Seattle vs. Paris. The Emerald City vs. the City of Light. They have a lot of things in common these two, and not always good ones. Under *areas for improvement,* I could list their notoriously unpredictable, and depressing weather, traffic, parking, or the cost of living (as anyone trying to invest in real estate in King County, WA, or in downtown Paris can attest.)

A lot is said, and written about Paris every day, in the social media, or in the press. Seattle may be a popular city, but many don’t know much about it outside of the United States. Because I have lived and worked in both cities, I thought it’d be fun to compare them (as much as one can compare cities with populations of 2.2 million and 650,000+)

The results are in: Seattle wins. Yes, really! Here are 10 reasons why Seattle is better than Paris.

#1: Seattle is a natural beauty.

Paris may have world-renowned architecture, gardens, and urban landscape, it can’t rival the Pacific Northwest’s outdoor life and majestic scenery. Everywhere you look, there are mountains, and water. From Mount Rainier (an ancient volcano,) to the Cascades or the Olympic mountain ranges, from the Puget Sound (an inlet of the Pacific Ocean,) to fresh water lakes, Lake Union, or Lake Washington, Seattle is the tree-hugger and outdoorsy type’s paradise. Montmartre is a hill, not a mountain, and can you reach the slopes from Paris in less than 45 minutes? Mais non

Mount Rainier, the beloved local peak 
The Puget Sound 

# 2 Commuting is a lot more pleasant in Seattle than in Paris




# 3: Seattle watches better

Parisians, people-watching is not a sport! In Seattle, watching sports has been elevated to an art form. From kid sports (a major weekend activity,) to college or professional teams, Seahawks, Mariners or Sounders, on TV or at the local state-of-the art stadiums, Seattleites’ favorite pastime is watching sports.

Seahawks fans have a name “The 12th Man”

# 4: Had Hemingway known about Seattle’s coffee culture, he would have never emigrated to Paris’ Left Bank

This is the land of Starbucks. Need I say more? Here, coffee making takes time, creativity and craft. Baristas are smarter than software engineers. They have to, to understand local customers’ challenging orders. “Can I get a triple, decaf, non-fat, tall, moka latte, without the chocolate… but with some whip on top?” — After such an order, you hope most people remember to say “please.”


The original Starbucks store at Pike Place Market, or is it?
The perfect café Latte (a local favorite)

# 5: Forget macarons, pains au chocolat and tarte Tatin: Seattle does sweets better!

Molly Moon‘s all organic, all local, all “green” ice cream has longer lines than the Ile St LouisBerthillon. That’s proof, right?


Forget fancy French pastries when you visit the Puyallup Fair – don’t bother pronouncing it, just follow your GPS there – and sample a Funnel cake!

Yum. No doggie bag necessary, I am sure!

# 6: Seattle rules at salmon breeding/protecting/catching/cooking

Ever tried fishing in the Seine river? All you will catch is an old Louboutin shoe, the occasional [ugly tourist] corpse, and millions of silly little keys left behind by visitors after they hooked their love locks to Parisian bridges.

In Seattle, you catch the most fabulous salmon. King Salmon, Sockeye, Coho, the list never ends. Salmon is on every menu in the Emerald City (except in coffee shops, because they have figured out that salmon lattes do not taste as good as pumpkin lattes.) Seattleites love salmon so much they built a fish ladder where local kids and their parents can watch the brave fish struggling against the current on their way in and out of town.

Budding environmentalists wishing salmon “Bon Voyage” at the Fish Ladder 
Flying salmon (it does exist, in Seattle) is a big attraction at Pike Place Market!

#7: Forget Paris-Plages. Seattle has a real sand beach!

The first settlers landed in West Seattle, on Alki Beach. The rumour has it it was pouring down that day. Not to worry. They were a tough bunch. Today, only locals, tourists, and pirates, visit the beach. If only the Puget Sound was not so darn cold, we could almost swim there!

Alki Beach
Pirates landing on Alki Beach during SeaFair. Arrrgghhh!

#8: Parisians are too uptight. Seattleites are more relaxed.

It is not known who introduced flannel to Seattle. Doomed artist Kurt Cobain? Vampire covens tucked away on the Olympic Peninsula? No matter. Seattleites fight the constant dampness with fleece, and weatherproof clothing brands such as The North Face or Columbia. Forget Parisles Galeries Lafayette or le Bon Marché! Locals shop at R.E.I., major purveyor of everything Northwest.

REI: Temple of Northwest Style

#9: Paris dwells too much on the past. Seattle looks ahead.

Old Bridges. Gallo-Roman ruins. Time to dust things off, Paris: Urban planning in Seattle includes flexibility, and a willingness to move with the times. Out with the old, in with the new! Heck, after a devastating fire in the 19th century, the original city of Seattle had to be raised up by a couple of floors once it was discovered the city had been built on tidelands, and toilets often backed up at high tide! Not to worry. As explained in the fascinating Seattle Underground tour, the whole city was rebuilt, and elevated. It’s amazing to visit Seattle’s underground passageways today and realize those old tunnels, and windows, were once at street level!

Seattle’s Underground Tour: A must-see local attraction

Today, the urban-planning tradition à la Seattle endures. People are getting tired of this eye-sore known as the Alaskan Viaduct? Let’s tear it down and reclaim Seattle’s waterfront. The 520 bridge is unsafe? Let’s raise funds and build a new bridge. 

Seattle’s answer to Paris’ la Tour Montparnasse: The Alaskan viaduct
The old 520 Evergreen Bridge only survived for 53 years and got replaced in  2016
(Would you look at the gorgeous weather?)


#10: Seattleites are quirkier

They are a liberal bunch. They are pretty accepting of other people’s quirky ways (unless said other people are conservatives.) They will do anything to save the planet. They are strangely attached to a bunch of interesting characters and places…

Paris thinks Love Locks are a problem:

Paris is lucky not to have to deal with Seattle’s Gum Wall:


Somewhere in Seattle, there is giant troll, tucked away under a bridge. He is friendly and often poses for photos. (I personally believe he is just hiding from the rain, and like most Seattleites, hates using an umbrella.)

In the same neighborhood, one can see a giant space rocket that points at the sky but never goes anywhere. And a giant statue of Lenin, that is allegedly for sale, but nobody except Bill Gates could afford it, and besides, everyone has too much fun hanging out with old Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov.

Lenin and his friends

Well, in case you are not convinced yet that Seattle is better than Paris, consider this: Paris has the Eiffel Tower, but Seattle has the Space Needle. Even if they were both built to celebrate World Fairs, Elvis Presley only visited one of them and even shot a movie there. 

That’s Elvis, and the Space Needle! 

In fact, some say Elvis has never left the building.

A bientôt.




Véronique - France with Véro
Véronique of France with Véro

Véronique of France with Véro

Vero shares her homeland weekly on social media with virtual tours, photo essays, live events and other publications at France with Vero. Learn more.

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  1. Burlap Luxe on September 28, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    I love Seattle….lived there in my teens, and the moved to Nothern Ca. Then then settle in Southern Ca.
    I so miss Seattle, would move back in a minute. But I do lové France as well, Seattle feels like home.

    Wonderful post.



    • French Girl in Seattle on September 30, 2014 at 7:09 am

      You may miss Seattle Doré, but I bet you do not miss the rain! 😉

  2. helen tilston on September 28, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Hello Veronique

    I love your witty and informative comparison of two great cities. Well done.


    • French Girl in Seattle on September 30, 2014 at 7:10 am

      Merci beaucoup, chère Helen. Witty is my nickname, as you know 😉

  3. vicki archer on September 28, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    This is fun Veronique… I have never been to Seattle, but I believe you… 🙂

    • French Girl in Seattle on September 30, 2014 at 1:37 pm

      Thank you for the vote of confidence, Vicki. You will have to come out and check things out for yourself one day. Hope life is good in Provence…

  4. Jennifer Greco on September 29, 2014 at 8:10 am

    The commuting photos are enough to convince anyone that Seattle is better than Paris! 🙂

    • French Girl in Seattle on September 30, 2014 at 7:11 am

      I thought so too, Jenn. I am very sad that in all my years here, I have never had a chance to commute on the WA State Ferries, “à la Michael Douglas,” in the movie “Disclosure” ;-(

  5. French Heart on September 29, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    Really fun reading that, Veronique…to me what’s best about Seattle is the “Sleepless” film and the WA islands…. Did you know that San Francisco (where I lived for 20 years) is a Paris sister city? I’d have trouble choosing which is best considering those two…love both. Cheers!

    • French Girl in Seattle on September 30, 2014 at 7:13 am

      Bonjour Suzanne. I almost mentioned the Sleepless in Seattle movie, but it might have been overkill. We need to give other cities a chance to compete with the Emerald City, don’t we?

  6. Alain on September 29, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    Tu dis ça, mais en fait, comme tout le monde, tu préfères Paris !

    • French Girl in Seattle on September 30, 2014 at 7:12 am

      Très perspicace Alain! 😉

  7. g on September 30, 2014 at 7:24 am

    V I couldn’t wait to read this post-It was so entertaining as well as educational-I have never heard of the underground passages before-that is so cool. I have never been to your neck of the woods-I like the outdoors but am definitely a city girl who loves her coffee…I would love to spend some time discovering this part of the US. As ALWAYS a great post-You are so good at what you do here-love being a reader of yours-as you know! Have a wonderful week-I am recovering from having all the windows replaced in our home-now its the put back time-ugh-henceforth the lag in reading/commenting-till next time

    • French Girl in Seattle on September 30, 2014 at 1:40 pm

      Bonjour g, and many thanks for the compliments. I know you like it here, because you are one of my most faithful readers – I believe you found me during my first blogging trip, in Paris, December 2010! Wow. How time flies. You will definitely have to come out here one day. It is truly a beautiful area, and thank goodness – since I do not care for snow or rainy weather – we have all these wonderful coffee shops, the flying salmon, and the Troll. The troll is really cool. Straight out of a Harry Potter book! Take care, Philadelphia friend.

  8. Suman on October 1, 2014 at 5:45 am

    Ah, this makes me miss Seattle all the more. I keep wadding in the nostalgia of the two great years we lived in Redmond. And what’s more, I embraced the rains too! 🙂

    • French Girl in Seattle on October 1, 2014 at 1:07 pm

      I will believe this when I know where you live now, Suman! 😉

  9. M-T on October 2, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    What a wonderful post, ma grande. As you know, Monsieur Dan was stationed in nearby Tacomah during his military service many, many moons ago, and we have visited Seattle many times, mostly for the fabulous Wagner “Ring Cycle” operas that they perform that I will stack up against any we have seen, and we have seen more than a dozen complete Cycles all over the world. Pike Street Market is just a joy, and I have such fond memories of a wonderful lunch w/you. Hopefully soon again???? Or in NY???

    All that said, however, Paris will always be my first love. It holds my heart. Just ask Monsieur Dan. His love affair w/Paris was a coup de foudre and he is still a faithful lover.

    Gros bisous, M-T

    • French Girl in Seattle on October 3, 2014 at 11:46 am

      Merci M-T. Oui, great memories of our delicious lunch chez Café Campagne (and New York City’s Benoît!) Looking forward to the next one!

  10. Ken Broadhurst on October 3, 2014 at 11:35 am

    I would compare Seattle — which I have only visited, but many times — to Rouen or Caen, but not to Paris. Even San Francisco, where I lved for more than 15 years, is a ville de province compared to Paris, with its long history and international status. De beaucoup de points de vue, Paris est le centre du monde.

    • French Girl in Seattle on October 3, 2014 at 11:48 am

      Point taken, Ken, but this French Girl – as mentioned in the blog title – lives in Seattle, and hails from Paris so I had to make it work 😉 And you are right, it is hard to compete with Paris, but so much is written about the French capital every day. It seemed like a fun idea to give Seattle a bit more attention, for once. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Ken Broadhurst on October 5, 2014 at 12:57 am

      Don’t get me wrong, I loved going to Seattle to eat oysters, have dinner at Campagne, and shop at Sur la Table. Those were great days.

  11. Angelsdoor * Penny on October 4, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    What a great post! I don’t know how I missed this… I have never been to Seattle, nor Paris , so thank you for the photo tour.

    • French Girl in Seattle on October 5, 2014 at 8:47 am

      Glad you enjoyed the tour, Penny! You need to visit Seattle AND Paris soon so you can decide 😉

  12. Luisa Parodi on April 11, 2015 at 10:09 am

    This is so on time! I just finished purchasing my tickets for my trip to Alaska in mid August that includes a stop over in Seattle oh thanks so very much for such bunch of information and great pictures! I’m searching for information about ferry to Victoria then back to Seattle for two days then fly to Anchorage. I lived in Alaska for sixteen years and never vacationed in Seattle….heresy!
    Thanks again! I am a big fan of yours♡

    • French Girl in Seattle on April 11, 2015 at 12:00 pm

      Bonjour Luisa, and merci for the kind words. Look up the Victoria Clipper website for info about traveling from Seattle to Victoria. That’s a fun ferry trip, and pretty quick, too. Hope you enjoy your Alaskan trip. That is a very special part of the world! Bon weekend!

  13. Suzanne on April 11, 2015 at 10:44 am

    ive lived in Seattle most of my life and have traveled to Paris many, many times. Seattle is an amazing city, but I don’t think it can hold a candle to Parisian public transportation, museums, parks, flea markets, multitudes of independent shops, architecture and access to so many other beautiful cities…..oh, and did I mention book shops? Merci beau coup for your wonderful posts.

    • French Girl in Seattle on April 11, 2015 at 11:59 am

      Merci beaucoup Suzanne. As you can tell if you are following the French Girl in Seattle Facebook community, this post has created some (healthy) controversy this morning. I loved it! Seattle is a wonderful city, but I agree with you: Few cities compare with Paris. Irony is a beautiful thing, isn’t? 😉

  14. Peter Andersen on April 11, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    Great blog post, Veronique. Keep these lovely and informative thoughts coming, please!

    • French Girl in Seattle on April 11, 2015 at 4:43 pm

      Doing my best, Peter, doing my best. Thank you for the support.

  15. As Seen By Susan on April 11, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    Great comparison of two great cities. You most definitely did Seattle justice. You are lucky to have lived in both places. I think the biggest difference between Seattle and Paris (and any other city in Europe) is age. Seattle is still a teenager while Paris is the grande dame. I love them both in different ways as clearly you do, too. Well done.

    • French Girl in Seattle on April 11, 2015 at 4:43 pm

      Merci beaucoup Susan!

  16. Jessica on September 19, 2016 at 7:36 am

    “Ever tried fishing in the Seine river? All you will catch is an old Louboutin shoe, the occasional [ugly tourist] corpse, and millions of silly little keys left behind by visitors after they hooked their love locks to Parisian bridges.”

    I absolutely died laughing at this! So true! I think you have a legit argument. I’m looking forward to putting Seattle on my list of places to visit!

    Great post, as always!! 🙂

    • French Girl in Seattle on September 20, 2016 at 10:10 pm

      Merci Jessica. Glad you enjoyed my little story. I know there are ugly tourist corpses in the Seine river, as I pushed a couple down a bridge myself after they asked me for directions to le Pont des Arts and waved a “lovelock” under my nose. 😉

  17. Cori on September 19, 2016 at 11:04 pm

    Bonjour Veronique,
    Fun reading your article this morning. I am actually doing the opposite of you. I lived in Seattle for 11 years and am now on my 8th year in Paris. I also love both cities. I guess I could never say one is better than the other. I think Seattle was wonderful for raising a family and Paris is wonderful for raising young adults and definitely allows for more entertainment for my husband and I! I guess there is also a phenomenon of “The Grass is always Greener”!
    Enjoy your time in Seattle. You probably know many in the French community we were such good friends with when we lived there!

    • French Girl in Seattle on September 20, 2016 at 10:12 pm

      Wonderful to hear from you Cori. Yes, funny how life happens! I am now wondering if we ever had friends in common. A bientôt.

  18. Denise on September 7, 2018 at 11:26 am

    Haha, Seattle does have some positives, but I’d still take Paris any day! The ferries have always seemed awkward and inconvenient to me, but I adore the Metro. Though perhaps that comes from not needing to do either every day. Thanks for the fun post!

  19. Terry Harrell on September 7, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    So many reasons to love Seattle. But, I choose Par-ee!

  20. Kadmiel on May 19, 2021 at 4:34 pm

    The Puget Sound is absolutely a photographers dream such majestic beauty is truly Gods creation.. Seattle does have its ups and down but there are somethings that will never change

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