There is a tourist train that takes people around the city to see various sights. Many people laugh at the train, but it is a good way for people to get acquainted with the city before venturing out on their own.
The train departs on the "Promenade des Anglais". (on the sea front), across from the "Jardin Albert 1er". Cost for an adult ticket is $6.5 EU.
Nice Gare Ville SNCF , information section, reservations and bookings.
(Cue music). " You are about to enter The Twighlight Zone , the space between light and shade, between today and tomorrow, the French National Railways. Anything can happen in the next thirty minutes." And if you're very lucky, something might...
Look around you: thirty seats, thirty or so forlorn lost souls in Limbo, waiting silently for service, the undead, waiting for their number to come up. The clock ticks by. The number 103 blinks impassively in red neon on the display. No-one seems to be being served. You look at your ticket: 136. Number 103 left long ago, in despair. After a minute, 104 lights up. Two window lights go out as the five desks manned drop to three as staff go for their tea break. An old lady comes forward clutching ticket 104, a litany of problems follow that will occupy one desk for the next ten minutes.
There are ticket numbers displayed above the windows, but no ticket roll to get a number, as you'd find in any supermarket. How do you get a number to join the queue?. You must queue at the information desk. Nothing tells you that. But if you ask, the young man will solemnly issue with a ticket number. Now join the undead, sit, and wait.
They tell you you must allow at least twenty minutes to make a reservation. It took nearly forty minutes to come round to my number. Many times a number came up and the ticket holder had long since given up and left. A minute passes, and rollover, the next number, to the indifference of the staff. Good job I was in no hurry, I wanted to book the following days travel through Italy, for which "reservation obligatoire". I emerged forty minutes later clutching my booking, for some reason, feeling strangely grateful.
It is not difficult to get around in Nice by bus, as long as you know where you are going to and what bus to take.
If you are good at deciphering bus network maps, check (Acrobat Viewer required for viewing this page):
You can get buses itineraries and schedule at the Tourist Offices and Ligne d'Azur Offices . Each bus stop displays all the bus lines itineraries and schedules (stopping at the bus stop in question, bien sûr) also all their fare rates.
Sometimes on the same street or avenue there are almost 2 stops beside each other, however, one bus will only stop in one of the stops, so check the bus lines numbers displayed on the stop.
The Ins and Outs of Bus Travel on the French Riviera Volume 2, updated May 2011. Bus Spotters Guide: Route 200 Nice - Cannes
Not a very catchy title for a tip is it? But there are details you need to know, as nothing here stands still. Since they dropped the fare to a flat one euro instead of around eight euro by train the huge popularity of this bus has taken its toll.
TIP ONE "Does the bus stop here?"
All along the main roads heading out of Nice towards Cannes or Menton you will see TAM bus stops, declaring the bus routes that stop there. 100, 200, 400 81, whatever. The bus drivers have decided that if they are fairly full (not necessarily completely full), and they don't feel like stopping, they will simply drive past stops regardless of people waiting, and stop only where a passenger inside the bus needs to get off.
This can happen, as it did to us the other week, immediately after departing the Nice Gare Routiere. The 200 bus had filled to standing room before it had even left the bus station, so the driver took an unscheduled shortcut to the Promenade, and sailed past all bus stops without stopping, until the airport, where a load of cheapskate French air travellers boarded complete with bulky suitcases for which there is no storage. The driver then managed to avoid stopping again until virtually at Antibes, passing maybe twenty to thirty stops with folk waiting with a wagging finger "Non!" For us this had the unexpected bonus of being the fastest journey to Cannes ever, despite having to stand all the way.
For this reason, and in order to have a fighting chance of a seat, if at all possible it is best to start your journey from the bus station, even if it means walking the extra mile. Its worth it.
TIP TWO: Time Travel
Do not rely on the TAM Route 200 (Cannes - Nice) or indeed any road transport to get you to Nice airport from Cannes to time. Timetables are works of fiction. The traffic build up in the Villeneuve Loubet area is reaching toxic proportions, as summer traffic mixes with shoppers heading for the out-of-town superstores, and road toll-dodgers transfer from the A8 toll road to the toll-free RN7. As tempting as that one euro fare may seem, it can cause extreme stress. A Saturday trip recently set a new slow record of two and a half hours from Cannes to Nice, most of that spent inching along between Antibes and Villeneuve Loubet Marina. We were in no hurry but there were some who were bound for the airport.
To get to the airport from Cannes, take the Airport Express coach (14 euro), or the train to Nice St Augustin (5 euro) and walk. In any event leave a wide margin of time for safety.
TIP THREE: Beware "Edgehogs"
Whilst some people instinctively sit in the window seat, in France it is customary - if you want both seats for yourself - to take the aisle seat and place your luggage/ coat/shopping on the window seat. The elderly are very fond of the "edgehog" tactic. Seats are precious. If the spare seat is blocked, smile sweetly stand your ground, and demand access.
When we stayed in Nice, we took the chance to travel to Monaco by train, as it is a 20min-ride only.
If you do so too, don't try to catch a train on rush-hours. The signs say: "Heavy overcrowding and heavy delay possible" - and yes, it is just like that. Trains delayed up to 1hr, angry people and sweat all over the place. Monaco looks better in the evening anyway, with all the glittering - take a train on noon and the last train home.
My "warnings and dangers" highlights the dire state of
French public (in)conveniences.
National pride at stake, having lost the Olympics, France intends to show the world a clean pair of, er, cheeks.Exasperating contradictory people they are, the French have installed the ultimate super-loos, in Nice Airport.
Far from the expected missing loo seat and absence of paper, I was pleasantly suprised. All seemed in place - but what followed was pure science fiction. After use, a robot arm emerges from the wall and clamps down onto the loo-seat ,kerchunk, click . I watched in amazement as the O-ring shaped seat silently revolved 360 degrees, a micro-spray cleaning and disinfecting everything in its path, zzzzkerchunk, done. Germs be afraid, very afraid. A high pressure powerflush double blast then followed, ensuring everything porcelain was gleaming white and pristine. Crikey, what next? Is a laser beam going to mistake me for a germ and - pppfftzzz - I'm toast?
As you approach the handbasin, "the tap knows you are there". Move your hands towards water and water flows, perfect temperature. Take your hand away, it stops. Military grade precision movement sensors.
I emerged into the terminal waiting area, cleansed, refreshed, and not a little shocked, . Revenge for Waterloo: Watercloset! The French have really excelled themselves this time. Merde!
People Watching Factor 0. (Could get you arrested)
People often ask if its possible to catch a train to/ from the airport, and the answer is "yes, but"
The main railway line between Menton and Cannes has a stop "Nice, St Augustin" ( Bd. Edouard Grinda) which is officially the Nice airport stop. However its near the airport, not at the airport, and not very near at that. Experienced local travellers use it because it avoids the risk of traffic snarl ups that occasionally happen between Antibes and Nice, and they know the route to Terminal one via subways, road crossings and around the large Arenas office blocks. Its also the best way to access stops towards Italy past Nice, such as Villefranche and Beaulieu
From Terminal 1 :
- Exit at arrivals, Gate A1.
- Cross along the pedestrian way towards "Arénas", under the RN98 bridge (Passage de la Caravelle).
- Cross Av. Lindbergh and turn left (Lycée hôtelier Paul Augier).
- Turn right (Bd. René Cassin), to the traffic light.
- Cross to the left, under the SNCF railway bridge (Route de Grenoble), then turn right (Av. Edouard Grinda).
Its a very small station about a half mile 15 minute walk from Terminal One, as long as you don't get lost - the signposting is non-existent. The station is often deserted - when not staffed you must buy tickets from machines which require coins and not notes, so make sure you have picked up some change at the airport as there are no shops at the station. If your flight is arriving at Terminal Two (EasyJet) , take the free shuttle to Terminal One and walk from there - it's not practical to walk from Terminal Two to the station.
Also you must ensure your train is of the stopping at all stations when going to the airport this way - not all trains out of Nice and Cannes stop at St Augustin.
That said, its not too difficult a connection provided you know what to expect
The local Lignes d'Azur stopping bus route 23 ( early am until around 21:00, every ten or so minutes) from Terminal One to Nice SNCF (and beyond) has added a stop for Nice St Augustin. brings you within 50 yards of the Nice-bound platform. Alternatively, take the free navette From T1 to Lycee Hotelier and you will see the railway line in front of you - follow it towards Nice 500 yards and you will see the station.
Don't think of asking a taxi to take you there. Taxi drivers pay a huge amount for a license to operate from the airport, and depend on fares to Nice, Cannes Monaco or even St Tropez for a living. They won't give up their place in the taxi queue for a short local trip.
If you go to Nice by air you must [unless you are a real cheapskate and use the No 23 Bus] pay 4 Euros to get into town on the 98 or 99 buses - both of which are frequent from both T1 and T2. It's also 4 euros back.You can use that ticket on day one and your new 4 Euro ticket on your last day for as many journeys as you like on those days.
If you are going to make more than 5 journeys in the intervening period [if you are in Nice for 7 days or less ] you are better buying a 7 day pass at the outset for 15 Euros which gives you unlimited travel on all buses and which you can buy outside exit gate AO at Nice Airport.The question is ... how many times will you use the bus in - between ? If, say , you are there for 4 days, [3 nights] and on days 2 and 3 you make more than 5 trips the 7 day pass is better.Do pre plan by checking the excellent www.lignecotedazur.com site.The bus service finishes early so you need to also check the Noctanbus schedules which aren't too bad .. once you've mastered them
There are 3 train stations in Nice: Riquier, Nice Ville (main one and also known as Gare Thiers) and Saint Augustin. If you are staying in the Port area, Riquier may be the nearest one. Saint Augustin is the nearest one from the airport.
- The Regional Train web site only displays trains timetables. For prices, please visit the SNCF web site
- If you are taking a local train (TER), there is no need to book in advance. However, when waiting for your train, make sure it isn't a Teoz/Corail or TGV, otherwise, an advance booking is required to get on those trains. If you are caught on one of those trains with a local train ticket, you will probably get a fine (and pay on spot - credit cards are accepted).
- If you're visiting the French Riviera in the summer and staying in Nice, but planning on going (and returning on the same day) to Cannes and another city by train, I strongly advise you to buy a ZOU ! PASS (previously known as"Pass Isabelle" - it's a one-day pass with unlimited travel) for 15 Euros. There is also a pass for families "Pass Isabelle Famille" (2 adults + 2 children under 16 years old) for 35 Euros.
Pass Isabelle (solo traveller)
There's also a Pass Isabelle for family (2 adults + 2 kids under 16 years old), one-day pass is 35 € and/or a 3-day pass for 80 €.
You can buy Pass Isabelle at train stations, from the SNCF website and SNCF shops.
We wanted to head over to Monaco for the day. Quite simply, the easiest and cheapest way to do this is to catch the #100 bus heading towards Menton (a town in France on the other side of Monaco). We had a little difficulty finding the bus stop at first since our guide book had not figured in the massive construction project nearby and the rerouting of the buses.
But we finally found the stop to pick up the #100 bus – and we wanted to start at the first stop so that we could get a seat on the right side of the bus so we could enjoy the view as we made the journey. The bus starts at Place Garibaldi, just off the square on Rue Catherine Sequrane. The first bus stop you come to on this road off the square is the one.
The bus comes approximately every 15 minutes and you cannot beat the price - €1 per person. You buy your ticket from the driver – have exact change to speed things up and tell the driver “Monaco.” The total trip took about 45 minutes as it winds along the coast through the small villages. Once you arrive in Monaco, there are three stops to choose from. We opted to get off at the first stop in Monaco (Place d’Armes) so we could start our tour of Monaco at the Palace.
Later after walking the entire country of Monaco (less than a mile wide), we caught our return #100 bus (direction Nice) up the hill near the Monte Carlo casino. Again it was €1 and we took it all the way back to the Place Garibaldi.
This is definitely one of the best deals in the French Riviera!
Another way to get around and see the sites along the Riviera is to book a tour. We used Azur Connection, which provided a comfortable van with a knowledgeable driver. Since this was our first time along the Cote D'Azur, it was a great way to get an overview of the sites and towns.
There are many different tours to choose from. Ours was an all day tour that took us from Cannes to Monte Carlo; and included Antibes, St Paul de Vence, Biot, Nice, Villafranche Sur Mer and Eze. The price was about $70 EU.
The public transport system is very dense and provides connections to all parts of the city. For further information on the buses and their schedules, please check here. If you need any help figuring out the site, please e-mail me and I'll be glad to help you.
Bus Network Map (Acrobat Reader required to view this)
Tickets sold onboard buses :
• 1 Voyage Solo (single one-way ticket with a transfer possibility within 74 minutes) : 1€50
• Pass 1 jour (one day pass): 5Euros (unlimited travel for one day in the entire bus network, except the airport lines 98 and 99). Validate your pass everytime you get on the bus. Do not bend your pass because they won't change it if you have any problems with your pass)
Don't forget to validate your ticket when you get inside the bus. The ticket machine is near the bus driver. Some tram stations have ticket machines at the station, otherwise they are found near the tram doors.
Tickets available on ticket machines
Tickets sold in the Ligne D'Azur shops.
IMPORTANT: No bus services on May 1st.
We made extensive use of the Ligne d’Azur buses during our 5 day visit to Nice and the French Riviera in May 2009.
The great thing about the buses is that fares are 1 Euro per journey regardless of distance travelled. It doesn’t matter if you’re travelling 100m to the next stop or if you’re travelling all the way to Cannes or Menton (both over an hour from Nice), you still pay 1 Euro.
The two bus routes that we found most useful were:
Travelling east from Nice to Menton, via Villefranche-sur-Mer, Beaulieu-sur-Mer, Eze-sur-Mer and Monaco.
Approximate journey times:
Nice – Villefranche-sur-Mer = 15 minutes
Nice – Monaco = 45 minutes
Nice – Menton = 1 hour 15 minutes
Travelling west from Nice to Cannes, via Cagnes-sur-Mer and Antibes.
Approximate journey time:
Nice – Cannes = 1 hour 30 minutes.
Both buses run approximately every 15 minutes between 6am and 8pm, and less frequently after 8pm.
Nice bus station is located just a few minutes walk inland from the Cours Saleya market in the old town area.
Tickets are purchased from the driver when boarding the bus. On some occasions the driver gave us a paper receipt and on other occasions we were given a card which needed to be validated in a machine next to the driver.
Detailed routes and timetables can be found on the excellent Ligne d’Azur website HERE
With 1 Euro buses running from Nice right along the Cote d’Azur, there really is no excuse for not going out and exploring the French Riviera!
Airport Taxi Information
Typical Fares 2011
Destinations / Destinations Jour (7:00 / 19:00) Nuit (19:00 / 7:00)
Antibes 49 - 55 55 - 65
Auron / Isola / Valberg 167 - 186 180 - 202
Beaulieu sur Mer 45 - 50 49 - 55
Cannes 67 - 72 69 - 85
Fréjus / St Raphaël 117 - 159 138 - 175
Grasse 69 - 79 74 - 90
Juan-les-Pins 50 - 55 55 - 65
Menton 75 - 85 85 - 95
Monaco 69 - 74 79 - 90
Mougins 58 - 63 63 - 74
Nice Centre 22 - 30 27 - 32
Opio (Club Med) 63 - 69 74 - 79
San Remo 133 - 159 170 - 185
Sophia Antipolis 49 - 55 55 - 65
St-Jean Cap Ferrat 45 - 55 55 - 65
St Paul - Vence 42 - 47 53 - 58
St-Tropez 234 - 266 258 - 276
Valbonne 55 - 30 65 - 72
Villefranche-sur-Mer 45 - 50 49 - 55
Tarif A / Fare A 0,78
Tarif B / Fare B 1,04
Tarif C / Fare C 1,56
Tarif D / Fare D 2,08
Attente ou marche lente à l’heure / Waiting period or slow driving per hour 24,70
Suppléments / Supplements EURO
Little parcel carried by the client himself (each) Free
Colis moyen type valise (l’unité )/ Medium-sized parcel like suitcase (each) 0,65
Big parcel like trunk or baby carriage (each)
Per animal (except seeing eye dogs) 1,20
Surcharge for departure from the airport 1,34
Surcharge for the 4th person 1,30
Surcharge for icy or snowy roads (not to exceed Rate C)
Autoroute et taxe stradale uniquement en charge
Tools not included only with load
Minimum de perception / Minimum fare 5,50
PRIX INDICATIFS 2006 TYPICAL FARES
(Prices are approximate and vary within an urban area depending of setting down location)
(The cost of the trip must appear on the taximeter)
From the Nice train station there are commuter trains that go up and down the Rivera to such towns as Eze, Cannes, and Antibes to name just a few. Being that its a major hub there are also trains to Paris, Venice, and Rome as well. The Train station is centrally located in Nice, about 20 minutes by foot to the beach and Old Town, and just a ten minute walk to the Russian Cathedral.