Deciding between Bordeaux or Nice for your next French holiday can be a difficult choice. Both cities offer rich cultural experiences, fine cuisine, and stunning landscapes, but each comes with its own distinct charm.
Whether you are more drawn to the elegance of Bordeaux, or the stunning seaside city of Nice, this blog post will go over everything you need to know to make the decision a little easier.
Bordeaux, often referred to as the “Wine Capital of the World,” is a port city on the Garonne River in southwestern France. It’s known for its Gothic Cathédrale Saint-André, 18th- to 19th-century mansions, and public gardens lining the river’s curving banks. The city’s historic centre, with 347 listed monuments, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007. Bordeaux had a population of approximately 250,000 people, making it the sixth-largest city in France. The city is the hub of the famed wine-growing region and is home to the world’s main wine fair, Vinexpo. With its pedestrian-friendly layout and vibrant food scene, Bordeaux offers an immersive cultural experience that caters to a wide range of travellers.
Nice, the jewel of the French Riviera! If you’re the kind of person who loves to bask in the sun while enjoying breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea, then Nice is your dream come true. It’s a vibrant, colourful city where the beach meets the streets, and there’s always something to see or do. Plus, the Old Town is just amazing – it’s like stepping back in time. And let’s not forget the food, which is a heavenly mix of French and Italian flavours.
While we’re comparing Bordeaux and Nice in this post, we’ve also looked at how Bordeaux stacks up against other cities like Marseille and Cannes. We’ve linked to those articles below if you want to take a look!
Pros and Cons of Bordeaux and Nice
- 🍷 Wine Haven: Bordeaux is world-famous for its superb wines. You’ll get the chance to tour vineyards and sample some of the finest vintages right from the source.
- 🏛 Architectural Beauty: As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bordeaux is steeped in history with many architectural wonders to explore.
- 🥐 Foodie Paradise: The food scene here is simply delightful. The city brims with bustling markets and enticing restaurants showcasing the best of the local cuisine.
- ⛴ Riverside Charm: The scenic Garonne riverfront is perfect for leisurely walks or bike rides.
- 💶 A Bit Pricey: Bordeaux can be more expensive to visit than other French cities, particularly during peak tourist season.
- 👫 Can Get Crowded: The city can become quite packed, especially during the summer and wine harvesting season.
- ☀️ Sun, Sea, and Sand: Nice is a dream for beach lovers, offering beautiful beaches and the stunning blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
- ⛪️ Historical Delight: The Old Town of Nice is a trip back in time with its narrow, winding streets and colourful buildings.
Gastronomic Fusion: The food in Nice, a mix of French and Italian influences, will thrill any foodie.
- 🎨 Artistic Flair: Nice has a vibrant art scene with many museums and galleries to explore.
- 🌊 Proximity to Other Riviera Towns: Nice is a great base for exploring other towns on the French Riviera, like Cannes and Monaco.
- 💶 Not for Budget Travelers: Nice, being a popular tourist destination, can be more expensive to visit, especially during peak tourist season.
- 👫 Tourist Rush: Just like Bordeaux, Nice can get quite crowded during the summer months.
Which City Has Better Food? Bordeaux or Nice?
Bordeaux tucked away in southwest France, is truly a haven for foodies and wine lovers. The city treats its guests with sumptuous offerings like freshly sourced oysters from Arcachon Bay and a distinct steak dish prepared with wine and shallots, known as ‘Entrecôte à la Bordelaise’. If you have a penchant for sweet delights, do try ‘canelés’, a local favourite that boasts a tender heart encased in a caramelized crust.
On the flip side, Nice is located on the southeastern coast of France and is a seafood enthusiast’s dream. This vibrant city offers dishes bursting with the flavours of mussels, oysters, and a special creamy, curry mussel dish that locals call ‘Mouclade Nantaise’. For dessert, try ‘Tarte Tropézienne’, a scrumptious cream-filled brioche that’s popular in the region.
So, it’s quite simple really. If you’re a sucker for gourmet cuisine and world-class wines, you might lean towards Bordeaux. However, if your taste buds tingle for fresh seafood and exotic farm produce, Nice should top your list. Either way, don’t miss the chance to sample the local flavours in both cities. Your palate will thank you for it!
Which City is Better For Couples? Bordeaux or Nice?
Picture you and your better half, wine glasses in hand, nestled within the comforting depths of Bordeaux, arguably the wine capital of the world. Imagine embarking on intimate wine tastings, exploring prestigious vineyards, and falling in love with every sip you take.
And when you’re not toasting to love and life, you’re indulging in scenic sunset walks along the Garonne river, mesmerized by the breathtaking architecture Bordeaux is renowned for. But let’s not forget the city’s dining scene – sophisticated and romantic, it offers the perfect backdrop for those heartfelt conversations over a meal you’ll remember for a lifetime.
If you prefer your romance with a side of city charm and coastal beauty, Nice awaits you with open arms. The city’s old district, a picturesque maze of winding streets and secretive courtyards, makes for romantic strolls that seem straight out of a movie scene. It’s not all urban charm though, with the serene beaches offering perfect moments of peace and togetherness.
The food here is an exciting adventure, with a blend of traditional French and fresh seafood delighting your palate. And for those couples who bond over shared love for nature, a visit to the nearby marshes, ‘Marais de Grande Brière’, could make for unforgettable memories.
In essence, it’s all about what tickles your fancy. Bordeaux tempts with its wines, aesthetic architecture, and intimate dining experiences. Nice, on the other hand, weaves a romantic tale with its coastal charm, diverse cuisine, and nature escapades. Your romantic getaway is just waiting for you to make the choice!
Which City is Better For Families? Bordeaux or Nice?
Both Bordeaux and Nice have plenty of family-friendly activities to offer, making them excellent choices for a family trip. In Bordeaux, you and the kids can enjoy the Miroir d’eau, the world’s largest reflecting pool that’s a huge hit during the summer months. The city’s public gardens are perfect for a picnic, while the interactive exhibits at Cap Sciences are great for budding scientists!
Over in Nice, the stunning beaches will be a hit with the kids. Nice also has a variety of parks like the Parc Phoenix which houses a zoo and a playground, ideal for a fun family day out. The city’s trams make getting around a breeze, while the diverse array of food options can cater to even the pickiest of eaters. So, whether it’s the wine-country charm of Bordeaux or the sun-soaked allure of Nice, both cities are well-equipped to keep the whole family entertained!
Which City is Better For Partying? Bordeaux or Nice?
Bordeaux, known as the wine capital of the world, naturally has a buzzing nightlife scene to match. The best way to experience Bordeaux’s nightlife is to go bar hopping through the old town, there are so many amazing wine bars to visit. We loved getting lost in the old winding streets popping into every wine bar we fancied. If wine bars aren’t your thing there are plenty of clubs and other types of bars dotted around the city.
On the other hand, Nice, with its Mediterranean charm, offers a nightlife experience with a glamorous edge. There are loads of places you can relax and get a few drinks overlooking the Mediterranean. The Old Town, or “Vieux Nice”, is another hotspot, filled with pubs and live music venues catering to most tastes. So, which would you prefer? A night of wine tasting in Bordeaux or dancing by the sea in Nice?
Which City is Safer? Bordeaux or Nice?
Both Bordeaux and Nice are considered safe cities, with both cities being popular tourist destinations it’s in their interest to make sure visitors are safe. But, no cities are without its problems, petty crime is always an issue in touristy cities so make sure you keep and eye on your belongings and don’t go wandering around alone at night.
How long to stay in Bordeaux
Figuring out the ideal duration for your stay in Bordeaux can be tricky. As someone who’s been there, I can tell you that the city has enough to keep you occupied for days. However, the optimal length of your stay depends largely on what you want to do and see.
If you’re in Bordeaux primarily for the wine, you’ll want at least a few days. This will allow you to visit several châteaux, take part in wine tastings, and possibly engage in a wine-making workshop. Remember, the Bordeaux wine region is vast, and it’s worth taking the time to explore it thoroughly.
For those interested in the city’s rich history and culture, a two to three-day stay might be sufficient. This should give you enough time to visit major attractions like the Gothic Cathédrale Saint-André, the Musée d’Aquitaine, and the contemporary art installations at CAPC, not to mention leisurely strolls along the Garonne River and through the charming city streets.
However, if you’re like me and enjoy immersing yourself in the local culture, you might want to stay longer. A week in Bordeaux would give you ample time to visit the city’s attractions, dine in its best restaurants, explore the surrounding vineyards, and simply soak up the atmosphere.
How long to stay in Nice
Deciding on the ideal duration for a trip to Nice can be a bit of a puzzle, given the city’s stunning beaches, rich history, and flourishing art scene. Ultimately, the length of your stay will hinge on your personal preferences and how leisurely you plan to explore.
If you’re all about soaking up the sunshine, meandering through the charming Old Town, and indulging in the Riviera’s culinary delights, a stay of 2 to 3 days should suffice. This provides enough time to bask on the beautiful beaches, get lost in the winding alleyways of Vieux Nice, and savour mouth-watering local dishes like ‘Socca’ or ‘Salade Niçoise’.
However, if you’re intent on immersing yourself in Nice’s rich cultural tapestry and history, think about extending your visit to 4 to 5 days. This way, you can explore the exquisite art at the Musée Matisse and Musée Marc Chagall, soak in the views from the Colline du Château, and visit the iconic Cours Saleya market, all without feeling rushed.
For those desiring a deeper dive into the Côte d’Azur lifestyle, spending a week in Nice can be a fantastic choice. This period will not only provide time to thoroughly explore the city’s attractions but also offer opportunities for leisurely strolls along the Promenade des Anglais, indulging in the café culture, and embarking on day trips to nearby gems like the glamorous Cannes or the independent microstate of Monaco. A week in Nice allows you to truly immerse yourself in the relaxed yet vibrant Riviera lifestyle.
Which City is More Budget Friendly? Bordeaux or Nice?
Interestingly, even with its fine wines and sophisticated aura, Bordeaux tends to be more budget-friendly than Nice. You can enjoy good food, comfortable accommodation, and the city’s many attractions without breaking the bank, particularly if you make savvy choices, like eating where the locals do, shopping in traditional markets, and exploring the less touristy areas.
On the other hand, Nice, nestled in the heart of the French Riviera, is a city that exudes glamour and sunshine. As you’d expect, this comes with a higher cost. It’s not just the exquisite Mediterranean cuisine or the stunning beaches that are alluring, but keep in mind that accommodation and general living expenses can be pricey here, especially during the peak tourist season.
Both cities offer a range of experiences for varying budgets but your money is likely to stretch further in Bordeaux than in Nice. Therefore, if your budget is a crucial factor for your trip, Bordeaux might be the more appealing choice
How much is food and drink in Bordeaux and Nice?
|Bordeaux Price Range (€)
|Nice Price Range (€)
|€5 – €7
|€5 – €7
|Glass of wine
|€3 – €10
|€3 – €10
|€1.50 – €3
|€1.50 – €3
|€15 – €30
|€20 – €40
How much is it to stay in Bordeaux or Nice?
|Bordeaux Price Range (€ per night)
|Nice Price Range (€ per night)
|€200 – €500 or higher
|€150 – €500 or higher
|€80 – €150
|€70 – €150
|€40 – €70
|€40 – €70
|€20 – €40
|€20 – €40
When is the best time to visit Bordeaux?
Choosing the perfect time to visit Bordeaux can be as important as deciding what to see and do. The city has a temperate oceanic climate, which means it can be visited at any time of the year, but some seasons offer unique experiences.
Spring (March to May) in Bordeaux is a beautiful time, with moderate temperatures and the vineyards coming alive with new growth. This is a great time to visit if you’re interested in wine, as many châteaux begin to offer tours and tastings for the new season.
Summers (June to August) in Bordeaux are warm and sunny, perfect for exploring the city’s historical sites or enjoying a cruise on the Garonne River. This is also the time for numerous festivals such as the Bordeaux Wine Festival and the River Festival, offering an extra layer of entertainment for visitors.
Autumn (September to November) is grape harvest time, a significant event in any wine region. This season allows visitors to experience the winemaking process firsthand. The weather during this period remains pleasant, and the changing colours of the vine leaves add an extra charm to the city’s surroundings.
Winter (December to February) in Bordeaux is relatively mild, with fewer tourists around. While not the peak season for outdoor activities, it’s the perfect time to explore the city’s museums, enjoy its culinary delights, and perhaps get a chance to attend the Bordeaux Christmas Market.
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.
When is the best time to visit Nice?
Spring: From April to June, Nice enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate with temperatures ranging from 15-20°C (59-68°F). The city sparkles with the vibrant colours of blooming flowers, making it an ideal time to visit parks like the Colline du Château. Outdoor events and festivals also start popping up, creating an energetic atmosphere.
Summer: July to August in Nice is truly summertime. The temperatures can go up to 30°C (86°F), offering perfect weather for beach activities and enjoying the stunning coastline. However, be prepared for the crowd as these are the peak tourist months, and prices for accommodation and other services may also be higher.
Autumn: In the months of September and October, the temperature stays around 20-25°C (68-77°F). The city is less crowded during this period, and the changing colours of foliage give the city a beautiful look, ideal for walks and bike rides along the Promenade des Anglais.
Winter: From November to March, temperatures in Nice can drop to around 10-15°C (50-59°F). While it’s not the ideal time for beach activities, it’s a good opportunity to explore Nice’s museums, like the Matisse Museum, and enjoy indoor events without the tourist rush.
Average Monthly Temperatures
|Bordeaux High / Low (°C)
|Nice High / Low (°C)
|10° / 3°
|13° / 5°
|12° / 3°
|13° / 6°
|15° / 5°
|15° / 8°
|17° / 7°
|17° / 10°
|21° / 11°
|21° / 14°
|24° / 14°
|24° / 17°
|27° / 15°
|27° / 20°
|27° / 15°
|28° / 20°
|24° / 13°
|25° / 17°
|19° / 10°
|21° / 13°
|14° / 6°
|17° / 9°
|11° / 3°
|14° / 6°
Please note that the data includes the average high and low temperatures in Celsius (°C) and the number of rainfall days per month for Bordeaux and Cannes.
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 pedestrianised.
Getting around Nice:
Nice has a well-connected public transportation system, with trams and buses covering the city comprehensively. Tickets are interchangeable between buses and trams, making transfers easy. For those preferring a more active exploration, the city offers a bike-sharing scheme, Vélo Bleu, and plenty of bike lanes.
Walking is another great way to explore, especially in the Old Town and along the Promenade des Anglais. Taxis and Uber are also available, but keep an eye on fares during peak tourist seasons.
Top things to do in Bordeaux
- Place de la Bourse: One of the city’s most iconic sights, Place de la Bourse is a must-see. Be sure to check out the ‘Miroir d’Eau’, the world’s largest reflecting pool, located directly across from the square.
- La Cité du Vin: A modern museum dedicated to the world of wine, La Cité du Vin is a unique experience. Learn about the wine production process and enjoy tastings with an amazing view of the city.
- Saint-André Cathedral: This impressive Gothic cathedral offers a stunning view over Bordeaux from its bell tower, Tour Pey-Berland.
- Rue Sainte-Catherine: As one of the longest pedestrian streets in Europe, Rue Sainte-Catherine is perfect for shopping enthusiasts. It’s lined with a variety of shops and restaurants, offering a real taste of Bordeaux’s vibrant culture.
- Bordeaux Riverfront: Take a stroll along the picturesque Garonne River, which offers lovely views of Bordeaux’s historic facades. Consider a river cruise to truly appreciate the city’s beauty.
Top things to do in Nice
- Promenade des Anglais: Stroll along this famous seafront walkway, taking in the stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea and Nice’s elegant architecture. Don’t miss the iconic Hotel Negresco, an architectural marvel.
- Vieux Nice (Old Town): Lose yourself in the narrow, winding streets of Nice’s old town, filled with vibrant markets, charming shops, and delightful eateries. Check out the Cours Saleya Market for fresh produce and local specialities.
- Colline du Château (Castle Hill): While the castle itself no longer stands, this hill offers panoramic views of Nice and the surrounding coastline. It’s also home to a beautiful park, ideal for a picnic.
- Matisse Museum: Art enthusiasts must visit this museum, housing an extensive collection of works by the French painter Henri Matisse, who lived and worked in Nice for many years.
- Nice Cathedral: A stunning example of Baroque architecture, the Nice Cathedral is located in the heart of the Old Town and features a richly decorated interior.
How to spend three days in Bordeaux
Day 1: Discover the City Centre
Start your Bordeaux adventure in the city centre. Begin at the Place de la Bourse and marvel at its grandeur. Don’t forget to take a memorable picture at the Miroir d’Eau. Continue to Rue Sainte-Catherine for a spot of shopping and lunch. In the afternoon, explore the Gothic Saint-André Cathedral and climb the Tour Pey-Berland for panoramic city views. End your day with a delicious dinner at a restaurant in the historic Saint-Pierre district.
Day 2: Dive into Wine and Culture
Begin your second day at La Cité du Vin. Immerse yourself in the world of wine and enjoy a tasting with a view. After lunch, head to the Musée d’Aquitaine to learn about Bordeaux’s history from prehistoric times to the present. Spend the rest of the afternoon at the CAPC, Bordeaux’s Museum of Contemporary Art. Finish the day with a relaxing dinner at the Chartrons district, known for its wine trading history and trendy eateries.
Day 3: Explore the Outskirts
On your last day, consider exploring beyond the city. Take a half-day tour to the Saint-Émilion wine region, where you can visit vineyards, enjoy tastings, and discover the charming namesake village. Back in Bordeaux, spend the rest of your afternoon strolling along the Garonne River, or explore the Public Garden for a leisurely end to your trip.
How to spend three days in Nice
Day 1: Discovering the Charms of Nice
Start your day with a stroll along the famous Promenade des Anglais, enjoying the stunning views of the Mediterranean. Follow this with a visit to the iconic Hotel Negresco, an architectural gem with a fascinating history.
Head to the Old Town, Vieux Nice, for lunch. Lose yourself in the narrow, winding streets filled with vibrant markets and charming shops. Don’t miss the Cours Saleya Market for some local produce.
In the afternoon, visit the stunning Nice Cathedral with its richly decorated Baroque interior. Then, make your way up to Colline du Château, or Castle Hill. Even though the castle is no longer there, the hill offers breathtaking panoramic views of Nice and the coastline.
Day 2: Artistic Endeavors and a Monaco Adventure
Kick off your second day with a visit to the Matisse Museum, showcasing a vast collection of works by the famous artist Henri Matisse who lived in Nice.
In the afternoon, take a short train ride for a day trip to glamorous Monaco. Explore the Royal Prince’s Palace, the luxurious casinos, and the yacht-filled harbour. Back in Nice, enjoy dinner at a chic restaurant on the beach.
Day 3: Riviera Relaxation
Your last day in Nice is all about leisure. Spend the day on one of Nice’s beautiful pebble beaches, soaking up the sun and swimming in the clear blue waters of the Mediterranean. For lunch, try a beachside café for some fresh seafood.
In the evening, enjoy some shopping in the city’s chic boutiques and souvenir shops. End your Nice adventure with a delicious farewell dinner in one of the city’s gourmet restaurants, reminiscing about the highlights of your visit.
Gareth is an avid city adventurer with a particular passion for finding amazing food! There’s quite literally nothing he doesn’t like. He spends most of his travelling time trying to find great restaurants and cafes to eat at. Alongside trying local street food which he loves! He’s done most of his travelling in Europe so far but would love to visit Japan and Mexico
When not travelling you can find Gareth boxing, running, or in the gym. He’s got a passion for exercise and loves physical challenges.
You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org