New York City, fondly known as the “City That Never Sleeps”, has been my home for the past 13 years.   

It’s a place so alive with intensity, non-stop energy, and creativity, that some refer to it as the greatest city in the world. 

I may have had my childhood in Pennsylvania, but I grew up in New York. It’s taught me so many life lessons over the years and will always truly feel like home.

Paris, also known as “the City of Lights”, has its own special brand of magic.

I’ve had two brief holidays there, and one day would love to call it home.

Like New York, Paris is another spot that’s full of possibilities. 

Both cities have a lot in common, with some people referring to them as sister cities.

They’ve inspired countless artists, filmmakers, and writers with their unique features.

They’re also cities for dreamers, romantics, and history buffs.

But which city is truly the greatest?

Read on to find out which wins my heart and thus the battle of Paris vs New York.

Note: all statistics mentioned are as of 2019 unless otherwise specified.

Year Founded

Paris France Paris vs New york

Paris: 259 B.C.

I couldn’t believe Paris was founded before the birth of Christ. How crazy is that?

So here’s the rundown. The city began when a Celtic tribe known as the Parissi settled on the banks of the Seine.

Later on, in 52 B.C. the Romans took the village and turned the modest fisherman village into a Gall-Roman town called Lutetia. 

The city didn’t have the name Paris until they changed its name during the 4th century. 

Then in  508, the first King of Franks named Clovis I designated it the capital of the empire.

Paris became the most populated city in Europe in 1328, until the Bubonic plague, which killed thousands of citizens. 

The “City of Lights” has a ton of history, so let’s cut to July 14, 1789, when the Parisians stormed the Bastille. If you don’t know your French history or haven’t seen Les Miserables yet, spoiler alert, this started the French Revolution. 

Are you wondering why they stormed the Bastille? 

The Parisians were angry with King Louis XVI because of the massive amount of poverty in the city. The people didn’t like that the nobles were living in luxury while everyone else was starving.

If you’re thinking “let them eat cake” was a phrase possibly said around this time,  you’d be correct because King Louis XVI’s infamous wife is Marie Antoinette. 

Fun Fact: According to historians, Marie Antoinette never said those words. 

The crazy thing is, all this history happened pretty much before NYC was really even a place. New York had only existed 175 years before King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were beheaded.

Empire State Building nYC

New York: 1624

Since we talked a bit about the French Revolution, let’s talk about New York’s history during the American Revolution. 

The battle between the Americans and the British began in 1775 when gunfire started in Concord, Massachusetts, between the colonists’ militia and the British soldiers. 

We call the first shot fired “the shot heard around the world” because it signaled the start of the war that led to the United States being officially created. 

New York became the capital of the United States in 1789, the same year the King and Queen of France were being beheaded. It’s also the same year that the famous founding father Alexander Hamilton became the first Secretary of the Treasury of the United States.

I’m betting almost everyone reading this has seen the Broadway show Hamilton at this point. If you haven’t, check it out streaming on Disney+. It gives a lot of insight into this time period of U.S. history with the bonus of catchy music.

The American Revolution didn’t end until 1783 with the Treaty of Paris, which was a document signed in Paris by representatives of King George and representatives of the United States. 

Verdict: Obviously, Paris has the edge being founded way before the U.S. Not to mention that it was the Treaty of Paris that made the United States a reality. 

Population

garnier opera house Paris vs New York 1

Paris: 11.017 million 

New York: 8.336 million

Verdict: I’m shocked these numbers aren’t closer. New York has less landmass than Paris, so that might account for some difference.

While in Paris, I’ve never experienced the kinds of crowds typical in New York. I’ve got to give this round to “The City of Lights.” Despite having so many locals, I found it to be a fairly calm city.

Number of Tourists Per Year

Times Square NYC vs Paris 2

Paris: 30 million

New York: 65.2 million

Verdict: I had to double-check these numbers when I saw them. I assumed they’d be a lot closer considering both are major tourist destinations. It turns out Time Square is more of a pull for tourists than the Eiffel Tower—who would’ve thought?

Weather

Paris Spring NY vs Paris

Paris: I love Paris in almost any weather, but the best time to go to Paris is during the summer when it averages 78°F

One of my favorite things to do in Paris during warm weather is to picnic along the Seine with a baguette, cheese, pate, and a bottle of rose. If you haven’t tried it yet, I highly recommend it!

Unfortunately, the city isn’t so dreamy in the winter, with lows of 35°F. It’s not ideal weather to walk around the city exploring. Its winter weather reminds me of a lot of the weather in New York, with the wind tunnels. 

Winter in Central Park NY vs Paris

New York: Summer is one of my favorite times to be in NYC. The temperature averages 85°F, which is perfect for laying in the shade or picnicking in Central Park. 

The winter isn’t my ideal season. With temperatures averaging 26.6°F, walking around the city isn’t ideal. It typically feels even colder than the average once you’re on the street dealing with black ice and wind tunnels. 

Verdict: I’d call this one a tie. Both Paris and New York have equally dreamy summers and dreary winters. 

Safety

City Safety Comparison 2

Paris: 779 homicides per year (as of 2018)

New York: 776 homicides per year (as of 2019)

Verdict: It’s pretty much a tie. New York only had 3 less homicides in 2018 compared to Paris. 

I feel safe walking around either city late at night, so I don’t think you could go wrong with either choice. 

Public Transport 

Grand Central NYC vs Paris

Paris New York
Monthly Transport Pass Cost 75.20€ = $88.15 $127
Single Transport Pass Cost 1.90€ = $2.23 $2.75
Bike Sharing Available Yes – 1€ = $1.17 for 30 minutes Yes – $3.00 per trip
Number of Airports 2 3
Cabs Readily available to flag down. Readily available to flag down.

Verdict: Paris is cheaper than New York on all fronts. It absolutely wins this round!

Cleanliness

Paris: Walking around Paris, I don’t remember seeing any more trash than I’m used to spotting in New York. In fact, compared to some other European cities that I’ve been to, Paris is one of the cleanest.

That’s not to say Paris doesn’t have its fair share of trash sitting on the streets.  But there are bins on pretty much every street, making it easy to dispose of trash.

New York: It’s common knowledge that New York isn’t the cleanest city in the States. It typically has mountains of trash on the sidewalk on any given day. In the summer, the smell permeates the air as you walk by the piles. 

That said, NYC has plenty of garbage and recycling bins around the more populated areas. 

Verdict: I’d call this one a tie. Both cities have problems with piles of garbage and have a reasonable amount of bins around the city to combat littering.

Entertainment

Paris: Obviously, Paris has Moulin Rouge, world-renewed museums like the Louvre, tours, or even dinner at the Eiffel Tower, shopping on the Champs Elysee, world-class restaurants, and boat tours on the Seine. It also has jazz clubs, ballet, opera, and symphony. 

Plus, because most tourists group it in with Paris, even though it’s technically in a different city, we’ll give them Versailles. 


Book ahead to skip the lines at some of these Parisian hot spots!

New York: What doesn’t NYC have for entertainment? It’s known for Broadway shows, street performers, off-broadway, comedy shows, SNL, and the massive amount of events at Madison Square Garden. Not to mention all of its museums, restaurants, the MET Opera, the ballet, the symphony, Carnegie Hall, and downtown jazz venues. 

Plus, all the tourist favorites like Radio City Rockettes, walking the Brooklyn Bridge, shopping on 5th Avenue, sight-seeing cruises around the island, late show tapings, and iconic buildings to tour like the Empire State Building. 

Verdict: The “City That Never Sleeps” wins this round. Sure, Paris has plenty of entertainment, but can any place really beat all the world-class events and options that New York offers daily?

Diversity

France Racial Composition 3 1

Paris: I searched and searched for information on Paris’s diversity and eventually found out it’s almost impossible to determine because of a law passed in 1872. This law prohibits France from asking about ethnicity or religion in any census.

I found a 2004 report that documents diversity in France as a whole and have included that above. 

NYC RACIAL COMPOSITON

New York: The chart, based on World Population Review shows NYC is a diverse city.

Verdict: Based on the information available, New York is the more diverse place to travel to. 

Housing

Paris: The average rent for a one-bedroom is $1,730.

New York: The average rent for a one-bedroom is $3,100.

Verdict: I’m kind of shocked that one-bedrooms in Paris are so much cheaper compared to New York. Obviously, Paris is winning this round. 

Also, this gives me another reason to want to move to the “City of Lights”.

Hotel Cost

Paris: The average cost per night for a hotel room in Paris is about $170 euros, so that hits about $199. 

New York: The average cost per night for a hotel room in NYC is about $300. 

Verdict: Paris is definitely more affordable if you’re booking a hotel. I’m assuming they probably have a lot more hotels than New York City and can therefore offer competitive pricing. 

Though being honest, I still end up using Airbnb almost anywhere I travel. I’ve found that it usually costs less and gives you more of a local’s point of view. 

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Food Scene

Cafe de Flore Paris vs New York

Paris: Paris is basically every foodie’s dream destination. It has 122 Michelin ranking restaurants, 10 of which have the highest marking (3 stars). 

The city also has tons of mouth-watering pastries, an insane local wine and champagne selection, steak frites that are heavenly, and foie gras and escargot.

French cuisine isn’t for picky eaters, but not to worry, Paris has plenty of other offerings. With so many cultures in the EU, there are plenty of diverse ethnic options available that are all delicious! 

New York: NYC has 76 Michelin ranking restaurants, 5 of which have three stars. 

Besides its starred restaurants, the city has a ton of delicious food offered pretty much 24/7. The city has some of the most diverse food offerings in the world, not to mention their famous bagels and pizza! 

Verdict: New York, I’ll always love you (and your pizza), but Paris wins this round.

Top Sights

Notre Dame Paris vs new York

Paris: The first thing most people think of when they hear Paris is the Eiffel Tower. Besides that, we also know it for the Arc de Triomphe, and the Louvre (specifically the Mona Lisa), the Rodin Museum, The Centre Pompidou, The Centre National de la Photographie, and Musée d’Orsay. 

Plus the Paris Opera House where a certain famous phantom may have lived, the Moulin Rouge that’s frankly touristy and not at all as you’d imagine, the catacombs, Notre Dame, and all the bakeries!

I’ll also include Versailles in here, even though technically it’s outside of Paris. 

New York: Obviously the city is home to one of my favorite things in the world, Broadway. 

Besides its killer theater scene, it’s home to the Statue of Liberty which is actually a famous gift from France, the Brooklyn Bridge, Empire State Building, Central Park, Times Square (ugh…so many tourists).

There’s also One World Trade, the MET, MoMA, The Whitney, Natural History Museum, the Chrysler Building, Rockefeller Center, and Ellis Island. 

Verdict: This is tough since both NYC and Paris are cultural epicenters. I’m calling this round a tie, as I think either city has tons of sites to see.


Book ahead of time to skip the lines at these NYC hot spots!

Paris vs New York: The Winner!

Ally Paris

I’ll always love NYC. It’s the place that I’ve made some of my best friends, created some of my favorite memories, and the spot that will always feel like home to me. 

Paris has that certain je n’ais c’est quoi that makes it feel you’ve gone back in time. It’s years of history make sightseeing most thrilling, plus it’s perfectly positioned to make traveling to other European countries a breeze.

As much as I love New York, the “City of Lights” has come out on top. 

Do you agree with the outcome? Let me know in the comments below!


Check out some of these popular tours in Paris!

Save Money With Airbnb

Want to save money on your next trip? I easily save thousands of dollars a year using Airbnb instead of hotels. Plus, if you're anything like me, it'll make you feel like more of a local.

Plan Your Next Adventure Read Our Review
If you click this link and make a booking, I earn a commision at no additional cost to you.

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