What is your favorite French city (other than Paris)?
I recently finished a 3-month stay in Nice, France, which was my first time in France. During that time I got the chance to visit several other French cities (Marseille, Montpellier, Aix, Paris, Lille, etc.). It has been less than a week since I've been back in the USA and already I am thinking about my next trip to France!
Anyway, I am curious about the favorite cities of others. If your favorite is Paris, then please list your 2nd favorite as well.
As for myself, while I enjoyed my time in the big southern cities like Nice, Marseille, and Montpellier, I left feeling that maybe they were a bit culturally lacking compared to the northern cities I visited. Obviously it is tough to argue with near perfect weather, especially in the Winter, but I would have to say that Paris, followed by Lille were my favorites.
Lille was memorable for me b/c the Grand'Place looked especially nice with the Christmas markets being set up and actually made me catch my breath at how picturesque it was. I absolutely love the red-brick with gold trim architecture that is in abundance there (I think it is Flanders-inspired). I also like the fact that the city has a younger population due to the many universities there and still feels quite lively at midnight or later. Something I can appreciate as a single, 31-year old who likes the occasional late night wine or beer.
I visited 5 of the top 10 largest French cities this time (Paris, Marseille, Nice, Lille, Montpellier) and I'm hoping to hit the other 5 (Lyon, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Strasbourg, Nantes) on my next trip.
Paris is indeed amazing. I loved Lyon, Carcassonne, Perpignan and Arles. But I only visited the Southern half of France (besides Paris), so I couldn't say if I'd like the Northern cities more than what I've seen so far. I'd really like to visit the Brittany, Normandy, North-Pas-de-Calais and Alsace regions next time I go. Apparently Grasse is nice too.