London better than Paris, say the French

According to the survey by the Paris-Ile de France regional tourism committee, London has got top marks from in everything - from its restaurants and cabs to national icons like Trafalgar Square and Westminster Abbey.

The survey of Europe's six major capitals gives London 82 points out of 100 for the welcome it offers visitors.

Paris, the world's most popular tourist destination in terms of visitor numbers, shares second place with Amsterdam with 79 points. Madrid and Rome are joint third and Berlin is last, the British media reported.

In fact, undercover French investigators could barely fault what they found in London, although there was a minor complaint about the lack of foreign languages spoken.

The survey, which graded 116 criteria ranging from airport signposts to the quality of museums, found that very few people in London could respond to any other European language beyond English -- least of all French.

Public transport in Paris is considered particularly poor, with tickets difficult to buy and the Metro old and dirty. Hotels, which have shot up in price since the Euro was introduced, scored 74 per cent compared with 89 per cent for those in London.

Committee head Jean-Pierre Blat was quoted as saying, "The survey reflects reality. Paris knows how to welcome visitors but there are definite improvements to make."

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