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Love and Eternity

Love and Eternity

In spite of how extensively I’ve traveled in Europe—I’ve been almost everywhere, literally—France and Italy remain my two great loves. These countries just never get old; I almost find they grow with me.

The same is true for their capitals. Both are so popular they almost verge on cliché; plenty of people spend a lifetime dreaming of each, and end up so disappointed upon finally arriving that the Japanese have named a syndrome for this phenomenon.

Indeed, if you’re comparing Rome vs Paris and think you’ll have the time you spare, I 100% suggest you visit both. If not, then this article will help you decide whether the City of Love or the Eternal City is better for you.

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How I Fell in Love With Rome and Paris

Paris was one of the first European cities I ever visited—and it was definitely love at first sight. In particular, I remember one day on my third trip there, I walked along the Seine, all the way from Gare d’Austerlitz in the east to the Eiffel Tower in the west. Seeing the city in such a deliberate way sealed the deal, and paved the way for what is now another nearly two decades of discovery.

While it took me a couple years longer to make my maiden voyage to Rome, the buzz of the city pretty immediately won me over, whether I was enjoying carbonara in Trastevere, or watching sunset from Villa Borghese. It was love everywhere I looked, in contrast to something like prize picks, a game of chance that uses predictive factors to drive you in one direction or another. No, with Rome and me it was unconditional.


Ways to Compare Rome With Paris


Both of these cities are replete with some of the world’s most famous tourist attractions. Once you finish at the Colosseum and Spanish Steps, you can head over Rome’s Tiber River to St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. In Paris, meanwhile, the Eiffel Tower stands supreme. Still, there’s plenty else to do, such as pairing a visit to the Louvre Museum with a stroll through the Tuileries Garden.

Ease of getting around

Both Rome and Paris are relatively easy to navigate, though for different reasons. In Rome, it’s because there are only two main Rome Metro lines in the city center, which means the main issue is finding the station, rather than getting between. Paris has both more stations and lines, which means the Paris Metro is more useful than Rome’s, and that navigating the city generally requires less walking.


Central Paris is larger than central Rome, geographically, and has many more neighborhoods to explore. These not only include classic Montmartre and the Bohemian Latin Quarter, but the increasingly trendy Le Marais and hipster Belleville. Because Rome has so much ancient history, I find many travelers don’t have time to explore its modern neighborhoods, with the possible exception of the culinary Trastevere and Testaccio areas.


Speaking of food, both Paris and Rome are full of amazing cuisine. With this being said, I find that the global ubiquity of Italian food makes it easier to find what you want in Rome, be that a perfect bowl of carbonara, a sweet plate of tiramisu or delicious Roman-style pizza. French food is generally much less accessible, though with that being said Paris is home to countless inviting brasseries and bistros with cute sidewalk seating.

Day trips and excursions

Rome is not my favorite city in Europe for day trips. In fact, with the exception of Tivoli Garden (which, if I’m honest, has seen better days), I don’t usually leave Rome, except to go to an entirely different city or region of Europe. From Paris, meanwhile, the easiest excursion is to Versailles, though both the Loire Valley and Normandy are accessible to intrepid travelers.


How Many Days Do You Need in Rome? What About Paris?

Rome might be the Eternal City, but you don’t need an eternity to explore there. In fact, three nights should suit most travelers. This gives you a full day on either side of the Tiber River, plus an evening to arrive and get settled, and a morning to make your way toward your next destination. There aren’t a lot of great day trips from Rome, so this number of days ends up being sufficient in all but a few cases.

With Paris, on the other hand, I do like to take a bit more time—5-7 days, if possible. This is partially because there are just so many more neighborhoods and attractions to see within the city center. It’s also because of how many day trips there are here, with the most important and interesting being the Palace of Versailles (well, palaces—there’s more than one).

Other FAQ About Visiting Paris and Rome

Is it better to go to Paris or Rome?

I prefer going to Rome if I have less time, and am more intent on eating delicious food and having a nice general ambiance, rather than seeing a bunch of specific attractions or intently discovering neighborhoods. Paris is better if you have more time—and energy, such as at the beginning of the trip.

Can you do Paris and Rome in one trip?

It’s definitely possible to do both Paris and Rome in one trip. This could be a week in Europe and splitting it between the two great capitals, a month split between France and Italy, or three weeks, with one each in France, Switzerland and Italy.

What is considered the most romantic city in the world?

Paris, known unofficially as the “City of Love,” is unsurprisingly one of the most romantic cities in the world. On the other hand, while Rome isn’t necessarily regarded in the same way, I find it very romantic. This is largely because of the timeless architecture everywhere, the year-round pleasant weather and the outstanding food.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to Rome vs Paris, the only real solution is to pay a visit to both cities. Although each is about as popular as the other, the reality is that they hit different notes—and not necessarily ones defined by their nicknames (the Eternal City and the City of Love), though those are certainly instructive. Personally, while I love Paris at least as much as I love Rome, I’d say the warmth (and food) of the latter give it a slight edge over the former—but only if you absolutely don’t have time for both. Need personalized help planning your Europe itinerary? Hire me as your Travel Coach!


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