get a little giggle every time we remember the “mind the gap” public announcement that you hear invariably when below ground in London, and then there’s the name—the Tube, which is just hands-down fabulously cool. No one in Paris wears a metro T-shirt, but Londoners wear Tube T-shirts. I think the Brits have this one, too.
Chanel vs. Mulberry
We adore the terribly chic and beautifully made Mulberry bags—in fact, all of Mulberry’s leather goods are gorgeous. Both companies were founded or cofounded by women. But there is simply something special about the history of Chanel and how the brand never goes out of style. And you know that when you’re ready to let go of a Chanel item, you’ll be able to either sell it on eBay or hand it down to your daughter. Chanel pulls Paris ahead.
So that makes two wins for London, three wins for Paris and two ties. Close, but Paris wins in a nail-biter. What’s your take? Share your thoughts and your own winner on our Facebook page. If you haven’t seen our new digital magazine, Girls’ Guide to Paris ET PLUS, get a sneak peek and see what all the fuss is about. Then, subscribe to the magazine!
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