Nice or Nantes – Which French City to Visit?

Nice or Nantes

Which city is for you? Nice or Nantes

Nice or Nantes? North or South? Seaside or riverside? So many questions, and so much to think about. Will it be beaches, sun, sea and seafood in Nice? Or the more undiscovered, quieter, artsy vibes in Nantes? Keep reading, we’ll help you decide.


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.


Not far from France’s west coast, Nantes is the sixth largest city in France. Not as well known as some other French cities like Paris, Bordeaux and Marseille it doesn’t make it any less interesting. There’s plenty of culture to take in here, alongside some amazing food!

Pros and Cons of Nice and Nantes



  • Beautiful beaches – Nice has some of the most stunning beaches in France, with crystal clear waters and soft sandy shores.
  • Cultural attractions – Nice is home to a number of museums and cultural attractions, including the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art and the Chagall Museum.
  • Picturesque Old Town – Nice’s Old Town is a charming and picturesque neighbourhood with colourful buildings, narrow streets, and plenty of restaurants and cafes.
  • Proximity to the French Riviera – Nice is an ideal base for exploring the French Riviera, with easy access to other coastal towns like Antibes, Cannes, and Monaco.
  • Great weather – Nice enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate with plenty of sunshine throughout the year.
  • Affordable accommodation – Compared to Nantes, Nice offers more affordable accommodation options, making it a great budget-friendly destination.
  • Vibrant nightlife – Nice has a lively nightlife scene with plenty of bars, nightclubs, and live music venues to choose from.


  • Crowded in peak season – During the summer months, Nice can get very crowded with tourists, making it difficult to find a quiet spot on the beach or in the Old Town.
  • Limited public transportation – While Nice does have a tram system, it can be limited in terms of coverage and frequency.
  • Hilly terrain – Nice is a hilly city, which can make it challenging for those with mobility issues.
  • Lack of parking – Finding parking in Nice can be challenging, particularly in the Old Town and other popular areas.

Best for: Nice is best for travellers looking for a beautiful beach destination with a mix of cultural attractions, nightlife, and affordable accommodation.



  • Rich history and architecture – Nantes has a wealth of historical and architectural attractions, including the Château des Ducs de Bretagne and the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul.
  • Artistic culture – Nantes is home to a number of art galleries and creative spaces, including the Lieu Unique and the Jardin des Fonderies.
  • Proximity to natural attractions – Nantes is located near the coast and has access to several beautiful beaches and natural attractions.
  • Great public transportation – Nantes has an extensive and reliable public transportation system, including trams, buses, and a bike-sharing program.
  • Affordable – Compared to Nice, Nantes offers more affordable accommodation and dining options. It’s a great choice for budget-conscious travellers who want to explore northern France and nearby European cities.
  • Festivals and events – Nantes hosts a variety of festivals and events throughout the year, including the Nantes Wine Festival and the Nantes Jazz Festival.
  • Sustainable – Nantes has been recognized as one of the most sustainable cities in Europe, with a focus on green spaces, eco-friendly transportation, and sustainable urban planning.


  • Less sunshine – Nantes has a cooler and cloudier climate compared to Nice, which may not be ideal for travellers seeking warm weather.
  • Limited nightlife – While Nantes has plenty of bars and restaurants, it may not offer the same nightlife scene as destinations like Nice.
  • Limited beach access – While Nantes is located near the coast, it does have a beach next to the city as Nice does.

Best for: Nantes is best for travellers looking for a culturally rich and sustainable destination with affordable options for accommodation and dining, as well as access to natural attractions along the coast. It’s a great choice for those who want to explore northern France

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!

View over the old town Nice

How long to stay in Nantes

As it’s not a particularly big city, you could easily see most of the attractions in two days. But for a more relaxing stay, we recommend staying for three days. Especially if you fancy visiting some local vineyards.

How much is food and drink in Nice and Nantes?

Here are some estimated average prices for food and drink in Nice and Nantes:

Item Nice Nantes
Beer (0.5-liter draught) €5-7 €4-6
Glass of wine €4-6 €4-6
Cup of coffee €2-4 €2-4
Meal (mid-range restaurant) €30-50 €25-40

How much is it to stay in Nice or Nantes?

The cost of accommodation in Nice and Nantes can vary depending on the location and the type of accommodation you choose. Here are some estimated average prices for accommodation:

Accommodation Type Nice (€/night) Nantes (€/night)
Luxury Hotel 200 – 400 150 – 300
Mid-range Hotel 100 – 200 80 – 150
Budget Hotel 60 – 100 40 – 80
Hostel Bed 25 – 45 20 – 35

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!

When is the best time to visit Nantes?

When planning any trip, timing is always important. But, we’re sure whenever you visit you’ll have a good time.

Weather: Nantes has a mild oceanic climate, which means it’s generally quite temperate year-round. But let’s be honest, the weather can be a bit unpredictable. You might be basking in the sun one minute, and then running for cover from the rain the next. But hey, that’s all part of the fun, right?

Festivals: Nantes is renowned for its cultural scene, and there are several festivals throughout the year that make it a good time to visit. Le Voyage à Nantes is very popular with over 500,000 people flocking to the city to be there. The festival features live music performances, food and art installations. It’s held from July to September and definitely worth a look!

Crowds: Summer is great for catching one of Nantes’ many outdoor events or festivals. But, it can get very busy. If navigating bustling streets isn’t for you, try visiting between September and November.

Average Monthly Temperatures

Here’s a table with average monthly temperatures in both Celsius and Fahrenheit (in brackets) and average rainfall for Nice and Nantes, based on historical data:

Month Nice (°C / °F) Nantes (°C / °F) Nice Rainfall (mm) Nantes Rainfall (mm)
January 9 (48) 6 (43) 69 85
February 9 (48) 6 (43) 44 64
March 11 (52) 9 (48) 39 58
April 13 (55) 11 (52) 69 53
May 16 (61) 14 (57) 47 58
June 20 (68) 17 (63) 37 47
July 23 (73) 20 (68) 12 44
August 23 (73) 20 (68) 44 49
September 20 (68) 18 (64) 73 59
October 16 (61) 13 (55) 132 90
November 12 (54) 9 (48) 106 76
December 10 (50) 6 (43) 92 80

Getting around

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.

Getting Around Nantes:

Nante has a good public transport system that covers most of the city’s major sights and attractions. But, due to the size of the city, you’d be better off walking most of the time. You’ll be able to experience the city properly and see all the interesting little things you miss when you’re on a bus or a tram.

If you do plan on making the most of public transport, the trams and buses are clean and reliable. Getting a Nantes City Pass is a good way to save money and hassle. Renting a bike is a nice way to see the city at a quicker pace. A ride down the river is a nice way to spend an afternoon too.

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 colourful 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, its 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.

Place Massena Nice

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.

Top things to do in Nantes

Visit the Château des Ducs de Bretagne: Once home to the Dukes of Brittany, this beautiful castle is now a museum. Its rounded walls and moat are particularly impressive. You can walk around the walls for free. But, if you want to go inside the museum you have to pay.

Explore the Île de Nantes: The island of Nantes is a former industrial area that has been transformed into a cool and trendy district. There are some very impressive art installations to see like ‘The Rings’ by Daniel Buren.

Take a Vineyard tour: Nantes is located in the Loire Valley, one of the most famous wine regions in the world. So it would be rude not to tour some of the local vineyards! Well, that’s our excuse.

Walk through the Passage Pommeraye: This three-tiered shopping arcade is stunning and a must-see when visiting Nantes. Its beautiful architecture and elegant shops are great for wandering around.

Visit the Musée d’Arts de Nantes: One of the largest museums of its type in the region, it has an extensive collection of over 12,000 works of art. Including works by famous artists like Monet, Picasso and Kandinsky.

Take a boat tour on the Erdre River: Known as the most beautiful river in France, is there a better way to see it other than being on it? Some of the countryside and chalets along the river are stunning.

Walk along the Quai de la Fosse: This promenade along the river is perfect for an afternoon stroll. You can enjoy the views and look at all the boats.

Visit the Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle: Filled with skeletons of animals. You’ll marvel at the impressive collection of specimens on show here. There’s even a whale skeleton that’s over 18 meters in length.

Go to Les Machines de l’île: The Machine de l’île is an experience you won’t forget! A park featuring giant mechanical creatures, it’s not something you see every day. Great for kids and adults alike!

Go to Les Machines de l'île

Explore the Musée de l’Imprimerie: Take a tour of this impressive museum and learn all about Nantes’ long history with printing. You’ll never appreciate how much work used to go into printing until you’ve visited here!

How to spend three days in Nice

Day 1:

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 many 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.

Day 2:

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 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 centre of Nice, have a nosy at the Ancien Hôtel Régina. This is a very famous hotel from the 19th century and was built to meet the requirements of Queen Victoria who loved to visit the Côte d’Azur.

Cimiez Monastery Nice

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!

Day 3:

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 its 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 centre, 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.

How to spend three days in Nantes

Day 1:

Morning: Grab a coffee then head to Château des ducs de Bretagne. This 15th-century fortress is very impressive. Walk around the walls for nice views of the city, or visit the museum if you want to learn more about its history.

Château des ducs de Bretagne

Afternoon: After a morning of history, why not visit the Musée d’arts de Nantes and see some artwork from renowned artists? Even the building itself is very beautiful so it’s definitely worth visiting.

Evening: Head to Bouffay, a great neighbourhood full of bars and restaurants. Grab some traditional French food and local wine and relax for the evening.

Day 2:

Morning: Head to Les Machines de l’île nice and early to avoid the crowds. This crazy art project combines sci-fi with real-world engineering. Make sure to reserve a ticket in the high season.

Afternoon: After a morning of watching a robotic elephant walk around, head to the Jardin des Plantes and have a relaxing afternoon. There are so many interesting plants and trees to see and even a herbal garden.

Evening: Go for a walk down the Loire River. It runs through the heart of Nantes and there are plenty of bars and restaurants on its banks. Is there a better way to spend an evening than watching the sunset whilst eating amazing food and drinking good wine?

Day 3:

Morning: Head out of the city and visit a local vineyard. There are plenty of local wine tours that will take you. It’s a great way to see how the wine is made and sample some of the local produce.

Afternoon: After lunch, visit the Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle. This natural history museum will keep adults and kids entertained for a while! Theres plenty of exhibits featuring a wide array of animals. There’s even a vivarium with live snakes!

Evening: Wander around the Graslin district, this beautiful part of Nantes is full of chic shops, amazing restaurants and cool bars. Make sure you try some seafood dishes and indulge in some local wines and beers.

Nice and Nantes Ratings


Category Nice Rating Nantes Rating
Attractions 8 8
Accommodation 7 7
Food and drink 9 9
Safety 9 8
Transportation 7 8
Shopping 8 7
Culture & history 9 9
Nightlife 8 7
Total score 65 63


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