Nice is the second-largest French city on the Mediterranean coast and the second-largest city in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region after Marseille. Nice is about 13 kilometers (8 miles) from the principality of Monaco, and its airport is a gateway to the principality as well.
Nice, the fifth largest city in France, acts as a magnet attracting people from all over the world, for a multitude of reasons, Not only renowned for its grace, Nice has become a hub for research in industry, science and advanced technology since the creation of such centers as Acropolis and Sophia Antipolis. The Palais de Congres, a convention center, can accommodate diverse functions.
Where do I fly into?
Nice Côte d’Azur International Airport
Address:Rue Costes et Bellonte, 06206 Nice, France
Telephone: +33 820 42 33 33
France: Annual Weather Averages. July is the hottest month in Paris with an average temperature of 68°F (20°C) and the coldest is January at 41°F (5°C) with the most daily sunshine hours at 8 in September. The wettest month is May with an average of 26mm of rain.
Passport and Visa Information
Passports and Visas
U.S. citizens traveling to France must have a current U.S. passport with at least three months of validity from your date of departure. The passport must have at least one blank page for stamps. Travelers there for vacation or business are not required to get a visa when staying for less than 90 days. France is part of the EU’s Schengen Area so that 90 days also includes a continuous stay in any Schengen Area country. Travelers who wish to stay longer in France (or in the Schengen Area) past 90 days must apply for a visa, which can be done through the Embassy of France website and at a local visa center.
Those arriving for study, internships or employment must apply for a French visa before leaving the U.S. Apply using the Embassy of France website, which allows travelers to submit and track the correct application. Use the Embassy’s Visa Wizard tool if you’re unsure whether you need one for your trip to France.
Nice Visa and Passport Requirements
|Passport required||Return ticket required||Visa required|
Health and Safety
Take sensible precautions against street and car crime. Don’t keep your passport, credit cards and other valuables in the same place; use the inside compartments in bags where possible. Carry your bag across your body rather than on your shoulder.
Pickpockets can work in gangs: one to distract you while the other one goes into your bag. Keep your belongings close to you in restaurants and bars. Don’t be distracted around tourist attractions and cash points.
Be aware of common scams used to obtain money from tourists, there are a petition, 3 card trick and gold ring tricks which are all to be avoided, more information can be found here.
Thieves and pickpockets operate on the Paris underground, RER lines and at mainline stations, for example, Gare du Nord.
There have been several victims of serious assault on the RER line B, which serves Paris Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports and Paris Gare du Nord Eurostar terminus. There have also been serious assaults on RER line D, which serves the Stade de France.
Alcohol and drugs can lead to you being less alert, less in control and less aware of your environment. If you’re going to drink, know your limit and take sensible precautions such as not becoming separated from friends.
Motorway journeys are usually trouble-free, but if you’re asked by another motorist to stop and you decide to do so, park your car in a public area with lights – like a service station. If you’re involved in a car accident or witness an accident on the motorway, use the orange emergency phones to ask for help.
If you’re visiting France you should get a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving the UK. The EHIC isn’t a substitute for medical and travel insurance, but it entitles you to state-provided medical treatment that may become necessary during your trip. Any treatment provided is on the same terms as French nationals. If you don’t have your EHIC with you or you’ve lost it, you can call the Department of Health Overseas Healthcare Team (+44 191 218 1999) to get a Provisional Replacement Certificate. The EHIC won’t cover medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment or non-urgent treatment, so you should make sure you have adequate travel insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment and repatriation.
If you require medication while in France, remember to bring a prescription with you.
Find a bathroom. This isn’t always that easy, as public restrooms aren’t necessarily plentiful. Shopping centers or malls usually have a public restroom which is always well signposted, as do some popular outdoor areas. Parks tend to have the public restroom pods. Worst case scenario, pop into a cafe, order a coffee and use their facilities. If you’re bold, march into a busy one and go straight back to the bathroom, then leave and save yourself a couple of euros. But many of them are downstairs so this might be a tricky option. Look for signs saying, “toilettes” or “W.C.” In a cafe, the toilets are likely to be unisex.
French Currency Exchange, Banks, ATMs,
The Euro is one of the biggest currencies in the world, with 337 million Europeans using Euros every day. As a result, it is very widely available to buy anywhere in the world. Whether you buy your Euros before you travel or wait until you get to France is a matter of personal preference. By shopping around you can find good deals wherever you are.
If you want to exchange your cash once you arrive in France, then just change what you need immediately in the airport and hold off changing the rest until you’re in a town. Here you’ll find a better choice of exchange services, and therefore have a better chance of finding a fair deal. Generally, exchange rates offered in airports (and hotels) are poor, reflecting the captive market in these locations.
Wherever you change your cash, you should be wary about the fees and charges that are added. These are not always immediately obvious, so look carefully.
The best way to ensure a fair conversion deal is to understand the mid-market rate. This is the real exchange rate which you’ll find on google and Xe.com and should be used to compare the tourist rates on offer.
You can easily check the live mid-market rate by using a currency converter. Use this figure as a benchmark to compare against the retail rates offered to you. The difference (plus any declared commission or fees) is the real cost of exchanging your currency.
If you carry hard cash to exchange while you’re in France, then make sure that the notes you have are crisp and clean. Anything less might be refused.
Before leaving, check with your bank that your debit card will work in France and tell them that you will be withdrawing money when you travel. Why? Well, they might just freeze your card if there is a sudden high use away from your home.
- An ATM in France is called a
- ATMs have English language instructions.
- ATMs are all over France.
- Do use a bank ATM; if your card is swallowed up you can go in to retrieve it. And use a bank ATM as most of them don’t charge fees while machines by so-called independent companies will do just that.
- Do check with your bank for the limit you can withdraw each day. However, French ATMs often impose their own limits which you will find out about as you travel.
- Do remember that ATM transactions come with fees. Your bank might charge you a flat fee, anything from $2 to $5 each time you use an out-of-network ATM. They may also charge a percentage for the currency conversion, on top of the usual Visa and MasterCard 1% fee for all international transactions.
- Do withdraw larger amounts of cash if your bank charges a flat fee to avoid unnecessary extra fees.
- Do make sure you know your PIN before you leave by numbers as European keypads have numbers only.
- Do take an extra ATM card in case yours is stolen or gobbled up by the machine.
- Do think of getting a prepaid or stored value travel card. How they work is that you plan what you will need for the vacation, add a little more for unexpected extras and place that in a special account which you access only with the travel card you order.
There are eight main high street retail banks in France, as follows:
- Crédit Agricole (CA)
- BNP Paribas.
- Société Générale.
- Caisse d’Epargne (CE)
- Banque Populaire (BP)
- Crédit Mutuel.
- La Banque Postale.
Where You Can Use a Card
France is one of those countries where credit and debit cards are widely accepted. Whether a person is paying for a rental car to drive to the south of France, making a reservation online to visit the Louvre or planning on buying some luxurious items on Champs d’ Elysee, travelers can rely on their credit card or debit card to get the job done. Cash is really only used for things like taxis, buses, and trains, though it’s possible to pay for train or subway tickets with a card too.
France Requires Chip & Pin Cards
Any debit or credit cards a person plans on using in France must have a chip in it and a pin associated with the card. Most cards in the U.S. now have a chip in them. Therefore, as long as you’re not using an old card with a simple magnetic strip, you will be able to use your card in the terminals in France, as well as most places in Europe, without any problems. Some machines may prompt you to also put in a pin number, and if not, the cashier will ask for a signature. If your card is not working in a self-scanner machine, then simply ask a sales associate to help you manually use the card.
One thing to keep in mind is that even if a card does have a chip and requires a pin, this may not always work for “offline” transactions, mainly because the U.S. uses a somewhat different system. Offline transactions are those at unmanned payment systems, such as a French toll plaza.
Foreign Transaction Fees & ATMs
Before using a debit card or credit card in France, it’s important to know what the bank charges in foreign transaction fees. Foreign transaction fees can accrue every time the card is swiped, so it’s a good idea to ask the bank what the charges are. Card-users may also get a separate charge by the institution they are using the card at in France.
An ATM, or what’s called a “distributor” in France, is a bit different and can be a great way to access money in France without being charged too much. If you can find a bank that’s a sister bank (or even a branch) of the one you use in the U.S., then you will either not be charged ATM fees or will be charged very little. For instance, Bank of America has a corresponding bank in France known as “BNP Paribas” which won’t charge the $5 fee for using a Bank of America debit card at their ATM.
By using an ATM with a debit card (not a credit card), it’s easy to take out a lot of cash at once and avoid losing the money that you would normally lose on a lousy currency exchange; additionally by making one lump sum withdrawal you can avoid paying a large number of ATM fees. Some banks will even reimburse customers for foreign transaction fees accrued abroad.
When bringing a debit and credit cards to France, make sure to keep those cards safe. Scammers can try to steal sensitive card information by using a card skimmer. Avoid using strange looking ATMs and always watch the cashier when they scan your card. Before taking your debit and credit cards abroad, call your bank and let them know you’ll be traveling in order to avoid having your transactions come up as a suspicious or fraudulent activity.
There is a range of cash, debit and credit cards available in France, but the card must widely used is the Carte Bancaire (CB). The card is used on an interbank basis and CB has become a term which has a generic use. When used in connection with Mastercard or Visa Card it can be used outside of France.
These can be cashed at virtually any bank and urban post office in France; they can also be used in some hotels. However, outside of major tourist regions (such as certain parts of Paris or the Riviera), very few shops or hotels accept travelers’ checks as payment. If you do wish to come to France with travelers’ cheques, it is advisable to get them in Euros, not in US dollars or any other currency. That way you know that your cheques are worth their face value when you cash them in.
French taxes for non-residents. Non-residents usually pay tax on their France-sourced income at a minimum French tax rate of 20%. Property tax in France for non-residents on the taxable gain of the sale of a French property is 19% for EU citizens and 33.33% for all others.
At present, tourists in France pay a compulsory “city tax”, sometimes called a “tourist tax” (or “taxe de séjour” in French). It is collected by the owner of the accommodation and varies according to the grading of the hotel and the town, from a minimum of €0.20 to a maximum of €1.50 for top-graded hotels.
Both French men and women wear sophisticated, elegant clothing. As a result, many American tourists often feel underdressed compared to the French natives. One of the cardinal rules of the French dress code is wearing understated, well-fitting clothes. It follows that the sweatpants and oversized T-shirt look popular in North America is seldom seen among the French unless they are in the privacy of their own home. More specifically, the French prefer a tidy look that does not reveal.
While France does experience hot temperatures in the summer, most French men and women do not wear shorts. To keep cool, men often wear pants that end at the mid-calf length and are made of light fabrics. French women choose patterned skirts or capri pants that end at or below the knee for spring and summer. Both men and women pair these warm-weather bottoms with short-sleeved buttoned-down shirts or simple T-shirts.
Because of its simplicity and elegance, the little black dress is a fashion staple for the majority of French women. Of course, women wear these reserved dresses in many other colors, in addition to black. Sometimes featuring various patterns, dresses are worn both in the professional and casual setting. However, in an effort to avoid flashy, loud clothing the French often prefer dark colors and minimalistic patterns for dresses and other garments.
The French do wear sneakers, but in styles that differ from sneakers worn by many Americans. Unless they are exercising, French men and women do not wear traditional white sports sneakers. Instead, they opt for slim-fitting fashion sneakers made of materials, such as canvas. During the summer, leather sandals, as opposed to flip-flops, are the preferred choice of summer footwear for both men and women in France.
The scarf is a favorite accessory for both French men and women. Elegantly tied, knitted or wool scarves are worn to protect the neck from the cold during the winter and fall. Women continue to wear scarves even during the warmer seasons. They drape light scarves made of fabrics, such as silk or cotton, across their shoulders or tie them in a knot around the neck.
Electrical outlets in France usually deliver power at 220-240 volts. It is much stronger than most North American sockets, which usually deliver 110-120 V. Plugging a 110V hairdryer to a 240V French socket may result in ruining the device or worse, starting a fire.
Think of it as a gesture, not an obligation. Once again, it’s not necessary but is appreciated for good service. There are no rules about tipping in France.
Café: Use change to Round up to nearest whole figure on the total bill.
Restaurant: 5-10% or 1-2 EURO every 20E bill.
Airport/Hotel Shuttle: 1-2E per bag
Bellman:1-2 EURO per bag
Chambermaid: 1-2 EURO per day
Tap water in France is generally both safe and acceptable in taste, but mineral water (French: Eau minérale) is generally considered to taste better, except in areas that use mountain water from the Alps for their municipal supply.
Language & Time
The language of Paris. The official language of the country is French. But in the parts of the city that see the most tourists, people will understand and talk to you in English. Regional languages are also spoken like dialects of German and Celtic languages.
Central European Standard Time
Time Zone in France (GMT +1)
Transportation in Paris
The public transport system in and around Paris is probably the best of any city in Europe in terms of geographical spread, speed, upkeep, and tariffs. The capital is crisscrossed with publicly-run services by bus, underground (or subway) and overhead rail and trams, which are all grouped under one authority, called the RATP.
You can buy one-journey tickets or the cheaper travel passes that allow you to use any of the services as often as you please. The pass commonly used by commuters in and around the capital is called the carte orange, which covers transport across an area of up to some 50 kilometers around the capital.
A contactless magnetic pass allowing passengers to pass through gates smoothly is now available and if combined with a direct-debit ‘Integrale’ subscription provides roughly 10 months unlimited travel within the zones selected for the price of 12 with a conventional ticket.
Most employers will pay 50 percent of the cost of any travel pass.
The Paris underground métro lines serve virtually every small neighborhood in the capital, and run from 5.30am until around 1 am. A revamped night bus service linking central Paris to destinations all over the city and the Ile de France region will get you home during the small hours.
The average frequency of métro trains is around every five minutes. The métro lines are designated by number, and the direction is indicated by the name of the terminus station.
There is also an express commuter train service, the RER, which links regions outlying Paris with the center of the capital, where it runs underground.
Tickets for travel within the city limits cost EUR 1.40 each (un ticket) or EUR 10.90 for a set of ten, carnet de tickets (2006 prices). One ticket gives you access to either the bus or metro and for the duration of one uninterrupted journey only, although in the case of the metro you can ride as many lines as necessary to get to your destination.
Plans are currently afoot however to introduce a ticket allowing unlimited travel for a period of 60-90 minutes.
Prices for the carte orange vary according to the geographical zone you choose but start at EUR 52.50 per month for Paris only and rise to EUR 142.70 per month for the entire Paris region. There are also weekly and inter-suburban rates.
You get find tickets, passes, and information from any métro station, and carnets of tickets are also available at many tabacs (licensed tobacconist shop).
Other French cities
Every French town and city has a public transport service, and regional coach companies operate bus lines in rural areas. Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Rennes, and Toulouse all have metro services. Tickets or passes from the local transport service will cover all travel in your town, city or rural region.
In 2017 French rail operator SNCF offered an unlimited monthly pass for EUR 79 per month for those aged 16 to 27 years old, in order to woo young users back from ridesharing apps. With the pass, you can board nearly all of SNCF’s regular and high-speed trains to any destination. Cheap intercity buses and ridesharing apps, such as BlaBlaCar, have mushroomed in recent years in France. State-owned SNCF has also ventured into intercity buses and ridesharing services, but with the focus typically on sharing rides to and from its train stations.
Taxis in France
French taxis are licensed by the local prefecture, which imposes strict rules on roadworthiness, passenger capacity (a minimum of three) and working hours. Private minicabs do not exist and all cabs operate in the same manner and to the same tariffs in each region. Inevitably, many taxi drivers will exploit non-locals by taking unnecessary detours or simply overcharging and for especially long journeys it is common and wise to ask for a fixed price, forfeit.
Taxis in Paris can be hailed in the street, at the numerous taxi ranks found in every district or booked by phone. Taxis are allowed to charge extra for a fourth passenger and will often refuse to do so.
Two of the largest taxi operating companies in the capital are G7 (Tel: 01 47 39 47 39) and Taxis Bleus (Tel: 0891 70 10 10).
National rail services in France
The French railway network is run by a single authority, state-run SNCF, and is managed as a public service. The network is comprehensive, trains run with the precision of a Swiss watch and tariffs are cheaper per kilometer than most other European countries. The network includes suburban, regional and national and international lines.
The SNCF operates a high-speed train (TGV) service linking most French regions. The TGV is a speedy (it travels at around 250 kph) and cheaper inter-city transport alternative to the plane. International TGV services also link Paris with London (by Eurostar) and Brussels and Amsterdam (by Thalys).
You can buy all types of rail tickets by major credit card and at any SNCF station, or by calling 3635. Internet sales have rocketed lately and many deals, only available online, allow travelers to print their own ticket directly from the website.
Promotions offer substantial savings for those booking ahead and last-minute
bargains are posted on the site on Tuesdays.
What to pack for a trip to Nice
- Comfortable shoes (plenty of cobbled shoes)
- Dress & Light Cardigan (ladies)
- Jeans & Suit Jacket (men)
- Shorts & Skirts
- Dress Shirts & Blouses
- Hats & Bag
- Sun protection
- Some medicines are delivered only with a medical prescription. Bring your own medicine.
- Bring electrical outlet adapter and Voltage Converters
Things to carry on with you
- A copy of your passport and driver’s license.
- Money If you are going to make a purchase or go out to dinner, take more and take a credit card as well. Use the card only if you don’t have enough cash.
- Your emergency telephone list of phone numbers from back home.
- A business card showing the phone and address of your hotel.
- Credit cards only if you plan to go to the bank.