A Beautiful Duo: Paris and London

Hidden gems, heritage treasures, and timeless beauty are just a Chunnel ride apart

When it comes to iconic global travel destinations, few cities rival Paris and London. Both are cosmopolitan epicenters, rich in culture and boasting an abundance of historic landmarks. Their distinctions make them unique; their similarities make them an exciting pair to explore together as the best of both worlds, from the romance of the City of Light to the diverse energy of London that blends ancient tradition and ultra-modern living.

Hotel Dames des Artes with view of cathedral

Even for the most savvy traveler, it’s hard to resist the pull of the most recognizable sights in both cities. A visit to Paris would be incomplete without at least a stroll down the Champs-Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe, a visit to the Louvre to spy the shy smile of its most famous denizen, the Mona Lisa, and a walk beneath that 19th-century structural marvel, the Eiffel Tower, if not a ride to the top. The beloved Notre Dame Cathedral, heavily damaged by fire in 2019, is expected to reopen in December 2024, yet another not-to-be-missed landmark. Hôtel Dame des Arts, a contemporary hotel in the Latin Quarter, is conveniently located just steps from the cathedral, a convenient and chic base from which to explore the Left Bank and beyond.

Bois de Vencennes, Paris

For all its many instantly recognized landmarks, there are many more lesser-known, uniquely interesting things to see in the French capital. Take a walk off the crowded city streets – literally – and take in the city from above on the Promenade Plantée. This three-mile elevated park and walkway in the 12th arrondissement stretches from the Bastille to Bois de Vincennes, with pools and lush greenery lining this former aqueduct. Travelers wanting to further experience the greener side of Paris should check in to Les Jardins du Marais, an elegant boutique hotel boasting one of the largest private gardens in the city, that’s just a short walk from the Promenade Plantée. Somewhat darker but intriguing nonetheless is the Catacombs, a subterranean ossuary underneath the city’s bustling streets. Take a guided tour through dimly lit hallways lined with bones and skulls to learn more about this hidden history of Paris.

Les Jardins du Marais, Paris, France

Sometimes, though, the most interesting sites are those that aren’t in any guidebook. The French verb flâner, literally meaning “to stroll,” represents an ideal way to discover the Paris that’s uniquely yours, from the accidental discovery of a special café in Saint-Germain-des-Prés to an open-air artist’s market along the Seine, where you just might find that perfect memento to capture all your Parisian memories. The serendipity of European geography means that travelers can enjoy un café in Paris and be in the British capital by lunch. The English Channel is easily traversed between them — either by train or by plane — presenting the perfect opportunity to easily visit both, and in less time than it takes to take a train from Washington, D.C. to New York City. DISCOVER ALL PARIS HOTELS

St Pancras Station, London, UK

Though air and rail tickets can be comparable in price, experienced travelers eagerly list the many reasons taking the Eurostar train — colloquially known as the Chunnel — between Paris’ Gare du Nord and London’s St. Pancras International, including the ability to keep luggage with you (with no liquid limits!), no airport hassle, more comfortable cabins, and far more convenient in-city locations of both stations compared to each city’s airport. For the conscious traveler, the train is also considered more environmentally friendly. On the British side of the journey, of course, more historically significant, must-see places await, from the Palace of Westminster Abbey and the London Eye to the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, and Buckingham and Kensington Palaces, plus an abundance of museums housing renowned works of every genre. The BoTree, a luxury boutique hotel at the intersection of Marylebone, Mayfair, and Soho neighborhoods is not only within two miles of St. Pancras, but it is centrally located amid many of these landmarks, and its gorgeous The BoTree Bar is a stylish destination for an artisanal cocktail and respite after a busy day in the city.

The BoTree - Bar

Like Paris, the icons of the London landscape are countless and can easily fill an entire itinerary, but here, too, it’s equally rewarding to explore the places that aren’t as well known. If you’ve never heard of Little Venice, found near Paddington, you are not alone. This quaintly charming neighborhood is a wonderful contrast to the bustle of the city. Three canals weave between cafés, restaurants, classic pubs, shops, and entertainment venues. Whether strolling its streets or enjoying a leisurely cruise along the waterway, Little Venice offers a uniquely different experience in London.

Little Venice, London, UK

One of the best ways to truly learn about any destination is through its gastronomy, and there’s arguably no better place than historic Borough Market, near London Bridge. Foodies may already be familiar with London’s oldest market, but for the uninitiated, this is an artisanal haven representing a multitude of flavors and cultures that comprise the London food scene, with an emphasis on sustainability.

Borough Market, London, UK

Safe, convenient, and fast travel between Paris and London offers the unique luxury of not having to choose which one to see — seize the chance to visit them together. Whether you begin or end your journey in Paris or London, it’s how you spend your time in each that matters most. A fantastic hotel to call home, a short list of must-see spots, and a little time to wander are the secrets to making the most of a visit to both cities. VIEW ALL PARIS AND LONDON HOTELS