Nice – The Beautiful [Nice la Belle (Nissa La Bella in Niçard)]
Nice is the second-largest city of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of southern France (after Marseille) and boasts the fifth-largest metropolitan area in the country. Situated on the Mediterranean Sea, around 30 kilometers from the Italian border, the city covers an area of some 71.92 km2 (27.77 sq mi).
The city is home to 342.669 people (est. 2019), ranking on the 3rd spot in France, with a density of 4,800/km2 (12,000/sq mi). Nice’s urban population is estimated at 1,006,402 people (est. 2016).
Nice is famous for its beautiful coastline and warm Mediterranean climate. It enjoys a flourishing tourism industry, welcoming over 5 million visitors each year, whom all flock to soak up the sunshine. Aside from tourism, the city enjoys an active port and thriving business center, which enjoys a robust technology sector focused on growing foreign investment.
Nice is a commune and the administrative capital of the Alpes-Maritimes Department. City administration is overseen by The City Council, which consists of 69 elected members and is presided over by the Mayor. The Mayor (elected in 2020) is Christian Estrosi, member of the Les Républicains party.
Economy of Nice
Nice is the economic powerhouse of the Côte d’Azur, which is primarily based around non-industrial industry sectors. Nice’s tertiary sector is its most prominent, followed by industry and agriculture. Notable sectors of excellence include Tourism, Environmental Sciences, Cleantech, Information Technology, and Health. Information Technology and Communications industries, in particular, are all experiencing rapid growth, and the city is becoming a burgeoning center for related businesses.
Tourism is the city’s main economic driver, as Nice welcomes more than 5 million of visitors throughout the year, ranking second only to Paris.
The wider Côte d’Azur region provides international companies with a strategic base to develop European operations such as American Express, Amadeus, and AB Croisiere. Home to several large convention centers, Nice hosts many prestigious international business events throughout the year, including the Tourism@ Awards that brings together Europe’s e-tourism industry.
The region is home to several business parks, some of which are located in and around Nice itself. Sophia Antipolis is the largest and is considered Europe’s leading Technology Park – home to over 2,500 companies (including Coca-Cola, Compaq, and Siemens) and 45,000 employees.
Infrastructure of Nice
Nice enjoys an excellent infrastructure that links the city to other major conurbations and neighboring countries via well-maintained, toll-free motorways (the A8 and the Route Nationale 7) and railways.
Nice’s central railway station is the Nice-Ville which handles regional and long-distance rail services. Operated by SNCF Voyages, daily trains run to major domestic and international destinations, including Paris, Milan, Rome, and Venice.
The city operates an established bus system known as the Lignes d’Azur that forms the backbone for day-to-day public transport. The system runs frequent and fast services across numerous routes throughout the city. At the same time, the Transport Alpes-Maritimes provides an inter-urban network, transporting passengers to significant towns and cities on the Riviera. A tram system also runs across a U-shaped route from significant destinations and interchanges around Nice.
Nice’s Lympia Port is the city’s main harbor home to private and commercial vehicles and cement manufacturing facilities. The Port also runs a regular ferry service operated by two companies, transporting passengers to the nearby Island of Corsica.
Nice is served by Nice Côte d’Azur Airport, located some 6 kilometers southwest of the city center, and is France’s third busiest airport. The airport operates international flights all over Europe and beyond, moving an estimated 14.58 million passengers in 2020 and around 12.72 million tonnes of freight.
Workforce in Nice
Nice enjoys a highly cosmopolitan (around 12% of the region’s population comprises foreign residents) workforce. There are an estimated 160,000 jobs in the city and surrounding area. Driven by the booming tourism industry, the tertiary sector employs the most significant proportion of Nice’s working population (85%) with leading sectors including hotels and catering, business services, real estate, and health services.
The city benefits from a highly skilled and educated workforce that results from an excellent education system, which the government invests a significant proportion of its GDP into each year. Schooling is compulsory and accessible to all children from 6 through to 16 years old. The system is financed through taxation and is divided into four levels, Preschool, Primary, Secondary and Higher education.
As a sizeable regional education hub, Nice is home to many universities and higher education institutions that educate thousands of students each year. The University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, founded on 23 octombrie 1965, with a number of enrolled students of 27.484 (est. 2014), and comprises of 8 faculties two institutes, is one of the most notable.
Business Costs in Nice
From 2022, the standard corporate tax rate is 25% on all profits. Individual taxes are based on both a progressive and share system, from 0% to 45%. The amount payable depends on the amount earned and the number of people part of the family (living in the same household).
The value-added tax rate in France is 20%.
A wage pact is known as the Salaire Minimum Interprofessionnel de Croissance (SMIC), which ensures workers are paid at least €10.52 per hour, or €1.539,42 EUR a month on the standard 35-hour workweek. Labor costs are relatively high for a European country – even higher than the United Kingdom’s minimum wage of £5.80 per hour, which converts to €6.63 per hour.
Friendly offers competitive location costs versus other major European cities, with an average office rental cost of under €250/sq.m per year. Both Paris CBD and Paris La Defence have significantly higher rental costs at €700/sq.m and €550/sq.m per year, respectively.