The city of Nice on the French Riviera is well known for its sunny climate, beautiful Promenade des Anglais, and the medieval maze of Vieux Nice. Holidays here will take you to a destination that’s brimming with culture and charm, and it makes the perfect base for discovering the stunning Côte d’Azur and the South of France.
Before heading off to another country, it’s always worth picking up a few local phrases before you leave; after all, you never know when they might come in handy. As seasoned travellers, here at Thomas Cook we know that a little local knowledge can go a long way, and that includes speaking a little bit of the local language. It shows willing, helps you have a great holiday, and no matter how shaky your pronunciation, it’ll always endear you to the locals if you ‘have a go’. So we’ve put together a list of key words and phrases to help you get to grips with the local lingo.
What language is spoken in Nice?
If you haven’t already guessed, the official language in Nice is French, which is (of course) also the official language of France. If you’ve got an old French/English dictionary gathering dust at home, now’s the perfect time to get it out and refresh your memory of your school French classes. But if you don’t speak the language, don’t worry too much; Nice is a really popular international tourist destination, so you’re likely to find that English is widely spoken in the hotels, bars and restaurants.
If you’re thinking about heading off into more rural areas beyond the city, like the charming mountain villages, or a restaurant off the beaten track, then brushing up on your French will definitely be worthwhile. You may be lucky and find that the locals speak a little English, but even knowing a few basic French phrases can make all the difference.
About language in Nice
From the 12th to the 14th centuries, the standard literary language in the south of France was Occitan (otherwise known as Provençal), and it was an everyday language among most of the rural population of southern France. But in the mid-16th century, Italian became the language of the government.
The Niçard dialect was born out of the city’s Italian roots, as was once a widely spoken language in Nice. If you look closely, you’ll still be able to see evidence of this around the city. For example, it can still be seen on street signs in the old centre. This very particular dialect is still spoken by a very small number of people here, but it’s highly unlikely that you’ll hear it during your stay.
Ready to learn?
Before you head off on holiday to Nice, why not learn a handful of words and phrases in French? To help you on your way, we’ve compiled a list here for you to read and try out for yourself. Take a few minutes to have a read through, and then click on the green icon to hear the proper pronunciation. You never know, the locals might be impressed by your efforts.