Why go to Nice?
The coastline offers a choice of upscale resorts or laidback cafes; artistic haunts lie in between
Keep an eye on the VAT or tax that can rack up dining and shopping bills an additional 20 percent
The largest city on the Cote D'Azur offers the glamour of the French Riviera with sentimental charms
Nice Cruise Port Facilities?
Port facilities include a tourist information office, bureaux de change, toilets and a taxi rank. (NOTE: all taxis are metered and drivers are obliged to display their rates on a card. Before setting off, check that the correct rate is being applied and that the meter is on).
Good to Know?
Heavy traffic. Take care crossing the busy roads
Thieves. The Riviera is a wealthy area and attracts a criminal element known for their boldness in breaking into cars and even opening the passenger doors of cars in transit to snatch bags from the front seat. Lock all valuables out of sight and keep passenger doors locked when traveling. And always keep an eye on your bags when using public transport.
On foot: Pick up a local map at one of the many tourist info offices and kiosks and head off on foot. A simple stroll along the Promenade des Anglais, with occasional detours to roam the winding streets of Nice Old Town and sip coffee, citron presse or pastis at one of the many streetwalk cafes, is a delight.
By car: You can hire a Mini or small Peugot from Nice Airport and zip around the Riviera and the Cote. All major car rentals companies are represented in Nice, including Hertz, Europcar and Avis.
NOTE: Check whether your rental car runs on diesel or gas -- confuse the two and you could end up with a big repair bill. Ensure, too, that you have the right licence to drive in France. Your regular license is fine if you come from an EU country but travelers from outside the EU need an International Driving License. French law dictates that all drivers must be over 18; all car travelers (front and rear) must wear seat belts (where fitted) and children under 10 cannot travel in the front seats.
By bus: If you're spending a few days in Nice and don't want the hassle of driving (and more particularly, parking), exploring the Riviera by bus is a good idea as local services, run by various companies including Lignes d'Azur and Autobus de Monaco are frequent and affordable.
The Sunbus (Tel: +33 (0)4-9313-5313) is the city's most popular public transport; services run from Station Centrale, on General Leclerc Square, to Nice Ville railway station and Vieux Nice. Single trip tickets are available. You can also buy a one or five-day pass. Routes 8, 9 and 11 run along the Promenade des Anglais and all buses heading down Avenue Jean Medecin from the Nice-Ville railway station go to the centre of Nice, Place Massena (which is also the hub of the city's tram network).
To get from Nice to Monaco by bus costs about the same as by train. To go further afield, head for Nice's central bus station on Boulevard Jean Jaures, as services run from here along the Mediterranean coast to Cannes, Menton and other resorts. (For information call +33 (0)4-9385-6181)
By train: The SNCF railway station (Gare Nice-Ville) is on Avenue Thiers, roughly 10 minutes' walk from the Port of Nice. Frequent services run eastwards to Monaco and Menton, or westwards to Juan-les-Pins, Cannes, Antibes and other Riviera destinations. There are also fast (TGV) services to major French and Italian cities, including Paris, Marseilles and Rome.
By bike: Nice is heaven for cyclists as the city has an ever-growing network of bike routes, including one running the length of the Promenade des Anglais. Bike hire (pedal powered and otherwise) is a growing sector of the local economy.
Options include Elite Rent a Bike (21 rue de Rivoli, Tel. 33(0)4 93 81 09 41) and HOLIDAY BIKES (23 rue de Belgique, Tel. : (0)4 93 16 01 62 ). Both rent out motorbikes, scooters and buggies as well as bicycles, Be prepared to pay a hefty deposit -- anything up to E4,000 -- for a top-end machine.
Other: Roller Station (49 quai des Etats-Unis, Tel 33(0)4 93 62 99 05) rents out roller skates as well as pushbikes, so is a good option for the fit and the family-oriented.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
The official currency is the euro (for the latest exchange rate, visit oanda.com or xe.com).
There are plenty of banks with ATM machines and exchange bureaux in Nice and at the airport, railway and bus stations. Major credit cards are also widely (but not universally) accepted. Carry some cash just in case.
Note also that France applies VAT (Value Added Tax) to most goods and services, currently at the rate of 20 percent, which adds a hefty surcharge to restaurant and shopping bills.
As a tourist, you can claim a tax refund on any goods bought for deportation, so keep all receipts and be prepared to present them -- possibly with proof that you are taking the goods out of the country -- at a VAT refund station. You'll find these at airports, railway stations with international links and most tourist offices.
While English is widely spoken and understood -- particularly at main tourist attractions – do not assume everyone speaks it. Many taxi drivers, waiters and shopkeepers speak only French, so it's worth taking a phrase book or language app along.
Where You're Docked?
Some (smaller) cruise ships dock at the Port of Nice on the Quai du Commerce pier, about a half-hour walk away from the city centre. Others anchor in neighboring Villefranche Bay and tender passengers ashore into the delightful little port of Villefranche-sur-Mer. This is worth exploring in its own right but is also a short (and regular) train journey from Nice.
Conventional and fast-ferry operations to Corsica also operate from Nice.