I can’t believe I’m really writing this post. I’ve had the idea before, but something kept me from writing this. Maybe the absurdity of comparing Paris with Berlin and London and vice versa… It’s like comparing apples and oranges, if you ask me! I don’t intend this blog post to be a ‘competition’ post between those 3 great cities. I simply want to tell you what I think are advantages and disadvantages of all three cities and would love to hear your opinions!
Let’s start with positive things: People in London are polite and friendly. …Don’t laugh, it’s true! I wasn’t born in Britain and haven’t been there before I was 11. I’ve spent quite some time of my childhood in Paris and Germany though and Germans, as well as the French, aren’t exactly the nicest bunch of people.
Paris has a great atmosphere. And with that I mean the charm the city has. No matter how many bad things there are about Paris, it IS the city of love, and you feel all romantic when you’re there…on the Eiffel Tower…at sunset. Sigh…
Berlin is a vibrant city, full of artists and ‘alternatives’. There is something about that city I can’t really describe. There is a reason why a Berliner loves their city!
London is very fast paced, whereas both Berlin and Paris are more laid back and relaxed. You don’t feel so pushed. In London, I always run run run…down Oxford Street, to Harrods, to the bakery around the corner. It’s as if there’s some collective urge telling people to adapt the busy lifestyle of working Londoners.
Paris is all about fashion. It’s a cliché which is true. The outfits I’ve seen in Paris! There are so many stylish people and so many fashion faux pas. I noticed other people’s outfits far more often than in any other city I’ve been to. Something I won’t forget is that granny I saw in baggy pants with a copy of ELLE in her hand.
The living costs in Paris and especially in London are way more expensive than in Berlin! One of my favourite books ‘A Year in the Merde’ is about a Londoner living in Paris and I always remember that one sentence: “You can buy a small château up in the Normandy for about the price Londoners pay for a semi-detached ants’ nest.” SO true!
The transport is good in all three cities. The S-Bahn and U-Bahn in Berlin, the tube in London and the métro in Paris. “In short, Paris has public transport that actually transports the public rather than trying to make them give up and travel by car.” The tube in London is often unreliable though: ‘There’s no service between Edgware and…’ Yes.
The traffic in Paris is horrible. There are traffic jams everywhere and the Parisian have a crazy driving style. There are beggars in the métro and S-Bahn/U-Bahn all the time, asking you for money. I haven’t seen a single beggar yet in the tube. Another problem the métro, but also Paris in general has, are thieves. I’ve heard crazy stories about handbags that were stolen right before the door of the métro closes. I’ve even seen it in May last year!
The street vendors trying to sell you tiny Eiffel Towers (often illegal immigrants from Africa or India; huuuge problem in Paris!!) are nothing but extremely annoying.
Berlin is not a metropolis. London and Paris are. And you can feel that. Berlin is crazy, cultural, arty but parochial, and it doesn’t have the charm of a metropolitan city.
There are lots of green spaces in London. You won’t find that in Berlin or Paris. “Compared to London there’s hardly a square inch of greenery in Paris.” ~A Year in the Merde
London is very class orientated, almost snobby. I’ve found a quote on the internet which desribes it pretty good: “Actually I’ve found it’s the middle class that are the snotty ones. Generally the richer you are the nicer you are. Sometimes the stinking rich are a little mad, but nice mad!” Berlin isn’t as class orientated. The Parisians aren’t any better though..
The entertainment in London is the best, from the TV programme (I love BBC movies!) to musicals. Also, the supermarkets are better than in Berlin (don’t know about Paris). Waitrose, Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Budgens, Whole Foods (though that’s American). In Berlin there’s only Kaufland, Aldi, Lidl, Netto, Rewe… And the opening hours in London! Some are open 24/7!
And one other thing about Paris: “Going on strike really is the second national participation sport after pétanque.”
All three cities are amazing and hectic, vibrant and energetic; there’s always something new!
During my research I’ve found this absolutely FANTASTIC video by The Escapist about Berlin, London, Paris (and Amsterdam). You should watch it, it’s so beautiful!
What’s your opinion? Which city do you love most? Where would you want to live?