Moving to Nice
Expats moving to Nice will find themselves tucked snuggly in the belly of the French Riviera, between Cannes and Monaco, in a place where beauty has inspired artists and drawn visitors for centuries.
Considered the central hub of the region, Nice is not the quiet town that many may imagine, but rather one of the largest cities in France; the metropolis continues to grow more cosmopolitan each year in terms of its nightlife and shopping.
Most expats moving to or living in Nice are middle-aged or retired, and join the ranks of a majority that is already well into their twilight years. Still, twenty-somethings do come to the city to study or work in the tourism industry.
The economy is strong and the unemployment rate is low. Expats can easily find jobs in the service and hospitality industries, especially if they know a bit of French.
On the other hand, those who have finally taken their leave from the daily grind will find that the Mediterranean climate provides ample opportunity to indulge in a life of leisure, and is one reason many expats choose this French city over Paris.
Summers are warm and dry, with temperatures ranging between 60°F and 80°F (20°C and 26°C). Winters are also mostly sunny, and temperatures move between 50°F and 60°F (10°C and 15°C) during the day, and 40°F and 50°F (4°C and 10°C) at night. It rains mostly in the winter, but sometimes clears up just as quickly as it starts.
Furthermore, the region’s diverse natural splendour – the ocean is 10 minutes from the city centre and the mountains are just a short bus ride away – is a draw card that trumps even the likes of many of the most alluring world capitals.
It follows that young and old expats alike can profitez, and take advantage of the beautiful surroundings and outdoor activities. From mountain climbing to windsurfing, there’s always something for expats to do at any time of the year.
All things considered though, securing accommodation in Nice may not be as easy as finding a job in one of the seasonally oriented industries. The city is set up to cater more for tourists searching for vacation rentals than expats looking to solidify a long-term living arrangement.
Apartments can be pricey in the centre of town, particularly near the port and Vieux Nice, prime areas due to their proximity to both the water and the city’s nightlife. Alternatively, some of the suburbs, such as Cimiez and Fabron, that are farther away from the centre offer more affordable housing in quiet but charming neighbourhoods.
For the young and financially endowed, Vieille Ville, an area in the middle of everything, is the place to be. The energy in this old part of the city is palpable, and the atmosphere enlivened.
Expats will be happy to hear that Nice is designed to be traversed without a car, thanks to efficient public transportation options. It’s quick and easy to get around town with the tram, and buses are cheap, running throughout the city and to other nearby towns, like Cannes. Another great feature is the bike rental system that has bicycle stands all around town. It’s less than a 20-minute bike ride to most places within the centre of Nice, so this is a great option for getting somewhere in a hurry.
The only thing that may be hard to get used to is the two-hour pause for lunch, when most shops and schools close. Expats should try not to worry, though. Grab a salade niçoise and sit near the beach; after all, the relaxed way of life is the reason most expats move to Nice.