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Nice (pronounced like "niece") has an exceptional location. Part of the French Riviera, Nice stretches along France's southeastern coast on the Mediterranean Sea. Enjoying a fine Mediterranean climate and a developed tourist infrastructure, it is little surprise that Nice is one of the country's major destinations.
Nice as an area has changed hands many times over the last 2,000 years. Originally a Greek colony then a Roman city. Then later an Italian kingdom, only to be conquered by Spain and France. The different powers in the region fought for control over Nice until the 19th century when finally France maintained permanent control, although during World War II the rallying point for the Italians was reclaiming Nice. Since the war, the the city has once again become a major tourist destination which started in the 18th century.
Although some private beaches have imported sand, all of the public beaches are pebble beaches. The water is beautiful though and is amazing for swimming, making the walk on the pebbles well worth it. For better beaches check out the towns of Villefranche-sur-Mer, Antibes, Juan-les-Pins or Cannes. Villefranche-sur-Mer can be reached by TAM bus #100 and is only 20 minutes away.
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Thanks to the tempering effect of the Mediterranean and the barrier of the Alps, Nice enjoys an exceptional climate all year round. Protected from the wind by the surrounding hills, Nice has very mild winters, with an average maximum temperatures of around 13-14 °C and nights around 6 °C. Summers are dry and warm with average highs of 27 °C in July and August and lows just below 20 °C in general. Summers see a few showers, though half of the annual precipitation of around 800 mm falls from October to January.
|Avg Max||12.9 °C||13.4 °C||14.9 °C||16.5 °C||20.1 °C||23.6 °C||26.6 °C||27.2 °C||24.3 °C||20.6 °C||16.3 °C||13.8 °C|
|Avg Min||5.3 °C||5.9 °C||7.6 °C||9.7 °C||13.5 °C||16.7 °C||19.7 °C||20 °C||17 °C||13.2 °C||8.8 °C||6.2 °C|
|Rainfall||85.1 mm||59.7 mm||60.9 mm||69.2 mm||49.4 mm||38.3 mm||15.4 mm||23.9 mm||75.6 mm||143.9 mm||94.3 mm||87.6 mm|
Transport links in and out of Nice are absolutely excellent and is the reason why so many people from other countries choose to live here.
Nice Côte d'Azur Airport (NCE) is the main airport in Nice. The airport is about 7 kilometres west of the city centre. It is the third most important airport in France handling almost 10 million passenger in 2006. Almost every major city in Europe has regular service to this airport, while almost every airport in the UK has service too. There are also flights to Marrakech, Casablanca, Dubai, Algiers, Malta, Tunis, Beirut and even to New York directly from the airport.
To/from the airport
Probably the most efficient method of traveling in Europe is by taking the TGV (high-speed train). You can buy train tickets from almost any main train station in Europe which will ultimately connect you to the TGV network. The TGV system stops slightly short of Nice but the local train gets you there in only 40 minutes. Check the TGV website for more information about schedules and prices. For example, Paris is just 6 hours by TGV from Nice.
Trenitalia trains connect Nice to Italian cities like Milan, Genoa, Rome and Venice.
For traveling around the coastline just east and west of the city, you will be using the excellent local TER train system. You can book online or check timetables at TER-sncf. Remember to buy you local coast hopping tickets at the machines or at a window before boarding the train.
In summer season you can buy a Carte Isabelle for €12 which is valid for unlimited travel anywhere for one day. Great value if you are zipping around. More information here about prices at the TER-sncf tariffs link.
Wonderful scenery and great weather make this a great place to explore by car, especially if you like exploring the mountain areas as well as the coast. In summer though the traffic can be terrible so please try to avoid the most obvious times for tourist travel. Begin your journeys either very early before 9:00am or during lunchtime (1:00pm-2:00pm) and don't return before 7:00pm. This way you will almost have the Riviera to yourself as the vast majority of tourists do the same things at the same time. Try not to be on the roads between 9:30am and 11:30am and again from 4:00 pm to 7:00pm.
The A8 autoroute is the easiest way to access Nice either from the west (Cannes, Aix-en-Provence) or from Italy. From the east take exit 50 and follow the signs for the Promenade des Anglais which takes you into Nice and is a lovely drive along the coast. Coming from the west take exit 55 and follow the signs for 'Nice centre'.
You can connect to and from Nice on the Eurolines system.
When you are visiting the direct Cote d'Azur region, the buses are the Riviera's secret weapon. It is only €1 to go anywhere on the whole Alpes Maritimes by bus. Just go the central bus station over the Paillon river and select any number of fabulous daytrips. How about Cannes for the day? Or a lazy afternoon on the beach in Monte Carlo, Monaco? All yours for only €1. To check routes and times visit the Ligne d'Azur website.
You can arrive in Nice by ferry from Corsica. Tickets can be bought online for foot passengers or cars at the Société Nationale Maritime Corse-Mediterranée (SNCM) website. Destinations on Corsica include Bastia, Ajaccio, Ile Rouse and Calvi.
If you have a yacht you can arrive at many of the Riviera's ports and marinas and be allowed a visitors berth, radio on CH12 as soon as you're in range.
Ligne d'Azur operates buses in and around Nice.
Most of central Nice is easily navigated on foot.
A food called socca, a chickpea flat bread, is a local specialty, as is a tuna fish sandwich called pan bagnat. Other specialities include soupe de poisson (fish soup, made with chili aioli, croutons, and grated cheese), salade niçoise (made with tuna), tourtes aux blettes (sweet tartes made with Savoy cabbage, raisins, nuts, and powdered sugar) and pissaladiere (a type of pizza topped with sauteed onion, olives, garlic and anchovies; it includes no tomatoes or cheese). As may be expected, seafood features prominently in Niçoise cuisine, and several restaurants specialise in sea urchin and oysters.
Check out the daily market in the Vieux Nice for fresh, local produce. You can save a lot of money if you are willing to cook at least some of your meals yourself and if you also eat leftovers, cooking can actually save you time as well since eating at a restaurant will easily cost you one to two hours per meal. There are several decent size 'supermarchés' around the city as well as numerous boucheries, boulangeries and fruit and veg shops which are often competitive on price and superior on quality.
No visit to Nice would be complete without a trip to Fennochio's in the Place Rosetti to sample their (rightly) world famous ice cream.
With the hot Niçois summers, carrying a bottle of water is almost a must. Bear in mind the largest single complaint to the municipal authority tourist department is the offering in restaurants of branded water bottles whose seal has been broken - i.e. refilled with tap water - and charged as Perrier or Evian.
You can save a lot of money by buying alcoholic drinks and such in a normal supermarket instead of the vendors geared towards tourists. Carrefour has a huge selection and unlike the other supermarkets has a policy of buying in wine show "prize winners" distinguished by their gold, silver or bronze medal stickers.
Wine in restaurants is often ferociously expensive, so do as the locals and order it by the "pichet" - usually a 50 centilitre jug. However, if you fancy quality appellation French wine to drink back home, Les Caves Caprioglio at 16 Rue de la Prefecture in Vieux Nice has a fabulous cellar of the wines you usually only read about in the fine wines books but rarely see. To see French wine making, the Chateau's Bellet and Cremat in the Var are nearest to Nice and will do tours by arrangement (reachable via the tiny narrow-gauge train from the Chemin de Fer de Provence).
|1 Med Hotel||58 rue de France||Hotel||-|
|Altea Hostel||3 boulevard raimbaldi||HOSTEL||70|
|Antares Hostel||5 Avenue Thiers 06000||Hostel||85|
|Backpacker's Hostel Chez Patrick||32, Rue Pertinax, 1st Floor 1st Floor||Hostel||82|
|Brice Hotel||44 rue du Marechal Joffre||Hotel||-|
|Chez Brigitte Guesthouse||3 rue Rouget de Lisle||Guesthouse||82|
|Hotel Azur Riviera||19 Rue Assalit||Hotel||-|
|Comte de Nice||29, Rue de Dijon||Hotel||80|
|H33 hôtel**||33, Rue Pastorelli||Hotel||-|
|Hostel Smith||20 Rue Droite||Hostel||70|
|Hostel Paradis||1 Rue de Paradis||Hostel||80|
|Hostel Baccarat||39, Rue D'Angleterre||Hostel||82|
|Hostel Belle Meuniere||21 avenue Durante||Hostel||80|
|Hotel Berlioz||55 rue Berlioz||Hotel||-|
|Hotel De Kent||16 Rue Chauvain||Hotel||-|
|Hotel de la Buffa||56 Rue de la Buffa||Hotel||77|
|Hotel De La Mer||4, Place Masséna||Hotel||-|
|Hotel de Verdun||49 rue de l'h�tel des Postes||HOTEL||-|
|Hotel du Centre Nice||Hotel du Centre 2 rue de Suisse, 06000||Hotel||79|
|Hotel Helvétique||47 Rue de l'Hôtel des Postes||HOTEL||-|
|Hotel Lafayette||32 Rue de l'Hotel des Postes||Hotel||79|
|Hotel Le Lido||4 Rue Du Commandant Berretta||Hotel||88|
|Hotel Lepante||6 rue de Lepante||Hotel||-|
|Hotel les Cigales||16 Rue Dalpozzo||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Locarno||4, Avenue des Baumettes 06000 Nice||Hotel||79|
|Hostel Meyerbeer Beach||15 Rue Meyerbeer||Hostel||88|
|Hostel Pastoral||27 rue Assalit||Hostel||81|
|Hotel Rex Nice||3 Rue Masséna||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Trocadero||7 Rue de Belgique||Hotel||82|
|Hotel Villa La Malouine||62 Bld Carnot 06300||Hotel||-|
|Nice Riviera Sweet Home||35 Rue Rossini||GUESTHOUSE||83|
|Villa Saint Exupery Gardens||22 Avenue Gravier||Hostel||-|
|Villa Aramis Guesthouse||3 Av des Mousquetaires||Guesthouse||-|
|Mas des Oliviers||350 Chemin de Cremat||Guesthouse||-|
|Altair hostel||10 Rue de Suisse||Hostel||-|
|Hotel les Orangers||10 bis Avenue Durante||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Nice Riviera||45/47 Rue Pastorelli||Hotel||-|
|Inter-Hotel Le Lausanne||36 rue Rossini||Hostel||-|
|Hotel Little Palace Nice||9, avenue Baquis||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Boreal||9, rue Paul Déroulède||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Danemark||3 Bis Avenue des Baumettes||Hotel||-|
|Hotel du Baou||246 Allee Hector Pintus La Gaude||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Apogia Nice||26 rue Smolett||Hotel||-|
|Villa Saint Exupery Beach||6 Rue Sacha Guitry||Hostel||83|
|Victoria Meublé Hostel||6 Rue Docteur Jacques Guidoni||Hostel||81|
|Nouvel Hotel **||19 Bis, Boulevard Victor Hugo Promenade Des Anglais||HOTEL||-|
|Résidence Ajoupa Baie des Anges||4, Rue Masséna||APARTMENT||-|
|Star Hotel||14 Rue Biscarra||HOTEL||-|
|HOTEL DU CLOS||3 chemin des ECOLES||Hotel||-|
|Connexion Hotel||65 rue de la Buffa||HOTEL||-|
|Maison Bonfils B&B||26, boulevard Raimbaldi||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Hancy Guesthouse||6 rue Hancy||GUESTHOUSE||82|
|La Pastorelle Villa||30 avenue des Bosquets||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Hotel Saint Gothard||20 rue Paganini||HOTEL||79|
|Hotel Villa Saint Hubert||26 rue Michel-Ange||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Villa Les Cygnes||6 avenue Chateau de la Tour||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Odyssée Guesthouse||26 chemin de la Gruerie||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Hotel Carlyna||8 Rue Sacha Guitry||HOTEL||-|
|Anis Hotel||50, Avenue de la Lanterne||HOTEL||-|
|Nice Art Hotel||35 rue d'Angleterre||HOTEL||74|
|Le Blason B&B||8 Place Garibaldi||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Best Western Hotel de Madrid||3 rue de Belgique||HOTEL||-|
|Les Balconnets Studios||23 rue Lepante||APARTMENT||-|
|Victoria M. Apartments||1 Rue Dalpozzo||APARTMENT||-|
|clair hotel||Impasse Victor lavagna 23, Bd Carnot||Hotel||-|
|L'Allegro Apartment||Rue Th�odore Gasiglia||APARTMENT||-|
|Appart Hotel Odalys Palais Rossini||57, boulevard Gambetta||APARTMENT||-|
|Inter Hotel Vendome||26 rue Pastorelli||HOTEL||79|
|Hotel Nicea||6 rue Miron||HOTEL||-|
|Un Appart en Ville||10 rue Verdi||APARTMENT||-|
|Hotel D'Ostende||3, rue Alsace-Lorraine||HOTEL||79|
|Villa Saint Exupery Apartments||5 Avenue Gravier||APARTMENT||-|
|Hotel Carnot||8 Boulevard Carnot||HOTEL||-|
|Hotel Marly's||4 rue Miron||HOTEL||79|
|Hotel Felix||41 rue Masséna||HOTEL||-|
|Hotel Plaisance||20 rue de Paris||HOTEL||-|
|Hotel Univers||2, Rue de la Liberté||HOTEL||-|
|Inter Hotel Lausanne||36 Rue Rossini||HOTEL||-|
|Azuréa Hôtel||31 Rue Paganini||HOTEL||-|
Generally the Riviera is a place people come to spend money rather than earn it. Unemployment levels are high, casual work hard to come by, and as everywhere, service industry jobs tend to go to those with low wage expectations.
Sophia Antipolis is a huge office/science/tech park 20 minutes outside of Nice, which is the base for many French and multinational companies.
For those with the right qualifications and experience the luxury, super yachts of Antibes International Yacht Club have spawned a major industry in crew and boat services which attracts many young English speakers. Connections are equally important as the boats often post signs to deter casual enquiries - "no day-workers required"
Financial service companies abound in Monaco which is readily commutable from Nice.
If you are seeking a career aboard one of the many superyachts in Nice a good place to register and start looking is http://www.crew-central.com/|Crew Central..
France is one of the best connected countries in the world, with data speed for upload/download ranked among the top 5 in the world. Most hotels and hostels would have in-house facilities to provide free internet access. Many major cities also have initiatives put in place to provide free wi-fi connection in public spaces. Alternatively there are internet cafés available in most cities/towns at a reasonable rate. Some private businesses, such as local cafés (or even the Starbuck's chain), may also provide wi-fi connectivity - keep an eye out for the signs by the shop windows/doors. Also look for the @ symbol prominently displayed, which indicates internet availability. However, with most homes now wired for the internet, cyber cafés are increasingly hard to find, especially outside the major cities.
See also: International Telephone Calls
To dial an international number from France, the IDD is 00, followed by the country code that you wish to dial, the area code and the phone number.
To call France from abroad, start with the international direct dialing (IDD) code from the country you're in, followed by French country code 33, the area code (drop the first zero in front of the area code), and the phone number. French telephone numbers are rarely given without the area code. The telephone number, including the area code, is made up of 10 digits. They are written in a set of 5 pairs of digits (i.e. 01 xx xx xx xx xx).
In France, the area code designations are: 01 - Paris Area ("Région Ile-de-France"), 02 - northwest, 03 - northeast, 04 - southeast, 05 - southwest, 06 - mobile phone providers. From 2010 onwards, 07 will also be assigned to mobile phone providers in order to cater for the surging demands for mobile phones.
Emergency numbers are 15 (medical aid), 17 (police station) and 18 (fire/rescue). You can also use the European emergency number 112 (perhaps a better choice if you don't speak French). These calls are free and accessible from virtually any phone, including locked cellphones.
France uses the GSM standard of cellular phones (900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands) used in most of the world outside of the U.S. There are several companies (Orange, SFR, Free, Bouygues Télécom and some others MVNOs like Virgin Mobile) offering wireless service. The country is almost totally covered but you may have difficulties using your mobile phone in rural or mountainous areas. If you stay for some time, it may be advisable to buy a pre-paid cell phone card that you can use in any phone that supports the GSM standard on the 900/1800 MHz bands. Then incoming calls and SMSes are free.
La Poste in France is also referred to as the PTT (short for postes, télégraphes et téléphones). The mailboxes are painted bright yellow and often there is a slot for local city mail and another slot for "outside mail". Normally there is a queue in the post office, but most of the post offices have the self service machine installed which is quite easy to operate. Nowadays many of the tabac and even some of the souvenir shops also sell postage stamps. Normally an overseas postcard costs almost as much as sending a letter. Mails sent in France also have a zip code. The first two numbers represent the administrative department (e.g. in Paris' case that would be 75).
Post offices are generally open from 8:00am to 7:00pm Monday through Friday, and 8:00am to noon on Saturdays. Apart from the basic job of mailing letters, most of the post offices do some banking activities also and some even have photocopy machines and cyber cafes for internet access.
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