Marseille and Nice lie roughly 100 miles (16) km) apart, on opposite ends of the Cote d’Azur. Traveling from France’s second-largest city to the capital of the French Riviera involves heading northeast across the region of Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur. Transport links between the cities are excellent and straightforward, offering travelers multiple ways of making the journey.
The train is the most straightforward way to travel between the cities. Direct high-speed TGV lines hug the coast for a scenic, comfortable, and affordable trip in under three hours. Travel by car is the fastest option, reaching Nice in two and a half hours by the most direct route, with the choice of self-driving a rental car or hiring a private transfer. Buses are slightly slower, reaching Nice in under three and a half hours, but are economical and efficient, particularly if Nice Cote d'Azur (NCE) airport is the destination.
Duration: 2.5 - 3.5 hours
The train is the easiest and most efficient way to reach Nice from Marseille. TGV OuiGo trains depart from Marseille's Saint-Charles station and arrive at Nice Ville in under 3 hours, traveling along a scenic coastal route for most of the journey.
Marseille's Saint-Charles station is easily reachable from the center, a 20-minute walk from Vieux Port. Arrivals at Nice Ville are a 20-minute walk from the Vieille Ville (old town) or a quick tram ride from most major sites.
TGV and most high-speed tickets can be booked ahead online for the best prices and availability.
By Rental Car or Private Transfer
Duration: 3 hours, more with stops
The fastest way to reach Nice by car is heading north on the A52 to connect with the A8 toll highway. This high-speed expressway travels due east through the heart of the Var province, reaching Nice in under 2.5 hours. While not particularly scenic, the route allows for easy detours to the medieval cities of Maximin-le-Sainte-Baume and Brignole, and the resorts of Cannes and Antibes along the way.
If speed isn’t a priority, other options include incorporating a slower loop into the A8 route, such as taking the D50 south from Marseille, past Cassis and La Ciutat before heading north at Toulon on the D57 to link back up with the A8 towards Nice. Further south, the D559 hugs the coast for the length of the journey, passing spectacular scenery and picturesque resorts, but narrow, winding roads and high-season traffic mean this route is best broken up into multiple days.
Upon arrival in Nice, the traffic-free city center means it’s best to park on the outskirts in one of the Parc’Azur park-and-ride lots close to the A8, which are free with the purchase of a Lignes d'Azur tram ticket into the center.
Arranging a private transfer between Marseille and Nice is a more expensive option, but offers all the speed and flexibility of driving with none of the stress. Drivers offer direct city-to-city transfers or custom sightseeing routes that incorporate the best of Provence or the Riviera along the way.
Duration: 3 - 3.5 hours
The fastest direct service to Nice is on the Zou! LER bus which runs twice daily. Buses leave from Marseille’s Saint-Charles station and arrive at Gare Routier Nice (a 20-minute walk or 10-minute tram from the old town) in 3 to 3.5 hours. Before reaching the city center, buses stop at Nice Cote d’Azur (NCE) airport, making this option a good choice if that’s your final destination. While less scenic than the train, buses are economical and comfortable and can be booked ahead or in person.