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World > France > Nice
City Guide Nice
General Information
Nice, the capital of the Cote d’Azur, stretches along the beautiful Baie des Anges. Thanks to its geographical and climatic advantages it has always been a populated place. Today it records 930.000 inhabitants. Nice is a modern city with a cosy and charming flair which offers a great variety of cultural activities like congresses and festivals. Therefore it is no wonder that the inflow of foreign visitors is not only limited to the summer months but spans the whole year. Besides, its close location to the Italian border makes Nice a perfect place of the department for the Alpes-Maritimes. Surrounded by different kinds of landscapes such as several hills, like the most famous Cimiez with its ancient vestiges, or the French Riviera, Nice is a very pleasant place to stay and it is no wonder that this marvellous city is in second place of France’s most visited cities.
Nice is famous for its long, hot summers and mild winters. In August temperatures range from 20 to 27 degrees Celsius (68 and 81 degrees Fahrenheit). In summer the water temperature is 20 to 25 degrees Celsius (68-77°F). Winters are mild along the Mediterranean coast. In January, the temperatures usually fall between 6 and 13 degrees Celsius (43 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit). The nicest months for travelling are May and mid-September to mid. October.
The official language in Nice is French. Nevertheless, many of the inhabitants speak partially a regional dialect called Occitan. Due to the closeness to the Italian border Italian is widely understood. Also English is spoken and understood in most of the touristy places.
About 86% of the population are Roman-Catholic and the rest includes other religions such Muslims and Jews. There is also a fair number of Protestants and some people even don’t belong to any religion at all.
The currency used in France is the Euro. Notes come in denominations of €100, €50, €20, €10 and €5 and the coins in use are €2, €1, € 0.50, € 0.20, € 0.10, € 0.05, € 0.02 and € 0.01.
Service charges are included on all restaurant bills. However, it is standard to tip according to the level of service given. It is common practice to give a small tip to chambermaids and porters.
Sales tax is quite high at 18.6%, and is included in the shop prices. This tax can be refunded to tourists from outside of the EU whenever €175 or more is spent in the same shop. Most retailers will present you with a form to fill out in these cases, to give to customs officials at the airport. In other situations, however, tourists have to pay special taxes. While staying in France, visitors usually have to pay a tourism tax or a flat-rate tourism tax which is fixed by the local authority and ranges between 0,15 and 1,07 € per person per day, depending on the quality and the standard of the accommodation. The tax will be added to your hotel bill by the owner of the accommodation.
To call Nice from abroad you first have to put the country code for France +33 and then 493 for Nice. Public telephone boxes are widely available in France, but it is a good idea to buy a France Telecom telécarte at Métro or RER stations, post offices or newsagents rather than relying on cash. These phone cards are available in 50-unit and 120-unit versions. Many phone boxes don''t take coins, but some now accept credit cards.
Emergency numbers
Police Tel.: 110 Ambulance Tel.: 112 Physicians on Standby Tel.: 310031 Dentists (emergency service) Tel.: 89004333 Pharmacies (night and weekend service) Tel.: 0800/33011411
Opening times
Opening times of banks are usually from 9am to 4 pm Monday to Friday. Shops are usually opened during the week from 9 am – 12 am and from 2 pm – 6pm. Department stores and other large stores have one night a week when they are open late, usually until 9 pm. During busy shopping seasons, such as the month before Christmas, many shops open up on Sundays. Museums are usually open six days a week from 9 or 10 am until 5 or 6 pm. They are open on Sundays, but usually close on either Monday or Tuesday. Office hours are typically 9 am – 6 pm.
Public Holidays
On the following days, most shops, banks and musuems will be closed, and public transport is likely to be more limited. 1st January, New Year’s Day Easter Sunday and Monday 30th April, Great Prayer Day 8th May, VE Day 14th July, Bastille Day 15th August, Feast of the Assumption 1st November, All Saints’ Day 11th November, Armistice Day 25th December, Christmas
Nice is a relatively safe city in which even at night many people populate the streets. Only some districts such as St. Andre in the North East of the city should be avoided even during the day. Visitors have to take usual security measures to stay safe: leave worthy belongings at home, lock cars carefully also while driving; don’t leave your purse in the back of your trousers. But in general Nice is a city where you don’t need to be afraid of major crimes.
Matisse Museum
Since 1963, the Matisse museum is sheltered in the 17th century residence, the Villa of the Arenas. This permanent collection of the museum comprises many works of the artist Matisse, who lived all his life in Nice: paintings and cut out gouaches, drawings, engravings, sculptures, illustrated books but also photographs, objects which have belonged to the painter, serigraphies, tapestries, ceramics, stained glasses and documents. Opening times: Everyday 10 am to 6 pm except Tuesdays, December 25, January 1st, May 1st and Easter Sunday. Address: 164, avenue des Arènes de Cimiez 06000 Nice. Tel. : (+33) (0)4 93 81 08 08 (info) - Tel. : (+33) (0)4 93 53 40 53 (conservation) Fax : (+33) (0)4 93 53 00 22 - e-mail:
Museum of Modern Art and Conte
The collections of the museum comprise works of New Realistic Europeans as well as of works of artists of New Yorkan Pop Art. The room representative of the museum is the room Yves Klein, which gathers about twenty of its major works. You will also find in this museum minimalists works of Sol LeWitt and Richard Serra. The American abstraction is represented by artists such as Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski or Larry Poons. Free visits and guided tours. Opening times: Everyday 10am – 6pm, except Mondays, January 1st, Easter Sunday, May 1, December 25. Address Promenade des Arts 06364 Nice cedex 4 Tel. : +33 (0)4 97 13 42 01 Fax : +33 (0)4 97 13 42 02 E-mail :
Nice National Theatre
The Nice National Theatre is situated just beside the Museum of Modern Art and ContemporaryArt. It belongs to the Dramatic Center National Nice Riviera created in 1989. It consists of three large rooms: an Italian room of 900 places, a splendid amphitheatre which can contain 300 people and a room of repetition. A troop of permanent actors propose varied representations regaining all the shapes of theatre. Address: Promenade des Arts 06300 Nice Tel.: +33 4 93 13 90 90 Fax: +33 4 93 13 79 60 Email :
Monument of the Centenary
This building is located in front of the sea and of the very famous Promenade des Anglais, at the end of the Garden Albert 1st. It was set up in 1893 to commemorate the centenary of the fastening of the county of Nice in France. This monument was built out of a stone carving of Turbie. Above this stone thrones the goddess Nikaïa, the Greek goddess of victory.
Russian Orthodox Cathedral Sai
Ordered and built by none other than Tsar Nicholas II, this is the most beautiful religious edifice of the Orthodoxy outside Russia, and a perfect expression of Russian religious art abroad. It dates from the belle époque, when some of the Romanovs and their entourage turned the Riviera into a stomping ground (everyone from grand dukes to ballerinas walked the promenade). The cathedral is richly ornamented and decorated with icons. You''ll spot the building from afar because of its collection of ornate onion-shaped domes. During church services on Sunday morning, the building is closed for tourist visits.
Promenade des Anglais
Nice owes it its public image! This superb maritime boulevard, built in 1820 by the English Reverend Lewis Way, is always impeccably flowered and marries the harmonious curve of Bay of the Angels. On its wide pavement, people hang around, cycle or roller. You can go bathing or bronze on the beaches (private and public) made of pebbles, downwards.
Albert 1st Garden
Sandwiched between two busy streets, this garden of tropical greenery stands over the delta of the River Paillon, underground since 1882. Flowers and palm trees are thrown into exotic relief by nighttime illumination, and the wonderful old-fashioned merry-go-round provides a parents'' dream photo opportunity. This garden is a vast place of walk and of relaxation built at the end of the last century. By walking in the garden, you will discover the very great sculpture of Bernard Venet, “the Arc”, a kiosk of music or an open-air theatre.
Nice is a modern city of the superlative. It is the second biggest city in the south of France with the second biggest airport of the whole country. Nice has a high number of hotels and an enormous flow of tourists each year. And believe it or not Nice does not need to hide behind Paris when it comes to cultural amusements and events. Although the city appears as a fashionable metropolis it is manageable place which is easy to deal with. No matter where you are the sea always shows through the small streets and alleyways so that orientation should not be a problem. Nice has a very beautiful Old Town loaded with cafes, snack bars and restaurants. The flair of the Mediterranean floods the whole city and charming old houses blend nicely in the scenery of sea and mountains. Walks through the city can easily be replaced by a time of relaxation on the beach which is usually only 10 minutes away no matter where you are. The “Promenade des Anglais” is without doubt the most famous beach promenade in the whole world. It starts at the airport in the west and stretches over the whole city until it reaches the old harbour. Although Nice cannot present reams of sights and monuments like Paris, millions of tourists come every year to this attractive place which offers so much diversity in nature, an enormous amount of culinary specialities and possibilities, a long pebble beach, a warm and sunny climate and many options for clubbing.