Nice to Isola 2000 ski trip, day return by bus 750

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New for 2009: A few changes this year...the fare is now just 1 euro but your bus place must be booked in advance, the day before you travel, telephone 0805 402 606, the code for France is 00 33 and usually miss off the first 0 of the number. If you intend to return the same day, buy your return ticket from the machine in Isola 2000 before 1pm; to return the following day, buy before 16:30 hours. More information (in French) here.

Friday 21st December 2007

The three of us at the top of the Pelevos ski lift, Isola 2000 December 2007The three of us at the top of the Pelevos ski lift, Isola 2000 December 2007

According to the website, Isola 2000 opens today. The forecast is sunny and there is plenty of snow so we decided to take the 750 coach from Nice Gare Routière for a repeat trip we made in April, see here for details. This time with our daughter who was not looking forward to the long coach ride.

It IS a long trip for just 4 hours skiing but the conditions were perfect, plenty of sun and snow and almost completely empty. The schools in Nice break up today so from tomorrow, the resort would start to fill for Christmas. We took papers, books, PSP, iPods etc for the journey but quite honestly, the only part that dragged was getting out of Nice crawling via the train station and airport. After the airport, the journey speeds up and there is plenty to see out of the window. On the approach to Isola 2000, we saw eagles.

On the way back, it's dark but most people nod off after all the exercise. A few people get on at the airport, I expect they park for the day, then drive hone afterwards, it's quite handy this way and it cuts the dreary part of the journey.

I put all the details how to ski in Isola 2000 from Nice as a day trip using the 750 TAM coach on the April post: but we found a couple of easier options this time. When the coach stops, there is a building in front of you with a choice of two roads, one each side of the building.

Head off this side when you get off the coach - it takes you to the main entrance of the complex accessed directly from the road.

Take the higher road on the left as you face it and this takes you a short walk to the main entrance into the complex on the right hand side. Last time, we took the lower road and went indoors and had to schlep our way along gloomy passageways and up lots of steps. Going outside is much quicker. The main entrance has a car park and big sculpture outside. It takes you straight to the ski pass office, Ski 2000 ski hire, ESF and tourist office plus loos and café. We had to wait until 12:20 hours to buy the afternoon ski passes. They are tricky to attach neatly and they are so sticky, you only get one go so make sure you get it right, here's the sequence:

If you arrive too early to ski immediately, it's an opportunity to get the ski hire sorted and have a pre-lunch snack. There's a small kiosk just outside, opposite the Ski Pass office to buy a coffee and a bun:

hot chocolate and a muffina pre-ski hot chocolate and muffin

espresso and a piste mapJust an espresso for me while I work out the route

We hired skis and poles plus boots for the daughter from Ski 2000 again and they were kind enough to let us stash our bags for the afternoon. I remembered to bring a small rucksack for skiing this time.

We covered a bit more ground this time as my daughter is a good skier and keeps us all going. She also had a day's practice with my husband at our new ski dome in Manchester - the Chill Factor. It's all good practise for our weeks skiing in Feb in Méribel where she will be training for her gold star. We went up the Pelevos lift mostly and then tried a ski chair on the opposite side - the 'Combe Grosse' ski chair. The slopes here are very easy blues but had turned to ice in the bright sunshine, so you go rather fast as turning is difficult. We tried the red Sapins run, this was fine. the slopes on the Pelevos side were in shade but the snow was good for skiing. The runs are very short compared to Méribel and less difficult I think but the rush and buzz of skiing in the sunshine is unbeatable.

at the top of the Pelevos bubble lift
It's difficult to work out the best time to stop, we packed up at about 3:45pm which gave us enough time to offload the equipment and have a snack before getting the coach home.Schuss restaurant, Isola 2000
lunch on the mountain side, Isola 2000
We still managed to fit in lunch at a mountain side restaurant - the Schuss at the top of Pelevos. I don't expect we covered too many ski miles. A hard core skier could cover far more than us but we were there to enjoy the snow and sunshine as well as ski, a bit.

Serious skiers who don't want to hire a car and drive themselves to Isola 2000 would probably prefer the Ski-Bus which gives you closer to seven hours on the slopes. The Ski-Bus wasn't an option for us as the French school holidays hadn't started and it wasn't the weekend. Plus the 750 bus gives you a lie-in, leaving Nice at 9:15am. The cost is still 8 euros each way.

The Ski-Bus is 30 euros return (2007/08 prices) leaving Nice at 07:30 hours and returning at 17:00 hours and includes the price of the ski pass. When you arrive and exchange the ticket for a ski pass you will be asked if you want insurance, it's only a couple of euros extra and is essential.

The one and only time we used the Ski-Bus in Jan 2003, it dropped us off at the lower Car Park which is not really suitable for complete beginners as the ESF Ski School is on the main level so you would need to get straight on to several drag lifts to reach the ski school. I wrote a review in

Ski-Bus Information leaflet - front pageSki-Bus information leaflet - back page

Places must be reserved on the Ski-Bus. Call in or telephone the Gare Routière (Bus Station) in Nice on 04 93 85 92 60 or call in the Santa Azur Offices at 11 Ave Jean Médecin or telephone 04 97 03 60 00. International dialling code for France is 00 33.

The 750 leaves promptly at 4:30pm and it's important to tell the driver on arrival that you will be returning the same day. From the view in the bubble lift it looked as if the bus stays on site all day - it's probably possible to leave bags on the coach if you ask.

We returned home to the UK on Staurday for Christmas. We will be collecting all the ski gear in Feb when we return for our Méribel ski trip.

Isola 2000 is part of the Parc National du Mercantour and more information can be found at or directly at


Laura P said...

Thanks SO much for all the helpful information! I am planning to visit Nice next week and would like to go skiing while I'm there.

I don't speak French (other than a few basic phrases), so I'm worried that I may have problems hiring skis. Is this an issue or do they also have staff that speak english?

AllaboutNice said...

Laura, don't worry, it won't be an issue, everyone will speak some English. If you make an effort to start off in French, even if it's just 'Bonjour' with a few 'merci's thrown in, that will be appreciated. They will need to know your weight in Kilos for adjusting your boots, it might be an idea to know how to say this number in French, also your French shoe size will help finding boots. They will want to know how experienced you are - débutante - beginner or Intermèdiaire - intermediate or Expert (same word)

I am very envious, we misssed our Christmas trip to Nice in December, due to flu, which would have meant a day's skiing, I believe the snow is great at the moment. Have fun. I will be going to Méribel ia Nice, next month, can't wait.