Where to stay in Nice - expat's guide

11th February 2019
Where to stay in Nice - expat's guide

Expats moving to Nice will find themselves in the centre of the French Riviera, between Cannes and Monaco, 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 its nightlife and shopping options.

The expats moving to or living in Nice are a diverse set of people. As well as those coming to work and retire, there is a significant number of twenty-somethings coming to the city to study or work in the tourism industry. The economy is generally strong, and the unemployment rate is low, making it an appealing prospect for those looking to work in France.

On the other hand, those who have 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 20°C and 26°C (60°F and 80°F).

Winters are also mostly sunny, and temperatures range between °C and 15°C (50°F and 60°F) during the day, and 4°C and 10°C (40°F and 50°F) at night. It rains mostly in the winter but generally clears up just as quickly as it starts.

Furthermore, the region’s diverse natural beauty draws expats from many of the world's most alluring capitals. The ocean is 10 minutes from the city centre and the mountains are just a short bus ride away. Expats can 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.

Accommodation overview

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 the old city, prime areas due to their proximity to both the water and the city’s nightlife.

Alternatively, some of the suburbs that are farther away from the centre offer more affordable housing in quiet but charming neighbourhoods. For the young and financially endowed the Old Town, an area in the centre of the city, is the place to be.

Long-term accommodation in Nice is known to be expensive. Supply is limited as the majority of housing is used for short-term vacation rentals or as second homes for city dwellers.

Some expats are lucky enough to have their employers provide housing options, a housing allowance, or a contact from which it’s possible to negotiate a loan or payment plan. On the other hand, others must secure accommodation themselves, and in these cases, there are some important points to consider.

Types of property in Nice

First and foremost, prices vary depending on location, and can be a lot more expensive in the centre of the city, the Old Town, and along the port. These are popular areas for expats because they are centrally located and close to multiple forms of public transportation.

Expats choosing to live in these areas should be aware that these apartments are typically smaller, and do not offer the same amenities as apartments in the suburbs. Many of the buildings are older and do not have elevators. However, most buildings do have central heating.

Moving farther from the city centre, there are options for larger apartments and houses which provide more space for less money. These suburbs are easily accessible via the local bus service, so expats need not worry about being isolated even if they don't have a car.Two of the most popular suburbs are Fabron and Cimiez, where the Matisse museum and ancient ruins are located.

Aside from financial concerns, expats may want to choose accommodation in close proximity to their workplace, in an area that offers them a certain lifestyle, or in a place that makes getting around easier. Since traffic can build up in the evenings, expats can avoid getting stuck for a few hours by living closer to work.

Finding property in Nice

When looking to rent an apartment in Nice there are a few resources available. Before starting the search, though, expats should keep in mind that they will need to learn about the different kinds of properties that will be available to them.

Pièce refers to the number of rooms, and chambres refers to the number of bedrooms. So, a two pièces, one chambre listing would mean a one-bedroom apartment with a salon or kitchen.

For expats who don’t have time to go apartment hunting or would like assistance, leasing agencies can be a helpful option. There are also several local websites that provide rental listings.

Agencies can give a better idea of the types of apartments available in the city and can even provide tours. These service providers usually charge a finder’s fee that is equivalent to one month’s rent. The finder’s fee does not include the cost of the security deposit that is due upon moving in. Most apartments charge a security deposit equivalent to one month’s rent, but some can ask for up to three month’s rent.

Renting property in Nice

A few things to take into consideration when searching for a place to live independently or with the help of an agency are the length of the lease, utilities, and the current condition of the apartment. Leases can vary depending on the landlord, and usually require one month's notice before moving out.

Some rentals include utilities, like electricity, heating, cable television and internet. Most apartments in the centre of the city are furnished, but not all apartments have air conditioning, an oven, or a washer and dryer.

When viewing an apartment, expats should make sure to note any issues or changes that will need to be made before moving in. It is also necessary to have housing insurance in France, whether buying or renting. Insurance can be purchased at a bank and will vary on a case-by-case basis. A copy of the lease and proof of address are usually required.

We are here to help and advise you, from your first enquiry to unpacking at your new home. You can get in touch with us for advice and a no obligation quote.

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