If you have ever used public transportation before, then the public transportation system in Nice will seem familiar. However, if you have never experienced or simply aren’t good at navigating public transport, this guide is just the thing for you.
Nice is a very walkable city. You can walk to just about anywhere you want to go in the main city within thirty minutes. I recommended taking at least one opportunity to simply wander around Nice, especially Old Nice. But if you are not big on walking or are trying to avoid the rain, public transport in Nice is extensive, cheap, and easily accessible.
Understanding and using the public transport system in Nice requires a few apps: the Ligne d’Azur app (which covers buses and trams), the SNCF app (for trains only), and the Moovit app. With these, you can get anywhere in Nice. The Ligne d’Azur app and SNCF app cover the routes and timetables for all public transport in Nice and you can buy tickets to any mode of public transport through them. The Moovit app is helpful when trying to plan your route on public transportation as Google Maps does not work for Nice, and it will also tell you when the next bus, tram, or train is arriving. So, once you figure out how to get where you want to go, knowing your different public transportation options and how to use them is the next part of the puzzle.
One way to get around town is on the tram. There are two main tram lines, though a third line has just opened and goes right to the soccer stadium, so it is very easy to catch a local game (which I highly recommend – the locals are a dedicated crowd). One line goes right along the main street, Avenue Jean Médecin, all the way to Old Nice. The second line leaves right off of Avenue Jean Médecin (just one block from the IES Abroad Center) and goes straight to the airport. The trip from Avenue Jean Médecin to the airport takes about half an hour, so it is quite convenient for weekend trips. At all of the Tram stops there are little kiosks where you can buy a ticket (the instructions are in almost any language you can imagine and very easy to follow). One-way tickets are 1.50€ and there are many discounts to choose from if you plan on riding the tram regularly.
Another option for getting around town, especially if you are traveling to a place off of the main avenue, is the bus. The bus system in Nice is extensive and easy to use. You can even take a bus to Monaco! Bus tickets are only 1.50€ and you can buy tickets on your phone or from the driver when you board the bus. The phrase “un billet s’il vous plait” (one ticket please) and a “merci” should come in handy when getting a ticket on board. REMEMBER: You have to wave the bus down or else it will pass you by. Buses to not automatically stop at each stop, the driver will only stop if someone has demanded a stop by pushing one of the red stop buttons inside the bus, or if someone at the stop has flagged them down.
Finally, you also have the train system in Nice. There are a few different train stations in Nice, but the main station is the Nice Ville station at the end of Avenue Jean Médecin, a five-minute walk from the IES Abroad Center. The regional trains go all along the coast, and even into Monaco and Italy, and there are other trains that go all throughout France. The trains are relatively cheap and easy to use. You can buy tickets from the ticket boutique at the end of the Nice Ville station, where you can buy tickets from a real person (a good option for those with weaker French skills as not all of the ticket machines offer an English option) or you can use one of the many ticket machines scattered around the station to buy your ticket. Once you have your ticket in hand make sure to look at the tv screens next to the entrance turnstiles to find out which track (“voie” en francais) your train will be on. To reach some of the platforms you will have to go down the staircase to the left of the turnstiles, but everything is well labeled and the station itself is a manageable size.
One last, IMPORTANT, note on public transportation in Nice: you always have to validate your ticket! There are no regular checks for ticket validation but there are irregular checks made by police and if they find that you did not validate your ticket you will get a fine. Make sure to look for the yellow validation machines in any tram, train, or bus. To use the machine put your printed ticket in the ticket slot up top (like putting your debit card in an atm) and it will be sucked in and returned to you validated. The public transportation system in Nice may seem like a lot, but once you are here, you will find that it is pretty easy to find your way around.
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<p>Hello! I am a junior at the College of William and Mary studying global studies and data science, but my true loves are language learning and map-making. I enjoy reading and playing soccer, and I also love to bake, though I more resemble a candidate for Nailed It! then an actual baker. I am excited to go to France this fall so that I can practice my French with locals and eat some good food. For my next adventure abroad, I would love to go to China as I have recently begun to study Chinese and fallen in love with the Netflix show Wild China.</p>