Are you debating Paris vs London for your next family vacation? Keep scrolling for a comparison of London vs Paris to see which city you should visit!
This comparison of Paris vs London contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.
After visiting both Paris and London with my kids last summer, I figured it might be helpful for other families if I wrote up a comparison post about these capital cities.
My kids have pretty strong feelings about which one was their favorite. Don’t worry, I’ll tell you all about it!
Want an epic London guide book? This is my favorite London itinerary and guide!
Paris vs London: The Differences
London and Paris are two of Europe’s most iconic cities, and they both have a rich history and cultural heritage. However, there are several key differences between the two cities that make each one unique.
Pace of Life
One of the biggest differences is the pace of life. London is a bustling, fast-paced city that never seems to slow down, while Paris has a more relaxed, slower-paced vibe.
Another difference is the architecture and urban planning. London is a mix of old and new buildings, with historic landmarks such as Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London.
On the other hand, Paris is known for its beautiful, grand boulevards, stunning Haussmannian buildings, and world-famous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame.
The cultural scene is also different in each city. London is known for its diverse cultural offerings, including world-class museums, galleries, and theaters.
Paris is famous for its rich artistic and literary heritage, with museums such as the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay, and its many Parisian bookstores and cafés.
Language is also a difference, as French is the official language in Paris, while English is the official language in London. You can get by speaking English in Paris, but it helps if you at least try to say a few words en Francais!
Overall, both London and Paris are wonderful cities with much to offer, and the best way to experience the differences between them is to visit both and see for yourself.
How Many Days in Paris vs London?
There’s honestly SO much to do in either city that there’s really no maximum amount of time.
I’d recommend at least 3-5 days in either city. That will give you enough time to hit up the most visited tourist attractions, learn about the city’s history, and take a few tours.
If you don’t have as many budget constraints, I’d say a week in each city would be ideal.
How Many Days Do You Need in Paris?
We spent 5 days in Paris including a side trip to Versailles and Giverny. And then we did 2 days at Disneyland Paris.
Personally, I would have done 6 days in Paris with just 1 day at Disneyland Paris, but my kids were really, really, stoked about getting 2 full Disney days.
How Many Days Do You Need in London?
We spent 4 days in London including a full day at the Warner Bros Studio. We felt like we had enough time to hit up all our top must-sees in London plus experience London theater.
But, we didn’t visit any London museums and weren’t able to take any side trips, besides the WB Studio.
Paris/London Public Transportation
Both London and Paris have really amazing public transportation options. They are easy to use and pretty affordable.
Even though Paris is a very walkable city, you’ll probably want to take the metro to quickly explore this French capital city.
The Paris metro system is well-organized and easy to navigate, with clear signage and maps available in multiple languages. The metro runs frequently and covers a large part of the city, making it easy to get to most tourist destinations.
You can purchase a single-use ticket or a multi-day pass, which is a more cost-effective option for those who plan to use the metro frequently. The metro is also connected to the RER regional train system, which provides access to destinations outside of central Paris.
The London Underground, also known as the “Tube,” is easy to use for tourists and is a convenient and affordable way to get around the city.
The Tube also has clear signage and maps available in multiple languages. The system runs frequently and covers a large part of the city, making it easy to get to most London tourist destinations.
If you’re planning on using the Tube a lot during your trip, you’ll want to get a multi-day pass.
The Tube is also connected to the National Rail system, which provides access to destinations outside of central London, like the Warner Bros Studios.
It’s hard to visit London without heading to a train station, even if you aren’t taking a ride. Harry Potter fans will want to head to King’s Cross to see Platform 9 3/4.
Tourist Attractions in Paris and London
Kid-Friendly Paris Attractions
This iconic landmark is a great place for kids to see the city from above and learn about its history. Kids will love taking the elevator to the top for a panoramic view of Paris.
You can decide how many stairs you’d like to climb, too! Check the latest rates and availability.
The Jardin d’Acclimatation
This amusement park is a great place for kids to play and have fun. It features a variety of rides and attractions, as well as a petting zoo and a pony ride. Check the latest rates and availability.
This beautiful stained glass chapel is a great place for kids to learn about art and architecture. They can see the stunning stained glass windows and learn about the history of the chapel.
In my opinion, is the prettiest church in Paris. Check the latest rates and availability.
This underground cemetery is a unique attraction that is both eerie and fascinating for kids. They can see the bones of over six million Parisians and learn about the history of the city. We’re a little too creeped out to do it, but other families swear it’s really cool! Check the latest rates and availability.
Arc de Triomphe
We really like going up to the top of the Arc de Triomphe because it has a cool view of the Champs-Elysees and the Eiffel Tower.
Plus there are some exhibits inside that explain why it’s such an iconic Paris attraction. Check the latest rates and availability.
Notre Dame Cathedral
I added this to the list even though it’s still under construction because it’s still a cool place to visit. They have a bunch of signage set up so you can see the progress plus you can still see a lot of the exterior of Notre Dame cathedral.
This theme park is a must-visit for kids who love Disney characters and rides. It features classic attractions such as Space Mountain and It’s a Small World, as well as many other fun experiences.
It’s an easy Paris day trip or you can extend it to a few days. Check the latest rates and availability.
Kid-Friendly London Attractions
This giant Ferris wheel is a great place for kids to see the city from above and learn about its history.
They can take a leisurely ride in a capsule and enjoy the views of London. Check the latest rates and availability.
This famous zoo is a great place for kids to see a wide range of animals from around the world. They can learn about the animals and their habitats, and even meet some of the animals up close. Check the latest rates and availability.
I added Big Ben to the list just to see it from the outside. All the double-decker bus tours go past it and you can see if you’re walking around London. There’s a red phonebooth set up where you can get a photo with Big Ben in the background, which I highly recommend!
Tower of London
This historic castle is a great place for kids to learn about the history of London and see the Crown Jewels. Plus, there are Beefeaters walking around, which kids think is cool. Check the latest rates and availability.
This iconic palace is the official residence of the British monarch and is a great place for kids to learn about the British monarchy.
They can watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony and see the palace’s beautiful gardens. Check the latest rates and availability.
Boat Ride on the River Thames
This boat ride is a great way for families to see the city from a different perspective and enjoy some fresh air and scenic views. Check the latest rates and availability.
Warner Bros Studio
Any Potterhead will want to spend a full day at the Warner Bros Studio. This is where they filmed a bunch of scenes from Harry Potter and it’s a totally immersive experience.
There are props, costume, movie sets, and more photo ops than you could imagine. Check the latest rates and availability.
Is London or Paris Better for Museums and Historical Sights?
Most of the museums in London are free, which is pretty cool. A lot of the museums in Paris are free for kids/students, so that also helps out budget-wise.
Best London Museums for Kids
This museum is a great place to explore the history of the world and learn about ancient civilizations. Kids will love the Rosetta Stone and the Egyptian mummies. The general museum is free to visit, but they have a lot of cool exhibits that have an entrance fee.
The Natural History Museum
This museum is a must-visit for kids who love science and nature. It features a wide range of interactive exhibits, including a giant dinosaur skeleton and a butterfly exhibit.
The Science Museum
This museum is a great place for kids who are interested in technology and science. It features interactive exhibits on space, medicine, and transportation.
The V&A Museum of Childhood
This museum is dedicated to childhood and is a great place for kids to learn about toys, games, and other aspects of childhood throughout history.
Best Paris Museums for Kids
This world-famous museum is a must-visit for kids who love art and history. They can see famous works such as the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. Check the latest rates and availability.
This museum is a great place for kids who are interested in art, with a focus on impressionist and post-impressionist works. Check the latest rates and availability.
They also have a ton of guided tours here specifically for families that can make it a more engaging experience for kids.
The Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie
This museum is dedicated to science and technology and is a great place for kids who are interested in these subjects. It features interactive exhibits and hands-on activities.
The Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature
This museum is dedicated to hunting and nature and is a great place for kids who love animals. They can see a wide range of taxidermied animals and learn about hunting and nature conservation.
The Jardin des Plantes
This botanical garden is a great place for kids who love nature and want to learn about plants and animals. It features a zoo, a natural history museum, and a botanical garden.
Budget-Friendly Trips to London or Paris
Free Things to do in London
London is a city with a rich cultural heritage and a wealth of attractions, many of which are free to visit.
Here are some of the best free things to do in London for families:
Visit the National Gallery
This world-famous art museum features a wide range of masterpieces, including works by Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, and Van Gogh. Admission is free, making it a great option for families on a budget.
Take a Walk in Hyde Park
This large park is a great place for families to relax and play. It features a large lake, a playground, and plenty of open space for kids to run around.
Explore the British Museum
This museum is a great place to learn about world cultures and history, and it features a wide range of exhibits, including the Rosetta Stone and the Egyptian mummies. Admission is free, making it a great option for families.
Visit St. Paul’s Cathedral
This iconic cathedral is a great place to learn about the history of London and see some of its most famous landmarks. Kids can climb the dome for a panoramic view of the city.
Visit the Natural History Museum
This museum is a great place for kids who love science and nature. It features a wide range of interactive exhibits, including a giant dinosaur skeleton and a butterfly exhibit. Admission is free.
These free activities offer a fun and educational experience for families and are a great way to explore the many sights and sounds of London.
Free Things to do in Paris
Paris also has iconic attractions that are free to see or explore. Here are some of the top free things to do in Paris for families:
Visit the Luxembourg Gardens
This is one of the largest Paris parks and it’s a great place for families to relax and play. It features a large lake, a playground, and plenty of green spaces for kids to run around.
For a few euro, you can rent toy boats. I think it’s totally worth the cost.
Take a Leisurely Walk Along the Seine River
This river runs through the heart of Paris and is a great place for families to take a stroll and enjoy the sights. Children can see famous bridges and boats along the way.
Visit the Jardin des Plantes
This botanical garden is perfect for kids who love nature and want to learn about plants and animals. It features a zoo, natural history museum and botanical garden.
Visit the Musée des Arts et Métiers
This museum is a great place for kids who love science and technology. It features a wide range of interactive exhibits, including historical machines and scientific instruments.
Visit the Place des Vosges
This beautiful square is a great place for kids to run around and play. It features a playground and plenty of open space to enjoy.
Which Has the Best Carousels: Paris or London?
Both London and Paris have some pretty gorgeous carousels that will delight kids of all ages.
Where to Find Carousels in Paris
Paris is home to several beautiful and historic carousels that are popular attractions for families and children. Some of the most notable carousels in Paris include:
Carrousel des Tuileries
Located in the Tuileries Garden, this carousel is a beautiful and historic attraction that has been in operation since the 19th century.
Carrousel de la Place des Abbesses
This carousel is located in the heart of the trendy neighborhood of Montmartre and is a popular spot for families and children. There are lots of cafes nearby to pick up a treat to enjoy afterwards.
Eiffel Tower Carousel
This is a classically designed carousel with wood-carved ride-on horses, plus the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop.
This was my kids’ favorite carousel in Paris and they rode it THREE TIMES!
Carrousel de la Villette
This carousel is located in the Parc de la Villette and is one of the largest carousels in Europe. It features a wide range of rides for kids of all ages.
Carrousel de la Galerie Vivienne
This carousel is located in the elegant Galerie Vivienne shopping arcade and is a popular spot for families and children.
These carousels offer a fun and memorable experience for families and children, and are a great way to explore the many sights and sounds of Paris.
Where to Find Carousels in London
While they aren’t as iconic as the ones in Paris, London is home to several beautiful and historic carousels. Some of the most notable carousels in London include:
Carousel at Winter Wonderland
This seasonal carousel is located in Hyde Park during the winter months and is a popular spot for families and children.
Carousel at the Southbank Centre
This carousel is located near the river in the Southbank Centre and is a popular spot for families and children.
Carousel at the London Eye
This carousel is located near the London Eye and is a popular spot for families and children.
Carousel at Regent’s Park
This carousel is located in Regent’s Park and is a popular spot for families and children during the summer months.
Carousel at Greenwich Park
This carousel is located in Greenwich Park and is a popular spot for families and children during the summer months.
These carousels offer a fun and memorable experience for families and children, and are a great way to explore the many sights and sounds of London.
Is Paris or London Better for Food?
While London sometimes get a bad rap for having lousy food, we didn’t find that the case at all. We actually found a ton of great places to eat in both Paris and London.
Where to Eat in Paris with Kids
La Belle Équipe
This family-friendly bistro is a great place for families to enjoy a hearty meal. It features a wide range of traditional French dishes, including steak frites, roasted chicken, and mussels.
This chain of steak restaurants is a great place for families to enjoy a hearty meal. It features a wide range of meat dishes, including burgers, steaks, and grilled chicken.
While this is a popular macaron shop, they also have a restaurant on the Champs-Elysees with lots of amazing food.
But, your kids will probably also want to order their famous macarons during their meal or at the shop afterward.
This is a typical French restaurant that we’ve always found super welcoming to our family. They do an amazing steak tartare and they have a nice kids’ menu.
Le Relais de l’Entrecote
This Paris restaurant only serves steak and fries and it’s pretty kid-friendly. They walk around offering you as much steak and fries as you like.
Where to Eat in London with Kids
Giraffe World Kitchen
This family-friendly restaurant is a great place for families to enjoy a fun and tasty meal. It features a wide range of international dishes, including tacos, burgers, and stir-fries.
This fun and interactive restaurant is a great place for families to enjoy a unique dining experience. It features a wide range of dishes, including burgers, salads, and pasta, and is designed to look like a tropical rainforest.
Harrods Tea Rooms
While there are lots of places to get afternoon tea in London, the Harrods Tea Rooms are quite famous.
They do a super cute kids’ tea where the food comes out on a teddy bear display stand. My kids still think that this was our best meal in London.
Bread Street Cafe
This is a Gordon Ramsey restaurant that serves up traditional English food like shepherd’s pie and beef Wellington. But they also have a dedicated children’s menu.
If you like to sort of graze for your meals, you’ll want to head to Borough Market. They have a bunch of food stalls and it’s a great way to try a little something of everything.
Is London or Paris Better for Shopping?
Both Paris and London have a great shopping scene.
London offers a lot of nice department stores like Harrods and Selfridges. It has vibrant street markets, like Camden Market and Portobello Road Market that are worth checking out.
The city is also home to a wide range of shopping districts, including Oxford Street, Regent Street, and King’s Road.
Paris is known for its luxury brands and high-end fashion houses, such as Chanel, Dior, and Louis Vuitton. It also has amazing vintage shops. And I’m a huge fan of Monoprix (which is sort of their version of Target).
The city is also home to a number of famous shopping streets, including the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, Avenue Montaigne, and the Marais neighborhood.
Only Have One Day in London or Paris?
If a family only has one day in either London or Paris, they can still make the most of their time by focusing on a few must-see attractions.
Here are some recommendations for families with one day in either city:
One Day in London
- Visit Buckingham Palace and watch the Changing of the Guard.
- Take a ride on the London Eye for a panoramic view of the city.
- Explore the British Museum.
- Walk along the Southbank and enjoy street performers and food stalls.
- Take a stroll in Hyde Park.
One Day in Paris
- Visit the Eiffel Tower and take a climb to the top.
- Explore the Louvre Museum.
- Walk along the Champs-Élysées and enjoy the street vendors and cafes.
- Visit Sainte-Chapelle Cathedral.
- Stroll through the Tuileries Garden.
By focusing on a few key attractions, families can make the most of their limited time and get a sense of the unique character and charm of each city.
Day Trips from Paris vs. London
Both London and Paris are amazing hubs for doing day trips to see outside these major cities.
Best Paris Day Trips
The most popular Paris day trips are Versailles (a massive palace and gardens) and Giverny (where Monet lived). But there are tons of cool places to check out if you have extra days in Paris. Here are some of the best day trips from Paris by train.
Best London Day Trips
The most popular London day trips are Stonehenge, Bath, and Oxford. But there are lots of interesting side trips you can take. Here are some of the best day trips from London by train.
Family Photos in Paris/London
I highly recommend booking a family photo shoot in Paris or London. Both offer amazing backdrops and can be a fun way to see the two cities.
Paris Photo Shoot
We’ve done two Paris photo shoots. The first one was at the Eiffel Tower and the second was at Sacre-Coeur. Both were pretty fabulous and totally worth it. You can see our full Paris family photo shoot.
London Photo Shoot
We did an extra-long London photo shoot on our last trip. We walked near Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and so many more iconic London sights. You can see our full London family photo shoot.
London vs Paris: What MY Kids Say
After our Paris/London trip, my kids said they really wanted to go back to Paris ASAP. They prefer Paris to London because of the seemlingly endless chocolate croissants, cool art museums, stunning carousels, and the toy boats at Luxembourg Garden.
However, when it comes to Harry Potter attractions, London wins! They loved the Harry Potter walking tour we did as well as spending all day at the WB Studios.
Can You Do Both London and Paris in the Same Trip?
Absolutely! In fact, that’s what a lot of families do. It’s pretty easy to take the train through the Chunnel (underground tunnel) to get between these capital cities in just a couple of hours.
Paris vs London FAQs
No, London and Paris are not in the same time zone. London is in the GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) time zone, while Paris is in the CET (Central European Time) time zone. CET is one hour ahead of GMT. So, when it is 12:00 PM in London, it is 1:00 PM in Paris.
The most popular time to visit Paris and London is summertime (June-August). That’s when there are lots of festivals, events, and the weather is gorgeous. If you’d like to save some money, springtime or early fall is quite lovely.
Both London and Paris are considered expensive cities in comparison to other destinations in Europe and around the world. London tends to be more expensive than Paris, especially when it comes to accommodation, dining out, and transportation. However, Paris can be more expensive for some items such as shopping and cultural activities.
London and Paris are both large cities, with London being the larger of the two. In terms of area, London covers an estimated 608 square miles, while Paris covers an estimated 40.7 square miles.
The cost of visiting London or Paris can vary greatly depending on several factors, such as the time of year, the exchange rate, and your travel style. In general, Paris is often considered to be slightly cheaper than London, especially when it comes to food and basic necessities such as groceries. However, London can be more affordable for some items, such as transportation and entertainment.
Winter in both cities can be cold and dreary. However, the cities are still well-lit and decorated for the holiday season, making them magical and festive places to visit. If you are interested in indoor activities such as visiting museums, shopping, and dining out, both London and Paris offer plenty of opportunities to keep warm and entertained. The holiday season is also a great time to see the cities’ famous Christmas markets and holiday lights.
London vs Paris Wrap-Up
I hope this helps you compare London vs Paris for your next trip to Europe. Personally, I recommend people spend 5-7 days exploring each city. However, if you have budget constraints, just choose the city that seems like the best fit for your family.