Useful Information for Visitors

In the local patois, they call this city Nizza la Bella.  Today, Nice the Beautiful is the capital of the Côte d'Azur which is the most popular tourist destination in France after Paris.  Towards the north the Alps form a dramatic backdrop and to the south the city overlooks a huge bay and the clear blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea. On the beach you can relax under a parasol, rent a sun lounger or enjoy cocktails or lunch at one of the many restaurants.  Sandwiched in between is the city itself consisting of the ‘Old’ Town with its narrow streets and flower market, ‘New’ Town with shops and restaurants along the pedestrianised zone, and the port area, each with their own distinctive characteristics. Nice is a lively city and offers something for everyone all the year round.Promenade des Anglais, Nice

Nice has a history all of its own.  Founded by the ancient Greeks over 2300 years ago, it was later colonised by the Romans.  In the middle ages it was allied with Pisa and later came under the house of Savoy.  A castle was built to protect against enemies and pirates.  Although the French kings temporarily took possession from time to time, it did not become truly French until 1860 and indeed, parts of the city still have a very Italian feel. Modern Nice really starts in the 18th century when the British aristocracy discovered the attraction of the mild winter climate.  Gradually as a result luxury hotels and villas sprang up to accommodate the wealthy foreign visitors and Nice developed as a fashionable holiday destination.  Their memory lives on through the Promenade des Anglais along the seafront and the firing of the lunchtime cannon from the Castle Mount.  In the 19th and 20th centuries the British were joined by the Russian aristocracy who left their mark by building a magnificent cathedral. .  In the 1930s, rich and famous Americans arrived en masse.  In addition the city has attracted many famous painters such as Chagall, Matisse, Niki de Saint Phalle and Arman and inspired many composers and thinkers such as Berlioz, Nietzsche and Rossini.

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Things to enjoy

When you’re in Nice, you can enjoy all the benefits and charms of a Mediterranean lifestyle and climate.  The pace of life is relaxed and the people are genuinely helpful and friendly.  The city is well geared up for visitors and absence of language skills isn’t a problem.
Apart from being a major holiday resort and convention centre, there are numerous leisure and cultural activities. Nice is a great city to shop for fashion, shoes, jewellery, trendy and stylish homeware and gourmet specialities in the many souvenir and tourist shops and one-off boutiques.  Restaurants in Nice range from cheap and cheerful to Michelin-starred and you will find a wide choice of where to eat, all within walking distance of the apartments. Why not try the many delicacies such as the famous salade nicoise, the pancakes made with chick pea flour called socca and the local pizza made with sautéed onions and anchovies called pissaladière?

For culture vultures, there’s a huge variety of museums, art galleries, concert halls, opera house, theatres and cinemas. Night owls can enjoy the local bars and clubs or just stroll along the Promenade des Anglais and place Masséna with their street entertainment.  Why not just sit outside at a restaurant and watch the world go by or sip a cool cocktail on the beach?

When to come

Most days are sunny whatever the time of the year (although blue skies cannot be guaranteed). The best time to visit is entirely a matter of opinion.  The climate is sub-tropical so the days are always warm.  Evenings from April to October are comfortable too so it’s pleasant to be outside late. Even in winter it’s often possible to eat outside during the day. 

There are regular events throughout the year in Nice and the rest of the Cote d'Azur.  Every year Nice holds a massive Carnival and Flower Festival in February, Feast of the Gourds in April, International Tennis Tournament in April, May Festival, Jazz Festival in July and International Regatta in December.  Added to this are the Monte Carlo Rally in January and the Cannes Film Festival and Monaco Grand Prix in May.

Let yourself be enchanted by the charm and beauty of this multi-facetted city which has attracted and still fascinates artists, writers, musicians, tourists and business people all searching for the pleasures of the Nicois lifestyle.

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How to get there

Nice is well served by all kinds of transport.  You can easily reach it by air, road and rail. For UK residents, it's easy to fly direct to Nice and the airport is just 4 miles from the city centre. Both apartments are close to the main railway station and bus stops.

Nice International Airport is the second largest in France, with direct flights to America, Britain and the rest of Europe. There are frequent flights from all over the UK and Europe with all the major airlines. EasyJet flies from Belfast, Bristol, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Gatwick, Luton, Newcastle and Stansted in the UK and also Berlin, Brussels, Geneva, Paris and Rome. FlyBE go from numerous UK regional airports. Ryanair flies from Dublin, Shannon and Manchester (all flight destinations correct as of November 2014).   There are also direct flights from other main European capitals and Delta flies from the USA.

Nice airport is about 7 km (4 miles) from the city centre and there are frequent city buses to town.  Alternatively you can take a taxi which is vastly more expensive but more convenient if you have luggage.

If you decide to use public transport, take the number 98 bus from outside terminals 1 and 2 for either apartments - both are very close to the bus stop.   Bus tickets cost 6€ (correct as in November 2014). It usually takes less than 60 minutes to arrive at the apartment after landing.

By road, the French autoroute network links Nice with all major French cities.  From the southern UK, you should allow 2 full days driving each way.  Once arrived, you will probably find little need for the car as the city is quite compact and most places are easily reached on foot or by bus. Street parking can be difficult .

Visitors arriving by train will find good services to all major cities in France.  The journey from Paris to  Nice takes as little as 5 1/2 hours and Lyon takes from 4 2/3  hours. The station is within 10 minutes walk from the apartments.  The main railway line goes east to Monaco, Menton and Italy. To the west, the line goes to  Marseilles, Lyon and Paris, with local stops at Antibes, Cannes and Fréjus.

Nearby Towns and Cities
Aix-en-Provence 176 km,   Antibes Juan-les-Pins 25 km,   Breil-sur-Roya 55 km,   Cannes 32 km,   Grasse 42 km,   Marseille 189 km,
Menton 28km,   Monaco 20 km,   Peillon 20 km,   Roquebrune-Cap-Martin 26 km,   Saint Jeannet 20 km, >  Saint Paul-de-Vence 18 km,
Vence 21 km,   Villefranche-sur-Mer 4 km

Useful links

Nice airport

Practical Nice

A guide to famous painters who lived in the South of France

Wikipedia article about the French Riviera

Weather forecast for Nice