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  • Writer's pictureGreen Traveller

Train from London to Nice, South of France

Green Traveller's Guide to taking the train from London St Pancras International Railway Station to Nice in the South of France.

building in front of beach and sea
The waterfront at Nice. Photo: Constantin/Unsplash on Wix

Taking the sleeper train to Nice is worth it just to be woken up by the sun as you hit the Cote d'Azur. Wake up early so that you can follow the coast as the sun comes up, admiring the rich and famous' back gardens as you head to Nice.

The Grande Dame of the French Riviera, Nice enjoys a fine, sun soaked Mediterranean climate and spectacular setting between the Alps and the sea.

The famous sweep of its Baie des Anges has been drawing tourists for centuries and it is still a prime spot to come and experience the highlife of ritzy hotels, chic bars, fine dining, gambling, sunbathing and more. But Nice isn’t all glamour: it has a rich history and cultural heritage, boasting everything from Roman ruins to museums of the work of Matisse and Chagall; the old centre is well-preserved and atmospheric, and it is very much a bustling, diverse, 21st century port city. When you’ve had enough of city life, you can head to the spectacular beaches that spread out in both directions along the coast.

Journey Time: from 8 hours 53 minutes

Sample timetable: Depart London 9.22am, arrive Nice 8.07pm

Changes: 1

Transfer: Paris Gare du Nord to Paris Gare de Lyon

Frequency of Departures: 14/day

Carbon emissions: 15.51kg (flight would be 97.24kg)*

Bike hire at Nice-Ville Railway Station: Yes

Train tickets provided by Trainline:

What's the journey like?

You have to change stations in Paris from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon, which can take about half an hour on the Paris RER line (it's only two stops, though we recommend you leave at least 50 minutes for the entire transfer - you have about an hour and a quarter to get the connection). See our guide to How to transfer between train stations across Paris. At Gare de Lyon, you board a TGV high speed train to Nice-Ville station.

Stopover hotels to break the journey in Paris

If you want to break the journey and stay overnight to see a bit more of Paris while you're travelling through, there are lots of lovely places to stay near both Gare du Nord and Gare de Lyon. Here are some examples of hotels that are conveniently near these stations:

Miss your connection in Paris?

Don’t panic. Railteam’s ‘Hop on the Next Available Train’ service means that if you have missed your connection between high speed trains because of a delay on the preceding leg of your journey, you’ll automatically be put on the next available high-speed train. NB Remember to get your ticket stamped by your Train Manager. Whenever you’re connecting, always remember to validate your onward train ticket at the machine on the platform before departing (these are often coloured yellow).

On arrival at Nice-Ville station

Bienvenue à Nice! International and intercity trains pull into Nice-Ville, the city’s main railway station, on the northern edge of the city centre. Served by the city’s tramline, it is also a hub for many bus services. The old centre of Nice is relatively compact and walkable, but for the rest of the city (including the cultural district of Cimiez in the northern hills), and the surrounding area (including the neighbouring beach resorts), there is a good network of buses, as well as a tram and rail services.

Hotels near Nice Ville railway station

Just a few minutes walk from the station is Hotel Florence Nice, one of the first hotels to gain the European Ecolabel, it's a great place for a green stay - don't miss the honey that's produced from the hotel's 3 rooftop hives where thousands of bees produce an average of 40kg of honey a year! If you want to spend some time in Nice, you can use the city's hire bikes (there's a stand close to the hotel) or you can also rent bikes near the hotel from Holland Bike and HOLIDAY Bikes.

There are plenty of other hotels within walking distance of the station, see below:

Getting around Nice

Nice’s ultramodern tram service currently consists of one line, looping from the north-west, past Nice-Ville station, through the centre and up to the north-east. Three further lines are either planned or under construction, and you can find more information on the Nice tramway website (in French), and here is a map of the Nice tram network (the tram line is in red). Both the tram and the buses are covered by the same tickets (1,50€) - you can find out more information in English on the city’s tourist website. You can also purchase a French Riviera Pass for unlimited travel in the Nice Côte d'Azur Metropolis, as well as discounts and free entry at a variety of attractions.

Lignes d’Azur also offers information on public transport across the Nice area in English, including a zoomable map of bus routes and other transport across the city; and the tourist board’s website has information on useful train services for tourists around Nice.

An alternative to buses, particularly if you’re not heading up into the surrounding mountains, is to travel by bike: enabling you to feel the fresh sea breezes and sun on your skin as you take in the city. Like many cities, Nice has a self-service bike sharing scheme, called VéloBleu (site is in English and French), which allows you to pick up a bike at one docking station and return it to another at your destination: the 1st half hour is free. There are VéloBleu bike stands throughout the city as well as in the areas of Saint-Laurent-du-Var and Cagnes-sur-Mer. You can also hire electric bikes with E-VéloBle.

Nice also has an electric car sharing service called Auto bleue, which works on a similar system to the bike hire. You'll need a valid driving license and there are currently four kinds of car available: Renault Zoe, Peugeot iOn, Citroën and Mia. The cars are available to hire 24/7 from nearly 70 self-service stands. There are two ways to hire it: on a 'flex' system where you can return the car at another station other than where you originally hired it (the hourly rate is higher, but you can return it sooner) or the 'zen' system where you have to return the car at the station where you hired it.

Bon Voyage!

people walking along street and sitting at tables
Cafe culture in Nice. Photo: Paul Rysz/Unsplash on Wix

See more overland journeys by train to France in our Flight-Free Train/Ferry Journey Planner


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