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Paris vs Marseille: Which French city is better for my trip

Are you planning a trip to France and wondering if Paris or Marseille is the better city to visit? In this guide we do a side by side comparison on everything you need to know including costs, attractions, safety, and much more. So here is a complete guide to Paris vs Marseille.

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Paris vs Marseille: Some background

Before we get into the Paris vs Marseille debate, here is a little bit of background on each city.


Paris is of course the capital of France, and the most populous city too with around 2.1 million inhabitants.

The city is a major travel hub into Europe, and is famous for its art, fashion, food, and culture. It’s also a very green city with around 450 parks and gardens!

Paris is also pretty big. The city is broken up into 20 administrative districts which are also known as arrondissements. It often feels like each one has it’s own subculture.

Wondering if Paris is worth visiting? Here is a useful guide.


Marseille is the second most populated city in France after Paris. Located in the south of the country it is a port city and has a long history of immigration and trade since it’s foundations in around 600 BC. This also makes it the oldest city in France.

Marseille is part of the French Riviera, although is probably not one of the more popular Riviera spots likes Cannes or St Tropez. That being said it has a number of tourist attractions and bustling food and drink scene. It also became the European Capital of Culture in 2013, which has helped elevate the city into a popular travel destination.

Wondering if Marseille is worth visiting, here is a handy guide.

Paris vs Marseille: which one is better for accommodation

Choosing accommodation is an important factor when deciding on your next vacation. But is Paris or Marseille better?


As the capital of France, Paris of course has a big accommodation selection. Like most French cities Paris is broken up into different arrondissements. They each have a different feel and some are obviously cheaper than others when it comes to hotels.

Our favourite place to stay has to be the super arty Montmartre, or the nearby trendy area of Pigalle. There are lots of bars and restaurants, and they are both relatively safe areas. You also have the more tourist focused areas of Chams de Mars, or the Champs-Élysées. These areas are close to attractions, although don’t have as much choice when it comes to food and drink.

Wherever you stay in Paris, make sure that you are close to a Metro station, as this will ensure that you can easily get around the city.

You will easily find accommodation to suit all budgets in Paris from hostels, to 5 star hotels. Just make sure you book well in advance, particularly during the summer months.


As Frances second biggest city, Marseille too has several accommodation options. It’s better to stay in the touristy areas of Marseille, as this tends to be safer, and closer to a lot of the action. Vieux Port and La Canebière are both very popular tourist areas. Le Panier is also a great choice, for more quirky accommodation in a cute little neighbourhood.

Paris or Marseille?

Paris definitely has a lot more choice when it comes to accommodation. It is a much bigger tourist city so you have more options for accommodation at different prices.

Paris vs Marseille: which one is better for attractions

When deciding on a new city we always try to weigh up the tourist attractions and things to do. Here is a breakdown of some of the best things to do in Paris and Marseille to help you decide.


Here are some of the top things to do when visiting Paris.

For more detailed information on things to do in Paris you can checkout our 3 day Paris itinerary.

The Eiffel Tower

Of course the Eiffel Tower is one of the top attractions in Paris.

You need to buy your tickets online in advance because unsurprisingly this is a very popular attraction. There are different ticketing options, depending on if you plan to walk up the tower, and which levels you want to visit.

The Eiffel Tower

The Louvre

The Louvre is the most popular museum in Paris. It showcases nearly 35,000 works of art and stretches 700 metres along the Seine. Two of the most popular bits of art include the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo.

Again, you will need to purchase your tickets for the Louvre in advance and you will be given a time slot to visit.

The Champs-Elysee

The Champs-Elysees is one of the most famous roads in Paris and is a shoppers dream. It’s surrounded by luxury and designer stores like Dior, and Chanel. But it also has high street favourites like Sephora and Zara.

Arc de Triomphe

Another iconic Parisian landmark is of course the Arc de Triomphe. You can actually climb to the top of the structure for some pretty amazing views of Paris. It will cost you about €13 and is well worth the entry fee.

Sacre Coeur

This is one of the most beautiful churches in Paris, so we definitely recommend taking the trip out to Montmartre to admire this beauty. Entry is free, although you may need to queue at certain times.

One thing you will need to pay for is to get to the top of the church. There are 300 steps and once you get to the top you get a panoramic view of the city.

The view from the Sacre Coeur

Take a Seine Cruise

There is something romantic about seeing Paris from the water. You can either do a day or a night cruise and you get to float along the Seine and learn its secrets whilst gazing at the city’s attractions from the water.

There are various different companies you can book with, and they all leave from different locations. But you should book in advance to avoid missing out.

Moulin Rouge

If you are looking to see a cabaret then the Moulin Rouge is a must. It is located in the more colourful part of Paris but you can’t go to Paris without seeing the Can-Can.

If you aren’t interested in the show, we do recommend at least visiting the outside, to snap a picture of that famous windmill.


The Panthéon was initially built as a church and was commissioned by King Louis XV. After the French revolution the Panthéon that was once synonymous with the monarchy became a place to honour those that passed away fighting during this time. And these days it is the final resting place for a number of historical figures.

Inside the Panthéon

Catacombs of Paris

One of the more unusual and macabre things to see in Paris has to be the Catacombs. Located 20 metres underground, the ossuary contains the remains of several million Parisians. These catacombs were created due to issues with overcrowding at Parisian cemeteries and for a time were forgotten.

These days it is a top tourist attraction and provides a fascinating insight into the history of Paris. You will need to book a place online in advance as numbers are capped daily.


Here are some of the best things to see and do in Marseille.

Vieux Port

Vieux Port is the beating heart of Marseille. Once a prominent trade and immigration centre, it is now a popular tourist spot. There are several cafes and restaurants serving French Cuisine and seafood that surround the port, as well as an early morning Fisherman’s market. If you want to book any boat tours this is also the best place to do it.


The MuCEM is one of the top attractions in Marseille, located near the Old Port area. It is an architectural delight, but also a museum dedicated to 21st century civilisations and Mediterranean culture.

Cathédrale de la Major

Another attraction near the Old Port area is the Cathédrale de la Major. It was actually built in the 19th Century which is quite late as no other cathedrals had been built for 200 years. The design was thought up to represent the multiculturalism of the city with Oriental and Roman elements. The cathedral is free to enter, and is a nice place to visit for a bit of a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Outside Cathédrale de la Major

La Corniche

A walk around the La Corniche area in Marseille is another must when visiting. It’s a 3 km walk from Catalan beach to Prado that has some of the most exquisite views and landscapes in Marseille. Along the way you will pass many beautiful beaches, mansions, and fishing ports. There are also some pretty amazing restaurants along the way.

Vallon des Auffes

Vallon des Auffes is one of the most beautiful spots in Marseille. It’s a traditional fishing spot with several restaurants, and cafes in the area. If you have the time grab some lunch at one of the establishments and enjoy the views.

Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde

The crowning jewel of Marseille is the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde. Located at the top of a very steep hill this basilica is the symbol of the city. Entry is free and well worth your time. And if you aren’t into religious buildings the views from the outside over Marseille are incredible on their own.

The outside of Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde

Palais Longchamp

You would be forgiven for thinking that Palais Longchamp has anything to do with royalty as it is quite a grand piece of architecture. It was however designed to bring water into Marseille after a 1835 cholera outbreak.

To the left of the fountain is the Museum of Fine Arts. It was founded in 1801 and is the oldest museum in Marseille. And to the right you have the Natural History Museum.

Outside Palais Longchamp

Château d’If

If you are a book lover or are interested in history you should try to make time to visit Château d’If. Originally built to protect Marseille, it also served as a prison in 1540. The famous book The Count of Monte Cristo has a few chapters where the protagonist is imprisoned at the Château.

To get to the island you will need to book one of the boat tours departing from Vieux Port. It takes around 20 minutes to cross, although boats will not depart during rough seas.

For a more detailed look at things to do you can checkout our guide to spending 3 days in Marseille.

Paris or Marseille?

Let’s face it Paris is always going to win when it comes to tourist attractions compared to Marseille. But that being said don’t write Marseille off completely. There is a lot of history and many beautiful cathedrals and museums, that will definitely keep you entertained.

Paris vs Marseille: which one is more picturesque

Wondering if Paris or Marseille is the more picturesque option? Here we decide which one is more beautiful.


Paris has a reputation for being incredibly beautiful. I think that this can be a bit of an issue because it doesn’t always live up to that expectation. For the most part it is true, Paris is stunning, but let’s not forget it is a bustling city with good and bad parts.

Some of the good parts though are places like Montmartre where you can admire some pretty impressive views of the city, and walk around the colourful and arty side streets. You also have some stunning spots around the Seine, especially in view of the Eiffel Tower.

There is certainly a lot to appreciate in Paris!

Montmartre in Paris


Marseille has a little bit more of a dirty and edgy reputation. So when we visited we honestly didn’t know what to expect. And it turns out we were very pleasantly surprised.

There are some really beautiful parts of Marseille like the charming streets of Le Panier or even Cours Julien to an extent. But one of our favourite gems in Marseille is Vallon des Auffes a traditional fishing spot with several pretty cafes and restaurants.

Vallon des Auffes in Marseille

Paris or Marseille?

Paris is the more obvious choice when it comes to picturesque cities. But the truth is both cities have a lot to offer, and both cities have good and bad bits.

Paris vs Marseille: which one is easier to get to

Obviously how easy it is to get to a city will have a bit impact on whether or not you visit. Here is a breakdown of Paris and Marseille.


Paris is a very well connected city and is quite easy to get to.

The majority of people will end up flying into Paris. The two biggest airports in the city are Charles de Gaulle airport and Paris Orly.

Charles de Gaulle is the biggest airport and the majority of Air France flights start and end here. From the airport you can hop on a train, which will get you into the centre of Paris in about 30 minutes, or grab a taxi. An Uber will cost you around €50.

From Paris Orly you have the option of getting a bus, tram, or train. And for more information you can have a look at the airport website. A taxi will cost around €40 – €50 depending on which part of Paris you are going to.

If you are arriving via train Paris Gare du Nord is the most popular train station, especially if you are coming from the UK. Gare du Nord is a conveniently located station, and from here you can either hop on a metro to other parts of Paris, or just walk from here. It’s incredibly close to areas like Montmartre and a 22 minute walk to Sacre Coeur.


Marseille has a decent sized airport with several flights arriving on a daily basis. Many European and International Airlines fly directly to Marseille, however you do get more flight options into Paris.

Once at the airport the quickest way to get to town is to get an Uber. It’s around 20 minutes driving and will set you back around €40. We would recommend this option if you are arriving late at night, as your other option is a bus that takes you to Saint Charles train station which can be a bit sketchy.

The bus is a lot cheaper though at €10 per person and takes about 30 minutes depending on traffic. Just remember that you still need to make your way to your accommodation from here.

Paris or Marseille?

Considering Paris is the French capital it is of course the easier city to get to. If you are getting a train from Europe or the UK you will need to change in Paris to get to Marseille anyway. Paris is also the Air France hub with hundreds flights from the city to the world leaving daily.

Paris vs Marseille: which one is easier to get around

Here we look at whether Paris or Marseille is the easier city to get around.


One of the good things about Paris is that the public transport system is very easy to use. It’s reliable, and efficient, and if you use Googlemaps alongside it for instance you shouldn’t have any issues.

You will probably find yourself mostly using the Metro which is the underground train system in the city. The Metro will get you to the majority of tourist sites in Paris.

To use public transport as a visitor to Paris you can purchase the Paris Visite card. It’s charged at different day rates, but for 3 days you are looking at paying €29.40 for an adult for zones 1-3, and €59.20 for an adult for zones 1-5.

We ended up overpaying for the pass and opted for the zones 1-5 which we didn’t need. You only need zones 1-5 if you are travelling to Disneyland Paris or Versailles. If you are sticking to the centre of Paris, which includes all your main tourist attractions, you only need zones 1-3. Believe me this information will save you a lot of money!

You can purchase your tickets at any metro station. All the ticket machines we encountered had English Language options so you shouldn’t have too much issue purchasing them. You just need to validate them each time you use public transport.

Public transport in Paris


Public transport is quite easy to use in Marseille particularly if you also have GoogleMaps to accompany you on your trip. The three main modes of public transport are trams, buses, and the metro. You can purchase tickets at tram stops or at the metro station. You can also purchase tickets from bus drivers directly but you do need cash for this.

Make sure you validate your ticket when you board any public transport. You can transfer onto any mode of public transport within an hour.

Paris or Marseille?

Paris has a lot more option when it comes to public transport, and for that reason is easier to navigate. You will mostly use the Metro in Paris which is efficient in getting you from a to b.

Public transport in Marseille

Paris vs Marseille: which one is better for beaches

If you are planning to visit the beach you might be wondering if Paris or Marseille is the better holiday option.


Paris is landlocked so unfortunately your chances of visiting the beach from here are pretty non existent.

The closest thing you would get to a beach is in the summer months when these sort of makeshift beaches pop up around the Seine. There are usually beach chairs, umbrellas, and swimming pools too.


If you want to hit the beach Marseille has you covered. In fact there are quite a few that you can visit, from the more quiet spots of L’Estaque, to the more tourist friendly Plages du Prado.

Plages du Prado in Marseille

Paris or Marseille?

Marseille is the better holiday spot if you are looking to lounge around on the beach.

Paris vs Marseille: which one is better for food

Are you a foodie and wondering if Paris or Marseille is the better choice for you? Well, read on.


Food in Paris is incredible. But just to clarify it’s not all snails and frog legs. I mean they exist but there is so much more on offer in the city. For starters a lot of the boulangeries and pâtisseries stock the most amazing foods like baguettes, croissants, pastries, eclairs, and way more.

Then you also have the comforting French food like French Onion Soup, Steak and Fries, and even Beef Bourguignon. Pair all of that with a top quality glass of wine and you have a winning combination. Oh and have I mentioned the cheese?

Basically if you are into food, Paris will be a dream for you.

Food in Paris


We were very pleasantly surprised to find that Marseille was a fantastic city for culinary delights. The food scene has a lot of international influences, and you can find a lot of really decent Middle Eastern and African food in Marseille.

Marseille is also famous for bouillabaisse which is a garlicky fish stew. Just make sure you research the best places to eat it. Anything under €60 for bouillabaisse is not worth your time!

We found that Marseille was full of really authentic restaurants with great food and great drinks at really good prices. Try to avoid eating anywhere with an English menu. The best and most authentic places usually have a french menu on the wall and only a few specialties.

Food in Marseille

Paris or Marseille?

Honestly Paris and Marseille are both top places for food. Paris admittedly has more high quality food with a whopping 118 Michelin Star restaurants. But on the whole they are both great cities in our opinion for food.

Paris vs Marseille: which one is better for nightlife

Planning a night out? In this section we decide if Paris or Marseille is the better option for nightlife.


In our experience, Paris has a little something for everyone when it comes to nightlife in the city. From very low key cafes that stay open late into the night, to clubs, and cocktail bars.

The quality of the nightlife in Paris all depends on where you go, and what you enjoy. Places like Le Maris and Pigalle, are our favourites for cocktail lounges and cafes, and Bastille is one of the best spots for clubbing in the city.

Little Red Door in Paris


The nightlife in Marseille is pretty vibrant. One of the best late night areas is Cours Julien as there are several quirky bars in the area to enjoy. We aren’t into clubbing so can’t really comment on that but in terms of bars there was a lot of choice in the city. Most places tend to have these amazing outdoor spaces perfect for the summer months. One thing we noticed is that Marseille doesn’t have a lot of cocktail bars. Or at least not those speakeasy style dimly lit ones you can go to sip an Old Fashioned.

Soifferie Bar in Marseille

Paris or Marseille?

Paris has the better nightlife. It is a lot bigger than Marseille so of course it has more options. It’s also a lot better for cocktail bars, and wine bars.

Paris vs Marseille: which one is better for safety

Safety is an important consideration when visiting any city. So is Paris or Marseille safer?


In our experience we found Paris incredibly safe for a big European city. That’s not to say that you don’t need to be careful though.

The tourist areas are all safe, and many of these are monitored by armed police. You do get a lot of scammers who target tourists though. So just be mindful of this.

Pickpocketing is also incredibly common around tourist areas or on the Metro. Make sure you keep an eye on your belongings, particularly handbags.

Walking around Paris at night is relatively ok. Most of the central neighbourhoods or tourist spots are pretty bustling even after dark, so you will find safety in numbers.

Civil unrest/ protests are also common. It’s just a case of being vigilant and avoiding mass protests. Also follow the news if you can so that you know what is going on in the city when you visit.

Terrorism is another issue in France. While it is rare there have been incidents in the past. All the tourist spots in the city are heavily patrolled by armed police or the army. Just stay alert, but also remember these aren’t every day incidents that occur.


We had heard a lot of horror stories about visiting Marseille. But I really started to feel nervous when everyone I spoke to about our upcoming trip commented on how rough the city is.

In our experience visiting Marseille was no worse than certain spots in Rome or Paris. Yes there were some areas that made us feel slightly uneasy, but if you stick to the main tourist spots you should be ok. We also took a lot of precautions when visiting. For instance it’s probably advisable to avoid walking around at night alone, and research the areas you plan to visit thoroughly. The northern neighbourhoods in Marseille are generally a no go, but again do your research before you visit.

Pickpocketing is another big thing in Marseille, particularly in tourist spots like the Old Port. Have your wits about you, keep your belongings close, and avoid walking around alone late at night, and you generally should be fine.

Try not to let stories of safety put you off visiting. It really is a beautiful city. Yes there were a number of people sleeping rough, and yes there were times when we saw some shadier characters to say the least, but we never felt unsafe. We took precautions, perhaps more so than other European trips, and we were fine.

Paris or Marseille?

I think Marseille gets a bit of a bad reputation but I don’t think it is less safe than Paris. You just need to be careful in both cities about which neighbourhoods you are venturing into and stay vigilant. But overall you should be fine.

Paris vs Marseille: which one is better for couples

Wondering if Paris or Marseille is better for a romantic break? Here are our thoughts.


Paris has of course famously earned itself the nickname of the city of love, and is a very popular spot for honeymoons, and romantic weekend escapes. So it is unsurprising that you will find a number of romantic things to do in this fine city.

It feels like the world is your romantic oyster in Paris, and you can do things like taking a romantic cruise down the Seine, sipping Champagne on the Eiffel Tower, or just having a picnic in one of the many atmospheric parks in the city.

Us in Paris


We visited Marseille as a couple, and we definitely think Marseille is worth visiting for couples. You have so many great places to eat and drink – making it perfect for date nights. There are also some gorgeous areas like Le Panier and Vallon des Auffes that are perfect for exploring as a couple.

Us in Marseille

Paris or Marseille?

I mean you don’t get the nickname the city of love without being a good spot for couples so Paris is our winner.

Paris vs Marseille: which one is better for families

If you are travelling with kids this section is for you. Here we look at whether Paris or Marseille is the better option for family travel.


I know that Paris might not be the first place in Europe you think of visiting with a family, but it is a good one. For one thing there are so many immersive museums in the city, making it the perfect place to admire the beauty and also learn.

Paris also has some really beautiful parks like the Jardin du Luxembourg, which is a great place for picnics, pony rides, and other family friendly activities.

Finally let’s not forget that Paris is home to Disneyland Paris. And if that doesn’t scream family fun, I don’t know what does.


Honestly Marseille doesn’t spring to mind as a top place to bring kids. I mean don’t get me wrong it’s got a number of tourist attractions that are great for kids, including several museums. We also noticed a lot of young families on the Petit train de Marseille and the boat over to the Château d’If so it is absolutely doable.

The beaches especially Plages du Prado are another great family area. That being said if you want a chilled family holiday there are probably better places in the south of France to visit but I wouldn’t discount it either.

As we have mentioned previously Marseille can feel a bit grimy in parts. So honestly I’m not sure if it is somewhere I would necessarily want to bring kids, but each to their own.

Paris or Marseille?

Paris is the better option if you are travelling with kids. It is way more child friendly, and of course you have Disneyland.

Paris vs Marseille: which one is better for solo travel

Are you planning on travelling solo and wondering if Paris or Marseille is the better option? Here are our thoughts.


Paris is a fantastic place to go if you are travelling alone. This is because there is so much to do, it’s easy to get around, and overall it is pretty safe especially in tourist areas.

There are also several day trips or tours you can book onto if you are wanting to explore the city with like minded people.


If you are a solo traveller visiting Marseille as a general rule you should be ok visiting. But there can be times when things feel incredibly intimidating. For example even around the tourist areas you will find high levels of homelessness and people sleeping rough. As a lone traveller this can be scary especially when there are large groups of people.

We also found that near the train station or even near the Old Port you will find large groups of men congregating together. As a lone female traveller I can imagine that this could feel a bit off putting.

Make sure you take precautions. Try to avoid walking alone at night, and get a taxi over public transport – particularly the metro. Stick to well lit tourist friendly areas, and try not to look like a tourist would be our advice.

Paris or Marseille?

If you are planning to travel solo we would recommend Paris over Marseille. Particularly in tourist areas it feels a lot safer.

Paris vs Marseille: which one is cheaper

Money is a huge consideration for booking a trip. So here we look at Paris and Marseille to determine which one is cheaper.


Paris can be expensive, particularly if you are paying to go into a lot of the big tourist attractions. But there are ways to make your trip a bit cheaper.

For starters when it comes to food, you can visit fancy restaurants but you can also purchase delicious bread and pastries from grocery stores or bakeries across the city. These tend to be cheap and incredibly delicious.

For an average trip where you are visiting attractions, eating out, and enjoying some drinks, we would recommend budgeting around €100 per person per day.

Accommodation can be expensive depending on the time of year you visit. For a 4 star hotel you can expect to pay around €140 – €150 per night.


When it comes to European standards we didn’t find Marseille particularly expensive, but it’s not super cheap either. It’s kind of somewhere in the middle which is a bit of a relief because we thought that heading towards the French Riviera would be expensive.

For a mid range holiday which includes eating out, having a few drinks here and there, and visiting the key tourist attractions we would recommend budgeting around €95 – €100 per person per day. This doesn’t include accommodation. For a 4 star hotel in the Old Port area you are looking at around €200 per night.

A meal for 2 at a nice restaurant with wine set us back around €80, whilst a glass of wine on average is around €5. You can do things cheaply too especially if you eat at bakeries and smaller cafes.

Paris or Marseille?

Paris is definitely the more expensive city, but that isn’t to say Marseille is super cheap either. One thing we found was that we paid more for accommodation in Marseille than Paris. I think on average accommodation is probably a bit pricier in Paris overall, but based on the time of year we visited and the area we stayed when visiting Marseille we paid more.

Paris vs Marseille: which one is better for nature

If you love your green spaces you might be wondering if a trip to Paris or Marseille is the better choice.


Paris has a lot of parks and green spaces. Places like Jardin des Luxembourg and Jardin des Tuileries offer a bit of a reprieve from the urban sprawl. But if you really want to get into nature you will need to leave the city and head out to some of the more rural areas. One example is the Champagne region. It’s not just full of vineyards but also hiking trails and woodland to explore.

Jardin des Luxembourg in Paris


Marseille does have some beautiful spots filled with natural beauty. It’s location just west of the French Riviera and it’s proximity to the Mediterranean Sea, makes it a great place to explore beautiful coastline.

Considering Marseille is a city though, you will need to go a bit further out to enjoy some of the proper natural beauty on offer. The Calanques National Park nestled between Marseille and Cassis is a great place for nature lovers. It’s perfect for hiking or swimming with crystal clear water and postcard worthy views.

L’Estaque in Marseille

Paris or Marseille?

Whilst Paris has some beautiful gardens in the centre of the city, Marseille is definitely the better choice. With it’s stunning coastline and proximity to the Calanques National Park it is definitely a great place for nature lovers.

Paris vs Marseille: which one is better in summer

If you are visiting Grance in the summer this section will help you decide if Paris or Marseille is the better destination.


Summer is of course peak travel season in Paris. To the point where over tourism becomes a bit of a problem. Personally we wouldn’t recommend visiting the city in summer due to the sheer volume of visitors. It makes it hard to visit the attractions, and you will find yourself queuing for a lot of your holiday. Accommodation costs skyrocket at this time of year as well. So if you can avoid it we recommend you do.

Temperatures tend to range between 14°C and 26°C although it does get a lot higher with random heatwaves scattered throughout the summer. It’s the perfect time for picnics, relaxing in cafes, or enjoying the many green spaces in the city. This is obviously part of the reason tourist numbers are so high.


Summer in Marseille is also peak tourist season, but don’t expect the same numbers as you would find in Paris.

Summer in Marseille is perfect for visiting the many beaches, partaking in water activities, or just lounging around with a cocktail.

Temperatures range from 23°C – 30°C. It can be warm but it is also quite manageable. Traditionally a lot of locals tend to leave Marseille in the peak summer months for cooler northern climates, but tourists still flock here in the droves. If you are planning to visit in summer just remember to book your accommodation well in advance.

Paris or Marseille?

We honestly would avoid visiting Paris in the summer months. The tourist numbers are honestly quite ridiculous, and you will struggle to find cheap accommodation. You will also end up having to wait in line for various attractions, and honestly it just feels chaotic and stressful. Marseille is by far the better option for summer. Plus you also have the beaches which is a positive.

Paris vs Marseille: which one is better in winter

If you are travelling during the winter months you might be wondering if Paris or Marseille is the better travel choice.


Winter is very much the off season when it comes to travelling to Paris. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. With incredibly high tourist numbers in the summer, winter is a welcome break for those that want a more authentic Parisian experience.

The weather is cool with average lows of 3°C and highs of 8°C. So it’s not ideal for outdoor activities, but it’s perfect for cosying up in cafes, or visiting the many museums in the city. If you are visiting in winter make sure you dress appropriately and be prepared for short and often rainy days.


Marseille is a lot milder in the winter months. Temperatures range between 5°C and 13°C, and it rarely gets below freezing. Like Paris winter is also off season in Marseille, which means lower tourist numbers. It also means cheaper flights and accommodation.

While elements of Marseille are catered to the summer months like the beaches, there is still a lot to do in winter. You can visit the museums, or stroll the gorgeous streets of Le Panier, just make sure you dress warmly.

That being said we would be more inclined to not visit in winter, but that is because for us a huge part of the charm of Marseille was walking along the coastline, and sipping drinks in the sunshine. But it depends what kind of holiday you want to have.

Paris or Marseille?

It’s slightly warmer in Marseille than Paris over the winter months, so if you want milder weather head to Marseille. Otherwise Paris is the better choice during the colder winter months. There are a lot of more indoor activities in the city including visiting the many museums and galleries Paris has to offer.

Paris vs Marseille: which one is for me

Well done for making it to the end of this epic list. And now it is time to decide if Paris or Marseille is the best place to go for your French break. Before we decide here is a final recap.


Paris is one of the most popular places to visit in Europe. This is both good and bad. It can be overcrowded, but it is for good reason. With its incredible cafe culture, stunning landmarks, and mouthwatering food it is easy to see why Paris is a tourist favourite.


Marseille often gets a bad rap but it isn’t always warranted. It’s actually a really beautiful city with so many incredible spots to explore. It’s also a lot less touristy than Paris so if you are looking for something a little different Marseille is a great place to go.

Paris or Marseille?

Paris is of course the capital of France, and is world famous for its culture, food, attractions and more. For this reason, Paris is the more popular city. You could spend weeks in Paris exploring all the neighbourhoods, visiting the museums, and just soaking up all the incredible atmosphere.

We would choose Paris over Marseille in a heartbeat. I mean it’s Paris. Yes it’s overrated at times, and yes it can be crowded but for us it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It also feels a lot safer than Marseille so is better for family and solo travel.

Even though Paris is the obvious choice for a French holiday, we highly recommend that you don’t discount Marseille entirely. We visited Marseille feel nervous, and yes there were times we felt intimidated, but never completely unsafe.

Marseille is a very surprising city to visit. If you have been to Paris before or you want something a bit different Marseille is a fantastic place to visit. It’s has these stunning beaches, arty neighbourhoods, and a lot of history and charm that cannot be ignored.

So if you want the classic French experience visit Paris, but if you want something a bit different, give Marseille a go. Or better yet visit both!

Hopefully this guide to Paris vs Marseille has helped you decide on which city you should visit for your next break. And if you have found it useful you can pin it for later below.

Happy travels!

Paris vs Marseille: Pin this guide for later

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