I love maps and always like to carry one with me to spot new routes and short-cuts which often turn out to be long-cuts because of the interesting places I come across!
You can get free maps of Nice from the tourist information offices next to the Gare SNCF and on the Promenade des Anglais next to the Casino Ruhl.
If you want to download a map in advance (giving you the fun of planning your days and doing some virtual exploring) go here for a straightforward map of the town centre including the Old Town – you can enlarge it so that you can really get to see all the little streets!
For a google map click here and print a copy to have handy on the plane so you can spot places along the coast as you fly into Nice!
Getting from the airport into Nice couldn’t be easier! As you leave the arrivals building you can see the bus stops lined up on the other side of the roadway. Buses 98 and 99 are the dedicated airport buses and for 4 euros take you swiftly into Nice in about 20 minutes. (See below for advice about tickets.)
On leaving the airport you immediately feel part of Nice as you drive right next to the blue and turquoise sea, the palm trees and the sweep of the bay…
Which bus?Bus 98 takes you to the Gare Routière (bus station) and 99 to the Gare SNCF (main train station on Ave Thiers).
Both buses go along the Promenade des Anglais until reaching Boulevard Gambetta where the 99 turns left and continues along Gambetta with a request stop just before the Jardins Alsace-Lorraine, for which you need to ring the bell, before arriving at the train station.
Bus 98 continues along the Promenade forking left by the Jardin Albert Premier with its landmark Big Wheel and a handy stop for the beginning of the Old Town at Rue St François de Paule. Continuing to the terminus at the Gare Routière gives you easy access to the rest of the Old Town.
Tickets: You can buy your ticket from the driver on the bus but it’s very handy to get “un pass sept jours” from the kiosk outside the terminal building along to the right before crossing the roadway to the bus. A single ticket is 4 euros and a 7-day pass is 15 euros and gives you unlimited travel on buses and the tram. We always go for the 7 jours as we’ll be returning to the airport by bus and plan to use the bus or tram while in Nice – it’s very convenient to have a ticket in advance as you can bypass the queue of people waiting to pay the driver. (You have to validate your pass in the ticket reader each time you get on the bus or tram.)
Flying into Nice is great. The most common route is flying over the pink Esterel rocks, looking down on the harbours, beaches, islands and the blue sea. Spotting Cannes, Antibes, Villeneuve-Loubet, the hippodrome, Cros de Cagnes. Getting lower and lower till it feels like you’re skimming the waves…