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Riviera Pebbles Blog: Restaurant and Shop Opening Hours and Bank Holidays

Posted on 15th Oct 2018 in Guest Info


Shops restaurants bars.jpg
Shops, restaurants & bars

Opening hours in Nice

The French schedule and traditional opening times might not completely mirror what you’re used to home. The French take their lunch and leisure time seriously, although as a tourist hotspot, Nice will have significantly more doors open than in industrial towns.

It pays to be organised and mindful of times and dates when you’re out and about. Here’s the rundown to make sure you’re never without a boulangerie, épicerie, or supermarché.

Shops are typically open from 9am to 7pm Monday to Saturday, although department stores can stay open as late as 9pm. The sacred Sunday has been diluted in recent years, and now a handful of shops open seven days a week, including bank holidays. On Avenue Jean Medécin (the city’s main shopping street), you will find that Sephora (cosmetics and skincare), Zara and H&M (high-street fashion), Galeries Lafayette (a four-storey department store), and the Nice Etoile shopping centre all stay open on Sundays.

Supermarkets are generally open from 8:30am to 9pm. The large Monoprix (Avenue Jean Medécin & Place Garibaldi) opens on Sundays, and most branches of Carrefour City (express small supermarkets) stay open until 10pm. Small independent grocery stores are not subject to the same regulations as the larger chains, so they typically open on Sundays and bank holidays.

Banks open from 8:30am to 12pm and from 2pm to 4:30pm Monday to Friday. Some banks open on Saturday mornings, but most close the shutters on Fridays, and re-open Monday morning. Cash machines are widely available during the weekend.

Restaurants typically open twice a day: at midday until 2pm, and in the evening. Dinner is usually eaten later in France, with restaurants generally opening at about 8pm. However, if you are after a lighter meal (such as pizza or salad), more casual eateries tend to open earlier - around 6pm. Look out for non-stop or service continu signs: these signal that the restaurant is open all day. Many restaurants close on either Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday to make up for working on Saturday, especially in the lower season months of October – March. However, you will find that many restaurants stay open on bank holidays.

Rail service
The Nice Ville Train Station ticket office is open from 6am to 9pm from Monday to Saturday and 7am to 8pm on Sundays and bank holidays. There can be queues, so if you wish to purchase your ticket directly from the ticket office instead of the machines (which are only in French), make sure to allow an extra half-hour before your journey.

Closures on National Holidays
On bank holidays, you will be lucky to find more than a handful of main shops open for business, although the small independent shops tend to carry on as normal. These smaller shops often close for their annual holidays from mid-July to the end of August, but the ones that cater for tourists generally stay open. Shopkeepers like their holidays, but still want to make hay whilst the sun shines.

There are 11 bank holidays per year in France. The four around Easter and Pentecost move each year so you’ll need to check ahead. The non-moveable bank holidays to watch out for are:

  • 1st January - New Year's Day (Jour de l'An)
  • 1st May - Labour Day (Fête du Travail)
  • 8th May - VE Day - (Fête de la Victoire 1945)
  • 14th July - Bastille Day (Fête Nationale)
  • 15th August - Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (l'Assomption)
  • 1st November - All Saints' Day (La Toussaint)
  • 11th November - Armistice Day (Armistice 1918)
  • 25th December - Christmas Day (Noël)

Useful vocabulary
Ouvert – Open
Fermé – Closed
Déjeuner – Lunch
Tous les jours – Every day
Une Nocturne - A late-opening day in the week for department stores
365j – 365 days a year
Congé annuel – Annual holidays


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