Nice, France

Guide for the rail traveller

Information

CurrencyEuro
Local languageFrench
Country France

Introduction

Nice itself is the undisputed capital of the Cote d’Azur. Home to over three hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants and its own University, it is not only a year-round holiday destination but also a thriving commercial city. Having only joined France in 1860 it is an exciting mix of the French, Greek, Italian and British cultures.





The Cote d’Azur or French Riviera, conjures up images of the rich and famous sunning themselves amongst the palm trees, the crystal blue sea and beautiful sandy beaches. Running from St Tropez in the west to Menton on the Italian border, the Mediterranean sunshine ensures year-round enjoyable climate. Consequently it can get crowded particularly in July and August.

Situated at a convenient junction along the French Riviera it is an excellent base for exploring the rest of this region including Monaco, St Tropez and Cannes. Nice hosts the world famous Nice Carnival in February as well as the King Carnival just before lent, which has been likened to New Orleans’s Mardi Gras. Known for its spectacular scenery the French Riviera is visually stunning and Nice does not disappoint with a backdrop of charming villages perched on lush, green mountains.

Home to an opera, numerous museums, bustling markets and a charming old town Nice stretches along eight kilometers (five miles) of pebbly beach. The Paillon River divides the city into two, west of the river being the more modern district and the east conversely being the more traditional.

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Things to do

The prettiest sections of Nice are the Cours Saleya where the Marche aux Fleurs (flower market) is held and the surrounding narrow streets in Vieux Nice (Old Nice). The French Riviera is known for its numerous art museums, in particular the modern art collections. Visit the imposing Mussee d’Art Modern (Modern Art Museum) off Place Garibalidi which houses French and international modern art from nineteen fifties onwards. Alternatively the Musee des Beaux-Arts Jules-Cheret (Jules Cheret Fine Arts Museum), including work by Sisley, Rodin and Picasso is also just a stone’s throw away. A seventeenth century Italian villa houses Musee Matisse (Matisse Museum) and next door the Musee Archeologique (Archeology Museum).

If you turn your back to the Mediterranean Mont Alban confronts you. Take the charming Cheminde Fer de Provence (Railroad of Provence) which transports you through the natural setting of rocks and hills culminating in a breathtaking panorama of the Alps and the Mediterranean. IF this wasn’t sufficient, within forty miles of Nice there are ten casinos and three international ski resorts!

Local transport

The best way to get around Nice is on foot, however there is a dense public transport system providing connections to all parts of the city. Tickets are sold onboard the buses and at the ‘Sunboutiques’. Options include multi-journey tickets as well as one, five and seven-day passes. For a scenic train ride through Nice board the ‘Nice little train’ at Promenade des Anglais (English promenade) taking you through the old Town and up Castle hill for a stunning view over the Baie des Anges (Bay of Angles).

Day trips

Nice is a convenient gateway to numerous other destinations along the Cote d’Azur. Lying only twenty-five minutes away by train is world-famous Cannes. A large resort and with a reputation for attracting the rich and famous, a stroll along La Croisette the boulevard along Cannes’ waterfront takes you past sandy beaches, elegant restaurants and some exclusive hotels. The center of Cannes is ideal for wandering along the streets and indulging in some shopping!

Alternatively regular trains take you from Nice to Monte Carlo in only twenty minutes. The Principality of Monaco offers you the opportunity to visit the Palace du Palais, dine in one of the fine restaurants or gamble at one of the world famous Monte Carlo casinos.

Recommended places and events to visit in Nice

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