At least 10 babies and children were killed, some in buggies, with least 54 children also being treated in hospital.
Bouhlel, a delivery driver, was reported to be a French passport holder who lived in the Riviera city and was regularly in trouble with the law.
Reports claim police allowed him as he told them he was delivering ice cream.
Reports said Bouhlel’s last appearance in a criminal court was as recently as March, when he was found guilty of violent contact. Despite this, he had no known links with terrorism and was not under surveillance.
Bouhlel was said to have shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ – God is great – before being shot dead.
The “cowardly and barbaric” attack also left 18 people fighting for their lives in intensive care. Officials fear the death toll will rise.
A search of the vehicle uncovered a pistol, a larger gun, and a number of fake weapons and grenades.
Several of Bouhlel’s relatives and close friends have been taken into police custody for questioning and simultaneous raids are continuing in the Abattoirs area of Nice.
The attack took place just as the fireworks display ended as thousands of people were milling around the waterside. “I saw bodies flying like bowling pins along its route. Heard noises, cries that I will never forget,” one witness said.
France has declared three days of national mourning after the truck attack – its third major terror attack in 18 months.