Updated for 2021: The Nice bus networks have been completely revamped with all new bus numbers and all new bus stops. Each bus now connects to the Nice tramways, which now go in all directions including from the Airport to the Port.
New for 2021: the FREE red shuttle bus ‘Coeur de Ville’
If you are staying in a hotel in the middle of town, this new free shuttle is for you! The cute little electric Coeur de Ville Navette (heart of the city shuttle bus) is bright red so you can’t miss it, and runs a continuous loop every 15 minutes from 9:30am to 5:30pm (11am to 5pm Sundays). No tickets, no muss, no fuss… just hop on and hop off. It starts between the two Jean Médecin tram stops, heads down Victor Hugo to Gambetta and takes a left to join the Promenade. It goes up the Prom, stops at the edges of the Old Town, and then continues back around to the starting point.
Best bus fare deal
Other than the new free shuttle (!), all other buses require tickets, and a normal one-trip bus fare is just 1.50€ (with unlimited stops for 74 minutes), …but buy a 10-trip ticket for 10€ and your per-trip cost is now down to only 1€ a trip, including the tramways, and the card can be used for multiple people and has no expiration date. There is also a day pass for 5€ and a week pass for 15€. The buses/trams in Nice are an awesome deal and one of the least expensive in France.
Buying your ticket
You can buy certain tickets from the bus driver as you board: a single trip for 1.50€, or a day pass or week pass (but not the 10-trip card) and it’s cash only (…and they frown on big bills).
New this year, you can now buy 10-trip cards at most cigarette (Tabac) stores.
All the tickets or 10-trip cards can be bought from the ticket machine at all the tram stops, which has instructions in English (click the British flag) and takes coins and cards (but no bills). You push the big green button to start, then do all the rest by turning the dial and pushing the green button for ‘ok’.
You can also by all tickets and passes from the Mobilitie boutiques across the street from the train station (tram stop Gare Thiers), or at 33 Debouchage (tram stop Jean Médecin).
Validating your ticket
As you board the bus or tram, punch your ticket in the little machine. If you are two people and using a 10-trip card, punch it twice. This is very important as otherwise you can get a big fine if the ticket inspectors come on.
Once you punch it, your ticket is good for the next 74 minutes for as many tram or bus rides as you can fit in, but the catch is: in one direction only. Punch it again at each transfer, but if you are within your 74 minutes, it will just give you a green ‘good to go’ beep.
The Ticket Azur
If you are going to Monaco and beyond (like Menton), to Saint-Paul-de-Vence, or anywhere past Cagnes-sur-mer (like to Antibes or Cannes, for instance), your regular Nice bus ticket/pass/10-trip card will not be accepted as you will technically be leaving the Nice region, but you can simply buy your special 1.50€ ticket from the driver as you board. Or… better yet, buy a Ticket Azur at any tram stop ticket machine for 1.50€, which is good for one tram trip (or local bus), and then is also good for the Bus #100 to Monaco, Bus #400 to Saint-Paul-de-Vence, and Bus #200 to Antibes/Cannes anytime within up to 2 1/2 hours. It only works for going outbound however, for coming back to Nice you will need to buy the return ticket from the driver as you board.
At a bus stop you have to flag down the driver… otherwise the bus might blow right past you! To save time, the buses don’t stop at each stop unless someone wants to get on or off, so when you get near your stop just signal the driver by pressing the red button and ‘Arret Demande’ (“stop requested”) will flash at the front. If it is a popular stop like the Matisse or Chagall museums, usually someone else will push the button first so you don’t have to worry.
The major buses going out of town (#100, #200, etc.) have screens announcing the stops, but most other buses don’t, so you will want to check the route map in the bus and then keep an eye out for the stops that come before yours.
The tramways come every 3-8 minutes by day and every 12-20 minutes by night until around 1am. The bus timings vary, but you can check the bus and tram schedules here, in English. Just scroll down and enter the bus number or name where it says ‘Route number or name’ to choose your line, then scroll down farther and choose which direction, and voila, you now have an interactive schedule of all stops and times. You can change the date and time to check for the future, and just click ‘Change direction’ to get the schedules for the way back.
Click this link for more specific information on the tramway (changing tram lines, tips for getting to the airport, and what you can see and do at each of the main stops.)
Download the Lignes d’Azur app which gives you itineraries, maps, and schedules in real time. Nice shares all bus info by open source to encourage app development, so you can also get the same info using Google Maps route planning feature, Moovit (in 35 languages!), Transit App, Zenbus, and others.
Most regular buses stop running around 8 or 9ish, but all tramways go to 1am. Of the few buses that also run until 1am, the most notable ones are the Bus #5 to bring you back down from concerts on Cimiez, and the Bus #9 to bring you back from an evening in the charming village of Vence. There is also a special #N200 Night Bus from Cannes which only runs Friday and Saturdays, leaving from the Cannes bus station/train station at 11:30pm, 1:45am and 3:45am. This bus only takes you as far as the Parc Phoenix stop (near the Nice airport), but at least from there you can easily do the last little bit with an Uber.
Just how far can you go for 1.50€?
You can go as far east as Menton with Bus #100, and as far west as Cannes with Bus #200 and Grasse with Bus #500. You can go inland on any number of routes, but a couple of the best are Peille with Bus #116, or Bus #340 to Luceram (maybe 40 minutes). If you really want to max it out, you can take the Bus #770 to the ski town of Valberg, or even take the Bus #790 to the moated castle of Entrevaux, or the red clay canyons of the Gorge Daluis and Guillaumes… 2 1/2 hours of spectacular scenery, all for a bus fare of 1.50€! And from Entreveaux you can even catch the mountain train back down.
See Related Pages on individual bus routes:
- Bus from Nice to Monaco
- Bus to Antibes and Cannes
- Bus to Eze Medieval Village
- Bus to Vence and Saint Paul-de-Vence
- Bus to Villefranche-sur-mer
- Bus to Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat
- Bus to Cimiez for the Chagall and Matisse Museums
- Getting To and From the Nice Airport
- Nice Ski/Snow Bus
- Nice RandoBus/Hiking Bus
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