NICE - FAQ`S
Transatlantic and intercontinental flights land at Nice Cote d`Azur Airport, the main airport in the city, located 3.7 miles southwest of Nice. The airport has two terminals, linked by a free shuttle bus. If you have not booked a private transfer with us then you have a few options. Transportation choices such as Airport Express Buses, local buses, taxis, and Uber make it easy for you to reach your destination.
The Nice Airport Express Bus costs about €6 and you can catch the bus from either terminal. Tickets can be purchased from the bus desk at the airport or from the driver as you board. Bus #98 and #99, which connect the airport with the Riquier bus station and the bus station at Gare de Nice Ville (Central Train Station).
Take Bus #98 `Promenade des Arts,` if you are going to the beach hotels or near Old Nice. It leaves every 20 minutes and goes along the seaside and ends just before the Museum of Modern Art, at the Promenade des Arts stop. From here, to continue to the Port, take the 9, 10, or 81; one of them comes every 7-10 minutes, and your bus ticket gives you a free transfer.
Take Bus #99 `Gare SNCF` if you want to go to the main Train Station. This bus leaves every 30 minutes and takes the seaside route until it turns inland at boulevard Gambetta, and ends at the main Nice-Ville Train Station. The `Aero` bus ticket is good for 74 minutes for transfers on any bus or tram in Nice.
When going back to the airport, you will take Bus #98 or Bus #99. You will have to flag the bus down at the bus stop, otherwise, the bus might not stop, even if you are standing at the bus stop with luggage.
Note: Make sure to watch which stop comes before yours. You will need to know when to push the red button to request a stop (you`ll see `Arret demande` in red above the driver). If no one pushes the red button, the driver will not stop.
You can also take a local bus from the airport by walking out to the Promenade des Anglais and catch a local bus for €1.50. Walk through the parking lot in Terminal 1 to the Promenade des Anglais then look for the bus stop. Take Bus 23 to go to blvd Gambetta and then the train station, or bus 52, 59, or 70 for Promenade hotels, Place Massena, and the Old Town. Your bus ticket is good on buses and trams for an hour and 15 minutes.
Taking a Taxi from the airport is not cheap. A ride from the airport to the city center costs between €35 - €50 and takes about 20 minutes. Before you take a taxi, ask the driver how much it will cost and tell him or her you will need a receipt, and you`ll need to pay in cash. Nice taxi drivers have a reputation in France for overcharging and being intimidating.
To take a taxi from Nice back to the airport (tel. 0033 4 93 13 7878) from a non-French phone and they will speak English, but keep in mind that Nice taxis start charging from whenever they are before coming to get you, so you will already have a charge on the meter before you even get in the car.
An Uber is another option from the airport. An Uber-X will cost about €16 - €20 to Nice city center. No cash exchanges hands, all the driver`s info is on your phone, and the drivers are known to be friendly and professional. You can also opt for Uber`s upgraded higher priced service, the Uber Black Car, which works the same but your driver will be in a suit and tie while driving a luxury sedan. The cost is about €28 - 34, still less than a taxi.How do I get from the train station to my hotel?
Trains arrive at the city`s main station, The Central Station (Gare Nice-Ville), a major national and international transport hub that is situated in the heart of the city. The station is within comfortable walking distance of the beach and city center, Address: Avenue Thiers, BP 1463, 06008 Nice Cedex1. Also, a tourist information office is located just outside the train station.How do I get around Nice using Public Transportation? Is the public transportation system safe?
Each main town on the French Riviera has its own local bus network, for Nice it is Lignes d`Azur, the company in charge of managing the public transport system. It makes available a network which consists of more than 40 bus and tram lines. The network of lines managed by Ligne d’Azur is not confined to the city of Nice, but covers the surroundings of the city in the Maritime Alps department, overlapping, at least in part, the network administrated by the so-called TAM (Transport Alpes-Maritimes). The bus system Ligne d’Azur and TAM are under the same ticket system.
The buses serve all major tourist attractions, but you’ll probably find it quicker to walk if you`ll be exploring the city`s center. Most of the local buses leave from the streets around place Massena. Municipal buses charge about €1.50 for rides within the entire Alpes-Maritime province, even as far as Monaco or Cannes. This ticket can also be used on Nice`s tramway, which connects the Old Town with Gare Nice-Ville and northern Nice. The Tramway serves 21 stations between the northern and eastern suburbs and also passes through the city center. Day passes are available for about €5, and week passes are available for around €15 and can be bought directly onboard buses (although not on trams) or at electronic kiosks around the city. Outside the common zone, Ligne d'Azur passes are not valid and you need to pay the €1.50 fare in cash.
For further information, visit www.lignesdazur.com.How do I call/hail a taxi?
It is not always easy to find a taxi when you need one and taxi drivers sometimes will not respond to being hailed. Taxis usually work from a taxi stand where cabs take passengers in turn. Taxi stands can be found outside the train station, tourist areas, and luxury hotels. If possible, agree on the rate before entering the cab.
Start the conversation by greeting `Bonjour Monsieur.` This is a small thing, but if you don`t say it, the taxi driver may feel disrespected as etiquette is very important to the French people. Ask the driver roughly how much it will cost and tell the driver you will need a receipt; also make sure to check that the meter is correctly set to day or night. If running on a meter, try to sit where you can see it so that you can question the driver when/if the meter `accidentally` goes off. The cab drivers in Nice are known for their attempts to capitalize on tourists` lack of familiarity with the city and with the taxi service rules, which is why it is so important to pay attention to the taxi meter.
For a trip in town, the meter starts around €3, then charge about €2.08/km for daytime Mon-Sat, and about €2.60/kmfor nights, Sundays and French holidays. (1km= 0.6 miles). Under no circumstances should you get into an unlicensed cab.Is Nice a walking city?
Nice is absolutely a walker`s city, and no point of interest downtown is more than a 10 minute walk from place Massena, including the seafront promenade des Anglais, Old Town, and harbor. It is highly recommended to navigate Nice on foot unless you are planning to visit remote areas.I will have a car in Nice, where can I park?
It is not recommended to drive in the city because parking can be a nuisance to find and driving is confusing with their one-way traffic system. If you do decide to rent a car, car rental companies can be found at the airport and within the confines of the city.
Parking can be found on the street for free, but you have to get out of downtown. The closest parking available to the Old Town is on the streets of Mont Boron, and then take the bus 14 back down. Metered street parking is available between 9am - 8pm, the cost is about €1.30 an hour and the meters have a 2 hour maximum. After 8pm and on Sundays, the street parking in Nice is free. You will also find public parking lots offering 1 hour free, but you will be charged for that first hour if you stay one minute too long. The costs of the parking lots vary, but start around €2.50 an hour, with the price decreasing the longer you stay, totaling around €27 for 24 hours.
Nice also offers a transport system, Auto Bleue (www.auto-bleue.org; tel. 09 77 40 64 06). Auto Bleue is an electric vehicle car sharing service, allowing visitors to rent an electric Peugeot car from one of the 50 vehicle stands around Nice for about €45 per day, inclusive of electricity, parking, and insurance. Vehicles may be used via a booking service or without advance booking. The service is offered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We recommend to sign up online in advance.How do I get around by bike?
Nice has its own bike-sharing system, Velo Bleu (www.velobleu.org). You can register at one of Nice`s various bike stands throughout the city, or an easier option is to register online. Fees range from around €1 for a day to about €5 for a week. Alternatively, you can rent bikes and scooters from various bike rental companies throughout the city.Is Nice a dangerous city? Are there certain areas I should avoid?
Nice is generally a very safe place. However, as in any big city, a tourist may be a target for pickpockets and crooks on the city`s streets, especially in and around La Promenade des Anglais. Also, avoid poorly lit streets at night and try not to look `like a tourist.`Can I pay/tip in US Dollars?
The currency of France is the Euro, US dollars are not accepted. In Nice there are plenty of ATMs in and around the city to withdraw cash, and most of the top restaurants, shopping centers, boutiques, guided tour companies, hotels and the like accept credit cards. Also, banks offer the most convenient exchange rates and can be spotted throughout the city. As a rule, banks are open weekdays between 8:30am and 4:30pm, with an approximately 2 hour lunch break in the middle of the day.What is the weather like?
Nice offers a pleasant Mediterranean climate, characterized by mild winter temperatures (averaging about 50F, but never drop below 40F), hot and sunny summer days (average 72F) and consistent rainfall in autumn, though the general rainfall is fairly low. The Riviera averages 300 days of sun per year. Summer months (Jul - Aug), Spring (Apr -June) and Fall (Sept - Nov), the weather is still beautiful, and the coastline is warm enough for both swimming and sunbathing. Winter (Dec – Mar) is also considered to be beautiful, with hardly any tourists and the prices of hotels and restaurants seem to drop during these winter months.I don`t speak French. Will many people speak English?
French is the official language spoken in Nice. However, the staff of most tourism-related venues (hotels, restaurants) speaks English fluently, and plenty of attractions (museums, guided tours) feature a wide openness to the English speaking public. We suggest you get a good English-French guidebook and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, excuse me and numbers 1-10.What is the food like?
In Nice, there is a mix of unique flavors only available in this region - traditional Provençal and Niçoise cuisine (the term coined for the style of food from Nice) isn’t the typical French food. With influences from the Mediterranean Sea, its warm and sunny climate, and proximity to Italy, the offerings in Nice include lots of fresh fish, vegetables, and herbs, along with Italian favorites such as pizza and gelato. What sets Nicoise cuisine apart from traditional French fare is the use of olive oil rather than butter. In fact, the use of olive oil in the French Riviera cuisine is reflected by the fact this region is one of the main suppliers of olive oil in France.
Some favorite food items, and regional dishes of the area you`ll want to be sure to try: Socca, a popular street food of chickpea pancake that is served hot and crispy. The ubiquitous Nicoise salad, Nice`s big claim to fame, consisting of shallots, anchovies, vinaigrette, red peppers, Dijon and other fresh vegetables. Another must try includes the Pissaladier, a tart of caramelized onions and the Tourte de Blettes, a delicious tart made with Swiss chard, raisins and pine nuts. And another internationally famed dish that originated in Nice, Ratatouille, a mix of vegetables and herbs often served as a side dish.
Tip: In case you want to eat around 4 to 6 pm, look for a restaurant in advance! Some spots in the city center don`t stop their service, but most of the places do. Alternatively, you can eat fast food or sandwiches as these types of places are always open.What are the best areas for shopping?
Nice offers many charming shops on almost every street. `Le Vieux Nice,` the Old Town is a great area for shopping, more interesting than the modern city center. The Cours Seleya is lined with some of the most famous markets in the region. The main market here sells food (fruit, vegetables, cheeses, spices, olives, and flowers) on Tuesdays to Sunday and antiques and other various items on Mondays. Some local items to look out for: glass earrings hand made in Cannes and brightly colored leather bags and purses hand-stitched in Nice.
Shopping can be found all over Old Town when wandering around the narrow streets. Fashionable French labels can be found around rue Massena and avenue Magenta, including ruede Verdun, rue Paradis, and rue Alphonse Karr. Rue Delille and rue Defly, just past the MAMC modern art gallery offering many shops for books, contemporary art, and comic books. Rue de la Boucherie and Rue du March offer dozens of tiny shops on these pedestrian roads selling clothes, jewelry, leather, shoes, etc. all fairly priced.
Nice also has an antique quarter on the western side of Nice Port where hundreds of antiquaries line the streets of rue Foresta, rue Segurane, and rue Antoine Gautier. Another less expensive option for antique stores is Depot Ventes, warehouses stocked with house clearance goodies.
In the City Center, shops are usually open Monday to Saturday from about 10 am to 7 pm, some will close for lunch. Nearly all shops are closed on Sunday. The Old Town will have shops open for longer hours throughout the summer months and some will be open on a Sunday as well.
Avenue Jean Medcin runs the north-south length of the modern center and is the main shopping street in Nice. The tram line runs right along the center of the road and cars are not allowed on certain sections. There is a selection of shops and stands lining the road selling sneakers, shoes, clothes, jewelry, luggage, various banks and cafes. The high quality French department store, Galeries Lafayette, is close to Place Massena, and worth a browse. Further along avenue Jean Medecin is a small indoor shopping mall, Nice Etoile.
Just out of town there is a large indoor mall, Cap3000 in St Laurent du Var located just west of Nice airport. The mall has two floors of the usual chain stores and French chains are located here.
Note: Value-added tax (VAT) rate is currently 20% in France for standard goods. A reduced rate of 10% applies to restaurants, transport, and certain medical drugs. And a 5.5% tax applies to food, water and non- alcoholic beverages, books, some entertainment events and some domestic personal services.What do I need to know before going to the beach in Nice?
Nearly all the beaches in Nice stretch along the sweep of the bay between Rauba Capau and the airport at the other end of the Promenade des Anglais. Restaurants and boat rental shops can be found all along the coastline. There are both public and private beach options to choose from. There are about 15 private beaches separated by the public beaches. You are allowed to walk along the length of the bay including the private beaches if you remain close to the sea. The biggest hurdle to overcome is the pebbles. Though the pebbles kind of rule out the long walks on the beach there is always the Promenade des Anglais, which is the beachside promenade that runs 5km along the sea.
If you plan on going to the public beaches we recommend bringing a thick towel to lie on due to the rocky beaches. You will also want to make sure to wear sandals or water shoes if you have sensitive feet. The rocks aren’t rough or jagged, but they are pretty big. The vast majority of Nice`s coastline is taken up by public beaches, open all year, all the time and free to use. Some of the public beaches offer facilities, but not all.
The 15 private beaches are easily recognized by their colorful umbrellas. Along with the beach comes a restaurant-bar where you can eat lunch, have a cocktail, and in some cases have breakfast or dinner. These beaches offer lounge chairs, beach umbrellas and mats to protect your feet from the stones. Prices vary substantially, tending to be cheaper the further you go from the center of town. Styles are different as some beaches clearly cater to families while others go for the young and stylish. Private beaches are open in beach season and closed the rest of the year (the exact opening dates are heavily dependent on the weather, usually mid-April through September). During the season, the beaches are open to their customers from around 9 am - 6 pm daily.What should I do if I need medical assistance or need to go to the hospital?
In an Emergency dial 112
To reach specific service, call 15 for a medical emergency, 17 to report a break in, petty theft, 18 for fire.
To find an English speaking doctor dial 00 33 4 93 26 12 70 from a foreign cell phone
Doctors and Hospitals - Hopital Saint-Roch, 5 rue Pierre Devoluy (www.chu-nice.fr)