Nice tramways are transforming the city, making it greener, less stressful and more modern. Gone are the days of bumper-to-bumper cars, slow travel on a city bus and endless waits for night buses. After years of planning and construction, Nice's tram network is set to become the centrepiece of a radically overhauled public transport system that will do everything to discourage cars in the city centre.
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Ligne 1 was the first tramway line, opening in 2008 and extended in 2013. Then came Ligne 2 which now connects the Airport with avenue Jean Medecin in central Nice.. The line will be extended to Nice Port by the end of 2019. Also at the end of 2019, Ligne 3 will open.
As part of the plan discourage cars in the city centre, motorists are invited to leave their cars in special ParcAzur lots where parking is free upon presentation of a round-trip tram ticket. You can use any multi-voyage card or purchase a a round-trip ticket within the ParcAzur lot.
Choosing the Direction
The last stop is indicated on the front of the tram. For Ligne 1, choose "Hopital Pasteur" to head east and north or "Henri Sappia" to head north. For Ligne 2, choose "CADAM" or "Airport T1/T2" or "Jean Medecin" to hit all stops in those directions. The tramway stops at all stops all the time.
Buying Tram Tickets
You cannot buy a ticket on the tram. There is a distributor at each tram stop that sells tickets either solo (€1.50), in a 10-ride card (€10) day passes (€5) or 7-day passes (€15). Payment is in euros or by credit card. The machines only accept coins and credit cards with chips. Cards with magnetic strips only are not accepted. Tickets and cards are good for the tram or bus. You can also transfer from the bus to the tram (and vice versa) for a period of 74 minutes but only in one direction (i.e. not a return trip).
Another option is to sign up for an account at lignesdazur.com where you can purchase your tickets and passes online and have them delivered to your French address.
If you have an Android phone equipped with NFC capability, download and install the app NFC Nice Ticket in Google Play (sorry, not yet available for iPhones). Pay for your solo ticket, multi-voyage card, day or weekly pass using a credit card or the app PaybyPhone. To validate the ticket or pass on the tram, make sure NFC is turned on and the screen is on. Place the NFC antenna (usually on the back of the phone) against the validating machine. On some trams the machine looks like this:
On others it looks like this:
Boarding the Tram
Most stations are equipped with LED panels noting the arrival of the next tram. The tram stops at each point; no need to flag it down (unlike a bus). The doors do not open automatically; press the large button to open the door. Once inside, place the ticket or card into the validating machine (arrow facing down). If you have purchased a multi-voyage card, the machine will indicate how many voyages are left.
On the Tram
The stations are announced in French and English. Plans are afoot to equip the trams with WiFi but it has not yet been implemented. Remember that the doors do not open automatically; you must press the button again in order to exit.
All trams are wheelchair accessible.
There are 22 stops running on a north-south axis from Henri Sappia to Hopital Pasteur. It takes 38 minutes to traverse from beginning to end. For travellers, the most convenient link runs along ave Jean Médecin from the train station, to Place Masséna, the Acropolis conference center and Old Nice. See a Nice map.
Map of Line 1
The tramway starts running at 4.25am from Henri Sappia and 5.10am from Hopital Pasteur. The last tramway leaves Hopital Pasteur at 1.35am and from Henri Sappia at 12.50am.
Weekdays: The frequency is every 15 minutes until 5.45am when it becomes every seven minutes. At 6.20am the tram runs every five minutes, then every four minutes until around 8pm when it runs every seven minutes again. Around 9pm it runs every 15 minutes, then around 10pm every 20 minutes. Around midnight it runs every 30 minutes.
Weekends: The frequency is every seven to 12 minutes during the day with early morning to late-evening hours running about the same as weekdays.
Points of Interest Along Line 1
Artist Jaume Plensa created these seven statues on Place Massena. Titled Conversation a Nice, these seven figures represent the seven continents.
Nearby are Galeries Lafayette, Zara, and City Sport stores, the entrance to the Promenade du Paillon park, and the Promenade des Anglais a few blocks away.
Nearby are the Nice Etoile shopping centre, Notre Dame Church and the Pathe Massena cinema.
Nearby is the Nice train station
Nearby is the outdoor market of the same name (Tues-Sun morning) and the Gare du Sud.
Artist Sarkis designed this entrance to the Old Town. Called Les postes restantes de la Porte Fausse, the luscious marble and gold pattern is meant to evoke postcards and letters from around the world.
Nearby is the Old Town, Cours Saleya, Nice Opera
Nearby is the Acropolis
Palais des Expositions
Nearby is the Palais des Expositions (Conference Centre)
Nearby is the Gare Routiere (Bus Station) where you can get a bus to Marseilles, Aix-en-Provence and Gap.
Map of Line 2
When Ligne 2 rolled into the Magnan station on June 30, 2018 there was rejoicing throughout west Nice. Even though the initial route only connected Magnan with CADAM (Administrative Centre), residents of west Nice knew that it was only a matter of time before the neighbourhood was linked with the Airport to the west and central Nice to the east. Two years of jackhammers seemed well worth it!
On December 15 the line was extended to Terminals 1 and 2; as of June 2019 the connection extends to Jean Medecin where you can transfer to Ligne 1. The full line extending to Nice Port will be operational by the end of 2019.
Ligne 2 has been a more complicated engineering project than Ligne 1, largely because the tram will run underground from Centre Universitaire to the Port. Also, unlike Ligne 1 which is electrical-powered, Ligne 2 is solar-powered with charging effected in 20 seconds at each stop. It's also a faster tram, clocking in at an average speed of 25km/hr as opposed to 14.5km/hr for Ligne 1.
It will take 26 minutes to go from the Port to the Airport and 27 minutes from the Port to CADAM.
Tram 2 to the Airport
Notice that there is a separate branch for Nice Airport. When boarding the tramway, it's essential to board the one marked Airport if that's where you're going or CADAM if your destination is the Administrative Centre. Every other tram departing Jean Medecin heads to the airport.
For the summer of 2019 there's a weekday schedule and a weekend schedule. From Sunday to Thursday, the trams from CADAM start running at 5.30am with the last train leaving the station at 8.45pm. The trams from the Airport start at 6.10am from Terminal 2 and the last one leaves at 7.49pm. From Jean Medecin the first tram leaves at 6.02am and the last at 9.20pm.
On Fridays and Saturdays the last tram leaves Jean Medecin at 1.05am and the last tram leaves CADAM at 12.31am. From Terminal 2 the last tram leaves at 12.10am.
I've been informed that the earlier night hours are because work is continuing at night to extend Ligne 2. When the full line opens later this year, the hours will be extended to match those of Ligne 1.
The tram runs every 10 minutes in the early morning and late evening, shortening to every six minutes during the day. When the full line is in service, frequency will increase to match that of Ligne 1.
The tram line plunges deeply underground between CUM and Jean Medecin but no worries for those with luggage or mobility issues. There are escalators and elevators running from the tram to the street.
Points of Interest along Ligne 2
Artist Jean-Pierre Raynaud created the two-pot Metamorphose to accent the Societe d'Agriculture et Horticulture (Agriculture and Gardening Association) in the adjacent building.
Nearby is Magnan beach and the Jean Medecin Sports Centre.
Nearby is Lenval Hospital
Nearby is the Museum of Naive Art
Nearby is the Radisson Blu hotel
Artist Sacha Sosno created the sculptures Poseidon and Hommage a Venus to evoke a sense of antiquity by referring to the God of the sea and the Goddess of love.
Nearby at the port is a small fish market (Tuesday to Sunday mornings).
Artist Joana Vasconcelos created the playful Tutti Frutti using the shapes of plastic beach toys.
Nearby is the botanical garden, Parc Phoenix, and the Musée des Arts Asiatiques (Asian Arts Museum).
This is the last stop before the tram splits between the Airport and CADAM.
Nearby is the Saint Augustin train station which will soon be moved! A massive infrastructure project will move the train station closer to the Airport and an eventual regional train line. Work is expected to last from November 2019 to 2021.
Map of Line 3
Ligne 3 will run from Nice Airport to St Isidor, with a stop at Allianz Riviera, Nice's football stadium. Also at Allianz Riviera, a new Ikea store is being constructed. Ligne 3 is scheduled to open at the end of 2019.
Last updated July 25, 2019
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