The Côte d'Azur coastline is a melting pot of beautiful beaches with crystal clear waters, overlooked by medieval villages with never ending narrow passageways and vineyards with their delicious wines just waiting to be sipped in the glorious sunshine. To easily access all this without a car, why not base yourself in Nice and catch the frequent train travelling between Cannes and Menton?
The view from Nice Château
Completely irrelevant to Nice, but a few days before this trip I read a great article online about a mother and her daughter being stranded in Spain because their low cost airline refused to allow them to board as their hand baggage was bigger than the airlines maximum allowable size. They were offered a choice of paying £50 to check their luggage in, or not board the flight. For some bizarre reason, they couldn’t afford the £50 each and instead paid £300 each for a new flight the next day and blamed the airline on being unfair.
The moral of the story is simple, low cost airlines are there to make a profit (and exactly which business isn’t?) but they offer headline grabbing cheap seats to great places as long you abide by their rules. For example, if their rule is that their maximum hand baggage size is 25 x 40 x 50, then make sure your hand baggage is less than this size including wheels and handles. If they tell you to check-in online and you don’t, then expect to pay a fine at the airport. It’s simple really – you get what you pay for, and in the case of low cost airlines you normally haven’t paid much, sometimes less than the train ticket to the airport. But now back to the main story...
Getting to Nice: a guide to Nice Airport transfers...
We landed in Nice at around 9.25pm and had been told by the AirBnB host that there were no buses that late from the airport – he actually offered to organise a taxi to pick us up from the airport for 35€ which is the approximate going rate for pre-booked taxis. I obviously declined his offer for two reasons (1) I knew there were buses as I had done my research and (2) I would’ve used an Uber for 25€ if option 1 failed. Tip: don't always trust your hotel or host, do your research!
Note: For those with lots of money, you can actually get a helicopter transfer to both Monaco and Cannes but as I travel on a relatively tight budget, this "option" was not an option!
Nice Airport has two terminals, with Terminal 1 being more convenient for local public transport but the walk between the two is only 20 minutes, or about 5 minutes on a free shuttle bus. Annoyingly we arrived in Terminal 2.
From Terminal 1 you can walk out to the “Promenade des Anglais” and catch a local bus for 1.50€ (ticket can be bought from the driver). Just walk straight out the airport terminal, up towards the main road and then turn right. You should see the bus stop a few more metres away. Catch bus 23 to go to blvd Gambetta and then the train station, or bus 52, 59 or 70 for Promenade hotels, Place Massena, and the Old Town (note: taking large suitcases on local buses may be difficult).
Alternatively (from either terminal), catch Airport Bus 98 ‘Promenade des Arts’ for hotels along the beach and near the old town or Airport Bus 99 ‘Gare SNCF’ for Nice-Ville train station. A ticket on these buses is 6€, but is valid for 74 minutes for transfers.
Use the Lignes d’Azur website to plan your journey and don’t trust Google maps to give you accurate transport connection options in Nice.
Getting to Nice by train...
Nice is easily accessed by highspeed TGV train (now known as "inOui") from around France with approximate journey times of x hours from Paris, x hours from Lyon or x from Montpellier.
A walk up Nice Château...
My day trips...
Saturday 2nd September - Menton: the French Riviera's unknown corner
Sunday 3rd September - "Train des Pignes à vapeur" to Annot
Monday 4th September - Cap Ferrat: glamour and beauty
Tuesday 5th September - Saint-Paul-de-Vence: an old medieval town
My next stop...
Wednesday 6th September - Genova and Boccadasse