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.


Amy Thomas

Amy Thomas is a sweets-obsessed writer based between New York and Paris. She published her best-selling “foodoir” (food writing meets memoir), Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate). This was followed up with the 2018 book Brooklyn in Love: A Memoir of Food, Family and Finding Yourself. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, T Magazine, New York Post, National Geographic Traveler, New York Magazine, Town & Country, Bust, Every Day with Rachel Ray and others.


  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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 🙂

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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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