Ten ways ‘Paris is not France’ and vice versa

"Paris is not France and France is not Paris" so people keep saying. In her second installment looking at some of the myths and stereotypes around France, recent arrival Lindsey Johnstone looks at a few of the most common ways that observers mix up the capital with the country.

Ten ways 'Paris is not France' and vice versa
How different is Paris to the rest of France? Photo: Shutterstock

From le Midi to la Manche, the French have an infamously love/hate relationship with their capital city, which is heartily reciprocated.

So both Parisians and their compatriots from la France Profonde would probably be pleased to hear that when outsiders cite well-loved French stereotypes, a lot of the time what they are actually referring to is only relevant to Paris, and vice versa.

We've rounded up a few of the most common ways that observers tend to think Paris and the rest of France are interchangeable, but why that couldn't be further from the truth.

Ten ways 'Paris is not France and France is not Paris'

SEE ALSO: City of Love: Seven Paris myths debunked


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Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

Car, moped, public transport, or electric bicycle - which means of transport is the quickest way to get across Paris?

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

One intrepid reporter for French daily Le Parisien decided to find out. 

The challenge was simple. Which mode of transport would get the journalist from the heart of Fontenay-sous-Bois in the eastern suburbs to the newspaper’s office on Boulevard de Grenelle, west Paris, fastest?

Over four separate journeys, each one in the middle of rush hour, the electric bicycle was quickest and easiest. More expensive than conventional bikes, electric bikes do come with a government subsidy.

The journey was described as ‘pleasant and touristy’ on a dry but chilly morning going via dedicated cycle lanes that meant the dogged journalist avoided having to weave in and out of traffic.

It took, in total, 47 minutes from start to finish at an average speed of 19km/h, on a trip described as “comfortable” but with a caveat for bad weather. The cost was a few centimes for charging up the bike.

In comparison, a car journey between the same points took 1 hour 27 minutes – a journey not helped by a broken-down vehicle. Even accounting for that, according to the reporter’s traffic app, the journey should – going via part of the capital’s southern ringroad – have taken about 1 hr 12.

Average speed in the car was 15km/h, and it cost about €2.85 in diesel – plus parking.

A “chaotic and stressful” moped trip took 1 hour 3 minutes, and cost €1.30 in unleaded petrol.

Public transport – the RER and Metro combined via RER A to Charles-de-Gaulle-Étoile then Metro line 6 to the station Bir-Hakeim – took 50 minutes door to door, including a 10-minute walk and cost €2.80. The journey was described as “tiring”.

READ ALSO 6 ways to get around Paris without the Metro