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Top 5 Affordable Destinations In France To Visit Instead Of Paris

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Paris is a bucket list destination for many travelers, but between exorbitant prices, high crowds, and recent strikes and civil unrest across the city, it may not be the best place to go right now.

Luckily, there's much more to see in France than just Paris.

Woman on a train watching the Eiffel Tower

A recent report has highlighted the best destinations in France that are cheaper than Paris that offer an underrated alternative for your visit to France.

Here are the best affordable destinations in France to visit instead of Paris:

1. Lyon

Lyon is one of the most underrated cities in France that is a great alternative to Paris. Located about 2.5 hours south of Paris by train, this city was founded 2,000 years ago by the Romans and is packed with history and culture.

Some of the best things to do in Lyon include exploring Vieux Lyon, the historic quarter of the city, wandering through the traboules (covered passageways), and taking a tram up to visit the magnificent Fourvière Basilica.

For history buffs, you won't want to miss the ruins of the Ancient Theatre of Fourvière or the Gallo-Roman Museum of Lyon-Fourvière.

Lyon. Cityscape image of Lyon, France during sunset.

2. Marseille

The second-largest city in France after Paris, Marseille is a great place to base yourself for a trip around the South of France if you want to save money.

You'll find that this city is much more affordable than Paris or popular tourist destinations along the French Riviera, like Nice, Antibes, Cannes, and Saint-Tropez.

However, all of these destinations are still within day trip distance, along with other stunning places in the South of France like Calanques National Park and Aix-en-Provence, which is famous for its lavender blooms in the summer.

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Marseille France

3. Nantes

Nantes is a city located about 2.5 hours southwest of Paris by train. It's much more affordable than Paris and offers visitors many things to do.

From exploring the beautiful Château des Ducs de Bretagne to cycling along the greenways on the banks of the Loire River, Nantes is a highly underrated destination in France that is worth a visit.

You can also take a day trip to the famous Mont St-Michel on the Normandy coast, less than 2.5 hours north of Nantes.

Nantes France

4. Corsica

Corsica has long been a popular summer getaway for the French, but it flies under the radar for most American travelers. This island has a unique French-Italian culture owing to its location between the two countries and close to the Italian island of Sardinia.

You can find more affordable prices than the French Riviera in Corsica but still enjoy beautiful beaches and quaint coastal towns.

Corsica is also a great vacation destination for those who love the outdoors and hiking, with a diverse landscape including many craggy peaks and dramatic coastal paths.

Corsica France

5. Brittany

Brittany is a region of France located to the west of Paris. It's situated on a peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean and is home to resort towns like Saint-Malo and Dinard, which are popular summer vacation spots for Parisians.

Located three to four hours from Paris by train, Brittany is home to scenic coastlines, beautiful chateaus, and historic cities like Rennes and Quimper. You'll find that prices are more affordable than you might expect, especially for fresh and delicious seafood.

Saint Malo France

More Affordable French Destinations

According to Euronews, these four other destinations are also great affordable options for your next vacation to France:

  • Basque Country: Miles of stunning coastline close to Spain
  • Annecy: Charming and colorful lakeside town
  • Arles: A Mediterranean gem filled with ancient Roman ruins
  • Strasbourg: German-influenced city famous for its Christmas markets
Strasbourg France Christmas Market

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Kayser Oldston

Wednesday 29th of March 2023

Marseille is the worst city in France. Unsafe, dirty, extremely gritty. Aix en provence all the way.


Monday 3rd of April 2023

@Kayser Oldston, Thank you for clearlity

Pamela Shields

Tuesday 28th of March 2023

What about Amboise on the Loire which has not one, not two but three fabulous chateaux? One is where Leonardo da Vinci lived out his life, one is where he is buried the other has the first orangery in France. 300 other fairy tale chateaux are within one hour's drive.Chenonceau is 15 minutes.Amboise knocks Paris into a cocked hat.


Monday 27th of March 2023

Dont go to marseille. City is filled with thieves on every step. Stay away. Aix en provance is better option.


Monday 27th of March 2023

Hey, I am french, I want to add 2 informations for people who want to come to visit France. First, Nantes is not a very safe place to be anymore. This city has insecurity issues and it may be a better option to go somewhere else. Also, in Corsica, it's good to know that wild camping is a really bad idea because tourists (even french tourists from metropolitan) are not always welcome, particulary if they try to do wild camping. Some Corsicans can be aggressive.