France or England?

Old Nov 24th, 2005, 07:52 PM
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France or England?

I have a couple of days during this winter to spend in either london or paris (I have never been to either) Which do people recommend as a better city to visit. I am a 24 year old American. Thanks!
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Old Nov 24th, 2005, 07:59 PM
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That is a TOTALLY unanswerable question. They are two of the most visited cities in the world with good reason.

For every person who says London is a "must", there will be someone saying Paris is the one.

What sorts of things do you like?

Just one thing - the central (prime sightseeing) area of Paris is much more compact than London's. For such a short visit, you will be able to see more of Paris than you could of London, just due to the logistics.
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Old Nov 24th, 2005, 08:01 PM
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I like both. But right now London is expensive. But I must add that Paris is beautifull in many mor ways.
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Old Nov 24th, 2005, 08:28 PM
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Try the Destinations section of this website to start with.... (in that orange tool bar right above this post).
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Old Nov 24th, 2005, 08:35 PM
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it's so hard to say, though I like Paris, London was my favorite, and unless cigalechanta, I think London is more beautiful...but both cities are beautiful and have a lot to offer.

It's kind of like saying, should I eat an apple or an orange? it depends on your taste and your mood.... you need to read about each city and decide for yourself...either way, I don't think you can go wrong.
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Old Nov 24th, 2005, 09:23 PM
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You're 24.

You've probably got around another 70 years on this planet.

Plenty of time to see lots of it. But not so much it's worth wasting any of it on pointless agonising. Or for asking advice from people you know nothing about.

If you've got an instinctive preference for one, go there. Otherwise toss a coin.
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Old Nov 25th, 2005, 06:04 AM
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Welcome mirc,

Glad you asked. Depends alot on your own interests and what you might want to do. Could you post again and tell us a little more? What is your preliminary thinking about each city. We can respond with more specifics that may be helpful.

I know that whichever one you pick, there will be lots to enjoy.

Best wishes,

SusanEva
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Old Nov 25th, 2005, 06:20 AM
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Here's an aid to answering your question. Try to give your instant impulse answer on each of these questions without agonizing or thinking it over too much.

Would you rather go to:

a) Miami or
b) Mexico City

a) Sydney or
b) Bangkok

a) Philadelphia or
b) Quebec

a) Bermuda or
b) Panama

a) Johannesburg or
b) Rio de Janeiro

More a's than b's? -> London
More b's than a's? -> Paris

Just my opinion, of course.

Best wishes,

Rex
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Old Nov 25th, 2005, 06:42 AM
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Last year at this time we were trying to decide between these two cities (never been to either). Picked London because of the language factor and was well into researching hotels. But something kept drawing me to Paris. The more I delved into it, the greater the attraction became. Well, I surprised my hubby and told him Paris HAD to be the one.

For sheer beauty, there's no contest IMO. And I loved the Seine. Knew I had to get as close to it as possible, so we chose a hotel just about a block away from it and the Ile de la Cite. Spent a wonderful eight days there in September and were SO happy with our decision. London will have to wait til another time.

Only you can decide which is the best city for YOU. I'd suggest getting a couple of guidebooks (or checking them out at the library) and see which of the two "speaks" to you. Actually, you can't go wrong with either one.
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Old Nov 25th, 2005, 09:44 AM
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I like flanneruk's response, especially the optimistic longevity estimate.

Assuming this post stays around for a few weeks, let me summarize the likely responses for you.

1. London, you fool.
2. Paris, you idiot.
3. Don't rent a car.
4. Don't go to either one, go somewhere else.
5. London is more expensive except those places where it is cheaper and Paris is easier to get around in except those places where it's so easy to get lost.
6. Food's better in Paris, people are friendlier in London.
7. No it isn't, no they aren't.
8. Snoopy's an argumentative jerk.

I'll give you a heretical answer. See both. You can't see all there is to see in London or Paris in two days, so why not pick a couple of places to see in each?
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Old Nov 25th, 2005, 09:55 AM
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First foreign trip? Language you are fluent in? Cultural interests? Neither city is better, all will be in the eye of the beholder. Try some Paris and London tour sites.
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Old Nov 25th, 2005, 10:46 AM
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If it's your first foreign visit, I'd opt for London. You'll be at ease in more or less your own language and find it easier to get around as a result. You're probably more familiar with English history than with French, too (or at least I hope you're familiar with English history!), and that makes a visit meaningful in different ways. We spent our earlier travel years in the British Isles, only moving on to France years later--now that's where we go, but only after we saw just about everything in Britain that we wanted to.

Now I want to go back to see Winnie the Pooh country.
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Old Nov 26th, 2005, 07:18 PM
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Any and all advice is appreciated! We will be doing a "home exchange" with a couple in the Netherlands mid-Sept next. We are 1st time exchangers and 1st time visitors to Europe. We are trying to decide whether or not to take a 4day trip to Paris via train? to see the sights. Everyone on this site here seems so positive about Paris, but we hear the French are very unpleasant towards Americans and not helpful, e.g. pretending they don't speak English. So, we're wondering how we would do. Also, we're thinking of staying at the Park Hyatt-Verdome and are wondering if this a good spot from which to see sights? What do you think for a 1st timer? Many thanks.
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Old Nov 26th, 2005, 08:20 PM
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The French are perfectly polite toward Americans--no need to worry. As for pretending not to speak English, many of them do not, just as not that many Americans speak French.

The Park Hyatt-Vendom is in an excellent location for sightseeing.
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Old Nov 26th, 2005, 08:52 PM
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I agree most with what janisj says. You'll read that some people find London better than Paris and vice versa. For myself, I prefer Paris as I personally find it more beautiful than London and as stated it's a more compact city so walking is a joy. I've never found good food in London as I have in Paris. I've been advised that the best food in London is Indian food, but I can get that at home. I would have preferred 'authentic' English cusisine, but I'm told that I need to travel outside the city center which I find a bit silly but that's reality. In Paris I've eaten one bad meal at a stupid tourist trap cafe near the Champs Elysees. Otherwise, the choices are endless and excellent in my opinion.
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Old Nov 26th, 2005, 09:10 PM
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We love both so it would be where the pound and euro was at the day we decide.
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Old Nov 27th, 2005, 04:03 AM
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"Everyone on this site here seems so positive about Paris, but we hear the French are very unpleasant towards Americans and not helpful, e.g. pretending they don't speak English."

To get the most a holiday in a foreign country you've never visited before, read up on the culture and learn a bit of the language (enough to be polite) before you go. If there is a "Travellers' Tales" edition for the country you are visiting, I highly recommend it. (These are edited collections of non-fiction - articles, excerpts from books, etc.) Sometimes, the Culture Shock! series is good, but it depends on the author for the particular country. I've heard mixed reviews for the French version. My favourite book about French culture is "Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong", written by a Canadian journalist couple (one anglophone, one francophone). It's deeper than the others, but still very entertaining.

As others will tell you, if you observe a few basic rules of etiquette, many French people will respond in a very friendly way. Say "Bonjour madame" or "Bonjour monsieur" to every French person who is providing a service to you (bus drivers, maitre d', waiter, shop assistants) as you enter their space. Look them in the eye and smile a little while you do it. Turn around, establish eye contact again and say, "Merci, au revoir" when you leave.

Speak relatively quietly (either to French peopkle or among yourselves when you are in public). Generally, some tourists seem to speak quite loudly, relative to the French, and it's grating.

If someone approaches you in a shop to offer help and you just want to look around, the response is "Merci, je regarde seulement maintenant." (I'm just looking, thanks.)

If you need to get past someone (e.g. on an escalator or a street - French people do seem to spread out and take up all the available walking space), start with "S'il vous plait. Excusez-mois." It's amazing how effective starting your sentence with "S'il vous plait" is. It's just one of those things that catches their attention. Use it if you need to ask for help, too. "S'il vous plait. Ou sont les toilettes? Ou est la musée?" etc

Generally, I've found that if I express curiosity about my surroundings, Paris or things French and follow the appropriate forms of etiquette, most of French are incredibly friendly and helpful. Of course, it helps that I can speak a little French. But in the past 5 months here, I've only had one or two negative experiences.

Of course, the amount of time you invest in learning a bit of the language has to be proportionate to the amount of time you're going to spend in the place. But every country you visit is worth at least one culture-oriented book (not just a guidebook).

Have fun.
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Old Nov 27th, 2005, 10:51 AM
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Kate, I know you're right about the Frenchs and politeness but I always feel funny when I read somebody here telling all the rules which are natural for me.
I feel like an animal in a zoo where people would say "look you have to behave like that to be accepted by this animal".

Are we the only human beings in the world to have what we call "le savoir vivre" ie simple respect for each other? I thought the Britishs were like us.(plus more humour)
Madame, monsieur, bonsoir et merci de votre attention
corinne
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Old Nov 27th, 2005, 11:31 AM
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Hi coco,

>Are we the only human beings in the world to have what we call "le savoir vivre"...<

Well, there you go puttin' on airs and pretending that you don't speak English.



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Old Nov 27th, 2005, 11:34 AM
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No, Coco, you're not the only people in the world - it's just so odd that the French have this reputation for being "rude" in part because they demand a certain level of politeness! Odd logic, I'd say

As for French people pretending not to speak English, that's silly. First of all, most Parisians who work in the tourist businesses do speak some English - probably a lot more English than the average American speaks French. If they don't speak English, who can blame them when it's not their native language?
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