Paris or Nice: Which Location is Best For Your French Travels?

Steve Cummings

Eiffel Tower

Paris and Nice are worlds apart in terms of distance (at least for Europe anyway, but not for people from the USA), and it takes 10 hours to drive between them by car.

This article may sound a bit political in that we may not give you a definite answer as to which is the best, as it will depend on what you are after. There will be a lot of “it depends.”

Paris is best suited for those who want a city break, whereas Nice is on the Mediterranean coast and offers something different.

We have split this into some categories that we believe will be important for what people are after.

The chances are you will love them both, but let’s see which best suits your needs.

1. Accessibility

Eiffel Tower, Paris France
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Let's begin by discussing how easy both are to get to.


Paris has two main airports, with Charles De Gaulle being the 3rd busiest in Europe. There will be many more flights to this airport as it's a great place to get connecting flights. If you are flying in from somewhere that's not a main airport in another country; you will have a much better chance of getting a flight here than to Nice. That being said, it's also a lot busier. 

Paris is also on the Eurostar, which gives you more options, especially if you fear flying. It is well connected to the UK, Netherlands, and Belgium.


Although it is ranked as the 42nd busiest airport in Europe, it is still a decent-sized airport but does not have as many international flights as Charles De Gaulle.

Connecting flights from Paris to Nice takes about 1hr 25 minutes, meaning you could fit both into a multi-trip holiday.

2. The Weather

Paris, France
credit: depositphotos


Paris has lovely weather compared to many other places in the world. It won’t be as hot as Nice, but there's a good chance the sun will shine during your visit. London, which is connected by the Eurostar in just over two hours, has much better weather.


Located further down the country, Nice has more sunny days than Paris. This site shows that Nice has 147 sunny days.

If you love the sun and want to lie on a beach daily, then Nice is the better choice. states that Nice's average temperature is 5.5 degrees Celsius higher /10 degrees Fahrenheit than Paris's.

3. Food

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No matter where you go in France, you will have some of the best food you have tasted.


Paris is known for some of the best, sorry, THE best food in the world, and it's where many of the best chefs, such as Gordon Ramsay, spent their youth training. 

Opera cake, croissants, croque-monsieur, and onion soup are just some of the foods that Parisians are passionate about. Don’t try to put butter or jam on your croissants in Paris, as that will be massively frowned upon by the locals and seen as a sign of disrespect to the food made to be eaten as it is.

There are 113 Michelin-starred restaurants in Paris, the closest place in Europe being London, with 73, and the most in the USA being New York, with 71.


Nice, on the other hand, has something different to offer. Being in the Mediterranean, the big focus here is on seafood, eating by the sea, and the famous Niçoise salad, which you must try when there.

Ratatouille, Daube niçoise (a beef stew), and Ganses (sweet, deep friend dumplings) are some of Nice's most popular dishes.

4. Best for Families

Family trip caravan camping
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Both are fantastic destinations for families.


This is a tricky one, as both have pros and cons. Of course, Disneyland is the main reason Paris is best for families, as it has seen more than 250 million visitors in the last 33 years. 

There is more to do because it is a big city, but it depends on what you want. Paris is a good choice if your family loves visiting museums and generally loves a city vibe.


If theme parks and a busy city are not for you, then Nice could be the best place for you and your family. The beaches down here on the coast are great, with Li Rateta probably being one of the best ones. There is lots to do here, such as trampolines, watersports, and beach soccer.

It is generally a safer place for everyone, with lower crime rates and a more relaxed pace.

5. Romance

French Hot Chocolate
Credit: Depositphotos


Paris, nicknamed the city of love, has to be the winner here. Or does it? Is it just something stuck from years ago, or does it still have that X factor?

We still think Paris has plenty of appeal for couples who want a romantic break. It's all about the historic buildings, cobbled streets, and sharing a bottle of wine in a cozy French bistro. Paris has also appeared in so many love films that we have lost count! Take your loved one to the city of love and get a kissing selfie before the Eiffel Tower.


Even though Paris is the so-called city of love, it doesn’t mean that Nice isn’t romantic—far from it. Nice is full of some of the most beautiful beaches, where you can walk hand in hand after enjoying a meal at a beachside restaurant. 

If you are into the great outdoors, there are hikes you could take up some beautiful mountains, which, to some people, are very romantic. It all depends on what you are into.

6. Day Trips

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Whichever you choose, you will make an excellent choice.


If you need a break from the busy city, many options exist. We could write a whole article about day trips from Paris, but we will quickly talk about some of the best you could do.

  • Versailles – The most famous palace in the world for being over the top and just generally amazing.
  • Giverny—This is about 1hr 30 on a train, so it is possible on a day trip. It was home to the famous painter Claude Monet, and you can visit his house and gardens.
  • Disneyland – We mentioned this earlier, but it's only 37 minutes by train. 


You will have so many choices of places to visit around the Mediterranean Sea, with many little old towns and big cities.

  • Antibes – A stunning little coastal town with a great old town to get lost in. Take a walk along the coast or head to the Picasso Museum.
  • Monaco – Needs no introduction. Home to the rich and famous, it's a place you need to head to for the day so you can feel like a celebrity. Walk on the Formula 1 track and check out the superyachts.
  • Cannes – It is just over an hour by train. Avoid it during the film festival, as it will be too busy. It's a stunning city full of high-end boutiques.

7. Best For Budget

Nice's Old Town
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Neither is what we could call “budget-friendly,” but there are some options worth exploring to save a few dollars.


Capital cities will always be more expensive than other cities in that country, and that's no different in France. Food and drink (two of the main things people go to France for) will hit you hard in the pocket. If a few of you are going, it will probably be cheaper to rent an Air BNB than to pay the expensive hotel prices or stay outside Paris and get the train into the center every day.

Paris flights can be done on a budget. Low-cost airlines such as Easyjet and Wizz Air fly to Paris Beauvais-Tillé Airport (BVA), which could be cheaper but would mean a longer train ride.

However, many people dream of seeing Paris, so they are willing to save up to make the trip of a lifetime.


We quickly searched and found that Nice is 36% cheaper on average than Paris. That's quite a bit cheaper! However, it’s not cheap compared to the rest of France; it's still the most expensive place outside Paris.

Flights to Nice are also cheaper, with Sky Scanner saying that Nice is the most affordable city in France to fly into.

8. Events

expensive events
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You definitely won’t be stuck for things to do.


Like any capital city, a lot is happening in Paris, so you will never be stuck for things to do while there.

A few worth mentioning are Paris Fashion Week, one of the biggest events on the fashion calendar held in spring and autumn. Other events are the Paris Marathon and the French Open, and then in the winter, there's a massive Christmas market.


Nice also has tons going on, with the most popular event being the Nice Carnival, one of the most famous in the world, which takes over the city for two weeks in February. 

Another highlight is the Jazz festival, one of the oldest in Europe and is held every July. The city also has a great Christmas market that's just as good as any other.

9. Art and Culture

Musee du Louvre
Credit: Depositphotos

France is full of culture, with Paris and Nice among the top places to experience this.


Did you know that Paris has 152 museums vs. 9 in Nice? That's quite a big difference, but it is the capital. You will want to visit the Louvre, where the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo are. It is also the world's largest art museum.

Other museums are Musée d'Orsay, which houses Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterpieces, and Centre Pompidou, which focuses more on modern art and features work by Picasso and Matisse.


Nice is still full of culture. It has a museum dedicated to Henri Matisse, a house in the Villa des Arènes in the Cimiez neighborhood. The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art is also worth visiting. It showcases art from the 1950s to today, including works by Andy Warhol and Yves Klein.

10. Shopping

Nice France
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We are mainly focusing on clothes shopping.


Parisians are known for their good dress sense, and Paris caters to that with high-end luxury shops. The most famous shopping area is Avenue des Champs-Élysées, home to Louis Vuitton, Cartier, and Chanel. As frugal travelers, window shopping might be all we can afford to do here, but it's still fun!

Le Marais is a trendy district entire of Independent boutiques, vintage stores, and contemporary fashion brands.


Nice still has high-end shops, with Rue Paradis being the most well-known for Louis Vuitton, Hermès, and Chanel. 

The Old Town (Vieux Nice) is another good shopping place. Many small streets have artisan boutiques, specialty food stores, and local crafts.

Final Thoughts

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We hope this article has helped you decide which city is the best for you. Or maybe it's left you with more questions than answers? Either way, we hope it got you thinking about what a fantastic country France is and how much there is to do there. 

It all comes down to personal preference. Paris has world-class museums and historic landmarks and is on many people's bucket lists.

On the other hand, Nice is the place to relax and recharge along the beautiful coastline, potter around the old town, and enjoy some fresh seafood.

We can’t pick a clear winner. 

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