Overall Nice is a safe city, and France generally has a relatively low rate of violent crime, but as with most large cities some neighborhoods merit extra caution when visiting especially after dark. Overall crime in France has fallen in recent years, but visitors should be careful when on the move.

The newly opened "green corridor" Promenade du Paillon running through the centre of the city is gated and is closed overnight, and has its own squad of security, thus improving security in the centre of town where it was sometimes an issue. Some rough sleepers and Roma families have had to find elsewhere to bed down. The area immediately opposite the railway station, as in many cities, has a sleazy reputation, though Nice's  "red light" traffic is conducted mainly along the Promenade des Anglais beyond Gambetta towards the airport, and not generally a problem in Nice itself. Nighlife in central Nice generally closes at 02.30 and much beyond that the usual caution should be excercised making your way home on foot.

The most common types of crimes are pickpockets who operate on public transport at times when it is very crowded, which is frequently, while a rising threat is that in which thieves on motorcycles reach into a stopped car by opening the car door or reaching through an open window to steal purses and other bags visible inside This has also been used against pedestrians walking with purses, bags or cameras slung over their street-side shoulder.

As for personal safety on public transport, you should be aware very late trains - approaching midnight - on the western side (Nice - Cannes - St Raphael - Marseilles) do not have a good reputation. Many stations are not staffed and trains run largely empty, so lone travellers may prefer to avoid late travel on these routes if possible.

Additionally, if you’re using a rental car make sure to lock the doors while visiting tourist attractions such as museums, monuments, restaurants, hotels, beaches, trains, train stations and airports. There is more advice regarding car rental in this guide, but be aware that there have recently been cases of "homejacking" - where thieves break into villas and, finding the car keys left on display, steal the rental car as well. Because the car was not "taken by force", renters have found themselves not covered by rental insurance and liable for the whole replacement value of the car.  

Photocopies of travel documents and credit cards should be made, and kept separately from the originals with emergency telephone numbers maintained to contact banks if credit cards are stolen or lost. It is a lot harder to try to  find this information after the event.

Emergency numbers are, for fire/rescue (18), police (17), and medical emergencies (15). If you have any concerns it may be a good idea to programme them into your mobile phone before arrival  There is also a European Union-wide emergency number, 112, that will connect you with an operator who speaks both English and the language of the country you are in.

The Fire number is particularly important as you will notice most of the beautiful buildings in Nice and most hotels too do not have any form of external fire escape, and nor are smoke dectectors yet compulsory in communal buildings until 2013. Smoke inhalation is the main cause of fire-related deaths, and the use of internal stairwells as an escape route can be ill-advised. The rules isto  "get to fresh air". France's "sapeurs/ pompiers" fire rescue service are very experienced  in use of extending ladders to rescue people from balconies and a call to them is the main line of defence in the event of fire.

Unless you have specific need of a car - for example, mobility/disability problems, renting in a remote rural location, or planning on touring the back-country -  it is generally a mistake to rent a car in Nice for local travel.  Parking a car anywhere in Nice is notoriously difficult, and equally so in many surrounding areas. People park everywhere, between trees, poles and on sidewalks. They routinely bump each other in order to get in and out of tight spaces. Traffic and parking tickets are doled out like sweets. The French Riviera has some of the worst traffic and one of the highest traffic accident rates in France, and the toxic mix of French car driving enthusiasm with many powerful motorcycles and youths on small scooters makes holiday motoring often an unrewarding experience.

Take some advice: do visit Nice, but do not drive there!! The Riviera has excellent and inexpensive day time bus services between all towns for only 1.50 euro per journey (new rate since June 2013), and in case of wanting travel after dark, the coastal train service between Cannes - Nice - Monaco and Menton runs until around midnight. It should be especially noted that in Nice most buses stop running at 8 pm. There are a very small number of late night buses (Noctambus) at weekends, however very infrequent and it is not recommended to wait alone at bus stops late at night, which can attract unwelcome attention from passing motorists. If planning a late evening or night plan to take a taxi or walk.

All this advice is not intended to scare you off the South of France, but by noting it, you should enjoy a more stress-free holiday, and a less stressful one in the event of  unexpected problems.