Nice Taxis: Avoid the Rip-off

On this day of a national taxi riot, the price, availability and conduct of taxi drivers is being scrutinized, particularly here in Nice, the unhappy home of the world’s highest taxi fares. Furious at competition from Uber, taxi drivers  are shown above at Nice Airport demanding papers from rental cars to prove that it’s a “legitimate” rental. Although the government has already declared Uber’s low-cost service, UberPop, illegal, French courts have yet to weigh in on the matter and the highly popular service exists now in a legal limbo. I’ll tell you a secret. Everyone but everyone living in Nice loathes the local taxi drivers and tries to avoid taking a taxi at all costs. Locals are well aware that €30 to go 8km from Nice Airport to the town center is absurd and only exists because the “taxi mafia”, as they are locally known, has insisted that the airport is in a special zone. Complaints of nastiness, overcharging, refusing short rides, refusing credit cards, refusing receipts and other shenanigans abound. So what do locals do about it? Take Uber if possible Be aware that there are two Uber services in France and only one is illegal. The Uber X service uses professional drivers and is legal. The price is slightly cheaper than a taxi, the drivers are pleasant and payment is through theapp.  UberPop is much lower-priced and uses amateur or part-time drivers. Today’s taxi tantrum was directed at both but it is really only UberPop’s service that is … Continue reading →

Nice Jazz Festival 2015

Ask and ye shall receive. Last year I bemoaned the fact that the Nice Jazz Festival was relying too much on regulars. Sponsored by singer/pianist Jamie Cullum, this year’s program presents several rarely-seen-in-Nice artists such as Brad Mehldau, The Roots, Jason Moran and Roberto Fonseca. In addition to up-and-coming artists, look out for jazz legends Cassandra Wilson, Kenny Barron and Charles Lloyd as well as soul artists Lauryn Hill and Kool and the Gang. The price has not gone up (yay!), remaining at €35 (€31 if purchased before 15 May) with a variety of reductions available. Check out the Nice Jazz Festival site (in French) for all prices and booking and to this page for English language info, tips and explanations on the infrastructure. Here’s the Nice Jazz Festival Calendar: Tuesday 7 July Teatre de Verdure 19h30 – Fred D’Oelsnitz Trio 20h45 – Omer Klein Trio 22h30 – Cassandra Wilson, “Coming Forth By Day” Scene Massena 20h00 Too Many Zooz “Brasshouse” 21h15 – Caravan Palace 23h00 – Jamie Cullum Wednesday 8 July Teatre de Verdure 19h30 – Indra Rios Moore 20h45 Kenny Barron 22h30 – Charles Lloyd Quartet Scene Massena 20h00 – Benjamin Clementine 21h15 – Jungle 23h00 – Asaf Avidan Thursda y 9 July Teatre de Verdure 19h30 – Grégory Privat & Sonny Troupé, “Luminiescence” 20h45 – Brad Mehldau Trio 22h30 – Kurt Elling, “Passion World” Scene Massena 20h00 – Ibeyi 24h15 Hiatus Coyote 23h00 – Lauryn Hill Friday 10 July Teatre de Verdure 19h30 – Hugh Coltman, “Shadows … Continue reading →

Nice Museums: Admission Fees

It was nice while it lasted but now it’s over. Nice municipal museums have been free for years but now the city has instituted admission fees. But only for visitors! Residents of “greater Nice” are eligible for a free museum pass. The move is controversial. Some say that the city’s budget demanded it while others point out that Nice’s museums are not well frequented as it is and that they are an important part of the city’s cultural life. We are more than a sun and sea destination! Not to mention the proud artistic heritage of Nice and the Cote d’Azur. The new admission policy splits Nice Municipal Museums into four groups. A €10 pass allows you admission into all the museums in the group for 48 hours. Here are the groups: Arts including the Matisse Museum, MAMAC, Palais Lascaris, Théâtre de la Photographie & de l’Image, Espace Ferrero, Galerie de la Marine and Galerie des Ponchettes Fine Arts including Musée de Beaux Arts and the Museum of  Naïve Art History including Massena Museum and Prieuré du Vieux-Logis Science including Museum of Archaeology (sites of Cimiez and Terra Amata) and Museum of Natural History Students and those under 18 are admitted free. It remains to be seen how well this new policy will work. The lack of individual admissions means that choosing museums from several different groups could be very expensive indeed. Keep in mind that there are admission fees for private museums in Nice, such as the Chagall Museum. … Continue reading →