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Living in Nice

Are you an expat about to start living in Nice? This popular destination offers a lot more than just tourism. The InterNations guide to Nice provides you with the cultural and practical information you need to settle in here, from climate and leisure to schools and transport.
Beautiful squares like this one can be found all around Nice.

Known as one of the oldest human settlements in Europe, Nice has flourished since the late eighteenth century. Today, it is probably the most popular tourist destination in France, right after Paris. Living in Nice will therefore involve living within an international community. With its population of 350,000, this city has expanded rapidly, ensuring that living in Nice will never hold a dull moment for its residents.

All about Nice

The Metropolis of Nice offers a varied territory to its residents: mountains, rivers, urban centers, ski resorts, beaches, and parks are all jostled together in one small space. Living in such an exciting environment means that there is always plenty to do and to enjoy.

The Municipal Council is responsible for the administration of Nice. Seated at the City Hall, it is made up of 69 members elected for six years. The mayor acts as a state official, and as the executive of the town. As such, he or she has great influence over the quality of life of those living in Nice. At the moment, Christian Estrosi from the center-right party UMP holds this office.

Enjoy the Mediterranean Climate

With a recorded 300 days of sunshine each year, living in Nice is guaranteed to be a bright experience. This ambience led such famous painters as Henri Matisse and Marc Chagall to live in Nice in the past, attracted by the soft quality of the light.

Many people are drawn to living in Nice because of its Mediterranean climate. As an expat settling here, expect to enjoy beautiful six-month summers and very mild winter temperatures. The lowest temperature ever recorded was -7°C in January 1985, but even the coldest month of the year usually only cools down to about 9°C. Summers can get fairly hot; however, a fresh breeze from the sea always makes the sun bearable.

Get to Know the Niçois Lifestyle

For expats living in Nice, the concept that the culture is geared towards tourism cannot be avoided. In spite of this, most expats tend to get the feel for a true Niçois lifestyle after spending some time there. The cuisine, in areas outside of the main tourist walks — such as the Promenade des Anglais — retains its traditional flavor.

Also, most locals living in Nice are not interested in speaking English, preferring to stick to their native French. There even remains a small minority who enjoy speaking the disappearing local dialect, Niçard. If you are considering living in Nice for a significant period of time as an expat, it would be a wise idea to brush up on your French, as this will instantly distinguish you from the hordes of tourists around the city.

What to Do in Your Spare Time

Nice has become famous for its lovely environment. Whether you prefer lazing on the beach at the Baie des Anges, or skiing in one of the several resorts on the mainland, the city has outdoor activities to suit all tastes. Living in Nice might lead you to kindle a love of jazz at the annual, world-renowned Nice Jazz Festival; discover the local dance, the farandole; or reconnect with natural beauty at the Mercantour National Park.

Shopping is available in all forms. The Avenue Jean Medecin is at the commercial heart of the city: the Nicetoile shopping center, located here, is complete with various shops, a range of restaurants, a cinema, crèche (daycare), and parking. Living in Nice as an expat, though, should lead you to experience a more authentic Niçois shopping experience: the daily morning market of the Cours Saleya, where you can buy everything from flowers to antiques. But make sure to shop around carefully — prices differ dramatically, even between neighboring stalls!


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