• France edition
 
London dethrones Paris as 'world’s best city'
Paris and the Eiffel Tower have been toppled by London and The Shard in the "World's Best City" index. Photos: Awsheffield/Flickr and Tom Godber

London dethrones Paris as 'world’s best city'

Published: 07 Oct 2013 12:19 GMT+02:00
Updated: 07 Oct 2013 12:19 GMT+02:00

Is it the pickpockets, the long queues for attractions, the moody waiters or perhaps just the increasing cost of a cold beer?

While the reasons may not exactly be clear, the result is pretty conclusive - Paris is no longer the “best city in the world”.

Or at least that’s according to the latest edition of a biennial survey by Anholt-GFK City Brands Index.

The ranking, released this week, showed that while Paris may still be the most visited city in the world, it is no longer the "best" after the French capital was knocked off the top spot.

Its crown was taken by none other than its cross-Channel rival London. Australia’s Sydney came in second place, pushing Paris down to bronze position.

The City of Light did, however, end up ahead of North American cities such as New York, L.A. and Toronto.

However some people were aghast atthe result of the survey, including our readers, who have helped us put together a list of reasons why Paris beats London hands down. See below.

Ten reasons why Paris is better than London

The poll, which measures a city’s brand image, power and appeal, is based on the opinions of visitors to the city.

The City Brand’s Index measures the importance of a city’s reputation in six dimensions: international status and standing; esthetic; pre-requisites (affordable accommodation and standard of public amenities); people; pulse (interesting things to do) and its economic and educational potential.

For his part, François Navarro from the regional tourism committee CRT was defiant in response to the survey. 

"One of the main advantages Paris has over London is the food. That's not to say London doesn't also have some good restaurants, but that's because there are French chefs working in them," said Navarro.

"Another major advantage is the shopping. London might have Harrod's, but it doesn't compare with the Galeries Lafayette [department store]. London is for sales, Paris is for shopping. There's a big difference between the two," he added.

'This should be a warning sign to all stakeholders of the city'

Given its array of tourist attractions, Paris - perhaps unsurprisingly - took top spot in the “Pulse” category, but fared poorly in the categories of Friendly People and Safety, also perhaps unsurprisingly, given its reputation as a hub for pickpockets.

Those behind the poll were not surprised by the result and say it should send a warning to Paris city chiefs.

“While Paris still takes top place for the individual Pulse measure, its overall Index ranking has been dragged down by its 13th and 14th places for the People and Pre-requisites measures,” said Simon Anholt, independent policy advisor on national identity and reputation at Anholt.

“Even more worrying for Paris, its Potential Index score has experienced a large decline between 2011 and 2013, which should be a warning sign to all stakeholders of the city.”

Xiaoyan Zhao Senior Vice President and Director at GfK, suggests the fall in Paris’s status could be down to the harsh economic climate.

“Looking further into the momentum of the 50 cities, Paris has shown one of the three largest declines on the Potential Index, together with two other capital cities mired in economic crisis – Madrid and Tokyo.”

Speculation as to why London has jumped ahead of Paris is obviously rife, but most suggest the British capital is still riding on the wave of the 2012 Olympic Games and recent celebrations such as the birth of the new royal baby.

The fact the Olympics helped London hit top spot will be an added source of frustration in Paris as the French capital had been favourite to host the Games before being pipped to the post by London.

And there could be more reason to be bitter on Monday when the hosts for the 2018 Gay Games will be announced in Cleveland USA. Paris once again is the stand-out favourite, but London is also in the running.

Tourist handbook

The results of this week's "World's Best City" poll may disappoint authorities in Paris, but perhaps they will not be surprised. Earlier this year they produced a training manual aimed at teaching those who work in the tourist industry how to better welcome visitors.

The aim of the campaign is to focus on the quality of welcome that visitors receive in Paris, and to train professionals here to understand the differences between them,” tourist chief François Navarro told The Local at the time.

Navarro claimed that despite the high volume of visitors to Paris, and despite their satisfaction, "our goal is to improve their experience even more.”

Part of that, he says, is teaching restaurant-owners, museum staff, and shopkeepers to understand the important cultural differences between various nationalities.

The Anholt-GFK City Brands Index was the result of more than 5,140 interviews conducted in Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Russia, South Korea, the US and the UK.

The full list of the world’s Top Ten World’s Best Cities reads as follows:

1. London
2. Sydney
3. Paris
4. New York
5. Rome
6. Washington D.C.
7. Los Angeles
8. Toronto
9. Vienna
10. Melbourne

Do you agree with the poll? Paris or London? Let us know your views in the comments section below or email us at news@thelocal.fr and we will publish a selection of the best responses.

Don't miss a story about France - Join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Franco-German talks
France steps up pleas for Germany to invest
Photo: Economy minister Emmanuel Macron, President François Hollande and finance minister Minchel Sapin will be hoping to persuade Germany to invest for in Europe. Photo: Philipe Wojazer/AFP

France steps up pleas for Germany to invest

French ministers were in Berlin on Monday for talks aimed at ways to boost growth the eurozone's two biggest economies. Paris has reiterated calls for Berlin to invest more to help spark life in both the French economy and that of the eurozone. READ  

Ask the Expert -Letting a flat
How to rent out a second home in France legally
Renting out a second home in France can be complicated. Here's how to do it. Photo: Shutterstock

How to rent out a second home in France legally

The French property market has changed significantly in recent years, leading to much confusion among foreigners. Andy Denison, director of an expat advice service, explains how to stay on the right side of the law when renting out a second home in France. READ  

Ligue 1 round-up
VIDEO: Mass brawl after Corsica flag unfurled
Bastia's French goalkeeper Jean Louis Leca holds the flag of Corsica before it sparked a mass brawl involving fans and players.

VIDEO: Mass brawl after Corsica flag unfurled

It was an eventful weekend in Ligue 1 with a mass brawl in Nice involving players and fans sparked by the unfurling of a Corsica flag, a record-equalling win for taple topping Marseille and a PSG - Lens match marred by red cards. Catch up on all the latest action here. READ  

France's veil laws
Paris Opera ejects woman for wearing veil
Staff at the Paris Opera in Bastille told a veiled woman to leave during a performance of La Traviata. Photo: Panoramas/Flickr- Miguel Medina/AFP

Paris Opera ejects woman for wearing veil

France will urgently update its law around the wearing of full face veils in public after it emerged a female spectator was told to leave the Paris Opera during a performance La Traviata after singers spotted her wearing a niqab. READ  

France scoops world blind wine-tasting prize

France scoops world blind wine-tasting prize

France won the world blind wine-tasting competition for teams, unseating reigning champion Belgium on Saturday READ  

Vandals deflate Paris 'sex toy' sculpture
The controversial, inflatable sculpture "Tree" by US artist Paul McCarthy sits deflated on the Vendome square in the center of Paris on October 18, 2014. AFP Photo/Martin Bureau

Vandals deflate Paris 'sex toy' sculpture

A giant inflatable sculpture that caused outrage in Paris for its resemblance to a sex toy will not be reinstalled after being reduced to a flaccid heap by vandals, its creator said Saturday. READ  

Court agrees to extradite ex-minister to Russia
Ex-minister Alexei Kuznetsov was accused of embezzling an estimated 14 billion rubles. AFP Photo/Kirill Kudryavtsev

Court agrees to extradite ex-minister to Russia

A French court of appeal has ruled in favour of extraditing to Russia a former finance minister accused of embezzling billions of rubles. READ  

Air France unions seek to stop flights to Guinea
Scientists said in early October that there is a 75 percent chance of Ebola reaching France. Photo: Pascal Guyot/AFP

Air France unions seek to stop flights to Guinea

Air France flight attendant unions on Friday called for a halt to services to the Guinean capital Conakry due to concerns about a "serious risk" of spreading Ebola. READ  

Fear of 'armed clowns' grips northern France
Reports of armed clown attacks have sparked a panic in Northern France. Photo: Shutterstock

Fear of 'armed clowns' grips northern France

UPDATED: There was both panic - and a good deal of skepticism - in several small towns in northern France this week after students reported they had been followed or threatened by an armed clown in three separate incidents. READ  

Opinion - Poverty in France
'Unlike the US the French don't blame the poor'
How bad is poverty in France. Photo: Boris Horvat/AFP

'Unlike the US the French don't blame the poor'

After a new poll suggested French people had less and less sympathy for the poor, an expert in the field considers whether poverty in France, where there is a noticeable homeless population and record unemployment, is as bad as it's made out to be. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
International
How a giant 'sex toy' earned an American artist a slap in Paris
National
'Unlike in the US the French don't put the blame on the poor'
Gallery
Cover up and don't be too Latin: French travel warnings for the US
Society
Macholand: The online uprising against sexism in France
Gallery
In pictures: The daily life of the 2,000 migrants in Calais
Culture
Erotic promo video earns the Musée d'Orsay our "Only in France" award
International
'I love the UK, but I could die getting there': Struggles of Calais migrants
National
Seven reasons why everyone should work in a bar in France
National
The cost of expat home comforts: How France compares to Europe
International
Why don't Calais migrants stay in France? The Local went to find out
National
What are the pros and cons of working as an au pair in France?
Society
Is France's generous welfare state about to get a little stingier?
Gallery
Extraordinary images of ordinary life in the poor Paris suburbs
Gallery
10 things expats love and loathe about life in France
National
So why don't many women in France breastfeed?
National
'Stop bashing La Belle France' - French PM tells UK press
International
UK warns Brits of 'high threat' from terrorism' in France
National
VIDEO: 'The Kama Sutra is not a dirty little text'
National
What Rome could teach Paris and vice versa
Gallery
What do foreign countries warn their citizens about when visiting France?
Gallery
IN IMAGES: Eiffel Tower opens new glass floor above Paris
Society
Is it really better to grow old in the UK and the US rather than France?
Gallery
It's that time if the year again: French sportsmen reveal (almost) all
Gallery
So what do the French find really weird about Anglos?
Travel
Paris museums to open seven days a week but unions are not happy
Culture
Caption contest: What happened when Jay Z met Sark O?
International
This explains why the French never seem to get a sense of déjà vu?
National
VIDEO: Here's a view from the Eiffel Tower you haven't seen before
Travel
Do Paris's iconic rooftops deserve Unesco World Heritage status?
Opinion
'France cannot reform, the pilots' strike showed us this'
National
'We just don’t work hard enough in France.' Is that true?
International
France has moved to beef up security in various public places
National
Hiking naked in France does not come risk-free
Culture
10 French customs that confuse Anglos
National
IN PICTURES: A look inside France's 'most notorious' prison
International
Isis urges killing of 'spiteful, dirty' French
National
Paris installs new device to stop 'love lock' craze
National
Paris cabby dies in vicious high-heel attack
National
'Paris is a sexy city, its beauty is inspiring'
Culture
Depardieu: ‘I drink 14 bottles of booze a day’
National
Top French chefs want banned bird on menu
National
VIDEO: Making of French rugby hunk calendar
National
Ten great bars in Paris only locals know about
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

662
jobs available