Paris vs. New York

January 28, 2014

The Eiffel Tower in Paris

The New York versus Paris debate has raged on for what some might say is centuries, now seems like an eternity of comparisons and biting remarks are tossed back and forth like grenades across the Atlantic.

Both cities hold ongoing honours in Art, Culture, Culinary Arts, Fashion (both hold Fashion Weeks two times a year that dictate trends and success for many design houses) and a long tale of internal city battles and immigrant history.

There is the much talked about Tally of Two Cities website compares the two great cities using coffee table books and postcards filled with minimalist drawings to compare the two in subtle words and imagery. Take for instance, one picture that shows the varied coffee preferences between the two metropolises which both are favourites of mine. On the New York side, there’s a tall Starbucks cup while, on the Paris side, there’s a tiny espresso – this could sum up many of us on a daily basis but alludes to the idea of the diversity in culture.

While the lists could go on forever here are a few not to miss places and things to see in both cities:

New York: The National September 11 Memorial & Museum,Times Square, Central Park, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, The Met, MOMA, Broadway, The Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge, Fashion District, Harlem, SoHo, Bryant Park and the list goes on depending on your interests:

Paris: Eiffel Tower, Champs- Elysees, Notre Dame de Paris, La Defense Suare, The Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, Pompidou Centre, Arc de Triope, Quartier Latin, Basilique du Sacre Coeur – so many districts to cover and so many food options along the way.

Some interesting factoids of comparison between the two cities:

International Airports:

  • New York: John F. Kennedy (JFK), Laguardia (LGA), Newark (EWR)
  • Paris: Charles de Gaulle (CDG), Orly (ORY)

UNESCO SITES

New York: The Statue of Liberty – ironically a Paris connection. Designed by Frédéric Bartholdi, the statue was a gift to the United States from the people of France. It has since become an icon of freedom and of the United States, and a welcoming signal to immigrants arriving from abroad.

Paris: While France currently has some 30 different UNESCO World Heritage sites, Paris has one that encompasses many historical buildings and sites: The Banks of the Seine between Pont de Sully and Pont d’Iéna and their surroundings are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Parks/Greenspaces

New York: If you live near Central Park or Prospect Park you have it made, but live nearly anywhere else in the bustling city and your options fade for decent patch lush green grass and leafy trees and flowers. In Paris, you bump into green space wherever you go.

Paris: Most vacation days of anywhere in the world and lunch breaks that usually last 2 hours.

Both New York and Paris have subways – both are called the Metro. Inexpensive ways to see both cities although I found Paris easier to navigate than NYC.

No surprise – Paris and New York were among the most visited cities of the world for 2013.

Nothing sums up the pace of New York like the words, “I’ll take that to go.”

The real differences between these cities I feel are about quality of life and the way people view their relationship with themselves and both others and the world. I have a deep love for both of these amazing cities and there is always something new to discover for everyone – make sure to try to visit them both at least once in your life.



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