Which city is for you? Bordeaux or Nice
Bordeaux or Nice? It’s a difficult choice, especially when it comes to these two cities. Both are world famous, but for different reasons. Will it be the wine, cuisine and beautiful buildings in Bordeaux that win for you? Or will it be Nice with its beautiful beaches, amazing old town and great seafood? In this blog we’ll compare everything both cities have to offer to help you decide which one you’ll end up visiting!
A small city in southwestern France, Bordeaux is world-renowned for its wine, cuisine and architecture. If you mention Bordeaux to anyone, the first thing they think about is wine. But, there’s more to the city than just wine. It’s a beautiful city that is compact and walkable. We highly recommend visiting. It almost feels like a miniature Paris.
Nice quite literally has it all – sun, sea, sand and history. It’s a great option for travellers that want the option to experience the culture of a city break and the relaxing vibes of a beach holiday.
Pros and Cons of Bordeaux and Nice
- Renowned Wine Region: Bordeaux is celebrated worldwide for its exceptional wine culture. The city is surrounded by some of the most prestigious vineyards, providing a feast for wine lovers.
- Historical Allure: The city’s rich history manifests in its awe-inspiring architecture. From Gothic cathedrals to grand mansions, Bordeaux’s landmarks tell tales of the past.
- Cultural Hotspot: Bordeaux boasts a dynamic arts scene and diverse gastronomic experiences, making it a haven for culture enthusiasts and foodies alike.
- UNESCO Heritage Sites: With close proximity to remarkable UNESCO sites like Saint-Émilion and the Cité du Vin museum, Bordeaux promises to enrich cultural excursions.
- Scenic Surroundings: Bordeaux’s location allows easy access to picturesque regions like the Dordogne and the Bay of Arcachon, perfect for explorers seeking natural beauty.
- Limited Shopping and Entertainment: Bordeaux might offer fewer shopping and entertainment opportunities compared to more cosmopolitan Nice.
- Less Coastal Influence: As a city nestled inland, Bordeaux may lack the Mediterranean culture and beach experiences that coastal Nice provides.
- Cooler Climate: Compared to Nice, Bordeaux experiences cooler weather, particularly outside the summer months.
Best for: Bordeaux is a haven for wine aficionados, history enthusiasts, and food lovers. It’s perfect for those who prefer a relaxed ambiance and closeness to vineyards and charming countryside landscapes.
- Mediterranean Charm: Nice, with its idyllic Mediterranean ambiance, offers stunning coastal views and easy access to beautiful beaches.
- Historical Splendor: The city’s vibrant history is reflected in its stunning architecture, notably in the enchanting Old Town (Vieux Nice).
- Gateway to the French Riviera: Nice serves as a perfect base to explore the rest of the famed Côte d’Azur, offering easy access to other glamorous Riviera destinations.
- Diverse Culinary Scene: Nice celebrates Provençal cuisine, featuring unique local flavors and a variety of culinary experiences.
- Lively Cultural Scene: The city’s arts, music, and nightlife scenes are dynamic and captivating, ensuring there’s always something exciting happening.
- Tourist Crowds: Nice can be quite busy, particularly during the peak summer season, which might not be ideal for those seeking a tranquil retreat.
- Less Focused on Wine: Although Nice has its own wine culture, it’s not as prominent or celebrated as that of Bordeaux.
- Cost of Living: Nice, being a popular tourist destination and part of the glamorous French Riviera, can have a higher cost of living. Accommodation, dining, and certain activities might be more expensive compared to other French cities like Bordeaux.
Best for: Nice is ideal for those who crave the coastal charm of the Mediterranean, love exploring historic sites, enjoy vibrant cultural scenes, and relish Provençal cuisine.
How long to stay in Bordeaux
Bordeaux isn’t a big city, but there’s plenty to do. You could get around most of the city in a day if you wanted but you’d miss all the best bits. Bordeaux is a city best enjoyed at a slow pace. Wandering around whilst stopping off at cafes and tourist attractions.
There are plenty of galleries, museums, and shops to fill your time. Plus if you’re into your wine, there are all the local vineyards that you can visit. There are also some pretty local towns to visit like Saint-Émilion and Arcachon. We’d recommend staying at least two days in Bordeaux, three days would be better though. We could easily spend a few weeks here, although we’d probably be fat alcoholics by the end of it.
How long to stay in Nice
A trip to Nice needs to be at least three days. But you could easily spend a week or two here. There’s so much to do whether it be in Nice, or exploring the local area. Monaco and Cannes are a stone’s throw away. You could even get a ferry to Corsica for a few nights if you were feeling adventurous!
How much is food and drink in Bordeaux and Nice?
|Item||Average Price Range (Bordeaux)||Average Price Range (Nice)|
|Beer||€3 – €6||€4 – €7|
|Glass of wine||€4 – €10||€4 – €10|
|Coffee||€1.50 – €3||€2 – €4|
|Meal (Midrange Restaurant)||€20 – €40||€25 – €50|
How much is it to stay in Bordeaux or Nice?
|Accommodation Type||Average Price Range (Bordeaux)||Average Price Range (Nice)|
|Luxury hotel||€200 – €500||€150 – €500|
|Midrange hotel||€80 – €150||€70 – €150|
|Budget hotel||€40 – €70||€40 – €70|
|Hostel||€20 – €40||€20 – €40|
When is the best time to visit Bordeaux?
Bordeaux has got it all: mild weather, world-class wines, and plenty of festivals and events. Here’s what you need to know:
Weather: The weather in Bordeaux is usually pleasant, with mild temperatures year-round. Summers can get a bit sticky, but winters are mild and rainy. For the best weather, plan your visit during the shoulder season of April to June or September to October.
Wine season: Wine lovers, won’t want to miss the grape harvest season from September to October. The perfect time to indulge in wine tasting and vineyard tours and sample some of the best wines in the world.
Festivals: Bordeaux loves a good party, and there are plenty of festivals and events to keep you entertained. Don’t miss the Bordeaux Wine Festival in June or the Fête le Vin in June, both of which celebrate the region’s rich wine-making culture.
Crowds: The summer months of July and August are peak tourist seasons in Bordeaux, which means the crowds can be pretty intense. If you prefer a more relaxed visit, consider traveling during the off-season when the crowds have thinned out.
When is the best time to visit Nice?
Nice is a very popular tourist destination all year round. When to visit depends on personal preference. Here are a few things to consider before booking your trip:
Weather: Nice has a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot summers. Plan your trip between June and September if you want to make the most of the hot weather. Winters are mild compared to a lot of places, you’ll rarely see it freezing here. Spring is probably the best all-around time to visit.
Crowds: Nice can get extremely busy during the summer months so visit during the off-season if you can be irritated by crowded places.
Events: There are several world-famous events held very close to Nice every year, like the Cannes Film Festival in May and the Monaco Grand Prix. If you want to experience something a bit different the Nice Carnival is a spectacular event. There are huge parades day and night, with floats, dancers, and all sorts of fun!
Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for Bordeaux and Nice
|Month||Bordeaux Temperature (°C)||Bordeaux Rainfall (mm)||Nice Temperature (°C)||Nice Rainfall (mm)|
|January||6°C||80 mm||9°C||69 mm|
|February||7°C||70 mm||9°C||50 mm|
|March||10°C||70 mm||11°C||45 mm|
|April||12°C||60 mm||13°C||60 mm|
|May||16°C||70 mm||16°C||50 mm|
|June||19°C||60 mm||20°C||30 mm|
|July||21°C||40 mm||23°C||10 mm|
|August||21°C||50 mm||23°C||20 mm|
|September||18°C||60 mm||20°C||40 mm|
|October||14°C||80 mm||16°C||70 mm|
|November||9°C||80 mm||12°C||90 mm|
|December||7°C||80 mm||10°C||80 mm|
Getting around Bordeaux:
The city’s public transportation system consists of trams, buses, and a bike-sharing service. The trams are well-connected and cover most of the city’s major attractions. The tickets allow you to use any form of public transport for a certain period of time, (usually an hour). So if you needed to get one bus and a tram to get somewhere you’d only need one ticket if the journey was less than an hour.
Bike sharing is a good option for people that want to be a bit more active. Bordeaux has a lot of small windy streets so we spent most of the time walking, which I feel is the best way to see a city. Taxis and Ubers are readily available but you might struggle to get one right in the heart of the old town where a lot of it is pedestrianized.
Getting around Nice:
Nice has plenty of public transport options like buses, trams, and trains. The trams and buses cover most of the city and are both reliable.
But, on a nice day, you’d be better off walking everywhere. Just make sure you take some comfortable shoes. There really isn’t a better way to see a city as beautiful as Nice other than on foot.
Top Things to do in Bordeaux
Visit the Place de la Bourse: This square is an absolute must-see, with stunning architecture and a beautiful reflecting pool called the Water Mirror. Don’t forget your camera!
Explore the historic Saint-Pierre district: This area is so charming, with cobblestone streets, cute cafes, and lots of history. Take a stroll around and enjoy the vibes.
Go wine tasting in the nearby vineyards of Saint-Émilion: If you’re a wine lover, this is the place to be! Saint-Émilion has some of the best vineyards and wineries around, and the views are pretty stunning too.
Visit the Musée d’Aquitaine: Learn more about the region’s history and culture at this museum, which has everything from prehistoric artifacts to contemporary art.
Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the Jardin Public: This park is seriously beautiful, with a lake, a rose garden, and tons of trees and flowers. It’s the perfect place to unwind and relax.
Take a river cruise on the Garonne River: You’ll see all sorts of amazing architecture and landmarks, and the views are seriously good.
Visit the Basilique Saint-Michel: This church is up on a hill, so the views are even better! Take some snaps, enjoy the scenery, and soak up the atmosphere.
Enjoy some of Bordeaux’s local cuisine: Bordeaux has got some seriously tasty food, including sweet pastries called canelés and a delicious steak dish called entrecôte bordelaise.
Go to one of Bordeaux’s many festivals and events: This city loves to party, so there’s always something going on. Don’t miss the Bordeaux Wine Festival in June or the Fête le Vin in June.
Take a day trip to the nearby town of Arcachon: This seaside town is seriously gorgeous, with sand dunes and beaches that will take your breath away. It’s an easy train ride from Bordeaux, so don’t miss out!
Top Things to Do in Nice
Promenade des Anglais: This beautiful promenade stretches for 7km along the Mediterranean coast and is probably the most famous attraction in the city. The views are spectacular, you could literally spend a full day just wandering around and enjoying the view.
Vieille Ville: There is plenty to see and do in Nice’s Old Town. Full of colorful buildings, cute streets, and cafes. You could spend a full day just ambling around doing very little other than eating and drinking.
Musée Matisse: Devoted to the works of Henri Matisse, this museum is located in a beautiful 17th-century villa. The gardens are very impressive, it’s location on a hill also offers great views over the city. The art isn’t too bad either.
Castle Hill: A must-see when in Nice, Castle Hill offers panoramic views over Nice and the Mediterranean. You can walk to the top via the stairs. It’s a bit of a walk, so probably not a great idea with kids. There is also an elevator for those that don’t fancy the stairs.
Musée Marc Chagall: This museum houses the largest collection of works by the Russian-French artist Marc Chagall. Located in a beautiful garden, it also features works by other contemporary artists.
Place Masséna: This stunning central square is the perfect place to sit with a coffee or a cold glass of white wine and watch the world go by. The architecture is very impressive and looks especially good at night when it’s all lit up.
Jardin Albert 1er: The perfect place to relax and enjoy the sun, this beautiful park is located right in the heart of Nice next to the beach. Go in the evening and catch an amazing sunset, you won’t regret it!
Palais Lascaris: This beautiful 17th-century baroque palace is now a museum that showcases the history of Nice and its culture. It features stunning architecture and artwork.
Parc Phoenix: This stunning botanical garden holds over 2,500 plant species and a large lake. There are even different types of exotic animals like flamingos and alligators!
Cimiez Monastery: Located very close to the Musée Matisse, this monastery is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Make sure your phone is charged, you’ll want to take plenty of photos of its beautiful gardens and views over Nice.
How to spend three days in Bordeaux
To begin your day, head to the Place de la Bourse and the Water Mirror reflecting pool. Take some time to check out the beautiful architecture and take some pictures. If you want a really special experience, try and get up early to visit during the sunrise. It’s so worth it! After that, visit the Musée d’Aquitaine to explore the history and culture of the region. The museum has a fascinating collection of artifacts and exhibits. End your day with a dinner in the Saint-Pierre district, it’s probably the prettiest area in Bordeaux. There are plenty of good restaurants to choose from, make sure you sit outside if the weather is good too!
Spend your morning taking a day trip to the nearby town of Saint-Émilion, famous for its vineyards and wine. It’s only 35 minutes by train. Go for a wine tasting in one of the local vineyards then get a lovely French lunch at a local restaurant.
In the afternoon, return to Bordeaux and take a river cruise on the Garonne River. There’s something about river cruises that we love, the water is so relaxing and it’s a good way to see a city from a different perspective. For dinner visit Les Halles Bacalan, a market hall full of food vendors and bars. There’s so much food to try and wines to drink! After dinner, take a walk along the Quai des Chartrons to enjoy the views of the river and the city lights.
Start your day with a visit to the Jardin Public, one of the most beautiful parks in Bordeaux. It’s a great place to relax and people-watch. In the afternoon, head to the Basilique Saint-Michel to enjoy the stunning views of the city. There are loads of cool shops close by if you fancy looking around too. Finally, attend one of Bordeaux’s many festivals and events in the evening, such as the Bordeaux Wine Festival or Fête le Vin. If none of them is on, why not visit Musée du Vin et du Négoce de Bordeaux? This museum takes you through the history of winemaking in the region and even has wine-tasting sessions! It’s well worth a visit.
How to spend three days in Nice
Morning: Grab a coffee and a pastry from a nearby coffee shop and head to Promenade des Anglais. Find a bench to sit on and relax whilst the city wakes up. There’s something really special about the sea breeze in the morning. Either spend the morning on the beach or have a chilled walk along the seafront.
Afternoon: Head over to the Vielle Ville, Nice’s Old Town. Make sure you start off at Cours Saleya, this market has an abundance of local produce for sale like fruit, flowers, and spices. There are lots of little street food stalls too which are great for lunch. Spend the rest of the afternoon wandering around Vielle Velle’s cute little streets.
Evening: Have a relaxing evening at Place Masséna. Get some good Niçoise food and a few drinks and watch the world go by.
Morning: Get an early start and head to the Musée Matisse. A great museum dedicated to Henri Matisse, perfect for art lovers. The views from the museum are beautiful. All of his work isn’t housed here so don’t be disappointed if you don’t see everything you wanted.
Afternoon: Visit the Cimiez Monastery, it’s a stone’s throw from Musée Matisse. The interior of this monastery is incredible and the gardens are even better! Before you head back to the center of Nice, have a nosy at the Ancien Hôtel Régina. This is a very famous hotel from the 19th century was built to meet the requirements of Queen Victoria who loved to visit the Côte d’Azur.
Evening: Make your way to the seafront to ascend Castle Hill. You can go up via the stairs or the lift. Maybe take a little picnic and some wine. The views over Nice and the Mediterranean are amazing!
Morning: Begin your day with a visit to the Palais Lascaris. A 17th-century palace that’s been turned into a museum. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful museums in Nice. Its collection is mostly focused on musical instruments but it’s baroque interior will have you in awe.
Afternoon: Spend your afternoon at the Musée National Marc Chagall. Dedicated to the artist Marc Chagall, it’s got an expensive collection of his works. Most of the collection is focused on his religious works, there are also some of his stained glass windows that are very beautiful.
Evening: Finish your trip to Nice with a visit to the Nice Observatory. It’s a little outside of the city center, so you’d be better off getting the bus. It’s a working observatory so you can’t just wander in. There are regular tours, but they are only in French. The sunset from here is amazing, there are a couple of restaurants nearby so you can get a nice dinner and watch the sun go down.
Bordeaux and Nice Ratings
|Category||Bordeaux Rating||Nice Rating|
|Food and drink||9||9|
|Culture and history||9||9|