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The biggest cities in France, 2024 ranking - Blog Voyage - Découvrir Ensemble

The biggest cities in France, 2024 ranking

Last update : 23 April 2024
Discover the ranking of the biggest cities in France 2024 with this article. There are two rankings, one by number of residents and the other by surface area. Enjoy your reading!

We start this article with a fun fact: did you know that France had a population of 67.8 million on January 1, 2022? That makes it one of the most populous countries in Europe, and one of the most populous in the world!  This population is distributed across the country’s different regions, with a greater concentration in urban areas, particularly in the Paris region. To produce this ranking of France’s cities we based ourselves on the 2021 population census for each of them.

France’s 10 biggest cities at a glance

Here are the 10 largest cities in France by number of residents in order from biggest to smallest. If you’d like more information on the number of residents or this selection by surface area, feel free to browse our article. 

1. Paris
2. Marseille
3. Lyon
4. Toulouse
5. Nice
6. Nantes
7. Montpellier
8. Strasbourg
9. Bordeaux
10. Lille


France’s 10 biggest cities by population

1. Paris with 2.175 million residents,
first place in the ranking of France’s 10 biggest cities

Unsurprisingly, Paris takes first place in this ranking of France’s 10 biggest cities, with over 2 million residents. The capital boasts a wealth of assets, including monuments, museums, bars and restaurants… The city is pleasant to live in every day, even if that’s subjective. All right, we have to admit that the weather could be a little nicer! 😂

We’re both Parisians, and a little more sunshine on a daily basis would be welcome! Even though Paris is France’s most populous city, its population is down on the 2020 census.

Paris plus grandes villes de France

2. Marseille with 873,000 residents,
second place on the podium of France’s 10 biggest cities

Marseille, la citée phocéenne as it’s known, is France’s second most populous city after Paris, and has much better weather to boot! 😂 We’ve had several opportunities to discover Marseille and its famous calanques and it’s a destination we love. There’s so much to discover here, the old Marseille (the panier district), the Vieux Port, the MUCEM Museum, the pretty Vallon des Auffres or Les Goudes. If you’d like to discover Marseille soon, we suggest you read our full article below. This will enable you to discover our must-sees and good addresses in France’s second biggest city.

Marseille plus grandes villes de France

3. Lyon with 537,000 residents,
third place on the podium of France’s 10 biggest cities

Lyon is in last place on the podium of France’s 10 biggest cities. Less than 2 hours by train from Paris, Lyon is the perfect place to spend a weekend. It was even voted “Best weekend destination” in 2016! Head for Place Bellecour, Place des Terreaux and the quays of the Saône, which we loved strolling along. To finish your day in style, stroll through Vieux Lyon and discover the traboules, hidden passages full of charm.

Lyon plus grandes villes de France

4. Toulouse with 502,000 residents

Ah… Toulouse! That’s the famous city we were telling you about in the introduction to this article. And yes, we haven’t yet had the chance to discover the pink city. Yet it ranks 4th among France’s largest cities! To tell you the truth, writing this top 10 list of France’s biggest cities has made us realize that we absolutely must go and discover it. If you have any tips or good addresses to help us prepare for our trip, please don’t hesitate to share them with us on our Instagram account. Note that the city of Toulouse has only 30,000 fewer residents than Lyon and is likely to take 3rd place in the next census. Indeed, even if Lyon continues to attract more residents, Toulouse’s population is growing faster than Lyon’s. We’ll keep an eye on this in the next census. Watch this space in the next census!


5. Nice with 338,000 residents,
fifth place among France’s 10 biggest cities

We’re already halfway through our list of France’s biggest cities, and Nice is in 5th place. Nice is one of our favorite cities on the Côte d’Azur. This large city seduced us with its colorful architecture and gentle way of life. You’ll feel the dolce vita as you stroll along the Promenade des Anglais, overlooking the beaches and the many striped parasols. If you have time, climb up to the Colline du Chateau for an exceptional view!


6. Nantes with 325,000 residents

Nantes is a must-see city in the Pays de la Loire region. During your visit, you’ll have the opportunity to follow the green line to discover the city’s key points. From the Passage Pommeraye to the Buren rings and the Ile aux Machines, your visit to Nantes will be rich in discovery! It’s been a while since we’ve been back to Nantes, and we’ll gladly return.


7. Montpellier with 300,000 residents

We used to vacation in Sète, a small seaside town just 30 minutes from Montpellier. So we know Montpellier pretty well, and it’s a city we really appreciate for its gentle way of life. Montpellier has everything going for it, and we fully understand why it’s in the top 10 biggest cities in France.


8. Strasbourg with 286,000 residents

Strasbourg is a city we love to discover in winter! We’re sure to fall in love with the Petite France district. During your visit to the city, we also recommend a trip to Colmar. At the Christmas market, it’s bound to be exceptional! If you want to know more about Strasbourg and Colmar we let you discover our dedicated article.


9. Bordeaux with 264,000 residents,
second-to-last place among France’s 10 biggest cities

This pretty city in southwest France is well worth a visit! At the heart of an incredible wine-growing region, it’s renowned for its cathedral, its museums, its proximity to the Dune du Pilat and its gentle way of life. Between city and nature,  this city on the banks of the Garonne and its historic heritage is sure to seduce you for a weekend, or more! 😍


10. Lille with 236,000 residents,
last place among France’s 10 biggest cities

Lille closes the list of France’s 10 biggest cities. Located just 1 hour from Paris, Lille is a very pretty destination to discover. We really appreciated the green spaces and the breath of fresh air Lille has to offer. Already elected European Capital of Culture in 2004, Lille is renowned for its welcoming living environment and pretty buildings.

Lille plus grandes villes de France

Ranking of French cities by number of residents

For those interested, we’ve added below a table detailing France’s 50 biggest cities by population. This table complements our ranking of the 10 biggest cities in France. We hope you find our ranking of France’s cities useful.


Ranking City Number of residents
1 Paris 2,175,000
2 Marseille 873,000
3 Lyon 537,000
4 Toulouse 502,000
5 Nice 338 000
6 Nantes 325,000
7 Montpellier 300,000
8 Strasbourg 286,000
9 Bordeaux 264 000
10 Lille 236,000
11 Rennes 225,000
12 Toulon 180,000
13 Reims 179 000
14 Saint-Étienne 170,000
15 Le Havre 165,000
16 Dijon 160,000
17 Grenoble 158 000
18 Angers 157 000
19 Villeurbanne 156,000
20 Saint-Denis 154,000
21 Nîmes 148 000
22 Aix-en-Provence 147 000
23 Clermont-Ferrand 147,000
24 Le Mans 145,000
25 Brest 139 000
26 Tours 137,000
27 Amiens 133,000
28 Annecy 131,000
29 Limoges 129 000
30 Metz 120 000
31 Boulogne-Billancourt  119 000
32 Perpignan 119,000
33 Besançon 119,000
34 Orléans 116,000
35 Rouen 114 000
36 Saint-Denis 113,000
37 Montreuil 111,000
38 Caen 108 000
39 Argenteuil 107,000
40 Mulhouse 106,000
41 Saint-Paul 105,000
42 Nancy 104 000
43 Tourcoing 99,000
44 Roubaix 98,000
45 Nanterre 97,000
46 Vitry-sur-Seine 96,000
47 Créteil 92,000
48 Avignon 90 000
49 Poitiers 89,000
50 Aubervilliers 89,000
plus grandes villes france habitants paris

The ranking of French cities by surface area

France’s biggest city by area is Arles, located in the Bouches-du-Rhône department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. Its total surface area is approximately 759.98 km². To give you an idea, the second-largest city in France by area is Marseille with around 240km².

Ranking City Area (km²)
1 Arles 759.98
2 Marseille 241.28
3 Aix-en-Provence 186.08
4 Haguenau 182.59
5 La Teste de Buch 180.20
6 Narbonne 172.96
7 Milau 168.23
8 Nîmes 161.85
9 Montauban 135.17
10 Hyères 132.28
11 Toulouse 118.30
12 Istres 113.73
13 Gap 110.43
14 Paris 105.40
15 Fréjus 102.27
16 Castres 98.17
17 Béziers 95.48
18 Saint Raphaël 89.59
19 La Roche sur Yon 87.52
20 Saint Médard en Jalles 85.28
21 Quimper 84.45
22 Ajaccio 82.03
23 Villeneuve sur Lot 81.32
24 Saint Étienne 79.97
25 Strasbourg 78.26
26 Limoges 77.45
27 Vierzon 74.50
28 Orange 74.20
29 Auch 72.48
30 Nice 71.92
31 Martigues 71.44
32 Salon de Provence 70.3
33 Bourges 68.74
34 Niort 68.20
35 Colmar 66.57
36 Saumur 66.35
37 Nantes 65.19
38 Carcassonne 65.08
39 Besançon 65.05
40 Avignon 64.78
41 Cahors 64.72
42 Bourgoin Jallieu 64.37
43 Épinal 59.24
44 Muret 57.84
45 Montpellier 56.88
46 Manosque 56.73
47 Bergerac 56.10
48 Chaumont 55.26
49 Aubagne 54.90
50 Saint Chamond 54.88
plus grandes villes france superficie Arles
Thanks for reading!

We hope our travel blog’s tips and good addresses will help you plan your stay in one of France’s biggest cities!

You can also follow our daily adventures on Instagram 🙂
Clem & Alex

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