Interested in Nice?
We'll send you updates with the latest deals, reviews and articles for Nice each week.
Topics include Dining Scene, France: For Foreign Visitors & more!
The first bus most people encounter on arrival at Nice Airport is the Nice Airport Express. This bus connects the airport and the town, either the main train station, Route 99 - Gare SNCF - Nice Ville or Route 98 - the Port and Nice Riquier (Place Blanqui) via the Promenade des Anglais. The fare is 6 euros, and the ticket also acts as a day pass on other local Lignes d'Azur buses and tram (see limitations below regarding tarrif zone).
Lignes d'Azur Bus services
The popular public bus system of Nice ("Lignes d'Azur") connects most parts of the city, and a single bus fare will get you quickly around Nice and to outlying areas of the city as well. Tickets are sold at Lignes d'Azur offices within the city center or pay the driver on boarding (as near correct change as possible - high denomination notes are sometimes declined). You can pre-purchase tickets for a single trip - currently a flat rate of 1.50 euro per trip, a 10-trip multi-pass (10 euro), a singe day pass (5 euro) or a seven day pass (15 euro). Local buses start at around 06.00am but be warned many of them terminate as early as 19.00pm, and routes to the outer lying areas of Nice may run only three or four trips a day, some only during school term, and some not at all on Sundays. One of the more useful local buses is Route 23, which connects central Nice with Terminal 1 Nice Airport.
Note that the above-mentioned Ligne d'Azur tickets and passes are valid only within its Tariff Zone, which extends west as far as Cagnes sur Mer and east to Cap d'Ail. For journeys beyond this zone, for example from Nice to Monaco, Antibes, Cannes, St. Paul de Vence or Grasse, you need to declare your destination to the driver and he will issue you with a seperate ticket for that destination, though the price remains the same 1.50 euro per journey.
Also note that bus-stops have a location name and that name does not always make it obvious where to find it. For example in the port area there are about dozen stops and most are called Le Port and cover an area about 300 metres x 200 metres. If you are planning a few trips by bus, make time beforehand to check where your bus starts, otherwise you may find yourself scurrying around on the day of travel after discovering your bus doesn't leave from where you thought it would.
Traffic conditions vary so timetables themselves are not especially reliable and the expected times of buses posted at bus stops require you to calculate how many minutes your stop is away from the start of the route. It is not generally a good idea to rely on precision timing for any connections in travel plans on any mode of public transport in France.
One single tram route traverses the city and is useful in connecting the main train station and the fringes of the old town. Both bus and tram are the same low flat fare (currently 1.50 euro). You need to have a ticket prior to boarding the tram (you can't pay on boarding like on buses) and ticket inspections are not uncommon. Tickets can be purchased from ticket machines found at each tramstop. These machines accept both cash and chipped credit card, but if using a credit card, be wary of people standing too close or offering help, in reality trying to obtain your pin number. The tram runs until midnight, unlike (as mentioned elsewhere) the early closure of buses. Be aware both tram and not a few buses are often packed to capacity and are a favoured haunt of pickpockets who frequent the Riviera especially in the busy summer months. Keep valuable secure at all times.
The towns along the eastern Riviera between Menton and Cannes are connected to Nice by another coach service, the Trans Alpes Maritime (TAM) bus. These coaches sport their own white and blue livery and start from various points in the centre of Nice. They adopt the pricing tarrif of the Lignes d'Azur , with a flat fare of 1.50 euro for any journey, even Monaco. However they often finsh for the day around 20.00, so planning journeys you need to consider what time you are travelling back. The most useful of these coaches is the frequent TAM 100, which runs between Nice (Le Port) and Menton, taking in the popular destinations of Villefranche, Beaulieu and Monaco.There is also the 200, in the other direction, to Cagnes, Antibes and Cannes (total journey time up to two hours).
The "Noctambus" -routes N1-4 night bus - starts in Nice at 21.00 and finish around 02.00 - one an hour, and serve the outer-lying areas of Nice with an infrequent "one an hour" type service.
There are long-distance bus services - the Lignes Express Regional (LER) which offer excellent value for fast Autoroute connections like Nice to Aix en Provence, Toulon and Hyeres or Marseilles. The operating company for Nice is Phoceen Cars, based next door to the Gare Routiere in Bd Jean Jaures. These run three or four trips a day , for which booking is essential.
Trains (TER) connect all the neighbouring towns along the coast from Ventimiglia across the Italian border through to Cannes, St. Raphael and Marseilles, and some inland destinations like Tende and Grasse. The state national railway SNCF trains run from the main station Nice Gare Ville and are generally reliable, though late-running is not unusual, and the service is plagued by not infrequent strikes. Long queues for tickets can often build up at popular times, and it is advisable to allow plenty of time before travel. The station is also served by France's high speed inter-city trains, Trains Grande Vitesse (TGV). A seat reservation is mandatory on all TGV journeys, with frequent ticket inspection on board, so travellers with out a reservation are advised to wait for the next available TER service than chance taking the TGV. Trains run generally until near midnight and are often the only practical means by which to return to Nice in the late evening.
Road traffic along the RN7 between Nice and Cannes is often very congested, especially in summer months, so it is often preferrable to choose train rather than the cheaper and slower bus alternative when travelling west. Travelling east of Nice - towards Monaco - the bus is an attractive alternative to train.
Taxicabs are also available in Nice. They work from fixed cab ranks, do not ply for hire, and will not respond to being flagged down. They are quite scrupulous about next passenger waiting = next available cab. The main taxi locations are the Esplanade Masséna, Promenade des Anglais, Place Garibaldi, Rue Hôtel-des-Postes, Gare SNCF and the Acropolis. The Central Taxi Riviera service offers a 24-hour switchboard and service seven days a week. There is a night rate from 7pm until 7am.
Fortunately for travellers there is a fixed schedule of charges between the town and the airport, around thirty euro or more, according to time of day, and taxi drivers are generally honest, if expensive. Some people prefer the convenience of a pre-booked airport transfer service, which offer a driver who will await you at the arrivals lounge gate with your name on a placard.
Generally offering the best value form of transport around, feet can get you easily around most of the attractions of Nice, which are all mostly within walking distance of the city center.