Why is Nice so great????
This is thinly disguised as a letter of praise to the city administrators of Nice, France. I have been visiting Nice off and on since sometime in the ‘80s. I always liked the city because it was in France, by the sea, great climate, felt safe, was easy to get around and not too big of a city.
But now, it is sooooo much better because they built a tram system. And POOF! most of the cars have disappeared. And why, because the trams are clean, well run, actually go where people want to go, run from early morning until after mid-night and are very affordable.
The noise and smell of cars has disappeared from a big part of the city. In the shopping area the sidewalks have been widened and are full of folks out walking. And there is no graffiti!!!!!! None, zero, zippo! There is not an overly large police presence but somehow the drunks and riff raff manage to all stay pretty much in one area.
The hostel we were staying at was on the next to last stop of the tram line. We parked the car at the hostel when we got there and it did not move until 4 days later when we left. We took the tram everywhere, buying affordable 4 Euro day passes. Getting on near the end of the line meant that we always got a seat. Getting on in other places, Ben was always offered a seat. Certain times of the day, the trams were crowded. But always fairly quiet and orderly.
You can take your dog on the tram!
Here’s the tram leaving (on the left) and the little hop-on hop-off tourist train that runs along the seaside promenade. Notice the lack of overhead wires over the tram.
See the overhead wires. The trams are electric and get their power from the wires. Here this system was wisely planned and in the open squares (like the picture above) the trams run on battery power. The V shaped connector lowers and raises as needed. In the smaller spaces the wires were strung.
And there are bicycles to rent.
And electric cars to rent. It would be entirely possible to live here without a car. And let me tell you, it was so nice to go out to dinner and drink what I wanted to without have to worrying about driving home. It was so nice not to drive for 4 days but still go places and do things.
And much of Nice is very flat and very walkable. And all that is why Nice is so great!