Nice Car Hire
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- There are nine main car hire companies operating out of Nice airport.
- If you are travelling by train, there are several car hire companies to choose from in the main train station. There are also a cluster of them around the Albert I Garden.
- To rent a car in France you must be at least 21 years old (some agencies require you to be 25) and have a credit card in your name. Some rental companies also require you to have had your license for at least one year. Check specific rules with individual rental companies before booking.
- The streets of Nice are laid out in a grid like fashion however the one-way system can be tricky to navigate so it’s worth investing in a sat nav.
- The city centre is incredibly busy, and parking can be hard to come by, make sure you check parking arrangements with your hotel to avoid any disappointment on arrival.
- Off-airport car hire locations in Nice are around 6% cheaper on average than airport locations.
- Book as far in advance as you can, typically if you book three months in advance you’ll pay around 1/3rd less than people hiring on arrival.
- The normal speed limit on French motorways is 130 km/hr or 110 km/hr in rain, on dual carriageways its 110 km/hr. The normal speed limit on main roads is 80 km/hr (outside built-up areas) and in built-up areas is 50 km/hr – unless otherwise indicated.
- Driving with headphones in is illegal throughout the whole of France and will land you with a hefty on-the-spot fine if you are caught.
- By law you must carry a breathalyser with you if driving in France, the drink drive limit in France is also half of what it is in the UK.
- France has several peages or tolled motorways which can become costly if you are using them a lot. If you’re not in a hurry use the ‘N’ roads which are free and make for a much more attractive journey.
Guide to Nice
It’s easy to see why Nice is the second biggest tourist destination in the country. With year-round sunshine, beautiful Mediterranean beaches, old town charm and buzzing nightlife its popular with couples, honeymooners and sun-worshipers alike. It’s a heady mix of the best of what France and Italy have to offer and is sure to steal your heart. Be careful though it’s not the sort of place you can visit on a tight budget.
Founded in 350 BC by the Greeks and ruled at different times by the Greeks, Romans, Genoese, Provençals, Savoyards and Piedmontese, it only became part of France in 1860. With its rich multicultural history it’s the perfect base to spend a few days exploring the city limits and beyond
Things to do in Nice
The most famous stretch of beachfront in Nice, if not the whole of France is the Promenade de Anglais. It gets its name from the British expats who paid for its construction in 1822 and runs for around 4km along the Baie des Anges. If you're looking for something a little more fun than just soaking up the sun you can rent rollerblade and scooters from Roller Station and speed along the dedicated lane for cyclists and skaters.
Visit Nice Old Town
Nice’s Old Town is packed with delights, its narrow twisting streets have barely changed since the 1700’s except now there are boutiques, delis and bars as far as you can see. One of the main highlights here though has to be the Cours Saleya, a huge marketplace that buzzes from dawn until dusk over the summer months. With everything from fresh food to flea markets there is something for everyone here.
With so many museums to choose from in Nice you’d be forgiven for not knowing where to start, if you’re planning on visiting a few then it might be worth looking into the Nice Museum Pass. The Musee Matiss houses the most complete of Matisse's works including oil paintings, drawings, sculptures, tapestries and Matisse’s famous paper cut-outs. Set in a leafy suburb around 2km north of the city centre it’s open daily except Tuesdays and has an interesting assortment of temporary exhibits in the modern basement throughout the year.
The Museum of Asian Arts isn’t necessarily something you’d expect to find in the heart of a French city but should definitely feature on your itinerary. This museum has an excellent collection of art of Indian, Chinese and Southeast Asian origin.
The Musée Masséna is not only a fascinating museum dedicated to the history of the Riviera but also an iconic architectural landmark in its own right. Designed by the Dutch architect Hans-Georg Tersling it contains an insight into everything from holidaying monarchs to expat Americans, the boom of tourism and the enduring importance of Carnaval.
If adventure is what you are craving then Nice and its surrounding countryside are beautiful places to explore. Nice hasVelo Bleuself-service rental bikes on every corner there are over 1750 bikes at 175 different stations across the city. For €1 a day you can use the bikes as often as you like for up to 30 minutes at a time. Take a bike from one stand, leave it at another, it’s that easy. If you don’t fancy hiring a bike and heading out on your own then Nice Cycle Tours run three hour long guided tours of the city. They run three times a day over the summer months but it’s worth checking availability if you're headed to Nice outside of the peak season.
What trip to France would be complete without a wine tasting experience? High in the hills above Nice you’ll find one of the smallest but most sought after vineyards in France, Bellet. You can sample a variety of red and white wines either on a guided tour or on one of their open weekends. Wine aficionados might even choose to rent one of the luxurious self-catering properties on site.
For unbeatable views over the bay and Old Town take a trip to Parc De la Colline Du Chateau. Originally the site of an impregnable citadel which was dismantled in 1706 it’s now popular for its maze of greenery, cool undergrowth and surprising waterfall. This is a beautiful place for a walk if the summer heat gets to be too much for you. Accessed Access on foot from Old Nice and Place Garibaldi, in an Art-Deco lift or by steps its open 8.30am-8pm throughout the summer months and 8.30-6pm over winter.
Take a road trip to Monaco
With its close proximity to Monaco you won’t be surprised to find that shopping is also the name of the game in Nice too. Avenue Jean Médecin stretches from the Old Town to the station and is lined with high end boutiques and stores.
The St Nicholas Cathedral was originally built to meet the needs of the ever growing Russian population in Nice but has since become one of its top tourist attractions. Completed in 1912, it's a little way out of the city centre but definitely worth a visit if you get a chance. With its colourful domes and rich, ornate interior, it is the biggest Russian Orthodox church outside Russia. A dress code is strictly enforced here so make sure you check the rules before planning you visit.
Where to eat in Nice?
Nice has an incredible blend of French and Italian cuisine so whatever you are craving there is something here to meet your every desire
Jan is a Michelin starred restaurant headed by award winning author and photographer Chef Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen. He bravely combines tastes from his homeland of South Africa with those of France to take his customers on a culinary adventure. Dishes on the wide-ranging menu include scallops and green asparagus sprinkled with sesame and white chocolate.
Another of the many fine dining restaurants that Nice has to offer is Flaveur, run by brothers this restaurant might be small but it really packs a punch when it comes to what it offers. Here you’ll find foams, snows, reductions and creams all presented like works of art. For the full experience try the seven-course taster menu.
If you’d like to sample some traditional food then look no further than Lou Kalu. Whilst the service here might not be the fastest the food is incredibly tasty and reasonably priced. For around €20 you can get a taster board of local delicacies. It’s also right in the heart of the city which is a bonus if you have worn yourself out exploring all day.
Le Canon is a cosy little bistro that take sourcing their food locally to the next step. Their ever-changing chalkboard menu lists each farmer and their produce by name. The delicious wine list is 100% natural and the perfect place for a dinner date.
Just like its neighbours Cannes and Monte Carlo, nightlife in Nice is in abundance, especially over the summer months. Whether you're looking for a low-key laid-back cocktail or somewhere to down shots and dance the night away there's something for everyone after dark in Nice.
Le Relais Negresco has a decadent feel for those that want to add a little luxury to their evening. It’s a great piano bar serving a spectacular range of cocktails, be prepared for a big bill at the end of the night though.
For those looking for something a little more lively then Les 3 Diables is the place for you. With its theme nights, live music, student nights and jaeger-bomb lined bar this is definitely not the place for someone looking for a quiet drink.
Tucked away down a quiet little side street in the old town is Bar Des Oiseaux. Whilst is might be a little tricky to find it’s worth the effort. There is live music most nights here from jazz to cabaret and comedians often entertain the roaring crowds. There is a cover charge of €5 here when there is entertainment but there’s also a comprehensive lunch and dinner menu for if you need something to help soak up the alcohol.
Akathor Pub can be found on the main strip in the Old Town and is famous for its party vibes. It's been a big player in the Nice nightlife scene for almost 20 years with huge crowds flocking here throughout the year. The pub is split over two floors with bands playing upstairs nightly starting around 10pm. There is also a daily happy hour and a hot and cold tapas menu is served throughout the night.
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