Moving to Nice
Affordability 4 out of 5
Safety 4 out of 5
Healthcare 3 out of 5
Traffic Flow 3 out of 5
Property affordability 3 out of 5
Climate 5 out of 5
Environment quality 5 out of 5
Right in the midst of the Côte d’Azur, Nice has a lot to offer. Just think, sun, sea, cosmopolitan city lifestyle, as well as glitz and glamour on your doorstep. We all have an image in our heads of Nice, one reminiscent of 50s Hollywood movies, and it still manages to maintain that classic charm. It’s no mere fluke that expats and tourists alike flock to Nice.
But there’s more to Nice than meets the eye – it’s not just the jumping point for the rich and famous. Nice is home to a burgeoning technology scene. In fact, it’s been heavily involved in the internet industry since the very beginning. And it only looks set to snowball with a new technology project in the Var valley in the side lines.
Of course, outside of work life, Nice has many desirable qualities. The climate is mild, even in the depths of winter, it has great transport connections with an international airport and a major railway station nearby, the countryside surrounding Nice is stunning, and it offers a laid-back, Mediterranean lifestyle in a thriving, vibrant city.
The job market
Business is big in Nice and, as one of France’s most popular tourist destinations, tourism is the main industry in Nice. With the launch of a new sustainable development initiative, the Eco-Valley, in the Var Valley, technology is a major industry in Nice too. Such developments contribute to Nice being called a “city of tomorrow”.
Amadeus, a leading technology solutions provider for the travel and tourism sector, has its development headquarters based in Sophia Antipolis, a technology park near to Nice, as well it being home to the European headquarters of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
The unemployment rate for the last quarter of 2014 was 10.7% in Nice, which is slightly higher than the national average. As tourism is Nice’s main industry, working knowledge of French will significantly boost your job prospects. Other foreign languages will further enhance chances of securing a job offer. It is generally advised that you secure a job offer before arriving in Nice, especially if you need a work permit (carte de séjour).
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Generally, living costs in Nice are higher than average in France. Everyday supermarket staples such as a litre of milk or a loaf of white bread come in around the €1.50-€2.00 mark. A 1kg of most fruits and vegetables will cost approximately €2-€2.50. 1kg of skinless, boneless chicken breasts are around the €11-€14 mark. A 0.5l bottle of domestic beer will cost €1.50-€1.75, whereas a mid-range bottle of wine will cost approximately €6.
If you fancy treating yourself to a meal at a mid-range restaurant, you can expect to fork out approximately €50-€70 for a three course meal for two. A 0.5l glass of draught domestic beer is around €5-€6 with a 0.33l bottle of imported beer costing around €4-€5.
A monthly pass for public transport will be in the €27-€47 region, with a one way ticket costing €1.50-€2. If you want to get your own set of wheels, a litre of petrol will set you back €1.30-€1.60. For monthly living costs, utilities for a 85m2 apartment in Nice is around €140-€180 and unlimited data broadband reaching a speed of 6Mbps will set you back around €20-€30.
The majority of healthcare in France is funded by the state. Approximately 7% of your pay packet will go towards healthcare. The state covers the majority of the costs, however most residents pay into a mutuelle, or a top-up health insurance to cover the remaining costs.
In the city centre and the nearby areas, most accommodation rentals are apartments. Further out, you’ll have more choice with regards to accommodation.
Average rental prices in the city centre range from €550-€800 for a one bedroom apartment, and €1,100-€1,500 for a three bedroom apartment. Outside of the city centre, average rental prices drop to €400-€700 for a one bedroom apartment, and €900-€1,100 for a three bedroom apartment.
Since the beginning of the recession, housing prices have fell gradually. At the end of 2013, properties prices in the Provence-Alpes Côte d’Azur region fell 1.4%. Being prime location in the French Riviera however, property prices are high. The average cost per square metre in the city centre ranges from €4,000 to €5,666 and cost per square metre in the suburbs is approximately €2,500-€4,000.
Nice’s neighbourhoods are full of character, with each one having its own unique personality. There’s something for everyone with thriving, busy neighbourhoods in the city centre, peaceful neighbourhoods away from the city for families, and the most luxurious, high end mansions for those who want to flash their cash.
- Family-Friendly: Away from the city is the one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Nice, Cimiez. It’s a peaceful, pleasant neighbourhood with a selection of reputable schools, pleasant parks and gardens nearby. To the west is Fabron, close to the Parc de l’Indochine and it offers splendid views of the coast in a tranquil environment – perfect for the family.
- Upmarket: With the word Golden in the name, there’s no doubting that the Carré d’Or neighbourhood is one of the most expensive and high end areas in Nice City. Its prime location, close to the beach, shops and restaurants as well as the Promenade des Anglais, makes it a hot-in-demand neighbourhood. But if you really want to push the boat out, Mont Boron is the place to be. There, you’ll find yourself rubbing shoulders with Nice’s jet-set crowd.
- Hip and Trendy: To be at the heart of the action, there’s no better place than Vieux-Nice. There’s always something going on – markets, art galleries, restaurants and cafés, with the neighbourhood really coming alive at night time. It’s one of the prime locations on Niçois locals and expats radars’, right in the middle of the action, and you’ll never bore of living in the city’s old quarter.
- Up-and-Coming: Right next door to Vieux Nice are the eastern neighbourhoods of Saint-Roch and Riquier. The area has been greatly improved thanks to the pedestrianisation of avenue de la République and the arrival of the tram. But if you want to be the trendsetter, the area around the Port is the place to be. With the old town on its doorstep, a thriving restaurant scene and better housing options, the Port is a very attractive choice.
Schools and education
In Nice, there are 110 écoles élémentaires in addition to 34 collèges. Compulsory education begins at the age of 6 at école élémentaire. At the age of 11, children attend collège until the age of 15/16, which is the end of obligatory education. Afterwards, students can study at further education colleges such as lycées or vocational education colleges. The International School of Nice offers bilingual education from the age of 4 until 18.
The Université Nice Sophia Antipolis has just over 25,000 students. It is particularly renowned for its mathematics, life sciences and earth sciences faculties. Notable alumni include Yukiya Amano, the current Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohammed VI, the current king of Morroco and Simon Critchley, a renowned English philosopher.
Ranking in the world
Thanks to its glamorous past (and present), Nice and the surrounding areas compete with the same levels of sophistication of Paris. Not only can it compete with Paris, but it also has a better Mediterranean climate in its favour.
Nice is the second most visited city in France, with its desirable climate and beautiful surroundings making it a popular destination for expats to settle. However, its popularity does mean every day prices are higher than the norm, with prices being comparable to those of Paris.
A day in the life
The ideal day in Nice would start off with a day at the market. In the Old Town, the Cours Saleya is the place to go. There you’ll get hold of all the fresh produce, fruits, vegetables, and flowers you’ll ever need.
Once you’ve dropped off all of your shopping, heading to the beach and making the most of the beautiful countryside is in order. One of the best places to do so is Villefranche-sur-Mer. It’s a glamorous seaside town, with yachts anchored by the shore and it looks like it’s straight out of a vintage forties Provence postcard.
Once you’re back in Nice, you can relax and unwind with a few drinks at Promenade des Anglais. You could even satisfy your growing appetite at one of the many restaurants along the stretch. There, you can spend the rest of your evening relaxing with a few drinks. But if you don’t fancy ending the night there, you could head to the old town to see where the night will take you.