Travelling by train is perfect for those who want to sit back, relax and see a bit more of the countryside and the region that surrounds Nice. There is a good train service between the main towns and cities in the PACA (Provence Alpes Cote d'Azur) region.
Nearest train station to Nice
Nice's main SNCF railway station is located on Avenue Thiers and serves most major French cities, including Paris, as well as smaller towns and villages along the French Riviera. It is known simply as Gare de Nice-Ville. The Gare de Nice-Ville, is an impressive building that has a richly decorated facade and a grand clock which have been maintained in their original style. Wifi services are available at this main train station as well as coin-operated lockers, a lost & found service, and toilet facilities.
There are three other main stations in the city. The train station of Nice Saint-Augustin is located opposite Pheonix Park and the Nice Cote d'Azur airport. It links the south-west of Nice to the centre of the city. Nice-Riquier is the main station to the north of the Old Town and Port of Nice and is on the main line out of Nice and along the coast to Monaco, Menton and on to Italy. The station of Nice-Saint-Roch is the first stop after you leave Gare de Nice-Ville on the Train des Merveilles that takes you north-east into the mountains of the Alpes-Maritimes.
Travelling by train in France
SNCF (Societé Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français) is France's national railway company, owned by the French state, operating throughout continental France and Monaco. There are over 32,000 kilometres of railway laid all across the country, a good chunk of them sustaining high-speed services, the world-renowned TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) which reaches average speeds of around 320km/h. Trains connect cities and towns all around France and even cross the border into Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Belgium. Many routes will begin in Paris, stopping at convenient stations throughout the country before arriving in Nice. The SNCF website has information for TGV and national rail service timetables. TGV train tickets must be bought in advance and there are a whole host of special offers available for families, seniors, and groups throughout the year. Tickets can be purchased online or at any train station in France.
International train routes to Nice
The Italian Trenitalia train service connects Nice to Italian cities like Milan, Genoa, Rome and Venice. Connections are generally made in Ventimiglia, the first train station in Italy after the French-Italian border. You can consult TGV-Europe for all European train travel. The major Europeans cities are well linked via the European rail network.
Russian Railways run a weekly year-round service from Moscow to Nice. You leave Moscow on a Thursday and arrive in Nice on Saturday morning. The train also stops at Minsk, Warsaw, Vienna and Verona, amongst others. Travel time is around 47 hours. Moscow-Nice is one of the longest trans-European routes at a distance of 3315 km. Originally the route was popular with Russian aristocracy of 19th-century. It has existed since 1864 when first trains started running from Russia to Nice.
London to Nice by train
If you are coming from the UK, Eurostar is the high-speed passenger train from London to Paris & London to Brussels, which travels via the Channel Tunnel. Not to be confused with Eurotunnel, the company which owns the Channel Tunnel whose car-carrying trains shuttle road vehicles across the Channel. Eurostar carries passengers, not cars. Their direct summer train from London to Lyon, Avignon and Marseille, which operated between one and five times a week all year round has been cancelled in 2020 and 2021.
Eurotunnel provides a quick and simple method to get you and your car from England to France. From Folkestone to Calais in only 35 minutes, it is the fastest way to get across (or under) the English Channel. There are around four departures every hour - and as always you should book early to get the best rates.
Luggage & sports equipment on trains to Nice
Whether you're travelling with a single carry-on bag or several large suitcases, your luggage is a part of your journey. There is no restriction on the weight or amount of luggage you bring on board, however, if you are travelling with a bicycle then it should be no larger than 90cm x 120cm. If it is larger than this then you'll need to remove the wheels and pack them in a carrying bag along with the frame. Either way, your bike will travel for free.
A door-to-door luggage service is available in continental France, Germany, Luxemburg and Switzerland. The SNCF will collect your luggage from you and deliver it to the address of your choice the next day, allowing you to travel luggage-free.
Scenic train trips in Nice
A lovely way of seeing some of the countryside and rural Provence is by train. For a hands-free journey into the hills behind Nice there are several options, including a trip by steam train.
|Train des Pignes - Nice to Dignes-les-Bains|
|Starting in Nice, the Train des Pignes winds up through the hills, stopping at 15 villages en route where you can alight, explore and take a hike in the countryside. It takes three and a half hours to reach Dignes-les-Bains and there are four trains daily.|
|Train des Merveilles - Nice to Tende|
|The Train des Merveilles takes you from the coastline of Nice into the rugged mountains of the Vallée des Merveilles and the Mercantour National Park. It runs all year round, with onboard commentary in French and English every day from June to September and at weekends in May and October.|
|Steam Train - Nice to Puget-Theniers|
|For an extra special trip, book yourself onto the steam train that runs on certain weekends from May to October. Starting in Nice it follows part of the Train des Pignes route and terminates at Puget-Theniers before returning to Nice.|
Tourist trains in Nice
The small tourist train 'Petit Train' from the Promenade des Anglais takes you around the main sights of the beautiful city of Nice. Journeys take about 45 minutes and trains run every 30 minutes throughout the year.
Several of the other towns close by also run a similar Petit Train, for example there is one in Menton and another in Grasse, which runs between April and October and takes you round the Old Town, Place aux Aires, Place de l’Evêché square and Bishop’s Palace (Palais de l’Evêque) and the Cathedral.
Trams in Nice
The local tram and bus network is run by Ligne d'Azur. The tram line T1 runs through the centre of the city and is very useful for quick and easy transport, but if you planning to visit some of the outlying attractions then you might want to consider taking a bus.
|Nice Tram Service|
|Tram T1 - Terminus Henri Sappia - Gare Thiers - Jean Medecin - Place Massena - Opera & Vieille Ville - Garibaldi - Palais des Expositions - Saint Roch - Hopital Pasteur (Hospital)|
By 2030 there will be four tram lines, covering 36 kilometres and stopping at 70 stations around the Nice Côte d'Azur. For now, there's just one line but it still has 21 stations with trams every four minutes during peak hours. They run from 04:30 until 01:30 and are modern and clean making them a great way to get around. They are also supported by a park-and-ride system. Bus tickets are valid on trams.
Train timetables in Nice
Pets & animals on trains to Nice
To ensure that man's best friend can join you on holiday, trains in France allow your pets to travel with you. With most rail providers, pets under 6kg in weight can travel for free as long as their bag or basket does not exceed 45cm x 30cm x 25cm. Larger animals may be permitted at an additional charge. You should check with your rail provider in advance. Guide dogs can travel for free.