As someone who lived in Nice and frequently traveled into and out of the airport, I thought it would be helpful to provide Nice airport information that is current, accurate, and useful for arriving visitors. The details that appear below are correct as of December 29, 2019.
This blog post covers the following:
- Bureaucratic Checkpoints within the airport
- Services available within each terminal
- Transport from the airport into Nice
If you’re taking the new tram into the city center, you’ll also find detailed information on:
- Where to catch the tram
- How often the trams run
- Where to buy tickets for the tram
- What to do with the tickets after you buy them.
- The website URL for Lignes d’Azur (Nice’s city-wide metro system) so that you can find out which stop you need to get off at.
For a list of the airlines that use Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 at Nice airport, check out our blog post: Nice Airport Arrival and Departure Terminals
Depending on which airport you arrive from, you might need to go through Passport Control and then Customs before leaving the secure area. Although I speak only basic French, in all the times I’ve passed through these checkpoints, I’ve never had any trouble with either. As with all airport-related procedures, the key is to pay attention and not do anything to cause problems.
Passport Control / Contrôle des Passeports
To make your movement through Contrôle des Passeports (Passport Control) as smooth as possible, do the following:
- Make sure your phone is turned off.
- Have your passport out so you don’t have to dig in your bag for it.
- Remove your sunglasses and/or hat before approaching the control booth.
- Know the address of where you’ll be staying in Nice in case the official asks for it.
- Answer any questions you get asked honestly and fully.
- Never make jokes about anything.
Baggage Claim / Livraison des Bagages
After you pass through Passport Control, you’ll move on to baggage claim. The process is the same here as it is in every other airport, so there should be no surprises. After collecting your bags, you’ll walk through Customs before you exit the secure area.
Customs / Douane
In French, the word for Customs Department is Douane. If you were given a Customs declaration during your flight to Nice, have it out and ready to present to the customs official. As with Passport Control, the key to getting through smoothly to be organized, polite, and accommodating.
Note that if you’re arriving from within the European Union, you likely won’t have to go through either Passport Control or Customs. The main exceptions are flights from Ireland and the U.K. since they are not Schengen Area countries. If you’re arriving from Ireland or the U.K., you’ll need to present your passport, but you won’t be subject to Customs inspections.
Throughout the airport and the city of Nice, you will frequently see armed military personnel doing security patrols. This is not an indication that anything bad is currently going on, it is only a precautionary measure. So don’t be alarmed. Also, don’t try to take their photographs without asking in advance.
There are ATMs in the baggage areas of both terminals. There are also additional ATMs in the main concourses of the public, non-secure areas of both terminals.
- In Terminal 1, turn right as you exit the secure area. The ATM is on your right just past the Interchange currency exchange booth, directly across from Trib’s Cafe. A second ATM is further along past the security checkpoint for the Departures area. The ATM is located on the right side, just across from the Relay souvenir shop.
- In Terminal 2, turn right as soon as you exit the secure area. The ATM is on the left, just past Chez Jean cafe. A second ATM is located 20 feet away, around the corner. And a third ATM is straight ahead as you exit the Non-Secure Arrivals area, near Baggage Carousel #2.
The following agencies have desks at Nice Airport:
To get to the car rental desks, do the following:
- In Terminal 1, turn left as you exit the secure area and walk ahead about 100 feet. All of the desks are on the left just before the stairs and ramp going up.
- In Terminal 2, walk straight ahead from the Secure Arrivals area and exit the building. Keep walking straight and cross the roadway toward the car park. The rental counters are clearly marked within the car park.
Both terminals have an Interchange currency exchange booth in the public areas.
- In Terminal 1, turn right as you exit the secure area and walk about 50 feet. The exchange is directly across from Trib’s Cafe.
- In Terminal 2, walk ahead as you exit the Secure Arrivals area and veer to the left. You’ll see the bright orange booth about 50 feet in front of you.
Information on local hotels is available via an electronic bulletin board located directly ahead of you as you exit the secure areas of both terminals.
As is the case at every airport in the world, there are lots of toilets in both the secure and public areas of both terminals. Just look for the internationally recognized man and woman symbol on the overhead signs.
The Tourist Information desk in both terminals is located directly ahead and slightly to the right of you as you exit the Secure Arrivals area.
Free wifi is available throughout both terminals. The network name is Nice Airport Free Wifi. You’ll need to sign in, after which you’re free to use the service as long as you want.
Now that the tramline has extended to Nice Port, the two express buses from the airport into the city center (Buses #98 and #99) are no longer running. To get to the Port, take tram line 2 to the end. To get to Gare Nice Ville/Gare SNCF, also take tram line 2 from the airport and then transfer to tram line 1 at the Avenue Jean Medecin stop.
The N100 bus runs from Terminal 1, Platform 3 to Nice Port a few times a night on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and holiday eves. Note that the N100 does not go to Terminal 2, so you would need to catch the shuttle to Terminal 1 if this is the bus you want to catch.
For reasons that make no sense to most people, the N100 buses do not display the number N100 on the front and when you get on board, you’ll likely see the route map for an entirely unrelated bus line. Confirm with the driver if you’re unsure if you’re on the correct bus. And know in advance where you want to get off as there will be no list of stops available to you after you get onboard.
The N100 bus costs €1.50 and in addition to the Port, it stops in Beaulieu, Monaco, and Roquebrune before terminating in Menton.
- In Terminal 1, the bus ticket office is located outside the building. As you exit the secure area, turn left. Walk 100 feet and exit the building through the glass doors. The ticket office is immediately on your left. All of the ticket sellers speak at least enough English to make a sale. If the ticket office is closed, you can buy your ticket directly from the driver.
- In Terminal 2, the bus ticket office is located to your right as you exit the secure area. All of the ticket sellers speak at least enough English to make a sale. If the ticket office is closed, you can buy your ticket directly from the driver.
The English website for the public metro system in Nice is Lignes d’Azur. To double-check the tram and bus schedules, click the Timetables link in the top right corner, then enter the bus or tram line in the field that says Numéro ou nom de la ligne.
As of December 12, 2019, the new metro line from the airport goes all the way to Nice Port.
The metro leaves from just outside the baggage claim area. Trams depart as frequently as every 8 minutes during busy times. Purchase your tickets from the ticket machines on the platform. The cost is only €1.50 and the journey is usually faster than a taxi (around 28 minutes).
The rate from the airport into Nice center is FIXED at 32 euros, which includes your luggage. You can confirm this yourself by referring to the Nice Airport website. If you’re planning to take a taxi, ask in advance what the fare will be. Walk away if the driver’s price is higher than 32 euros.
Two separate groups of houseguests reported being ripped off by taxis when coming from the airport. One group of friends was charged 60 euros to get to the port (about a 6 minute drive beyond the center) and another got in the taxi and suddenly found another couple crammed in with them — both groups being informed that the cost would be 35 euros each (70 euros total), despite sharing the cab. My friends ended up being taken first to the couple’s hotel, which was nowhere near where my friends were headed, so the trip was 20 minutes longer than it should have been.
Taxis are available directly ahead of you as you exit the secure areas of both terminals. As is common in many cities, taxis with a green light on top are available. Those displaying a red light are unavailable. Most taxis do not take credit cards, so make sure you have cash on hand before getting in the cab.
An alternative to taxis is to take Uber from the airport. A fare from the airport to Place Massena (in the middle of town) is between 16 and 22 euros. This will vary depending on the time of day, the day of the week, and the amount of traffic involved. In any event, it should cost significantly less than a taxi.