When planning a trip to France, choosing between Paris or Biarritz can be a tough call. Paris, the city of lights, is a cultural hub, brimming with iconic landmarks, gourmet cuisine, and high-end fashion. But Biarritz, nestled along the stunning Basque coast, is a gem offering a unique blend of French elegance and relaxed beach life. Let’s explore both these cities further to help you decide on your next French adventure!
So you’re thinking of a trip to France but can’t decide between Paris or Biarritz? Both cities are amazing to visit but are very different in what they have to offer. In this blog, we’ll go over everything you’ll need to know to decide which is for you!
Paris, it’s so much more than just a city; it’s a world in itself. Imagine this – you’re sitting in a sidewalk café, sipping your coffee as you watch the world stroll by. You can almost hear the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and Notre Dame whispering stories of love, art, and history.
And trust me, the charm of Paris extends far beyond these famous landmarks. Each neighbourhood, or ‘arrondissement’ as locals call it, is like a mini-city with its own personality. You could be hunting for vintage treasures in the bustling flea markets of Saint-Ouen one moment, and enjoying a peaceful picnic in the quiet parks of Montmartre the next.
Foodies, prepare to fall in love because Paris takes its food very, very seriously. Think fresh baguettes from local ‘boulangeries’, pastries that are too pretty to eat, and restaurants that turn every meal into a feast for the senses.
And let’s not even get started on the art. With a legacy that stretches from Da Vinci to Dali, Paris is a playground for art enthusiasts. Whether it’s classical masterpieces or edgy contemporary works, this city has it all.
Often referred to as the ‘surfing capital of Europe’, Biarritz is a stunning seaside city located on France’s Basque coast. It’s a place where the glamour of the old world seamlessly blends with the laid-back vibes of a surf town. Known for its grand, Belle Époque architecture, pristine beaches, and world-class surfing conditions, Biarritz is truly an ocean lover’s paradise.
Not to forget the city’s vibrant food scene that boasts a unique mix of traditional Basque specialities and innovative fusion cuisine. And if that wasn’t enough, the city also offers plenty of cultural attractions, including museums, art galleries, and historic sites. In short, Biarritz is a delightful mix of elegance, culture, and adventure – an ideal destination for any traveller!
While we’re comparing Paris and Biarritz in this post, we’ve also looked at how Paris stacks up against other cities like Bordeaux and Nantes. We’ve linked to those articles below if you want to take a look!
Pros and Cons of Paris and Biarritz
- 🏛 Rich Culture: From world-class museums like the Louvre to iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, Paris is a culture lover’s paradise.
- 🥖 Food Scene: The culinary delights are second to none, with an abundance of cafes, bakeries, and Michelin-starred restaurants.
- 🛍 Shopping: Paris is a hub for high-end fashion and unique boutique stores.
- ✈️ Accessibility: With two major international airports and an efficient public transport system, it’s easy to get around.
- 👩💼 Crowded: Tourist hotspots can get quite busy, especially in peak season.
- 💶 Cost: It can be pricey, particularly accommodation and dining.
- 📣 Noise: As a bustling city, noise levels can be high, particularly in the city centre.
- 🏝Beaches: Biarritz is famous for its beautiful beaches and surf spots.
- 😎 Relaxing Atmosphere: Compared to Paris, Biarritz offers a more laid-back vibe.
- 🏄♂️ Outdoor Activities: Great opportunities for hiking, surfing, and golfing.
- 🇫🇷 Unique Culture: Biarritz offers a unique blend of French and Basque cultures.
- 🍺 Limited Nightlife: The nightlife scene is quieter compared to Paris.
- ✈️ Accessibility: While it has airport and train connections, it’s not as easily accessible as Paris.
- 🍁 Seasonal: Some attractions and activities may be seasonal, particularly those related to the beach and surfing.
Which City Has Better Food? Paris or Biarritz?
Now this is a difficult question! Both Paris and Biarritz have amazing food to offer but, their offerings are quite different!
Paris is a world-famous food destination. Alongside having the classic high-end French restaurants and bistros it’s known for, you can pretty much find food from any corner of the globe. Not only that but its pastries and bread is to die for! Paris’ cafe scene is incredible, you could literally spend a week wandering around the different cafes trying everything they have to offer.
Biarritz, on the other hand, offers a unique mix of French and Basque cuisine. Seafood is a big part of their dishes thanks to its coastal location. You really can’t leave without trying the fresh fish and traditional Basque pintxos.
The answer depends on what sort of food you’re after if you like having a huge array of options Paris is probably the city for you. But if you’re a seafood lover and want to try Basque dishes, you might find Biarritz more appealing.
Which City is Better For Couples? Paris or Biarritz?
Paris is the traditional choice for romance. We’ve all seen it in the films. It’s amazing, the beautiful boulevards, the relaxing cafe terraces and all the world-famous sights like the Eiffel Tower and Ponts des Arts. I wonder how many men plan to take their partners to Paris just to propose? Probably a lot!
Biarritz is different, it’s much smaller but no less beautiful. The beach is perfect for romantic walks, there are also plenty of places to go to catch a beautiful sunset over the Atlantic Ocean. What can be more romantic than that? Biarritz also has lots of fantastic restaurants if you want to relax over some good food!
Paris is definitely the more well-known for being romantic, but if you fancy a bit of a wildcard Biarritz won’t leave you disappointed!
Which City is Better For Families? Paris or Biarritz?
Paris is packed with kid-friendly museums, parks, and attractions. Children will be amazed by the Eiffel Tower, or exploring the natural history museum. There’s also Disneyland Paris which is an amazing day out for kids and adults!
Biarritz, on the other hand, is a seaside town that’s great for families who love the outdoors. There are beautiful beaches for building sandcastles, the ocean for swimming, and lots of open spaces for running around.
If your family loves culture and iconic sights, Paris is your go-to. If you’re more about the beach and outdoor fun, then Biarritz is a top pick.
Which City is Better For Partying? Paris or Biarritz?
When we talk about partying, Paris and Biarritz have very different vibes.
Paris is famous for its vibrant nightlife. There’s pretty much everything you’d ever want here, clubs, trendy bars and music venues can be found all over the city. Just do a little bit of searching and you’ll easily find somewhere that suits your style.
Biarritz is a beach town, so the nightlife here is much more laid back. You’ll find plenty of bars along the seafront overlooking the sea great for a few evening drinks to unwind after a long day exploring. There are more traditional pubs and a few clubs as well but nowhere near as many as Paris.
If you’re looking for all-night parties, Paris is your city. But if you prefer a chilled-out vibe by the sea then Biarritz would be your best be
Which City is Safer? Paris or Biarritz?
When it comes to safety both Paris and Biarritz have their share of crime.
Paris, being a tourist hotspot will always have issues with pickpockets and scams. Especially in the tourist-heavy areas around major attractions. Just keep your belongings close to you and avoid anyone that looks a bit dodgy! You’ll find a lot of caricature artists offering to draw you a free picture, but they’ll always start demanding money once they’ve finished.
Biarritz probably wins when it comes to safety, it’s much smaller and quieter than Paris so it’s not as much of a target. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise the same precautions though. Keep an eye on your belongings, especially at the beach.
How long to stay in Paris
Paris is an expansive city, not just in terms of geographical size but also in its cultural, historical, and artistic breadth. It is often said that every street corner in Paris tells a story, every neighbourhood exudes a unique vibe, and every building holds a piece of history. This multitude of offerings can make the city feel vast and overwhelming to the first-time visitor.
If you’re hoping to fully experience the city’s iconic landmarks – from the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre, from the Champs-Élysées to Montmartre – you will need a few days just to scratch the surface. Each of these sights isn’t merely a quick photo opportunity, but rather they each offer a deep dive into the city’s history, architecture, and way of life.
Furthermore, Paris is a city of neighbourhoods, each with its own distinct character. Exploring these diverse areas, such as the bohemian Latin Quarter, the bustling Marais, or the trendy Canal Saint-Martin, can easily fill several days.
And let’s not forget the world-class museums and galleries that dot the city. Art lovers could spend an entire week in Paris and still not see everything the city has to offer in this regard. The Louvre alone, the world’s largest art museum, can take a full day to explore – and that’s if you’re moving quickly.
Paris is also renowned for its culinary scene, and foodies will want to allow plenty of time to explore the city’s bistros, patisseries, markets, and wine bars.
Given all this, a trip of 3 to 5 days allows for a good overview of Paris, but to truly appreciate all that the City of Light has to offer, a stay of a week or longer allows you to explore at a more leisurely pace, delve deeper into the areas that interest you most, and even make a few day trips to the surrounding regions. Remember, Paris is a city that rewards those who take the time to wander its streets and absorb its charm.
How long to stay in Biarritz
Three to Four Days: A 3-4 day trip can cover the highlights of Biarritz. You’ll have enough time to stroll around the city centre, visit the main landmarks such as the Rocher de la Vierge and the Biarritz Lighthouse, and soak in the atmosphere of the Les Halles market. Of course, don’t forget to spend some quality time at the Grand Plage, the city’s famous beach. You may also squeeze in a visit to the Aquarium de Biarritz or the Asiatica Museum if you’re interested.
Five to Seven Days: If you’ve got a week in Biarritz, that’s even better! You can take your time exploring the city at a leisurely pace, trying out various water sports, or indulging in the renowned thalassotherapy for which Biarritz is famous. With a few extra days on your hands, consider making day trips to nearby locations like the charming town of Saint-Jean-de-Luz or even cross the border into Spain to explore San Sebastian.
Of course, the length of stay in Biarritz depends on what kind of trip you’re looking for. If you’re seeking a relaxed beach holiday with a sprinkling of city exploration, a longer stay would be suitable. However, if you’re on a whirlwind tour of France or trying to cover multiple cities, a shorter stay would work too. Regardless, Biarritz promises an amazing holiday!
Which City is More Budget-Friendly? Paris or Biarritz?
Looking at costs, if you’re thinking of Paris or Biarritz for a budget-friendly trip, Biarritz could be the better choice. Paris, while undeniably beautiful and full of world-class attractions, can be quite pricey. From accommodations and dining to entrance fees for numerous attractions, the costs can add up quickly.
In contrast, Biarritz, being a smaller city, generally offers more affordable options. Whether it’s accommodation, eating out, or entertainment, you’re likely to find your budget stretches further here. Plus, it’s hard to beat the free natural beauty of the Biarritz coastline!
So, for budget-conscious travellers, Biarritz may be the more wallet-friendly option.
How much is food and drink in Paris and Biarritz?
|€5 to €8
|€4 to €7
|Glass of wine
|€5 to €15
|€4 to €10
|€2 to €4
|€2 to €4
|€25 to €50
|€20 to €40
How much is it to stay in Paris or Biarritz?
|€300 to €800 (or higher) per night
|€200 to €600 (or higher) per night
|€100 to €200 per night
|€80 to €200 per night
|€50 to €100 per night
|€50 to €80 per night
|€20 to €40 per night
|€20 to €40 per night
When is the best time to visit Paris?
Deciding when to visit Paris can make all the difference in your experience, from crowd sizes to weather conditions. Paris enjoys a temperate climate that allows for relatively comfortable conditions throughout the year, though each season offers its own charm.
From March to May, Paris experiences Spring – a season known for its blooming beauty and refreshing temperatures. As trees and flowers throughout the city burst into bloom, the City of Love turns into a picturesque wonderland. This is also a perfect time for open-air picnics in parks like the Champ de Mars or the Tuileries Garden.
June through August mark the summer season in Paris, offering long, sunny days and a lively atmosphere. This is the peak tourist season when you can enjoy alfresco dining, boat cruises on the Seine, and the famous Fête de la Musique, a city-wide celebration of music. Just be prepared for the crowds at major tourist sites!
Autumn graces Paris from September to November with mild weather and beautiful changing foliage in city parks. It’s also a fantastic time to experience the cultural life of Paris, with plenty of exhibitions, concerts, and theatre performances going on. The grape harvest in nearby wine regions, like Champagne and Burgundy, might be of interest to wine lovers!
December through February, winter in Paris is marked by chilly temperatures and festive cheer. Tourist crowds thin out significantly during this time, making it easier to explore the city’s landmarks. Don’t miss out on charming Christmas markets and the city’s grand holiday decorations. If you don’t mind the cold, winter in Paris can be quite magical.
Weather: Paris has a relatively mild climate. Summers can get warm, but not usually excessively hot, while winters are chilly but rarely below freezing. For the most comfortable weather, consider visiting in the shoulder seasons of Spring and early Autumn.
When is the best time to visit Biarritz?
Deciding on the perfect time to visit Biarritz can be as vital as choosing what activities you want to do. The city, known for its beautiful beaches and surf culture, has a temperate oceanic climate, which means it can be visited throughout the year, though some seasons offer unique experiences.
Spring (March to May) in Biarritz is an ideal time for surfers as the waves are just right and the weather is becoming warmer. It’s also less crowded, offering you an intimate experience with the city. This is a great time to learn surfing if you’re new to the sport as many surf schools open their doors for the season.
Summers (June to August) in Biarritz are vibrant and sunny, making it the perfect season for beach activities, from sunbathing to swimming. The city buzzes with tourists and locals alike, creating a lively atmosphere. Keep in mind, this is also peak tourist season, so be prepared for larger crowds and higher prices.
Autumn (September to November) brings a peaceful charm to Biarritz. The summer crowds thin, and the city regains its tranquillity. The weather remains pleasant, and the Atlantic Ocean is still warm enough for swimming and surfing. This season is also ideal for leisurely walks to appreciate the changing colours of nature.
Winter (December to February) in Biarritz is relatively mild and quieter, with fewer tourists. It’s the perfect time to explore the city’s museums, like the Biarritz History Museum or the Asiatica Museum, without the crowds. You could also take this time to enjoy the city’s renowned thalassotherapy centres for a relaxing spa experience.
Weather: The weather in Biarritz is generally mild, with warm summers and cool winters. Rain is evenly distributed throughout the year, so an umbrella could come in handy. For the best weather, plan your visit during the shoulder seasons of April to June or September to October, when the weather is most agreeable, and there are fewer tourists.
Average Monthly Temperatures
Apologies for the confusion. Here’s the revised table with the information for both Paris and Biarritz combined:
|Paris High / Low (°C)
|Paris Rainy Days
|Biarritz High / Low (°C)
|Biarritz Rainy Days
|8° / 3°
|13° / 5°
|9° / 3°
|14° / 5°
|13° / 5°
|16° / 7°
|17° / 8°
|17° / 9°
|20° / 11°
|20° / 12°
|24° / 14°
|23° / 15°
|26° / 16°
|25° / 17°
|25° / 16°
|25° / 17°
|22° / 13°
|24° / 15°
|17° / 10°
|21° / 12°
|11° / 6°
|16° / 8°
|8° / 4°
|14° / 6°
Please note that the given data includes the average high and low temperatures in Celsius (°C) and the number of rainfall days per month.
Getting around Paris:
Paris boasts an extensive public transportation network that includes the Métro (subway), buses, trams, and a bike-sharing service called Vélib’. The Métro is particularly convenient as it connects all major tourist attractions and extends well into the suburbs. It’s fast, efficient, and a great way to avoid the city’s notorious traffic congestion.
The buses and trams are also reliable options to get around Paris, offering the added benefit of sightseeing as you travel. The tickets you purchase are valid across buses, trams, and the Métro for a certain period of time, typically an hour and a half. This means you could take a bus and a metro ride on a single ticket as long as your journey falls within the valid period.
For those looking to add a bit of exercise to their exploration, the Vélib bike-sharing scheme is a fun option. Paris is becoming increasingly bike-friendly, with many dedicated cycle lanes across the city.
Walking is also a fantastic way to explore Paris. Many of the city’s iconic landmarks are conveniently close together, and strolling along the Seine River or through charming neighbourhoods like Montmartre and Le Marais is a pleasure in itself.
Taxis and ride-sharing services like Uber are also widely available throughout Paris. However, in high-traffic areas and pedestrian-only zones, they might not be the most efficient choice. Do keep in mind that Parisian traffic can be heavy, particularly during rush hour.”
Getting around Biarritz:
Biarritz, being a compact town, offers multiple easy travel options. The local bus system, Chronoplus, provides regular services around town and to nearby areas.
For those wishing to venture further, car rentals are available, although parking can be tricky during peak season. Within the city, walking is a popular choice due to the town’s small size, allowing you to reach most places on foot.
Bike rentals offer an active alternative for getting around, and of course, taxis and rideshare services like Uber are always at your disposal for convenient, direct transport. However, these might come with a higher cost compared to public transportation.
Top things to do in Paris
- Eiffel Tower: No trip to Paris is complete without a visit to this iconic landmark. For an unforgettable experience, take the elevator up to the viewing deck for panoramic views of the city, or enjoy a picnic in the park below.
- Louvre Museum: Home to the Mona Lisa and countless other art treasures, the Louvre is one of the world’s most famous museums. Be sure to explore its grand architecture, including the striking glass pyramid at the entrance.
- Montmartre: This historic and artistic neighbourhood is a must-visit. Climb the steps to the stunning Sacré-Cœur Basilica for a fantastic view of Paris, and wander the cobblestone streets to discover charming cafés, boutiques, and the bustling Place du Tertre, where artists sell their work.
- Champs-Élysées and Arc de Triomphe: Stroll down the world’s most famous avenue, lined with shops, theatres, and cafés. At the end, you’ll find the Arc de Triomphe, another iconic Parisian monument, offering beautiful city views from its top.
- Notre Dame Cathedral: Although currently under reconstruction after the fire in 2019, Notre Dame’s grandeur can still be admired from the outside. It’s also a great starting point for a leisurely walk along the banks of the Seine River, which are lined with bookstalls, artists, and charming views.
Top things to do in Biarritz
- Biarritz’s Beaches: Famed for their beauty and surf-friendly waves, Biarritz’s beaches are the heart of the town. Grande Plage, the largest beach, offers plenty of room for sunbathing and swimming, while Côte des Basques is the surfers’ choice.
- Musée de la Mer: This sea museum offers insight into marine life with numerous aquariums housing everything from sharks to sea urchins. It’s an ideal destination for families and marine enthusiasts.
- Phare de Biarritz: The Biarritz Lighthouse stands tall on the town’s northern cliff. You can climb the 248 steps to the top for a panoramic view of Biarritz and its surrounding areas.
- Rocher de la Vierge: This iconic rock formation is accessed by a bridge and offers stunning views over Biarritz. Named for the statue of the Virgin Mary placed on top of it, it’s a picturesque spot worth visiting.
- Les Halles de Biarritz: To taste the flavours of Biarritz, visit Les Halles, the town’s vibrant food market. Here, you’ll find a fantastic assortment of regional produce, cheeses, pastries, and seafood to savour.
How to spend three days in Paris
Day 1: The Heart of Paris
Begin your Paris adventure in the heart of the city. Start your morning with a visit to the iconic Eiffel Tower. Take the elevator up for an amazing view of the city, or simply admire it from the ground. From there, make your way to the Musée d’Orsay, which boasts an extensive collection of Impressionist masterpieces. After lunch, head to the Notre Dame Cathedral. Even though it’s currently under reconstruction, its facade is still worth seeing. Walk along the banks of the Seine River to the famous Louvre Museum, and spend the rest of your afternoon exploring its vast collections. Finish your day with a delicious dinner in the Latin Quarter, a vibrant area known for its bustling bistros and cafés.
Day 2: Arts and Bohemian Flair
Start your second day in Montmartre, the historic arts district known for its bohemian past. Visit the Sacré-Cœur Basilica and enjoy a panoramic view of Paris from its steps. Explore the area’s charming streets, and check out the Place du Tertre, where local artists sell their work. For lunch, grab a crepe from one of the street vendors. In the afternoon, head to the Centre Pompidou, a modern art museum with a unique architectural design. End your day in the Marais district, where you can enjoy dinner and explore the area’s diverse boutiques and galleries.
Day 3: Chic and Glamour
Begin your final day on the famous Champs-Élysées. Start at the Place de la Concorde and make your way up the avenue, window shopping and enjoy a coffee at a streetside café. At the end, you’ll find the impressive Arc de Triomphe. Afterwards, take a metro to the stylish Saint-Germain-des-Prés district, where you can enjoy a relaxed lunch and explore its chic boutiques. Spend your afternoon at the Musée Rodin to admire the sculptor’s masterpieces, including The Thinker. As the sun begins to set, take a scenic cruise on the Seine River, a perfect and romantic end to your three days in Paris. Enjoy your final dinner at one of the cosy bistros along the river.
How to spend three days in Biarritz
Day 1: Embrace the Ocean’s Call
Begin your day with a leisurely stroll along the Grande Plage, Biarritz’s main beach, perhaps even braving a morning dip. Later, explore the marine life at the Musée de la Mer Aquarium, where the seal feeding sessions are a highlight. As the day mellows, find a cosy spot in the Old Port area to enjoy some local pintxos and a picturesque sunset.
Day 2: Ride the Waves and Revel in the Views
Kick off your second day by diving into Biarritz’s renowned surf culture with a lesson at a local surf school. In the afternoon, wind down with a scenic walk along Rocher de la Vierge, an iconic rock formation offering breathtaking views. Cap off your day with a fresh seafood dinner at the charming Port des Pêcheurs.
Day 3: Explore Local Flavors and Neighboring Charm
Start your final day early at Les Halles de Biarritz, sampling fresh local produce from the bustling market. Later, venture out on a short bus ride to the neighbouring town of Bayonne. Absorb its picturesque streets, try the famous Bayonne ham, and let the city’s Basque charm captivate you. Finish your trip back in Biarritz with a farewell drink overlooking the ocean.
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