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Nice Uncovered: Walks Through the Secret Heart of a Historic City

Nice Tramway 2021

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Nice tramways have transformed 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 now fully operational! It includes three tramway lines that run north-south and east-west from early morning to late at night.

Tramway Ligne 2

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Ligne 1 was the first tramway line, opening in 2008 and extended in 2013. It swoops down from north Nice and then heads east with stops near the train station and old Nice. Then came Ligne 2 which connects the Airport with Nice's Port Lympia, traversing central Nice. It connects with Ligne 1 at Jean Medecin on the eponymous avenue and at Garibaldi. Around the same time Ligne 3 opened connecting the Airport with Saint Isidore, stopping at Allianz, Nice's sports stadium. It connects with Ligne 2 at the airport, Grands Arenas, Paul Montel and Digue des Francais.

 

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Motorists

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 "Port Lympia" to hit all stops in those directions. For Ligne 3, choose Aeroport Terminal 2 or Saint Isidore. 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 a smartphone equipped with NFC capability, download and install the app NFC Nice Ticket for Android or Apple. Pay for your solo ticket, multi-voyage card, day or weekly pass using a credit card. 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. The machine looks like this:

Validating machine

[See prices and details for buying all bus and tram tickets]

Boarding the Tram

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. Ever since the Covid pandemic, doors open automatically.

Accessibility

All trams are wheelchair accessible.

Line 1

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

Map of Tramway Line 1

Hours

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.

Frequency

Early morning and late at night the tram runs every 15 minutes with frequency increasing to every four minutes during the day on weekdays and every six minutes on Sundays.

Points of Interest Along Line 1

Massena
Plensa sculpture Place Massena
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.

Jean Medecin
Nearby are the Nice Etoile shopping centre, Notre Dame Church and the Pathe Massena cinema.

Gare Thiers
Nearby is the Nice train station

Liberation
Nearby is the outdoor market of the same name (Tues-Sun morning) and the Gare du Sud.

Opera-Vieille Ville
Porte Fausse, Sarkis
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

Cathedrale-Vieille Ville
Nearby is the Old Town and access to the Colline du Chateau.

Garibaldi
Nearby is the Place Garibaldi, MAMAC, Archaeological Crypt. It's a short walk to Nice Port.

Acropolis
Nearby is the Acropolis

Palais des Expositions
Nearby is the Palais des Expositions (Conference Centre)

Vauban
Nearby is the Gare Routiere (Bus Station) where you can get a bus to Marseilles, Aix-en-Provence and Gap.

Line 2

Map of Line 2

May tramway ligne 2
Jesmar [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

When Ligne 2 rolled into the Port Lympia station on December 14th, 2019 there was rejoicing throughout town. So much of the Port area had been infested with machines, tarps, fencing and mud, people forgot what it once looked like. Worse, they forgot how many businesses were struggling to stay afloat during the years of construction.

Line 2 tramway at Magnan

Ligne 2 has been a more complicated engineering project than Ligne 1, largely because the tram runs underground from CUM 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.

When all runs smoothly in peak hours it should only take 26 minutes to go from the Port to the Airport or 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 Port Lympia heads to the airport.

Hours

First departure to Port Lympia from CADAM at 4:05am; from Airport Terminal 2 at 5:24am.

Last departure from CADAM at 12:35am; from Airport Terminal 2 at 12:15am.

First departure from Port Lympia to CADAM at 4:55am; to the Airport at 4:45am

Last departure from Port Lympia to CADAM at 1:15am; from Port Lympia to Airport at 12:35am.

Frequency

The tram runs every 10 minutes in the early morning and late evening, shortening to every four minutes during the day on weekdays and every six minutes on Sundays.

Accessibility

The tram line plunges deeply underground between CUM and Port Lympia 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

Garibaldi
Tram stop Garibaldi, Nice
Noted Nice artist Ernest Pignon-Ernest created this statue of the goddess Nike, who gave Nice its name. Based on the famous Winged Victory of Samothrace displayed in the Louvre, this version is topped with a sculpture of Garibaldi dressed as a fisherman.

Nearby is Place Garibaldi

Magnan

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.

Lenval
Nearby is Lenval Hospital

Fabron
Nearby is the Museum of Naive Art

Sainte Helene
Nearby is the Radisson Blu hotel

Carras
Tramway stop at Carras
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).

Ferber
Tram stop at Ferber Tutti Frutti sculpture
Artist Joana Vasconcelos created the playful Tutti Frutti using the shapes of plastic beach toys.

Parc Phoenix
Parc Phoenix
Nearby is the botanical garden, Parc Phoenix, and the Musée des Arts Asiatiques (Asian Arts Museum).

Grand Arenas
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.

Line 3

Map of Line 3

Map of Tramway Ligne 3

Ligne 3 runs from Airport Terminal 2 to St Isidore, with a stop at Allianz Riviera, Nice's football stadium. The line runs from around 4:30am to midnight. Also at Allianz Riviera, a new Ikea store is being constructed.

Related Pages

Getting Around Nice

Latest Events in Nice

Last updated September 15, 2021

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