Travel

New York or Paris: Une Bonne Question

by Amy Thomas

Amy Thomas, the sweets queen behind the God I Love Paris blog and one of our very favorite contributors, can’t seem to decide whether she prefers Paris or New York. Hard life? But really, we can’t blame her… because  we can’t choose either. What do you think? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

New York or Paris? (Kat . . .)

Quick: do you prefer hopping in a taxi or on a Velib? Would you rather wear Manolos or Repettos? Oversized sunglasses, or an oversized scarf?

These are difficult questions. Ones that I’ve personally been trying to answer for a year and a half as I’ve also tried cracking the bigger dilemma: Which is the better city in which to live? I know, cue the teeny-tiny pity violins. Whenever I lament feeling torn between New York and Paris, I get the “poor you” rolling of the eyes. But truly, it’s not easy choosing between the two best cities in the world. Let’s see you do it.

Beauty or Energy?

Notre Dame in Paris or Snow in Manhattan? (Karigee)

Paris is dazzling. All you need to do is watch a Godard film or see a Doisneau poster to know that. But to actually walk the streets—with the Plane trees and cobblestones; the rose-tinted street lamps, green bookstalls and golden limestone facades—well, the French know a little something about seduction, don’t they.

But in New York, you’re swept away by everything and everyone around you: pedestrians, taxis, buses, street vendors, blinking neon signs, little dogs, big dogs, and, oh the freaks everywhere! To walk the streets of New York is to know what it means to feel alive.

Montmartre or Manhattan? (Karigee)

Pleasure or Success?

Long, leisurely dinners. Romantic strolls along the Seine. Sitting with friends and watching the world go by. In Paris, you dream, you pontificate, you light another cigarette. You’re supposed to just be.

In New York, you can’t just be. But you can be anything or anyone you want.

Plat du Jour or Trend of the Moment?

With some of the most deluxe ingredients and most celebrated recipes in the world, what’s better than dining in Paris? You can linger for hours, indulging in course after course of classic cuisine, while keeping pace with lovely wine and being charmed by the waitstaff (if they’re not bristling at having to work).

But in New York, you get a scene served alongside dinner. You get madcap creations and unique techniques; ever-surprising menus and colorful creations. The only problem is, you’re also expected to order alcohol to jack up the bill, eat quickly so they can cram in more business, and tip your actor-slash-artist-slash-model-slash-hipster-slash-carpenter-slash-waiter 20%. Or else.

Chinon or Sidecar?

Thank goodness for French wine. I drink a glass—Chinon, Bordeaux, Cotes du Rhone, peu import—nearly every night. And, on my most recent trip to New York, I was reminded how lucky I am to do so. Back in Manhattan, a glass of wine starts at about $12 and often makes my mouth pucker.

Thank goodness for good cocktails. With boites like Experimental and Le Club du Cercle, the French are finally mastering the mix. But if I had a centime for every lousy sidecar I’ve had, I’d be a very rich girl indeed.

Macaron or Cupcake?

Cupcake or Macaron? (Amy Thomas;Yuichi Sakuraba)

Sigh. Where to begin. I thought there was nothing better than a quarter-pound, cornflake-marshmallow-chocolate-chip cookie. Until I bit into an exquisite choux-filled, raspberry and pistachio Religieuse petit gateau.

I thought I’d miss those big, sloppy cream-filled devil’s food cupcakes. But then I became addicted to dainty rose-flavored macarons.

Croissant or muffin?

Baguette or bagel?

Café or diner?

Left Bank or downtown?

Charlotte Gainsbourg or Carrie Bradshaw?

Charlotte Gainsbourg or Carrie Bradshaw? (r9M;Sion Fullana)

The debate rages on, and from every angle it’s a draw. And while straddling these two cities has made me see life in stark dualities—everything, an either/or option—well, what can I say? It’s also given me the chance to indulge in the best of both worlds.

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Written by Amy Thomas for the Hip Paris blog. For our amazing rentals in Paris, Provence & Tuscany check out our website Haven in Paris.

Written By

Amy Thomas

Amy Thomas is a sweets-obssessed writer based between New York and Paris. She penned the Sweet Freak column for Metro newspaper and has written about Paris' best chocolatiers (New York Times), desserts for two (Time Out New York), chocolate for guys (Rachel Ray) and the best hot chocolate in the city (Metro). Check for updates from Amy on her blog, God I Love Paris. View Amy Thomas's Website

34 comments on “New York or Paris: Une Bonne Question

I loved Paris…however I fell in love with the Empire State Building..I forgot the Eiffel Tower.. there’s no comparison. It sounds crazy but NY made me feel alive. The city of lights vs the City of love? I do not know what to do

Together, NYC and Paris represent the two sides of me. I couldn’t love them both more if I tried. However, neither could I choose between the two.

Although I love NY, my heart belongs to Paris.
Why can’t Pierre Hermé or Ladurée open boutiques in NY?
xoxo, B

Having never lived in either I can only dream, I have visited NYC & did much in just a short 8 hrs; however history and romance and a much slower pace would probably make me want to choose Paris over NYC, hopefully one day I will get the chance to experience it!
♥ Noemi
Fashion: http://www.classy-n-glamorous.blogspot.com
Travel: http://www.brianna64-acrossthesea.blogspot.com/

what a great comparison! amy’s debate between the two is fabulous, and she even had me questioning for a minute, but my heart will always belong to paris.

Paris is soooo French but New York is sooooo everything else!

I lived in NY for half of my life and moved to Paris 2 yrs ago. Everyone thought I was mad because no one leaves NY apparently? I was told I’d be back in a year. 2 yrs later I am still in love with Paris. I do not miss NY at all except for HBO!
Living in Paris is more civilized in every way. We all know how beautiful Paris is and it just doesn’t wear off.
Who cares that it’s practically impossible to get a cab! Take the metro or get a bike.
As for the energy of NY? The noise never ever stops being jarring to me.
Paris forever!

For those like me who live in São Paulo (kind of NYC with less glamour) it´s easy to choose: Paris!!! Ok, NY is unique too, but Paris is a city every person should visit once, and the world would be better because it changes us inside.

What a wonderful comparison! This had me smiling and only served to make me love both cities more – mission accomplished 😉

Fantastique!!! I’m coming to Paris on monday with a friend and staying for five days. One problem! Where shall we stay… Yes I know no hotel booked yet! Can you help us out? A hotel thats close to Champs Elysées and maybe a view over Le tour eiffel 😉 Not to expensive. But we can spend a lot on the food and drinks 😉 And of course the shopping!! The first time in Paris and ve love it already!
Thank you!

I have to say the one thing you listed in which I feel there is no contest is cupcakes vs. macaroons. I’d die for a pistachio macaroon right now. Or any other day.

Thank you, everyone. Your mixed responses proves to me that I’m not crazy. That there is no right answer. That these are two dreams cities and trying to choose just one is plain FOU. 🙂

Excellent post, Amy! I love the comparisons you’ve made. How lucky that you get to experience both. I feel that way about San Francisco (NYers usually roll their eyes bc to them SF is a “town” not a city). I’m just glad the choice is so difficult. I love that we can travel and experience different things, both wonderful in their own ways. If I see one more Starbucks or Subway Sandwich show pop up in Paris I’m going to cry. Paris needs to stay Paris (although it will take a lot more than a few American chains to change it, I suppose).

Candice at NotesFromABroad

I think I will have to choose Paris..although I have never lived there, I have visited many times over the years. My husband did live there for a short time. And we are from NYC.
Now we live in Buenos Aires Argentina , “the Paris of South America” and while now and then something will be similar, there is really no other city in the world like Paris…. or NYC.
If we were to leave here and move to another country/continent, I am sure Paris would be our destination.
If we leave here to go back to the US, NY will be our destination.
But I sure would like to have at least a few years in Paris 🙂
Why Paris is Perfect:
You never get tired of just looking at her.
You never get bored.
You never say, there is nothing good to eat around here.
You never miss good music, dance, bookstores, parks, museums, churches, breathtaking moments.
Having such beauty IS a pleasure, living there would be a gift.

What a fun post, but how to choose. It’s like deciding which one of my kids I love better! Oh I don’t think there is any way to pick.

The Cheeky Cafe

it’s a very tough decision. i think the two cities are also similar in the way that both are dream cities. it’s a dream to be able to live in new york. a dream to live in paris. both cities have allure that other cities can’t compete with. i can’t decide. a complete tie.

Beautifully written and very insightful. But I must confess, I choose Paris 🙂

Always Paris….with cupcakes 🙂

Two of my favorite cities to visit. They both have so much to offer!

I think NY will always have my heart because I lived there first.

That is definitely a hard one. NYC has had my heart for many years, but last summer I visited Paris for the first time and I would like to spend more time there. Paris is definitely much slower paced and relaxed than NYC, but I also love the hustle bustle of NYC – not to mention the gorgeous Central Park. I need a few months in each city per year, that would be perfect! xxoo 🙂

Ah, NYC or Paris. The eternal question. But doesn’t riding a velib in a pair of repettos wrapped in a big scarf…to Laduree no doubt, sound most appealing? Yes. But having lived in NYC for 12 years and now calling Paris my home, it is indeed the energy that I miss, though I’m getting used to the pace of Paris, and the beauty is uncomparable. Your comparisons are so well articulated and all so true! Perhaps a life between the two? Dare to dream.

Paris – definitely. It has the history, the culture. And it is most certainly French. It has a nationality which NY does not, and it has genuine style. Almost everything Americans consider to be stylish is taken from Europe – and mostly from the French.
Although there is ONE thing I think I’d appreciate in NY over Paris – the ability to do things alone. In Paris I don’t feel like sitting down on a cafe by myself. But then again, with so many handsome, charismatic, intellectual and stylish French men, why spend a minute in Paris alone!

I definitely choose Paris, because everything is more sophisticated & enjoyable in Paris! I do love NYC, but Paris has that thing that NYC does not.

this post is fabulous, I love it! My heart will always be in Paris <3
xx

http://www.annawithlove.com

Great comparison! Easy for me…every answer was Paris.

Sion @ paris (im)perfect

The list does go on and on. For me, the first one encapsulates it: beauty or energy? After four years I still never tire of how beautiful Paris is – I don’t think I ever will. But yes, I feel ALIVE in New York in a way I just don’t anywhere else. Wow, the energy! You said it right – you feel as if you can be or do anything you want in NYC. In fact, I’m pretty sure it was the confidence that NYC instilled in me….that allowed me to move to Paris!

A Plum By Any Other Name

What a cute post. Having to choose between beauty or pleasure is thought-provoking. Between pleasure or success is easy. Between macaron or cupcake? Now, that’s just cruel. 😉

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