Posted by / Category Cultural Differences /

It is all over the press: London seems to top up Paris for the first time as the world’s most visited city (See here). In typical Gallic fashion, my fellow countrymen say that this is nonsense and are questioning the evidence used for such a statement. Why am I not surprised?

Having lived in both cities, I think that Paris and London have a lot going for themselves, but that, right now, London is on a roll. We have had the Olympics in 2012 and the city is going out of recession. I believe that, by visiting London, we all want a bit of its energy. We all want to put the doom and gloom behind us, and London is clearly the city for this. And, obviously, London is full of French anyway.


Spice Girls at Olympics Closing ceremony

That said, it is so easy to hop on the Eurostar and to go from London to Paris that both cities should team up and offer joint travel packages instead of competing against each other. After all, I am convinced that the reason the Brits and the French love to hate each other is because they are so similar. This means that even the smallest of differences is magnified.

This week has been pretty full-on for me, and following the article in The Times, I was invited to speak on Sky News, ABC Australia, RBB (German National radio) and BBC radio5 live…They all wanted me to tell them whether I preferred London or Paris. Well, there is no clear answer. I still miss some things from my home country (for instance the freshness of food) and love others from my adoptive country (the energy and the open-mindedness especially !).

In short, I love it here. London is my home now. Where to now? Well, I don’t know. The beauty of living in a foreign country is that I feel like a citizen of the world. Right now, I wouldn’t mind a stint in  Sydney or New York. Just saying. Any offers out there?

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London
  • I hope you have written to President Scooter (the new name for François Hollande – He is no longer “Flanby”) thanking him for all he has done to boost your burgeoning media career as The French Pundit in Londres!!

    • I have seriously considered it…That said, right now my home country couldn’t care less about what the rest of the world thinks…

  • I haven’t been to London in ever so long, but it always made me happy. I’d like to get back there to compare with Paris.

    • It is a completely different vibe, and I love both cities…

  • I love London, and I love Paris. You’re right, they are both so similar. But I have to say, if you’re thinking of coming to Australia, you have to take a flight over to Perth (it’s actually closer to Paris / London than Sydney anyway, a good stopover on the way to Sydney perhaps). The beaches are spectacular and of course the Margaret River region in international renowned for its wine – competing heavily now with the French! đŸ™‚

    • I would love to come to Perth. Especially right now, actually: because it is freezing in London!

  • I love London! I never get tired of visiting. I am one of the few people remaining who hasn’t been to Paris because it doesn’t appeal to me that much, but that could also be because of all the gushing about it – when things are talked about too much, be it locations, movies, books etc, it feels like over-hype and I find it a bit of a turnoff, almost as if you are sick of it without having even had a chance to enjoy it.

    That said, when I look at it with a clean head, unburdened by pet peeves, I am aware that Paris has a lot going for it and that when i finally visit, there is a chance I will become one of the gushers đŸ˜‰

    • What? You have never been to Paris? I have to admit that, as I have lived in Paris, I don’t always understand why people gush about it. That said, it is a beautiful city.

  • Exciting! you’re becoming an expert, hope some good offers start coming your way! I went down Bute St the other day and I was a bit disappointed to find that its French atmosphere is rather fading away. I don’t know if that’s because property prices have gone up in that very expensive area of LOndon, but it had TWO charity shops. Maybe the French of Kensington are integrating?????!

    • Well, keep your fingers crossed for me, Jenny: I want a book deal but it is hard work. In terms of French atmosphere, I think that now, it is more about Hammersmith and all the French schools rather than South Ken. And I keep hearing people speaking French all day long. Not sure they are integrating.

  • I agree, London is on something of a roll – the olympic effect – how long it lasts is anybody’s guess but certainly there’s olympic legacy plus good (economic) news. Perhaps Boris Johnson could run for President of France?

    • Perhaps. That said, it looks like a woman will be the next mayor in Paris. And I can’t help thinking that a woman will have a quieter private life. And right now, quiet is good, right?

  • How exciting for you, Muriel. I hope you get the book deal! From my little spot in France, I’m aware that Flanby is making an exhibition of himself and the whole world knows about it. It’s a tad embarrassing for my fellow citizens to have to be associated with the humiliation. And the diversionary tactics are getting more and more blatant too. Instead of allowing discussion on the topics we all want to discuss, we get Julie Gayet and the dismantling of the regions. As far as I know, it’s not even a projet de loi, and yet the media is full of it. The socialists seem to think we’re too stupid to notice.

    • Right now I am happy to be living in London! This whole affair was simply too much!

  • You can have the best of both! And why not!

    • Paris is a short train ride away…Can you believe it? We can change country just like that!

  • Having visited (often) both capitals, I am not sure I could pick a favorite, either. And, having lived in various cities in the States (and the world, in general), I have favorites- but recognize that financial considerations overshadow some and distance from my children render others untenable.
    As a general rule, I find the old Steven Stills classic works best– Love the one you’re with!

    • Don”t you think that it is a routine thing? After a while, we just like it where we are…

  • I’ve spent more time in London than I have in Paris and it has been many years since I have been to either. Perhaps the fact that more people speak English than French may make (English speaking) people more comfortable traveling to London? Just a guess.

    • Perhaps. That said, most English speakers find the french accent irresistible. I don’t understand why…I don’t notice French accents. I feel like I will always be missing something!