Nice or Nantes – Which City Will You Visit?

Nice or Nantes

Nice or Nantes – Which city should you visit?

It’s always a tough choice when you’re deciding between two of France’s most charismatic cities: Nice or Nantes. The sunny, glamorous Nice, nestled on the sparkling French Riviera, or the artsy and historic Nantes, with its quirky charm and buzzing cultural scene. Whether you’re after beachside relaxation, gourmet delights, art immersion, or historical exploration, both cities promise to satisfy you. But let’s dive in deeper to see which city – Nice or Nantes – captures your imagination and fits the bill for your ideal French escape!


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.


Nantes, often touted as the most liveable city in Europe, is a delightful fusion of history and innovation, seamlessly intertwining its rich heritage with a progressive mindset. This Atlantic Coast city, once the capital of Brittany, has a vibrant culture marked by the stunning Château des ducs de Bretagne, the whimsical Machines de l’Île, and the lush Jardin des Plantes. Its dynamic art scene is alive not just in the many museums, but also on the streets with an array of public art. Nantes is also a city of festivals, with music, film, and art celebrations occurring throughout the year. Add to this a blossoming food scene with a fondness for local produce and seafood, and it’s clear why Nantes is a hidden gem just waiting to be discovered.

While we’re comparing Nice and Nantes in this post, we’ve also looked at how Nice stacks up against other cities like Lille and Toulouse. We’ve linked to those articles below if you want to take a look!

Nice or Lille

Nice or Toulouse

Pros and Cons of Nice and Nantes

Nice pros:

  • 🌊 Breathtaking Scenery: Nestled on the French Riviera, Nice boasts stunning beaches, azure waters, and a beautiful old town with colourful buildings.
  • ☀️ Fabulous Weather: The city is known for its year-round mild Mediterranean climate.
  • 🥗 Gourmet Delights: Being in the heart of Provence, Nice offers an abundance of fresh, local, and delectable food options.
  • 🎨 Art & Culture: Home to numerous art museums like the Musée Matisse and Musée Marc Chagall.
  • 🇲🇨 Close to Other Riviera Towns: Easy access to other famous spots like Cannes, Monaco, and Saint-Tropez.

Nice cons:

  • 👫 Tourist Crowds: Being a popular destination, it can get crowded, especially in summer.
  • 💶 Cost of Living: Nice, especially the areas close to the seafront, can be quite expensive.

Nantes pros:

  • 🏛 Rich History: Nantes’ history is fascinating, reflected in its old town and the magnificent Château des Ducs de Bretagne.
  • 🎨 Vibrant Arts Scene: The city is well-known for its innovative art installations, such as the Machines de l’Île.
  • 🌳 Green City: Nantes is considered one of the greenest cities in Europe with numerous parks and green spaces.
  • 🍤 Culinary Delights: Known for its local produce, especially seafood, and its unique Muscadet wine.
  • 🎉 Young and Lively: Home to a large student population, which adds to the city’s vibrancy.

Nantes cons:

  • 🌧 Weather: It can be quite rainy, and winters can be cold.
  • 🏖 Not a Beach City: Unlike Nice, Nantes doesn’t offer beach relaxation.
  • ✈️ Lesser Known: Not as globally renowned as Nice, which may affect the availability of direct international flights.

Which City Has Better Food? Nice or Nantes?

When we talk about good food, Nice and Nantes are both top-notch cities. However, they offer different culinary experiences, both equally mouthwatering. The coastal city of Nice boasts of Provençal cuisine. You’ll find delightful Mediterranean flavours at every turn, with specialities like Salade Niçoise, Ratatouille and the famous Pissaladière. The city’s seafood is a must-try. Freshly caught, it’s served in many of the city’s fine eateries and the local markets are brimming with the day’s fresh catch.

Nantes, on the other hand, offers a taste of the Atlantic. From Muscadet wine to local cheese and Vendée ham, there’s a plethora of local produce to satisfy your palate. A foodie exploring Nantes must absolutely not miss out on their crêpes and galettes, which are a true delight! With so many local markets offering fresh produce, you could easily grab ingredients for a picnic and head out to the city’s beautiful parks.

So, to pick a city purely on the basis of food might be a tough call. If you’re a fan of Mediterranean flavours, Nice should be your pick. But, if you lean towards hearty Atlantic fare, Nantes will be your culinary paradise. It’s really a delicious dilemma, don’t you think? I can’t wait to hear which city’s cuisine you end up falling in love with!

Which City is Better For Couples? Nice or Nantes?

Nice, the sparkling gem of the French Riviera, paints a perfect picture for lovers. The allure of the azure Mediterranean Sea, the warmth of the sun-soaked beaches, and the charming old town – Vieille Ville, offers an irresistible backdrop for love to blossom. Romantic walks along the Promenade des Anglais, candlelit dinners with stunning sea views, and exploring the colourful Cours Saleya flower market hand in hand, Nice truly offers that quintessential romantic experience.

On the other side, there’s Nantes. It’s a city where history meets quirky creativity, resulting in a vibrant and exciting backdrop for couples. You can stroll hand in hand through the historic Île Feydeau, get lost in the surreal world of Les Machines de l’île, or simply enjoy a sunset by the Loire River. Nantes exudes a youthful, dynamic energy that’s perfect for couples who love exploring urban culture and arts together.

So, which city wins in terms of romance? If you’re looking for a classic romantic getaway with a laid-back, Mediterranean vibe, Nice is your city. If you and your significant other prefer a vibrant city teeming with art, history, and dynamic energy, Nantes will not disappoint. Every relationship has its rhythm, so it’s really about which city resonates with yours. Whichever city you choose, I’m sure it will add beautiful pages to your love story!

Which City is Better For Families? Nice or Nantes?

Nice, with its blend of beach relaxation and city excitement, promises a fun-filled family holiday. The numerous beaches, both public and private, offer plenty of opportunities for paddleboarding or simply splashing about in the Mediterranean Sea.

The city is home to several parks and green spaces, such as Parc Phoenix, a 7-hectare botanical garden and zoo that children absolutely love. Don’t forget the fun cultural exploration in the old town, where the whole family can learn about the city’s history and try the delicious local cuisine!

Nantes might not have the beaches and outdoor activities that Nice does. But, it still has plenty to offer. Kids will be absolutely enthralled by Les Machines de l’île, where giant mechanical creatures come to life.

The Castle of the Dukes of Brittany, with its well-designed historical exhibitions and plenty of outdoor space to run around, makes learning fun for children. Furthermore, Nantes’ green line, a 12-kilometre trail guiding you to the city’s main attractions, provides a great outdoor adventure for the family.

So, which city is better for families? If your family loves the combination of city exploration and beach fun, Nice is a clear winner. But, if you prefer a city packed with historical charm, innovative cultural attractions and educational experiences, Nantes might be the right choice for your family. Both cities are wonderfully family-friendly, each offering different experiences that will keep the kids smiling!

Which City is Better For Partying? Nice or Nantes?

Nice, with its glamorous reputation, has nightlife to match. Being nestled on the French Riviera, you can expect lavish beach clubs and upscale bars where you might even rub shoulders with the rich and famous.

If you’re looking for a sophisticated cocktail with an ocean view or a night dancing to top DJs under the stars, Nice has got it. Plus, it’s just a stone’s throw away from Monaco, another hotspot known for its luxury nightlife.

Nantes on the other hand, offers a bit of a different party scene. Being a university city, there are plenty of bars and clubs to keep everyone entertained. Whilst you won’t find any beach bars or clubs, there are plenty of live music venues, laid-back wine bars and nightclubs to keep you entertained.

So, which city is better for partying? If your ideal night out involves glam, glitz, and the Mediterranean seaside, Nice is your city. But, if you love a buzzing, diverse nightlife that keeps you guessing, Nantes will be your kind of party town.

Which City is Safer? Nice or Nantes?

Nice, being a prominent tourist spot, certainly takes safety very seriously. While it’s generally a secure place to visit, there are some neighbourhoods that are better avoided, especially after dark.

Keep your eyes open for pickpockets, especially in crowded tourist hotspots. But don’t worry, this shouldn’t overshadow the fact that Nice is pretty much a safe haven. Just remember, being aware and using common sense goes a long way in ensuring a worry-free holiday.

Nances is known for being a safe city, but as with any city, it still suffers from some crime. However, as with anywhere, it’s always wise to be vigilant, respect local laws and customs, and avoid any areas that appear sketchy or unsafe.

How long to stay in Nice

Deciding on the perfect duration for a trip to Nice can be a bit difficult, 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.

How long to stay in Nantes

Deciding how long to stay in Nantes can be a tough call, given the city’s rich history, captivating art scene, and vibrant culture. The duration of your stay primarily depends on your personal interests and how leisurely you wish to explore.

If your goal is to soak up the city’s lively vibe, stroll through the historic city centre, and sample some local gastronomy, a stay of 2 to 3 days should be enough. This gives you sufficient time to wander through the cobbled streets of the Bouffay district, take a relaxing walk along the Erdre River, and indulge in regional cuisine at a traditional French restaurant.

However, if you wish to delve deeper into Nantes’ cultural heritage and history, consider extending your visit to 4 to 5 days. This will allow ample time to discover historical sites like the Château des ducs de Bretagne, appreciate modern art installations of the Voyage à Nantes, and visit the Machines of the Isle of Nantes without feeling pressed for time.

For those seeking a more immersive experience, spending a week in Nantes can be an excellent choice. This period will not only provide time to thoroughly explore the city’s attractions but also leave room for relaxing moments in the beautiful Jardin des Plantes, embarking on day trips to nearby gems like the charming vineyards of the Loire Valley, and truly immersing yourself in the vibrant lifestyle of Nantes.”

Which City is More Budget-Friendly? Nice or Nantes?

Making your travel pennies stretch is always a priority for most of us. On the surface, Nice, with its glitzy coastline and upscale vibe, can seem a bit daunting for a budget traveller. Sure, the accommodation can lean towards the pricier side and dining out may require a bit more splurging.

But, it’s not all shiny euro signs in Nice. There are plenty of wallet-friendly delights to discover – from picnicking on the Promenade des Anglais to ambling through the colourful lanes of the Old Town, your adventure in Nice doesn’t have to break the bank!

Flip over to Nantes and it’s like walking into a budget traveller’s dream. This city is less costly overall – we’re talking about accommodation, food, and attractions. You can fill your days with affordable or even free sights. Ever thought of exploring a historic château, or wandering through a fantastical world of mechanical creatures at the Machines of the Isle of Nantes?

So, if you’re pinching those pennies, Nantes might be your go-to spot. But remember, even a city like Nice can become a budget-friendly getaway with a bit of research and planning. In the end, it’s all about how you choose to explore!

How much is food and drink in Nice and Nantes?

Nice Nantes
Beer €5 to €8 €5 to €7
Glass of wine €4 to €10 €3 to €10
Coffee €2 to €4 €1.50 to €3
Meal at a midrange restaurant €20 to €40 per person €20 to €40 per person

How much is it to stay in Nice or Nantes?

Nice Nantes
Luxury hotel €150 to €500+ €150 to €400+
Midrange hotel €70 to €150 €70 to €150
Budget hotel €40 to €70 €40 to €70
Hostel €20 to €40 €20 to €40

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.

When is the best time to visit Nantes?

Spring: In Nantes, the months of April to June bring mild and comfortable weather, with temperatures ranging from 12-20°C (54-68°F). The city starts to burst into colour with blossoming flowers, making it a lovely time to explore parks like the Jardin des Plantes. Various outdoor events and festivals start taking place, adding a vibrant touch to your visit.

Summer: From July to August, temperatures can reach up to 25°C (77°F), offering perfect weather for enjoying the city’s outdoor attractions like the Île de Versailles. Do note, however, that these are the peak tourist months, so expect a bit more crowd and possibly higher prices.

Autumn: The months of September and October see temperatures around 15-20°C (59-68°F). The city is less crowded during this period, and the fall foliage in parks and along the riverbanks provides a beautiful backdrop for leisurely walks and bike rides.

Winter: From November to March, temperatures in Nantes can drop to around 5-10°C (41-50°F). While it’s not the ideal time for outdoor activities, it’s a good opportunity to explore Nantes’ museums, like the Château des Ducs de Bretagne, and enjoy indoor events and concerts.

Regardless of when you plan to visit, it’s always a good idea to check the weather forecast closer to your travel dates as conditions can sometimes change.

Average Monthly Temperatures

Month Nice (High / Low °C) Nice Rainy Days Nantes (High / Low °C) Nantes Rainy Days
January 12° / 8° 5 days 9° / 3° 12 days
February 12° / 7° 4 days 10° / 3° 10 days
March 14° / 9° 4 days 13° / 4° 9 days
April 16° / 11° 5 days 16° / 6° 8 days
May 20° / 14° 4 days 19° / 9° 9 days
June 24° / 18° 3 days 23° / 12° 7 days
July 27° / 21° 1 day 25° / 14° 6 days
August 27° / 21° 2 days 25° / 14° 6 days
September 24° / 19° 3 days 22° / 12° 7 days
October 20° / 15° 6 days 17° / 9° 10 days
November 16° / 11° 6 days 13° / 5° 11 days
December 13° / 9° 5 days 10° / 3° 12 days

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.

Getting around Nantes:

Nantes boasts an efficient and user-friendly public transportation system, which includes trams, buses, and a bike-sharing scheme called Bicloo. The tram network in Nantes is one of the most extensive in France, with three lines covering many key attractions in the city. Your tram ticket will also allow you to hop on and off buses within a set period, typically an hour, which makes getting around the city a breeze.

For those who prefer a more active mode of transport, the Bicloo bike-sharing scheme offers an excellent option. Nantes is known for being a bicycle-friendly city with numerous dedicated cycle lanes and routes, making it easy and safe to navigate.

Walking is another great way to explore Nantes, especially in the compact city centre where many of the key sites are located. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy the city’s beautiful architecture and vibrant street life up close.

Taxis and Ubers are readily available in Nantes. However, be aware that in the pedestrianized zones of the city centre, you may need to walk a short distance to catch a ride.

Top things to do in Nice

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Take a day trip to Monaco: Only a short train ride away, this glamorous city-state offers a slice of luxury with its casinos, yacht-filled harbour, and the Royal Prince’s Palace.

Top things to do in Nantes

  1. Château des Ducs de Bretagne: A must-visit landmark in Nantes, this impressive castle is home to the Nantes History Museum. With its beautiful architecture and fascinating exhibits, it offers an insightful look into the city’s past.
  2. Les Machines de l’île: This unique artistic project is one of the city’s major attractions. Here, you can see gigantic mechanical animals, including the famous Grand Elephant. It’s an unforgettable experience for both kids and adults.
  3. Passage Pommeraye: An architectural masterpiece, this three-level shopping arcade dating from the 19th century is a great place to shop or simply admire its artistic beauty.
  4. Jardin des Plantes: This stunning botanical garden is the perfect spot to enjoy a relaxing stroll. It’s home to a variety of exotic plants, beautiful greenhouses, and even a few art installations.
  5. The Island of Nantes: This creative district located on a former shipyard site is a hub of culture and innovation. It’s home to various creative projects and installations, making it a must-visit for any art and culture lover.

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.

How to spend three days in Nantes

Day 1: Exploring the Heart of Nantes

Begin your Nantes adventure in the city centre. Visit the Château des Ducs de Bretagne, home to the Nantes History Museum. Enjoy exploring the medieval fortress and its surrounding gardens. Afterwards, head to the Gothic-style Nantes Cathedral nearby. For lunch, find a local restaurant to sample some regional cuisine.

In the afternoon, enjoy a leisurely stroll along the scenic Loire River. Then, head to the Passage Pommeraye, an elegant shopping arcade from the 19th century. Round off your day with a delicious dinner at one of the city’s gourmet restaurants.

Day 2: Delving into Art and Innovation

Start your second day at Les Machines de l’île, a unique attraction inspired by the works of Jules Verne. Here, you can ride the gigantic Grand Elephant or the Marine Worlds Carousel. Post lunch, explore the creative district on the Island of Nantes, which is home to various artistic projects and installations.

In the evening, take a walk around the Trentemoult district, a former fishing village known for its colourful houses. Enjoy dinner at a riverside restaurant with views of the Loire River.

Day 3: Enjoying Nature and Leisure

Dedicate your last day to Nantes’ beautiful green spaces. Begin with a visit to the Jardin des Plantes, a stunning botanical garden. After a picnic lunch in the park, take a short boat ride to the quaint village of Trentemoult.

In the afternoon, explore the unique vineyards of the Nantes Wine Region or consider a short trip to the Atlantic coast, just a stone’s throw away from the city. End your trip with a farewell dinner in Nantes, reminiscing over your favourite moments from the trip.




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