345, 892; over 3.2 million visitors annually
Time Zone: Greenwich Mean Time plus one
hour: Time in Nice is 6 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time in New York.(7
hours ahead of central time in Chicago, etc.)
Temperatures and Rainfall
When to Go
Nice has the advantage
of an exceptional micro-climate. Although the city opens onto the sea, Nice
is protected from the wind by the surrounding hills and the EstĂ©rel
mountains to the west, and the north-western barrier of the Mercantour Alps.
The sea breezes give a mild climate in winter and reduce the heat in the
It is not unusual to
lunch outdoors in the Cours Saleya in a T-shirt in February, while the rest
of France is shivering in the cold
June and September are the best months to be in
the region, as both are free of midsummer crowds and the weather is
summer-balmy. June offers the advantage of long daylight hours, while lower
prices and many warm days, often lasting well into October, make September
attractive. Try to avoid the second half of July and all of August, when
almost all of France goes on vacation. Don't travel on or around July 14 and
August 1, 15, and 31, when every French family is either going on vacation
or driving home. After All Saints (November 1), though most of
thesurrounding region closes down for winter, Nice thrives year-round.
New Year's Day
Monday April (date varies)
1st Monday in May
Victory in Europe
1945 (VE Day) May 8
Feast of the
Ascension Thursday in June (date
early June (date varies)
All Saints Day
Bank hours vary from branch to branch, but are
usually open weekdays, generally from 8:30 to 5. Most take a one-hour, or
even a 90-minute, lunch break.
Gas Stations Gas stations on the
autoroutes are usually open 24 hours.
Museums & Sights
Museum hours are irregular with seasonal
variations and a tendency to change often. Usual opening times are from 9:30
or 10 to 5 or 6, but many close for lunch (noon-2). Most museums are closed
one day a week (Monday or Tuesday) and on national holidays. Check museum
hours before you go.
Large stores are open from 9 or 9:30 until 7 or
8. Smaller shops often open earlier (8 AM) and close later (8 PM) but take a
lengthy lunch break (1 to 4 or 4:30) in the south of France
Customs & Duties
Arriving in France
There are two levels of duty-free allowance for
travelers entering France: one for goods obtained (tax paid) within another
European Union (EU) country and one for goods obtained anywhere outside the
EU or for goods purchased in a duty-free shop within the EU.
The electrical current in France is 220 volts,
50 cycles alternating current (AC). French electrical outlets have two round
holes ("female") and a "male" ground; your appliances must either have a
slender, two-prong plug that bypasses that ground, or a plug with two round
prongs and a hole.
Embassies and Consulates
U.S. Embassy (2 rue St-Florentin, Paris,
1, 01-43-12-22-22 in English; 01-43-12-23-47 in emergencies, mĂ©tro
Concorde, weekdays 9-3; 12 bd. Paul Peytral, Marseille, 04-91-54-92-00,
weekdays 8:30-12:30 and 1:30-5:30 and until 4:30 on Friday).
In case of fire, hotels are required to post
multilingual emergency exit maps inside every room door.
Ambulance ( 15).
Fire Department ( 18).
Police ( 17).
If your car breaks down on an expressway, go to
a roadside emergency telephone (yellow boxes) and call for assistance. If
you have a breakdown anywhere else, find the nearest garage or contact the
police (dial 17).
Although many French people, especially in major
tourist areas, speak some English, it's important to remember that you are
going to France and that people speak French. However, at least one person
in most hotels can explain things in English.
Even if your own French is terrible, try to
master a few words. A simple, friendly "bonjour" (hello) will do, as will
asking if the person you are greeting speaks English ("Parlez-vous
ATMs are one of the easiest ways to get cash.
Banks usually offer excellent, wholesale exchange rates through ATMs.
To get cash at ATMs in France, your PIN must be
four digits long. You may have more luck with ATMs if you are using a credit
card or a debit card that is also a Visa or MasterCard, rather than just
your bank card. Note, too, that you may be charged by your bank for using
ATMs overseas; inquire at your bank about charges.
The unit of currency in Nice is the Euro (EUR).
Under the euro system, there are eight coins: 2 and 1 euros, plus 1, 2, 5,
10, 20, and 50 cents. On all coins, one side has the value of the euro on it
and the other side has the national symbol of one of the countries
participating in monetary union. There are seven notes: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100,
200, and 500 euros. Notes are the same for all countries.
All taxes must be included in posted prices in
France. The initials TTC (toutes taxes comprises - taxes included)
sometimes appear on price lists but, strictly speaking, are superfluous. By
law, restaurant and hotel prices must include 20.6% taxes and a service
charge. If they show up as extra charges on your bill, complain.
The French have a clear idea of when they should
be tipped. Bills in bars and restaurants include service, but it is
customary to round out your bill with some small change unless you're
dissatisfied. The amount of this varies: anywhere from 50 centimes/8
European cents if you've merely bought a beer, to 10 francs/EUR1.50 after a
meal. Tip taxi drivers and hairdressers about 10%. In some theaters and
hotels, coat check attendants may expect nothing (if there is a sign saying
Pourboire Interdit - tips forbidden); otherwise give them 2 francs to 5
francs/30 European cents to 76 cents. Washroom attendants usually get 2
francs, though the sum is often posted.
The country code for France is 33. All phone
numbers in France have a two-digit prefix determined by zone: Nice, in the
southeast, has the prefix 04.
Numbers beginning with 08 are either toll-free
or toll calls (with an additional charge on top of making the call). To make
calls in the same city or town, or in the same region, dial the full
Directory & Operator Information
To find a number in France, dial 12 for
information. For international inquiries, dial 00-33-12 plus 11 for the
U.S., 44 for the U.K.
Another source of information is the Minitel, an
on-line network similar to the Internet. You can find one - they look like a
small computer terminal - in most post offices. Available (free for the
first three minutes) is an on-line phone book covering the entire country.
To call out of France, dial 00 and wait for the
tone, then dial the country code (1 for the United States and Canada, 44 for
the United Kingdom, 61 for Australia, 64 for New Zealand) and the area code
(minus any initial 0) and number. Expect to be overcharged if you call from
To call any region in France from another
region, dial the full 10-digit number (including the two-digit prefix).
Most French pay phones are operated by
tĂ©lĂ©cartes (phone cards), which you can buy from post offices, mĂ©tro
stations, and some tabacs (tobacco shops. Coin-operated pay phones are
scarce, existing only in cafĂ©s (whose proprietors can set their own rates)
and post offices. Phone cards are accepted everywhere else. The easiest but
most expensive way to phone is to use your own Visa card, which is accepted
in all phone booths and works like a tĂ©lĂ©carte.
Arriving & Departing
Most airlines fly to Paris and have connecting
flights to the south of France on domestic airlines. The one exception is
Delta, which has frequent nonstop flights to Nice from New York. Air France
serves Nice daily from Paris and London.
Paris's Charles de Gaulle/Roissy (CDG) (
01-48-62-22-80 in English; www.adp.fr) has daily flights to Nice.
Paris's Orly (ORY) ( 01-49-75-15-15;
www.adp.fr) has daily flights to Nice.
The Nice-CĂ´te d'Azur Airport (NCE) 7
km/41⁄2 mi from Nice, 04-93-21-30-30; sits on a peninsula between Antibes
and Nice. There are frequent flights between Paris and Nice on Air LibertĂ©,
AOM, and Air France as well as direct flights on Delta Airlines from New
York. The flight time between Paris and Nice is about 1 hour.
Flying time to Paris is 71⁄2 hours from New
York, 9 hours from Chicago, 11 hours from Los Angeles, and 1 hour from
arrive at Gare Nice-Ville, avenue Thiers 08-36-35-35-35. From
there you can take frequent trains to Cannes, Monaco, and Antibes, with easy
connections to virtually anywhere else along the Mediterranean coast
Visitors who arrive at
AĂ©roport Nice-CĂ´te d'Azur 04-93-21-30-30) can board a
yellow-sided bus, known as the navette Nice-AĂ©roport, which
travels several times a day between the railway station and the airport.
They operate every day from 6am to 10:30pm or until the last incoming flight
arrives, no matter how delayed. A taxi ride from the airport into the
city center is considerably more costly. Trip time is about 30 minutes.
Transfers Between the Airport and Town
A city bus makes the run to and from the train
station all day, leaving from both terminals every half hour.
A8 flows briskly from FrĂ©jus to Cannes to
Antibes to Nice to the resorts on the Grand Corniche.
Nice is the major rail crossroads for trains
arriving from Paris and other northern cities and from Italy, too. This
coastal line, working eastward from Marseille and west from Ventimiglia,
stops at Cannes, Antibes, Monaco, and Menton. To get from Paris to Nice
(with stops in most resorts along the coast), you can take the TGV, though
it only maintains high speeds to Valence before returning to conventional
rails and rates. Night trains arrive at Nice in the morning from Paris,
Metz, and Strasbourg.
The Chemin de Fer de Provence (Provence
Railroad; Gare du Sud, 33 av. MalaussĂ©na, 06000 Nice, 04-97-03-80-80) leads
from Nice to Digne and makes a local stop at St-AndrĂ©-les-Alpes, about 20 km
(12 mi) north of Castellane, the eastern gateway to the Gorges du Verdon.
SNCF (88 rue St-Lazare, 75009 Paris,
08-36-35-35-35, France's national rail service, is fast, punctual,
comfortable, and comprehensive.
Most of the local
buses in Nice create connections with one another at their central hub, the
Station Central, 10 av. Felix Faure 04-93-16-52-10, which
lies a very short walk from the place MassĂ©na.
Bus nos. 2 and 12 make
frequent trips to the beach.
between Nice and such long-haul destinations as Monaco, Cannes, St-Tropez,
and other parts of France and Europe depart from the Gare RoutiĂ¨re, 5
bd. Jean-JaurĂ¨s 04-93-85-61-81.
You can rent bicycles
and mopeds at Nicea Rent, 9 av. Thiers 04-93-82-42-71), near
the Station Centrale. From March through October, it is open daily from 9am
to noon and 2 to 6pm (closed Sunday November to April.
Local buses cover a network of routes along the
coast and stop at many out-of-the-way places that can't be reached by train.
Timetables are available from tourist offices, train stations, and local bus
stations (gares routiĂ¨res
In Nice, the Sun Bus is a convenient way to cut
across town. Bus drivers give change and hand you a ticket, which must be
The best way to explore the secondary sights in
this region, especially the deep backcountry, is by car.
You can easily move along the coast between
Cannes, Nice, and Ventimiglia by train on the slick double-decker CĂ´te
d'Azur line, a dramatic and highly tourist-pleasing branch of the SNCF lines
that offers panoramic views as it rolls from one famous resort to the next.