Getting to Nice and getting around the French Riviera from your apartment in Nice
Public transport in the South of France is among the finest in the world. Trains, trams and buses are frequent and cheap. And no matter where your Nice holiday apartment may be located, coverage is comprehensive. Keen cyclists are catered for too. Peddle away with Nice’s Vélo Bleu bike-sharing scheme along the wide Promenade des Anglais.
TAXIS→ BUSES→ TRAINS→ TRAMS→ CARS AND PARKING→ CYCLING→
Taxis are not as easy to come by in Nice as our guests might find in other cities. It is rare to be able to “hail a cab”. Booking in advance is always best and sadly, availability is not always guaranteed. We have come to trust and work alongside the English speaking company Friend in France. They do tours and transfers from the airport and will carry out a taxi function as well, as long as booked in advance.
If you are wanting a transfer from the airport, this is who we recommend. You can also book the transfer directly through our site on check out. Guests are met at the airport arrival lounge by an English speaker and are transferred directly from Nice Airport to the doorstep of your Nice apartment. For a wide range of tours across the French Riviera. You can contact Mira at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a full network map as well as timetables, visit the Lignes d’Azur website. Lignes d’Azur is also available in English – just click on the small British flag in the website’s upper right-hand corner.
There are four main bus networks that serve the Riviera:
|Lignes d’Azur covers routes between Nice, St Laurent du Var, Cagnes sur Mer, Villefranche sur Mer and St Jean Cap Ferrat.|
|RCA Rapides Côte d’Azur runs an express service from between Nice and Monaco, as well as speedy links between Cannes, Golfe Juan and Nice Airport.|
|Bus Azur serves Cannes, Mougins, Vallauris and Mandelieu la Napoule.|
|Envibus connects Antibes, Juan les Pins, Golfe Juan, Vallauris, Biot and St Paul de Vence.|
Most bus tickets cost €1.50, both within Nice and all along the Riviera. Daylong passes are available for €5, allowing the holder unlimited transport on Nice’s trams and buses for the entire day. (These passes are NOT valid for bus travel to Nice Airport. To travel to Nice Airport a €6 one way ticket needs to be purchased) Children under four years old ride for free.
Bus tickets can be purchased directly from the driver when you board. Note that even if all destinations on a certain route cost the same amount (such as bus 100), often times the driver will ask you where exactly you plan to alight. On some long-distance lines, the price of the fare may change according to your destination.
Once you purchase a ticket, you must validate it on the bus. Do so by inserting the ticket, face-up, into the slot on the small machine near the driver. The machine will stamp your ticket with the time and date of your journey. Tickets can be used for 74 minutes from the time of validation, both on buses and trams.
Most buses operate roughly between 6am and 9pm. During peak hours (7:30-9:30am and 4:00-7:30pm), many lines run more frequently.
Buses are certainly very good value. It’s also likely many routes will pass by your Nice rental property. However, depending on the time of day and the season, buses can also be crowded – worth bearing in mind if you’re travelling with a pram or luggage.
Buses are often slower and more crowded than the Riviera’s trains. But you can expect to see stunning panoramas from the bus, particularly between Nice and Menton. And stops are often closer to the centre of the town – and thus your holiday apartment in Nice – than the train station.
Lignes d’Azur has recently released a smartphone application that self-updates with all the latest timetables, delays, traffic conditions and route maps. This app is free and can be found in your app store by searching for Lignes d’Azur.
All of the following routes are operated by Lignes d’Azur.
Bus 81 loops between Nice and St Jean Cap Ferrat. En route, it also visits Villefranche sur Mer. This area is home to some of the most prestigious homes on the Côte d’Azur. The coastline boasts several picturesque beaches, many boasting a European Blue Flag for cleanliness.
Bus 94 visits artsy Vence: head here to visit Matisse’s iconic Chapelle du Rosaire, or simply wander the medieval Old Town’s cute boutiques.
Buses 98 and 99 are the airport shuttles. Both pick up passengers from both of the airport’s terminals. Bus 99 runs to the main Nice Ville train station. Bus 98 follows the Promenade to the Old Town, before turning inland and heading to the port. Tickets on either bus cost €6, and are valid only for a one-way journey to the airport.
Bus 100 is one of the Riviera’s most popular routes. It travels the panoramic Basse Corniche between Nice and Menton, stopping at Villefranche sur Mer, Beaulieu sur Mer, Eze sur Mer, Cap d’Ail and Monaco (journey time one hour) along the way. This bus runs every 20 minutes. However, it’s also popular with commuters, which means it can be become overcrowded during peak times. When planning your travels, do your best to avoid rush hour congestion.
Bus 112 connects Nice to Eze. Completely constructed in pale golden stone, the enchanting town of Eze offers sublime views over the entire Riviera coastline.
Bus 200 is another very popular line, plying the route between Nice and Cannes (journey time 90 minutes). This bus stops at St Augustin, St Laurent du Var, Cros de Cagnes, Cagnes sur Mer, Villeneuve Loubet, Biot, Antibes, Juan les Pins and Golfe Juan, before terminating in Cannes.
Bus 400 runs from Nice to Vence, stopping at St Paul de Vence along the way. St Paul is one of the Riviera’s best-known villages perchés, or hilltop towns. It’s particularly famed for its many art galleries.
In France, there are two types of trains. TER trains are regional. You’ll use these trains to hop between your Nice rental property and all other points along the Côte d'Azur. TGV trains are high-speed, long-distance trains that connect Marseille, Lyon, Paris and other large cities with the South of France.
Train schedules and tickets are available on the SNCF website, which can be used in several languages. Just click the flag in the top right-hand corner.
Train tickets must be purchased before you board your train, either in any train station or online on the SNCF website. Within the station, tickets may be bought from an automated machine (blue for TER, yellow for TGV), or from the station’s Sales Office (Espace de Ventes).
Before you set off on your journey, you must validate your ticket. Look out for the boxy yellow ‘composteur de billets’, positioned within the train station en route to the platforms, and often on the platforms themselves. Slot your ticket into the mouth of the machine, and it will be stamped with the name of the station, the date and the time. If a ticket is not validated, you may be fined. Signs remind travellers – in French, English and Italian – that ignorance of this procedure is not an excuse!
Travel on French trains is divided into first and second class. On a TER train, there is little difference between the classes. First-class seats are red and offer slightly more legroom, while second-class seats are blue (and about two-thirds the price). Aboard TGV trains however, first class is quieter, boasts bigger seats that recline further and more legroom. If you’re embarking on a long trip, first class seats may be worth the higher price. On a TER train, when your journey will likely be shorter, second class tends to be just fine.
Students, travellers under 26 as well as those over 60 are all entitled discounted tickets. Children under four years old ride for free while kids aged 4-12 are entitled to a 50% discount.
Depending on the station, either numbers or letters may be used to identify platforms. Don’t be afraid to ask the people who work in the station for help if you can’t find the right platform. SNCF staff are wear purple and grey uniforms. Security guards, usually in navy blue or black, will also be able to assist.
From your holiday apartment in Nice, it’s a cinch to hop aboard a TER train and visit all the Riviera towns along the coast. There are two main train lines: one heads east to Ventimille / Ventimiglia, the other west to Cannes and Grasse.
For day trips to Beaulieu sur Mer, Villefranche sur Mer, Eze sur Mer, Cap d’Ail, Monaco / Monte Carlo, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, Menton or Ventimiglia, take a train heading in the direction of Ventimille / Ventimiglia.
For day trips to Grasse, Cannes, Golfe Juan, Juan les Pins, Antibes, Biot, Villeneuve Loubet, Cagnes sur Mer, Cros de Cagnes or Saint Laurent du Var, take a train heading in the direction of Grasse and Cannes.
Make the most of your day out! Note that you’re able to get on and off the train anywhere between Nice Ville and your final destination. You can always hop aboard a later train to continue your trip, provided you complete your entire journey within six hours of when you validated your ticket.
Depending on the location of your Nice holiday apartment, you may wish to take the train to or from Nice Airport. Trains to Nice Airport stop at the station Nice St Augustin. It’s the first stop west of Nice Ville. From Nice St Augustin, it’s a 5–10 minute walk to the airport. Once inside the airport area, there are free shuttle buses (every 15 minutes) that can take you to Terminal 1 or Terminal 2.
|Nice to Cannes||50 minutes||Every 20 – 30 minutes|
|Nice to Antibes||40 minutes||Every 20 – 30 minutes|
|Nice to Airport||5 minutes||Every 20 – 30 minutes|
|Nice to Villefranche||15 minutes||Every 20 – 30 minutes|
|Nice to Monaco / Monte Carlo||45 minutes||Every 20 – 30 minutes|
|Nice to Ventimille (Italy)||60 minutes||Every 20 – 30 minutes|
|Nice to Marseille||2 1/2 hours||Approximately 1 per hour|
|Nice to Lyon||4 1/2 hours||Apporoximately 1 per hour|
|Nice to Paris||6 hours||Approximately 1 per hour|
Note: Frequency of TGV trains changes depending on season and day, check the date of departure on the SNCF website prior to travel.
Nice’s trams provide speedy, cost effective transport for guests staying in our Nice holiday rental apartments. Trams run every 5 to 10 minutes between 4:30am and 11:30pm, each and every day.
Tram tickets cost €1.50. Daylong passes are available for €5, allowing the holder unlimited transport on Nice’s trams and buses for the entire day. (These passes are NOT valid for bus travel to Nice Airport. For travel to Nice Airport a €6 one-way ticket must be purchased) It’s also possible to purchase one ten-ride ticket for €10. Children under four years old ride for free.
Tickets can be purchased from the automatic machine found at each tram stop. Be sure to validate your ticket when you board, slotting your ticket into one of the validating machines placed throughout each tram.
Exact tram timetables can be found on the multi-lingual Lignes d’Azur website.
Prams may be taken on tram. However bicycles and oversized luggage are not allowed.
At the moment, Nice has only one tramline, running between Pont Michel and Las Planas. (Although a second tramline, connecting the port with Nice Airport, will be built over the next few years.) The tram offers a quick and cheap method of travelling from your Nice holiday apartment to different areas of the city. It takes approximately 40 minutes to travel from one end of the line to the other. Within each tram, there’s a small screen displaying the name of the upcoming stop. There’s also a map of the tramline just above each door.
Below is a list of Nice’s top attractions, easily accessible via the tram network, which our guests like to visit. Please note that this list does not cover all of Nice’s tram stops. However, our Nice holiday apartments are concentrated in the city’s central neighbourhoods, with the best tourist attractions and these corresponding tram stops nearby. It’s unlikely that our guests will visit the city’s lesser known suburban areas.
Libération is the last stop before the residential neighbourhoods of northern Nice (direction of Las Planas). Head here for Nice’s locals-only morning market (Tue-Sun 8am-12:30pm), where you can stock up on everything from apples and artichokes to olive bread and goat’s cheese. Nearby, you can visit the Church of Joan of Arc and the Church of Saint Jerome. Public parking is also available here at Parking St Lambert.
This is the nearest tram stop to the Nice Ville Train Station. If you arrive in Nice by train, or are planning a day-trip to a nearby town by train, alight here. This stop also marks the beginning of the Jean Medecin High Street. As Nice’s busiest shopping avenue, it’s packed with major labels like Zara and H&M, as well as one-off boutiques.
Opposite Nice Etoile, the city’s four-storey shopping mall, Jean Medecin is the nearest stop to both Notre Dame Church and the prestigious Boulevard Victor Hugo. For movie buffs, there are a handful of cinemas nearby. Keep an eye out for ‘VO’ films: signifying ‘version originale’. This note means that the film is shown in its original language.
Massena is the tramline’s busiest stop. Offering quick access to the beach, this stop also sits on buzzing Place Massena. This lively square is dotted with shops, restaurants and cafés, as well as the imposing Fountain of the Sun. Just off the square are the Gardens of Albert I. Alight here if you’re planning to tour the city on Nice’s Hop on Hop Off Bus or the little train (le Petit Train).
Opéra – Vieille Ville provides easy access to the Old Town. It is a short walk from this here to the Opera, the Cours Saleya produce and flower markets, Chapelle de la Miséricorde, the Church of the Annunciation, Palais de Justice Courthouse, Wayne’s English Bar, the Church of Saint Paul – as well as scores of petite shops and tasty restaurants. Opéra – Vieille Ville is also very close to JC Bermond, one of the city’s major bus stops.
Hop off at Garibaldi for access to the MAMAC Museum of Modern Art and the National Theatre. Place Garibaldi itself is also well worth a wander: this large square is lined with lively restaurants and a large Monoprix supermarket. It’s also home to a statue of Garibaldi, the Italian general who was born in Nice in 1807. Buses heading east of Nice leave from just off the square. The old port and Confiserie Florian, a sweet and bonbon factory, are a five-minute walk away.
It’s unlikely that you will travel any further north along the tramline than Palais des Expositions, as the remaining stops service the city’s universities and residential neighbourhoods. Alight here for Nice’s Patinoire (indoor ice-skating rink), public swimming pool and Palais des Expositions, where the city’s large trade fairs frequently take place.
If you are arriving by plane and renting an apartment in Nice’s centre, we wouldn’t recommend hiring a car for the duration of your stay. The ride into Nice by taxi or bus is very easy and cheap.
Guests may prefer hiring a car just by the day if you want to travel to places not served by the great public transport links. We recommend Elite car hire who will deliver a car to the first available street outside your Nice apartment rental. They also give Pebbles guests a 10% discount.
If you do want a car whilst you are here, then rest assured that there are over ten thousand spaces available in Central Nice throughout the network of car parks offered by the city. Parking is not cheap though and you can expect to pay around 30 euros a day for parking. 90% of our holiday apartments in Nice do not have a car parking space or easily accessible street parking. You can see the best options for parking cars on the How to Get There text listed on each property page.
A list of all car parks and their locations and the phone numbers or websites for opening hours and tarrifs can be found on the parking section of the Nice Tourist Board website.
As a city that spills along the seafront, Nice has scores of great places to go cycling – in particular, the wide, smooth Promenade des Anglais. If you’re keen to explore the neighbourhood around your Nice holiday apartment, the city and its wider surrounds by bike, Nice offers Vélo Bleu (website in French only), an automated bike-sharing system that is easy to use. It also allows visitors the freedom to rent a bike from one spot and return it to whichever Vélo Bleu station is closest when they are finished. Our map lays out all the stations where guests may pick up Vélo Bleu bicycles in the centre of Nice.
To rent a Vélo Bleu bike, you must complete a one-off telephone registration. It’s fairly lengthy, but well worth it. You will need a mobile phone and a credit card for this process. Head to any Vélo Bleu bike station. You’ll be required to enter your credit card details on one of the station’s computers. Vélo Bleu will then ask you to authorise €150, as security that you will return your rental bike. Don’t worry: this amount will not be taken from your account unless you fail to return your rental bike.
After your registration, you should select the ‘Subscribe here’ option from the computer at the bike stand. You’ll then choose the duration of the rental pass that you would like. The computer will give you a number to call. By completing this call, the Vélo Bleu database will identify you and charge your credit card for the appropriate amount.
The final step is to select the ‘Find a Bike’ option. Another call is needed now to the new number that appears on screen. You will be instructed to choose your bike and it will be automatically unlocked. All Vélo Bleu bikes are fitted with a combination lock, lights and a handy basket on the front. Unplug the cable and you’re good to go!
As mentioned before, you need not return the bike to the same station from which you borrowed it. When you park the bike, connect it to the monitor with the black cable. Vélo Bleu will automatically register that the bike has been returned.
Alternatively, you can take a bike for 29 minutes, return it and take another bike (for another 29 minutes) for free.