Here at Walletwyse we believe it's always worthwhile to consider the financial impact of taking the road less travelled. Evaluating value-driven alternatives to the mainstream option can cut costs while opening you up to new possibilities, whether you're considering cars, investment strategies or travel destinations.
For this Destination Wyse Award, we weighed location, cultural appeal and cost to select three French cities that offer the best bang for your buck, even if they don't take up the most space in your guidebook. Index scores are calculated relative to the same category in the capital, Paris. All price estimates are for two adults.
Located about an hour from the coast, on the banks of the picturesque Loure river, Nantes is the six largest city in France. After hearing some great things about affordability and charm, we crunched the numbers and decided it deserved a Wyse Honorable Mention (sorry, no index data for Nantes yet). Short-term apartments are cheap: averaging just $40-60 per night, although you can easily spend double that on fine dining (this is France, after all). For longer-term stays, Nantes' incredible network of public parks, cemeteries & gardens allow for a multitude of low-cost outings.
With a stunning waterfront, standard-setting Riviera architecture and town squares that are somehow intimate and grand at the same time, Nice is too nice of a destination (see what we did there?) to pass up for a Wyse Award. However, Nice is also the costliest city on our list. You'll pay less for accommodations than you would in Paris, but the cost of eating out might actually be higher. Save a bundle by staying in an Airbnb and cooking your own meals (approximately $100-150 / day total for two adults). Blow the savings at a swanky waterfront bar, where a glass of wine may cost around $12.
Located about two hours outside of Paris, and just a few minutes from the border with Belgium, Lille's appeal (*groan*) is its unique blend of cultural styles and regional cousines. Shopping at its world-renown Braderie (market) can easily reduce your food bill to less than $20 a day for some of the best market-fare the region has to offer, while accommodations in a uniquely Flemish-style Airbnb should only cost $80-100 per night.
Paris may be France's best-known city, but this Unesco world-heritage city is probably its most liveable. It can easily hold its own in terms of culinary & cultural offerings (about $100 / day for sit-down meals), while its proximity to some of the most charming towns in the world make it an ideal base for venturing out (about $150 per daytrip with travel & food). Tack on an additional $25-30 per person for a guided tour.