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A Capital Idea of London

A Capital Idea of London

11 March 2015

A view from across the Channel

Last week we had two French college students in our office on work experience. We thought it would be fun to see what differences they found between the city they were visiting, and the city they call home:
It’s London vs. Paris…



Tube vs. Metro

London Tube: 402 km, 270 stations, 3.37 million people per day / Paris Metro: 219km, 300 stations, 5.23 million people per day.

Even though Paris and London share the Eurostar, they are quite different in terms of transport. In London, people drive on the left-hand side of the road whereas in Paris, we drive on the right-hand side. This is quite destabilising at first!

Heathrow vs. Roissy Charles de Gaulle

In 2014, Heathrow handled 73.4 million passengers / Roissy handled 63.8 million.

Marine: Heathrow is the busiest airport in Europe in terms of passenger traffic, followed by Roissy Charles de Gaulle. However, Roissy is more than twice as big as Heathrow; it covers 32.38 km2 as opposed to 12.14 km2.


Fish & Chips vs. Crêpes

Marine: London and Paris have different cultures. Firstly, England has a Queen unlike France. The food is also very different: Fish & Chips in London as opposed to Crêpes in Paris.

Jonah: London is much vaster, so I feel that people who live in London feel less “Londonian” because of the numerous neighbourhoods. People don’t usually say they are from London, but from a neighbourhood, not like in Paris.


Big Ben vs. Eiffel Tower

London’s most visited attraction: British Museum / Paris’ most visited attraction: Notre Dame Cathedral

Marine: Because they have different cultures, tourists do not come to these capitals for the same reasons: In Paris, visitors want to see the Champs-Élysées for the fashion and in London, we want to visit Buckingham Palace to see the guards and the royalty.

Jonah: London seems to have larger natural parks than Paris, with beautiful ponds. Big Ben is the most attractive landmark, as opposed to the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

And finally… Do these cities have anything in common?

Jonah: Both are beautiful capital cities; internationally connected and very active.

And for those of you who don’t know Paris as well as Jonah and Marine, here is a little guide by Parisian artist Victoria Duchatelle.