Nice is home to three train stations: Nice Ville (also simply known as “Gare SNCF“), Nice Sainte Augustin and Nice Riquier. Nice-Ville SNCF found on avenue Thiers, (+33 (0)8 9235 3535) is the city’s main station. It is located at the top of Avenue Jean Medicin and is about a 15 minute walk to Place Massena and the beach. Destinations include Juan-les-Pins, Antibes and Cannes to the west, and Villefranche, Monaco and Menton to the East. Regional trains are inexpensive and offer great views of the Alps meeting the Med. The train will take you to Cannes or Monaco in around half an hour.
High speed TGV lines run to Paris 6 times daily, set to increase once the Nice-Paris direct line has been completed. Cities including Rome, Milan and Venice are easily accessible via a quick changeover at the Italian boarder. Though the border town of Ventimiglia may lack charm, know mainly for its cheap markets, the next stop San Remo is a nice Italian coastal town to visit. Local connections to coastal towns may be found from any of the Nice stations, though less frequently from Sainte Augustin and Riquier, and from the main SNCF station there are also daily connections to the main cities in France and abroad, as well as ski resorts such as Val d’Isere and Chamonix.
Bus and tram
The price is €1 for a single ride of any distance in and around Nice, and the regular buses are a cheap and convenient way to get around and view the sites the city has to offer. That €1 ticket will take you as far as Cannes or Monaco, though traffic is slow along the coastline so expect the journey to take around twice the time of the train. Tickets can be purchased on the bus, but not on the tram. Bus tickets can be used on the tram and vice-versa.
During the months from November to early April Ski buses run from Nice train station to various ski resorts. The cost to Isola 2000, Valberg or Auron is €4 if purchased on line or €5 on the bus subject to space.
The tram is more for locals, and does not pass many points of interest. It is useful to get between the train station and the Old Town. Tickets must be purchased at the kiosks by the tram stops, and validated once on board. The tramway is under construction to link the city centre to the airport.
Nice has access to the national motorway network via the A8, and from there on to all the major European cities. Half an hour west will take you to Cannes, and same to the east Italy. Driving from Paris will take around 9 hours, and from Milan just under 4 hours. There are access points to the motorway to the west, north, and east of Nice.
When hiring a car have a valid European driver’s licence or an International driver licence for citizens outside the EU. The minimum driving age in France is 18. If travelling with your own car, insurance is essential. The Green Card or International Motor Insurance is an internationally recognized document that is accepted by the authorities of all countries in which the Green Card is valid. There are a total of 45 countries participating in the Green Card system
In France, the speed limit while driving on an autoroute (national highway, freeway system, motorway system) is 130km/h (81mph) and 110km/h (68mph) for expressways. Two lane roads or single lane roads separated by an island is 110km per hour (68mph). When driving on major roads outside town, the speed limit is 90km per hour (56mph) and 50km per hour (31mph) while in urban areas. In Nice it is a bit trickier. On the outskirts the motorway speed has been switched to 110km/h. The Promenade des Anglais can jump between 50km/h and 70km/h. The council of Nice has invested in a vast array of speed and red-light cameras. However fines for foreign number plates are currently binned.
Most motorways in France have toll booths, where payment can be made by credit card or cash. The amount payable is roughly based upon the distance travelled, though they get more expensive the further south you travel. You can use a “Telepass” which allows you to drive straight through, though the cost is the same, though a little known trick is that you can still drive into any of the lanes and they will all accept card.
La prioite a droite (right of way) is one rule of the road that causes a lot of accidents especially for foreigners in France. When driving in a city, town or village, the right of way at an intersection is automatically given to the vehicle
on the right, unless otherwise indicated by stop or yield/give way signs. This applies even in the case of a small side
road entering a major main road. The vehicle travelling on the main road must give way to the vehicle entering on the right.
The airport, the train station and the promenade are among a few place where car hire is possible. When renting a car most car hire companies require that a credit card with a minimum limit of €500 and a valid European or International drivers licence are in the same name. There are many companies to choose from. Car hire is available from both airport Terminals, from the main Gare SNCF train station, or if in town go behind the Meridien Hotel on the Promenade des Anglais.
It is wise to check the availability of parking where you are staying. Some hotels come with parking included in the room price,
otherwise, parking can be quite expensive. One may expect to pay €25 to €30 per day. If staying for a week or more then definitely ask at the front desk for an abonnement as a week or fortnight pass drastically reduces the price. If in the city centre or Old Town then underground parking is never more than five minutes walk away.