City Rumble – Paris versus Prague
Hello, time for another RUMBLE! And this week it’s two of Europe’s heavy weights – Paris, and a city that these days seems to get compared to Paris quite a bit, the capital of the Czech Republic – Prague.
Both are set on big rivers – Prague on the Vlata and of course, Paris is set on the Seine. But which of these two incredible is the best for the visitor? Both are old cities. Prague was founded around the 9th century, but Paris predates this substantially to the 3rd Century. BC that is – Prague is stuck in AD. So does that mean that older is better?
Well, not necessarily no. But let’s lay it on the table, if you believe for a city to be worthwhile to visit you need a million things to do, that you need to be kept a busy tourist for the entirety of your stay, well then Paris is going to win hands down, isn’t it?
I mean it IS the most visited city on mainland Europe. I must admit I thought it would be the most visited city in the world, but in 2016 that was apparently Bangkok, followed by London with Paris coming THIRD. Prague on the other hand is ranked 20th in the world.
I mean, I found different lists – so I’m going by this Daily Telegraph (UK) article. I found other lists online that back this up.
Paris has – the Louvre, Notre Dame, Montmartre, the Arc de Triumph, Champs Elysees, galleries and museums by the truck load.
Prague has, well an astronomical clock, Prague Castle, the Charles Bridge and St Vitus Cathedral. And yes, there’s more. But somehow the attractions are just not on the same scale as with Paris.
Both have good possibilities when it comes to day trips – I mean there’s EuroDisney if that takes your fancy (okay yes you can call it ‘Disneyland Paris’ if you like!) and of course Versailles. Prague has Kutna Hora – a great little town with a crypt full of human bones decorating it in quite the most incredible, if also confronting, way. And a stunning cathedral. There’s also the town of Kalory Vary not far away from Prague which is famous as a spa town.
Both have decent public transport. Of course Paris does have the occasional strike with the metro, but that’s by the by. Paris is far larger and needs decent public transport, Prague has a metro and buses but isn’t so hard to explore on foot either.
Food – well Paris is going to win there obviously. But Prague is much more affordable even in 2017. A slap-up meal in Paris is going to destroy all but the most extravagant of budgets. As a backpacker you’re going to want to self-cater. Wine is cheap though from stores and supermarket, and many a backpacker staying in Paris lives on bread, wine and cheese from the supermarket. In Prague your money will go further and lunch or dinner and a mid-range restaurant is not out of the question.
The crowds. Well, they are unavoidable in both cities. In my last visit to Prague I was shocked, because in my first visit there actually weren’t many visitors (this was, mind you, 1999 – so last century!) I mean it’s worse in Paris, Prague is ahead there and I think that puts Prague slightly ahead for atmosphere. Prague is cooler than Paris, which in Summer is a big plus for me, but some like it as hot as possible!
Then again – Paris does have the Eiffel Tower!
And so there’s a lot to weigh up. In some ways, Prague is Paris’s ‘little sister’. And for me, Prague is the winner. If someone was to shout me a trip to Prague or Paris today, I would choose Prague. I was in Paris in May, it was stiflingly hot and there is an edge to the place that 20 years ago or less wasn’t there. It’s an unpleasant reality, but I am writing here from the viewpoint of a tourist. I’m not saying Paris is a dangerous place, but the atmosphere there because of what has happened in the last few years is of a city on constant (and understandable) look out.
But also, for me, bigger is rarely better. Prague is far more manageable. If you had a week, you’d have a good week. A week in Paris and seriously, you are trying to cram everything in! So for me, it’s Prague. Thanks for reading – and May the Journey Never End!