Is it a good idea to have a car in Nice?

Feb 12th, 2013, 10:35 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2013
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Is it a good idea to have a car in Nice?

As part of a larger trip, my girlfriend and I are arriving in Nice on 15 August and leaving 21 August. We will arrive in Nice by car and I am wondering whether it would be worth hanging onto the car during our time in Nice, or if the public transport is good enough to visit all of the interesting places around Nice. I am also mindful that during this time of year the traffic will be quite bad. Any advice would be appreciated!
Nagle is offline  
Feb 12th, 2013, 10:50 PM
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It depends on what you want to see. If it is towns along the coast, public transportation is fine. But if you intend to see the back country, a car is useful. An alternative is to stay close to Nice but not in Nice proper. That's what we did, but we had no intention of being in Nice this time.
Michael is offline  
Feb 13th, 2013, 03:44 AM
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I go to Nice every year and manage quite well with public transportation. A car in the town of Nice is completely unnecessary.
Public transportaation is very cheap and frequent.
You will be able to go to many interesting villages and towns with buses which are very inexpensive only 1 euro or trains a bit more costly.
tdk320n is offline  
Feb 13th, 2013, 04:54 AM
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No! August is vacation time for Europe. Traffic and parking will likely be a nightmare. As noted above, public transportation on buses and trains is very good in and around Nice, so you'll be fine without the car.
Weadles is offline  
Feb 13th, 2013, 04:55 AM
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You can easily spend a week or more in Nice, visiting places outside Nice, without a car, Click on my name for my TR starting in Nice for some ideas.
thursdaysd is offline  
Feb 13th, 2013, 05:20 AM
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I think with six nights in Nice, you could consider the first three nights with a car and then drop it off for the last three nights.

There are so many lovely places to visit outside of Nice that don't require a whole day. You can easily find day trips to include two or three towns and having a car makes traveling between towns easy.

Then you don't have to think about bus schedules, especially if you wanted to stay in a town longer than planned.

But then just across the bordor in Italy there are the wonderful towns of Aprical, along with Dolceacqua. Easy to reach from Nice.

All depends on your comfort zone.
iris1745 is offline  
Feb 13th, 2013, 06:47 AM
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I agree with iris745.

We love exploring the Nice Hinterland by car.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Feb 13th, 2013, 08:33 AM
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If you want to explore north of Nice, you can take the little Train des Pignes: It leaves from an alternate station, the Gare de Nice, (not the main train station) and winds back into the hills and mountains. Entrevaux makes a good turn-around point for a daytrip.
Mimar is offline  
Feb 13th, 2013, 08:56 AM
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We always have a car in NIce - since a lot of what we want to do - in the hills behind the coast - are more easily doable. But we are there in May or June - don;t know how bad it would be in August.
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 13th, 2013, 12:40 PM
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I lived in Nice for 7 months and had no problems exploring the surrounding areas without a car. My parents visited for a few days and hired a car - after the (very short, but stressful due to roadworks, traffic, driving on the "wrong" side etc) trip from the airport to their apartment in the vielle ville, my mother refused to get back in the hire car, so it sat at my apartment for the rest of their trip and we used bus/trains anyway...
gwan is offline  
Feb 13th, 2013, 12:47 PM
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My experience without a car:

We left our hotel around 9 a.m., went to the central bus station and caught a bus to St. Paul de Vence. We intended to visit the Fondation Maeght. We got there just as the museum closed (it is somewhat of a walk from the bus stop to the Fondation) and cooled our heels in the garden with a lousy cafeteria lunch before the afternoon opening. Our original intent was to see the Matisse chapel in Vence on the same day. We never did, because the bus schedule to Vence proper and returning to Nice would not allow it. It turns out that the Matisse chapel is a way from the center of Vence, so I doubt that even with a better bus schedule that it would have worked.

All this to suggest that a car to see the arrière pays is very useful.
Michael is offline  
Feb 13th, 2013, 01:04 PM
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Funny, I managed to do all that by bus without any difficulty. Of course, I checked the opening hours and the bus timetables first....
thursdaysd is offline  
Feb 13th, 2013, 01:25 PM
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Here is one of my favorite routes into the Nice hinterland. I don't think it can be done by public transportation.

There are dozens of cute perched villages in the area behind Nice. This gets you up into the “serious” Alps and driving to these villages is the best part - fantastic gorges and breathtaking views galore. Sometimes the perched villages offer a more interesting eyeful from the “outside” rather than from the “inside” maze of passages & steps.

Get on the N202 (east side of the Var river) heading north. If you’re departing from the St Paul area, follow the route described in the Villages overlooking the Var section of this itinerary.

When you reach the D2565, turn right and head up through the Gorge de Vesubuie** toward Lantosque. This entire drive is beautiful – you will want to get out of the car several times to “take in” the scenery. Explore Lantosque a bit. If my memory is correct, the best view of this town is from the north, a few kilometers past the village. Continue on the D2565 to St Martin-Vesubie.

Explore St Martin-Vesubie* This is a very attractive town. It’s a good spot for lunch and there are several shops for browsing. It has a very interesting river that runs down the middle of the main street in town.

You might notice that your green guide says that le Boreon is a ** attraction. It’s actually a starting point for many hikes into the higher mountains in this area and not really a “place” to visit.

Re-trace your route back the way you came, toward Lantosque. Just before Lantosque, where the D70 hits the D2565 (that you are on) turn left on the D70 & drive to la Bollene-Vesubie. I have this town circled on my map, but I don’t recall if it’s a “get out & explore” town.

Continue on the D70 & then turn right (south) on the D2566. Pass Peira-Cava (don’t stop). Continue on to where the D21 intersects with the D2566 & take the D21 east.

If you don’t know the meaning of the French word “Lacets”, you will soon find out. There are 16 of them on this road. Take the D21 to Luceram.

Explore Luceram*. This is one of our favorite towns in the area. Wander around as much as possible. This village is in a remarkable setting. If you think that you are in a deserted village, notice the number of satellite dishes perched on buildings.

When you finish exploring Luceram, take the D2566 which heads west of the village – not the D2566 heading south. Take this road just far enough to obtain more views of Luceram. When it’s no longer in sight, turn around & return to Luceram and then head south on the D2566 to L’Escarene.

Explore L’Escarene then take the D2204 northeast toward Sospel.

Explore Sospel*. This is another very cute town. There’s a little more commerce here ( good, not ugly commerce). The last time we were here, they were filming a movie & everyone was dressed in Medieval clothes. Oddly, they didn’t look out of place (which gave us a chuckle). Notice the buildings on the riverfront. Take time to explore this town thoroughly.

Return to Nice. The best way is to retrace your route through L’Escarene, and then take the D2204 to Nice where you pass under the A8 and then loop to the right to get on the A8 toward Cannes.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Feb 13th, 2013, 01:29 PM
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It depends on how you value your time. If we are headed out of a city we almost always have a car - makes life much easier for us - and I am allergic to train and bus schedules unless they are like NYC transit (every 5 minutes).

Granted we were not driving on the wrong side of the road and I suspect if one is not used to city driving it may be a challenge - but since I have been known to scare NYC cab drivers - the only place I have been hesitant to drive is Cairo.
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 13th, 2013, 01:40 PM
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By all means, YES! Nothing is more fun than tooling around on the corniches to Monte Carlo and stopping in Eze(do not miss). We had a car and went as far as Monte Carlo (east) and to St. Tropez (west) and up to Grasse (north). Best parts of our days in Nice which I recall were about five in all. Two days locally in Nice were enough. We arrived by train and rented in Nice.
aliced is offline  
Feb 13th, 2013, 01:58 PM
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It is very expensive to parc a car in Nice, as well as the perched villages. We ditched ours after the first day and were very glad we did as transportation , trains and buses, is very good and reasonable. We usually always rent a car in Europe but found it to be unnecessary in Nice.
Micheline is offline  
Feb 13th, 2013, 04:03 PM
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>>It is very expensive to parc a car in Nice, as well as the perched villages.<<

Which perched villages did you have to pay to park? I've visited about 20 villages in the Nice Hinterland and don't recall paying. I haven't been to Eze in about 20 years, I might have paid there - too long ago to remember.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Feb 13th, 2013, 04:19 PM
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Hi Stu - we paid a lot to park at St. Paul de Vence and Tpurette sur Loup. I don't know about Eze as we had ditched the car by the time we went there. Parking at our 3 star hotel was 20 euros
Micheline is offline  
Feb 13th, 2013, 05:18 PM
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I remember paying at Tourrettes sur Loup. I don't actually recall St Paul - but there is a covered parking garage there, so maybe they charged. Farther into the Alps, I don't think we paid anything. There is an underground lot in Vence - but we usually found street parking. We've parked at the underground lot a few times (we stayed nearby in a Gite for 4 weeks) & again - I don't recall if it is paying or not.

Stu Dudley
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