Nice or Toulouse – Which City Will You Visit?

Nice or Toulouse

Nice or Toulouse – Which city should you visit?

Considering a trip to France and can’t decide between visiting Nice or Toulouse? Here’s a quick rundown to help you choose:

  • History Buffs: Toulouse’s Renaissance mansions and basilicas provide a deep dive into France’s past, whereas Nice’s Roman roots and Italianate flair offer a beautiful historical experience.
  • Beach Lovers: The choice is simple – Nice, with its iconic Promenade des Anglais, promises a Riviera charm that can’t be matched.
  • Foodies: The question is, meat or seafood? Toulouse has indulgent meaty dishes on offer, whilst Nice is famous for its seafood.
  • Nature Enthusiasts: Toulouse serves as the gateway to the Pyrenees, perfect for mountain enthusiasts. But if blue waters and seafront strolls are your thing, Nice is your destination.
  • Urban Explorers: Toulouse’s pink terracotta buildings and quaint squares are beautiful to wander around. For a mix of French Riviera glamour and old-world charm, Nice is for you.
  • Adventure Junkies: For proximity to the Pyrenees, Toulouse wins. But Nice, with the combination of sea and nearby mountainous provides a huge variety of options.
  • Wine Lovers: Toulouse, located near some of France’s most robust vineyards, is a wine lover’s dream. Nice, on the other hand, introduces you to the unique tastes of the Provence and Côte d’Azur region.
  • Backpackers: For a coastal journey with great nightlife, Nice leads. Yet, for affordability paired with a lively city and beautiful architecture, Toulouse is unbeatable.
  • Over 60’s:  For a blend of relaxation and luxury, set your compass towards Nice. Those seeking pretty streets and historical depth will love Toulouse.

Curious about more? Read on to find a more thorough comparison of these cities.


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.


Toulouse, a city perfectly perched between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, offers an intriguing mix of history, innovation, and charm. Its historic centre, known as Vieux Toulouse, boasts a tapestry of coral-hued buildings that have earned it the moniker ‘La Ville Rose’, or ‘The Pink City’. But Toulouse is not just about reminiscing about the past. It’s a dynamic city teeming with academic vigour, courtesy of its vibrant student population, and is a hotbed for aeronautics and space exploration. With an array of museums, a thriving arts scene, and lively local markets, this city caters to a broad spectrum of travellers. Plus, the local cuisine, characterized by hearty Southwestern French specialities, is a gastronomic adventure in itself. If you’re seeking a unique and vibrant destination for your next vacation, Toulouse should unquestionably be on your radar!

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

Nice or Cannes

Nice or Marseille

Pros and Cons of Nice and Toulouse

Nice Pros:

  • 🏖 Beach Bliss: Nice’s iconic pebble beaches along the Baie des Anges and the sunny Mediterranean climate make it a paradise for beach lovers.
  • 🥗 Culinary Delights: From Salade Niçoise to Socca, Nice offers a fantastic array of Provencal and Mediterranean flavours.
  • 🎨 Artistic Appeal: Home to the Matisse Museum, Chagall Museum, and several art galleries, Nice is a treasure trove for  art enthusiasts.
  • 🌊Promenade des Anglais: This legendary seafront promenade is perfect for a leisurely stroll, bike ride, or a jog with scenic Mediterranean views.

Nice Cons:

  • 💶 Cost: Nice can be expensive, particularly during the peak tourist season.
  • 👫 Crowded: With its popularity, Nice can get quite crowded, especially in the summer months.
  • 🪨 Pebble Beaches: While they have their own charm, the pebbly beaches of Nice may not be to everyone’s liking, especially those accustomed to sandy shores.

Toulouse Pros:

  • 🚀 Space City: Toulouse is the hub of the European aerospace industry, featuring the Airbus headquarters and the City of Space theme park.
  • 🏛 Vibrant History: With its ancient churches, beautiful “pink city” architecture, and the intriguing history of the Cathars, Toulouse offers much for history buffs.
  • 🚤 Canal du Midi: This UNESCO World Heritage site provides opportunities for pleasant strolls, cycling, or canal cruises.
  • 🧳 Less Touristy: If you prefer a more relaxed atmosphere and a chance to blend with the locals, Toulouse’s less-touristy nature is definitely a pro.

Toulouse Cons:

  • 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Language Barrier: As it’s less of a tourist hotspot, you may find fewer English speakers in Toulouse. It may require a touch more French fluency for seamless communication.
  • 🍺 Nightlife: While it has a decent selection of bars and restaurants, Toulouse’s nightlife scene may seem a bit tame compared to more bustling cities like Paris or Nice.
  • ✈️ Less Frequent Flights: As Toulouse is not as high on the usual tourist route as Nice, it has fewer direct flights, especially from international locations. This can make travelling to Toulouse a little less convenient.

Which City Has Better Food? Nice or Toulouse?

Deciding between the best cuisines these cities have to offer is not easy.

In Nice, your senses are lured by the aroma of the Mediterranean Sea paired with olive oil, garlic, and fresh herbs. This is the home of salade niçoise and the much-loved street food socca, a thin chickpea pancake. Seafood is abundant here and not to be missed out on!

Toulouse, on the other hand, offers a menu that’s hearty and robust. Think cassoulet, a comforting slow-cooked casserole, and Toulouse sausages, all robust in flavour. This city’s foie gras is legendary, and the Fenestra, an apricot and almond tart, is a must-try.

Nice would be the clear winner for someone seeking lighter, Mediterranean flavours, whereas Toulouse would satisfy those craving hearty, rustic fare.

Both cities promise more than just food – they offer a deep dive into history, tradition, and culture. Each bite is an adventure in its own right. The choice, as they say, is yours! Bon appétit!

Which City is Better For Couples? Nice or Toulouse?

Nice, perched on the stunning French Riviera, is like that glamorous friend who’s always ready for a good time. Think picturesque beaches, swanky resorts, and a nightlife that thrums with excitement. Sauntering down the iconic Promenade des Anglais, a cooling gelato in hand, sunset painting the sky – it’s the kind of setting that feels straight out of a movie. But wait till you’ve dined at one of the city’s eateries, that’s when the charm offensive truly cranks up.

On the flip side, Toulouse is that quiet, enchanting neighbour radiating an irresistible allure. Known affectionately as the ‘Pink City’, it’s the sort of place that makes you want to lose yourself in its labyrinthine streets, visit quaint markets or share a quiet picnic by the Garonne River. It’s more serene, more traditional, a world away from the hustle and bustle.

So, the million-dollar question is, which one? If you’re after glitz, glam, and a dash of drama, Nice takes the biscuit. But if a slow, dreamy getaway, peppered with charming old-world experiences, is more up your alley, then Toulouse is the way to go. There’s no wrong choice here, just different shades of right!

Which City is Better For Families? Nice or Toulouse?

Nice, the glittering jewel of the French Riviera, screams family fun with its sun-drenched beaches just begging for swimming and relaxing in the sun. Let’s not forget the charming squares perfect for a relaxed picnic and the kid-friendly museums such as the Natural History Museum and Oceanographic Museum of Monaco a short ride away. A word of caution though, Nice’s high-end lifestyle can be a tad heavy on the wallet.

Now let’s look at Toulouse, the enchanting ‘Pink City’. Toulouse dishes up a generous serving of family-friendly fun, but in a more relaxed, easy-going fashion. Days spent exploring the City of Space, getting lost among the stunning plants in the Jardin des Plantes or just wandering the winding streets. Plus, Toulouse is more budget-friendly, a crucial factor when planning a family trip!

So, which will it be? If a beachside, slightly more glamorous holiday rings your bell, Nice is your city. But for a laid-back, educational trip that’s easier on the pocket, Toulouse takes the trophy. Remember, it’s about creating memories and having fun, and both cities have plenty of that on offer!

Which City is Better For Partying? Nice or Toulouse?

Nice, dazzlingly seated on the French Riviera, hosts a nightlife that’s alive and sparkling. It’s when the sun makes its exit that the city truly comes alive – think glimmering clubs, posh cocktail bars, and beach parties that tick on till the sun peeps up again. Your night’s itinerary should start from the Old Town – a hub of bustling pubs and bars, eventually spilling over to the Promenade des Anglais. One word of caution – Nice’s lively party scene can be a bit heavy on the pocket, but the memories you create could well be priceless.

Swinging over to Toulouse, it’s a whole different vibe. With a thriving student community, the nightlife here is relaxed and brimming with fun. The city is sprinkled with cosy bars, venues humming with live music, and vibrant clubs that are kind on your wallet. The heart of all nightlife action in Toulouse is the Saint-Pierre district, the perfect spot to unwind and revel till the early hours.

So, what’s it going to be? If high-octane, glamorous nightlife is your cup of tea, Nice is your spot. But if a laid-back, wallet-friendly party scene is what you crave, Toulouse should be your pick. There you go, time to decide!

Which City is Safer? Nice or Toulouse?

Ready to plan your next city break to Nice or Toulouse but wondering about safety? Let’s shed some light.

Nice, a frequented French jewel, has a robust safety setup, especially in buzzing locales like the Promenade des Anglais and Old Town. Still, keeping an eye on your belongings is recommended to dodge any pickpocketing scenarios.

On the flip side, Toulouse, with its lively student community, offers a safe and inviting ambience. While the city centre and touristy areas are pretty secure, a bit of caution in the outskirts a night is wise, just as in any city.

In essence, both Nice and Toulouse have worked hard to provide a safe environment for travellers. Whichever city you pick, remember to pack in common sense along with your essentials, as safety primarily lies in your own hands. Stay safe and enjoy your trip!

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 Toulouse

Figuring out how long to stay in Toulouse? That’s a great question and depends on what kind of trip you’re planning. If you’re popping by for a quick visit, I’d say two to three days should suffice. This will give you enough time to visit the main sights, such as the iconic Capitole de Toulouse, the Basilica of Saint-Sernin, and the Toulouse Museum of Natural History.

But if you’re anything like me and love to delve a little deeper, immersing yourself in the local culture and lifestyle, you might want to consider staying a little longer – perhaps around five to seven days. This will allow you to explore at a leisurely pace, have time to appreciate the city’s vibrant arts scene, meander through the charming neighbourhoods, and even try out some of the local bistros and cafes. Trust me, the cassoulet is to die for!

Toulouse is also a great base to explore the surrounding region. If you plan on taking day trips to places like Carcassonne or Albi, then a week or even ten days would be a good estimate.

In the end, remember this – travel isn’t a race. It’s about the experiences, the people, the food, the culture, and the memories you make. So, take your time in Toulouse and enjoy what the ‘Pink City’ has to offer!

Place du Capitole Toulouse
Place du Capitole Toulouse

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

Looking to explore French charm on a budget? Nice and Toulouse might both be in France, but their vibes, and importantly, costs, are quite different.

Nice, with its dazzling coastline and chic appeal, may pull at your purse strings a bit more. While plush seaside accommodations and dining could be pricey, hunt a bit and you’ll find spots that offer a bang for your buck, especially if you stay a bit off-centre.

Toulouse, on the other hand, a vibrant student city, welcomes budget travellers with open arms. Economical stay options, wallet-friendly eateries, and lots of free or low-cost cultural experiences – Toulouse serves it all on a platter. Plus, it’s compact enough to be explored on foot, so you save some extra euros on commuting!

Bottom line, if you’re minding the budget, Toulouse might be the way to go. But remember, with some savvy planning, both cities can offer great experiences without breaking the bank. Happy budgeting!

How much is food and drink in Nice and Toulouse?

Nice Toulouse
Beer €5 – €7 €5 – €7
Glass of Wine €3 – €10 €3 – €10
Coffee €1.50 – €3 €1.50 – €3
Meal at Midrange Restaurant €20 – €40 €15 – €30

Please note that these prices are estimated averages and may vary based on factors such as the establishment, location, and menu choices. Additionally, prices can vary over time and in different locations within each city.

How much is it to stay in Nice or Toulouse?

Nice Toulouse
Luxury Hotel €150 – €500 €150 – €500
Midrange Hotel €70 – €150 €70 – €150
Budget Hotel €40 – €70 €40 – €70
Hostel €20 – €40 €20 – €40

Please note that the prices mentioned are estimated averages and may vary based on factors such as location, amenities, and seasonal fluctuations. Additionally, prices can vary over time and in different locations within each city.

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 Toulouse?

Picking the best time to explore Toulouse is a big part of your planning. Known for its temperate climate, Toulouse can be great to visit throughout the year, each season bringing its own charm and unique experiences.

Spring (March to May) in Toulouse is a beautiful season, the trees will be blossoming and the temperature won’t be too high. This time is ideal for sightseeing and soaking in Toulouse’s distinct architectural beauty, particularly the Capitole and Saint-Sernin Basilica. Spring is also the start of the outdoor festival season, adding an extra dash of liveliness to your visit.

Summers (June to August) in Toulouse are warm and vibrant. This is a great time to indulge in outdoor activities, such as a leisurely stroll along the Garonne River or a picnic in the lush Japanese Garden. Summer evenings in Toulouse are particularly charming with open-air concerts and night markets for you to explore.

Autumn (September to November) brings a beautiful colour palette to Toulouse, with the tree-lined avenues transitioning to shades of gold and red. The weather remains pleasant for outdoor exploration. In addition, the cultural calendar is full, making it a perfect time for art and music lovers to visit the city.

Winter (December to February) in Toulouse is typically cool and sometimes rainy.. With fewer tourists around, you can explore the city’s impressive museums and galleries at your own pace. Don’t miss the Toulouse Christmas Market for a dash of festive spirit and warm, comforting treats.

Weather: Toulouse has a fairly temperate climate, making it suitable for visits year-round. Summers can get a tad warm, but winters are generally mild. For the most pleasant weather, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of April to June or September to October. These periods provide a good balance of excellent weather and manageable tourist crowds.

Average Monthly Temperatures

Month Nice High / Low (°C) Nice Rainy Days Toulouse High / Low (°C) Toulouse Rainy Days
January 12° / 8° 5 days 10° / 2° 9 days
February 12° / 7° 4 days 11° / 3° 8 days
March 14° / 9° 4 days 14° / 5° 8 days
April 16° / 11° 5 days 17° / 7° 9 days
May 20° / 14° 4 days 21° / 11° 9 days
June 24° / 18° 3 days 25° / 14° 7 days
July 27° / 21° 1 day 28° / 16° 5 days
August 27° / 21° 2 days 28° / 16° 5 days
September 24° / 19° 3 days 25° / 13° 5 days
October 20° / 15° 6 days 20° / 10° 6 days
November 16° / 11° 6 days 13° / 5° 8 days
December 13° / 9° 5 days 10° / 3° 7 days

Please note that these values are approximate and can vary from year to year.

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 Toulouse

Toulouse is very easy to get around, with regular buses, trams and a metro system there are plenty of options. The public transport system is clean and well-maintained. You’ll find it easy to get around the city when using it. The Toulouse city pass is well worth getting if you plan on using public transport a lot. If you wanted a more active holiday, the city is very walkable. You could even hire a bike if you wanted to get around a bit quicker. As with any city, taxis and Uber are readily available.

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 Toulouse

  1. Capitole de Toulouse: This stunning city hall and opera house is an iconic sight in Toulouse. Its grand façade and beautiful square are absolute must-sees when in the city.
  2. Cité de l’espace: A unique experience for space enthusiasts, Cité de l’espace offers fascinating insights into the universe and space exploration. You can see life-sized rockets, try astronaut activities, and even observe the skies in the planetarium.
  3. Basilique Saint-Sernin: This UNESCO World Heritage site is the largest remaining Romanesque building in Europe. Its stunning architecture and rich history make it a highlight of any visit to Toulouse.
  4. Rue d’Alsace-Lorraine: As a main shopping street in Toulouse, Rue d’Alsace-Lorraine offers a vibrant mix of shops, boutiques, and cafés. It’s a great place to soak up the city’s lively atmosphere.
  5. Banks of the Garonne: Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the picturesque Garonne River. The riverside is beautifully developed and offers spectacular views of Toulouse’s historic buildings and bridges. Consider a river cruise for a different perspective of the city.
Pont Neuf and the Garonne River Toulouse
View of Pont Neuf and the Garonne River

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 Toulouse

Day 1: Explore the Vibrant City Center

Kick off your Toulouse adventure in the bustling city centre. Start your day at the Capitole de Toulouse, a magnificent city hall that also houses an opera house. Be sure to take memorable photos of its grand façade. Stroll down Rue d’Alsace-Lorraine for some retail therapy and grab lunch at one of the many inviting cafés. In the afternoon, visit the Basilique Saint-Sernin, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and marvel at its Romanesque architecture. Conclude your day with a delightful dinner in the lively Saint-Georges district, a hotspot for local gastronomy.

Inside the Basilique Saint-Sernin de Toulouse (inside)
Inside the Basilique Saint-Sernin de Toulouse

Day 2: Immerse Yourself in Science and Space

Begin your second day at the Cité de l’espace, Toulouse’s famous space city. Dive into the world of space exploration and get a closer look at rockets, satellites, and more. Post lunch, head to the Musée des Augustins to admire a rich collection of fine arts from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century. Later in the afternoon, visit the modern art museum, Les Abattoirs. Round off the day with a relaxing dinner in the Carmes district, renowned for its chic bars and restaurants.

Day 3: Venture Beyond the City

On your last day, consider exploring the surroundings of Toulouse. Take a half-day trip to the medieval city of Carcassonne, where you can explore the old town, fortified city walls, and its fairytale-like castle. Back in Toulouse, spend the rest of your afternoon strolling along the banks of the Garonne River, or relax in the expansive Prairie des Filtres park for a leisurely end to your trip.

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