Want to go to France, but aren't sure if you prefer to visit Paris or Nice? Or maybe you're planning a longer holiday and apart from seeing the Eiffel Tower, you'd also like to experience the French Riviera? Paris and Nice are among the most visited French cities and if given the chance, we'd recommend visiting both. Paris has a plethora of cultural and historical attractions, as well as entertainment. On the other hand, Nice boasts ocean views, beaches, a picturesque old town, and a prime location for further trips. If you're looking for some inspiration, have a look at our ideas of things to do in Paris and Nice. W

What to do in Paris?

Visit the mandatory stops

When mentioning France, Paris is the first city that comes to mind. And when visiting the French capital, you probably know that seeing the Eiffel Tower is simply a must. Other mandatory attractions include the Louvre, the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Basilica of Sacre Coeur in Montmartre, as well as the Palace of Versailles built by Louis XIV. Once you’ve crossed these top sights off your list, there are a few other places worthy of a visit.

Step inside the stunning Sainte Chapelle

Located in the Île de la Cité, this gothic-style chapel is known for its stunning stained-glass windows from the 13th century. Just this sight alone deserves a visit in our book! Sainte Chapelle is also said to have the oldest wall painting in the whole of Paris.

Stroll around Saint-Germain-des-Prés

Saint-Germain-des-Prés or the 6th Arrondissement of Paris is a neighbourhood located in the city centre, on the left bank of the Seine. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, this neighbourhood was popular among writers and artists. After the second world war, it was also the centre of the Avant-Garde movement. Today, it is a vibrant area with many cafes, restaurants, bakeries, small shops and museums. Those with a sweet tooth will find that thanks to the number of small pastry shops, St Germain is probably the best place in Paris to satisfy sugar cravings. In this area of Paris, we also recommend looking at the Luxembourg Palace (the current seat of the French Senate) and the Luxembourg Gardens created by Marie de Medici. And if you’re a fan of artists like Monet and Van Gogh, you can reach the popular Musée d’Orsay in about 15 minutes on foot.

Stroll around Le Marais

One of the most historic and trendiest neighbourhoods in Paris. Its cobbled streets and courtyards make Le Marais a wonderful place to stroll and visit museums. Located here is for example the Picasso Museum, as well as the popular Pompidou Center which houses a large collection of contemporary art and has a rooftop bar. From here you can also easily get to Les Halles.

What to do in Nice, French Riviera

Walk along the Promenade des Anglais

Walk along the city’s famous promenade among palm trees while admiring the view of the blue sea. Promenade des Anglais is 7-kilometres-long and where part of the Nice Carnival takes place.

Take in the views from Castle Hill

On the eastern side of the promenade is another of the city’s top attractions – Colline du Chateau. Overlooking Nice, Castle Hill used to be a military citadel, but today it’s a park with amazing views of the town, port, and the sea.

Explore the Old Town

Just below the hill lies the Old Town (Vieux Nice), one of the best places to stay in Nice. Some sights to see in the Old Town are the Cathedral of St. Reparata, the False Gate (la Porte Fausse), and the Nice Opera House.

Enjoy flora and fauna at the Phoenix Park

Located over 7 hectares, the Phoenix Park in Nice is in part a botanical garden and a zoo. It houses one of the largest tropical greenhouses in Europe. This place is a great spot for families with kids as it also offers tree climbing courses and other activities.

Visit Nice museums and art galleries

Nice has a few fascinating museums to visit. One of them is the Matisse Museum – which has one of the largest collections of Henri Matisse’s works. For modern art, go to the MAMAC (Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain). If you’re more interested in history than art, opt for the Musée Masséna where you can learn about the French Riviera’s history.

Go for a hike

Southern France provides great opportunities for hikers. Coastal paths and scenic routes offer stunning ocean views. You can hike from Cap de Nice towards Villefranche Sur Mer or take a tour of Cap Ferrat.

Take a day trip outside Nice

The location of Nice allows for some exciting day trips. Fans of independent cinema can get to Cannes in about 45 minutes. Another popular place to visit in the area is Antibes located around a 20-minute ride away. Antibes has a chill, Bohemian vibe and is great for water sports. You can even book our sightseeing Cannes & Antibes Guided Tour. Finally, Nice is a great gateway to glamorous Monaco, which you can reach in just about 30 minutes. If you like to visit palaces and magnificent gardens, you may be interested in going to see Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, around a 20-minute ride from Nice. Built-in Renaissance style by Béatrice de Rothschild, it is now a museum with beautiful themed gardens.