It’s been a little over a week since a Tunisian man, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, ploughed a lorry into crowds out celebrating Bastille Day in the city of Nice.
Having spent some time in the city – February this year being the most recent – I wanted to express my sorrow at what happened to the wonderful people of the city, and the whole of France, on the national day of celebration of Liberté, égalité, fraternity – liberty, equality and brotherhood.
On my most recent visit I was reminded that, even in mid-winter, the city has a light which is unequaled. Not just in terms of photons that illuminate the sea, sky and architecture – but also amongst the people of this fine city that has been home to the world’s peoples for centuries. Evidence of multiculturalism is everywhere, from the earliest Greek and Roman ruins of the Castle Hill, to the markets and shops of the old town – and in the spirit of the people.
Yes, the place looked a bit scruffy in places (it was February). And yes, there were beggars but no more so than in London or any other larger British town or city. That said, there was a different vibe, especially compared with Monaco where we had been staying the previous few evenings.
But the streets were thronged with people. Carnival was in full swing. If restaurants and bars are busy they provide employment which in itself will benefit the city. The people of the Riviera understand that.
It is my belief that the city itself will recover quickly from the atrocity that was committed by a deranged man and, if the police reports are correct, his acquaintances. Whether the world at large sees it that way is up to the wider population. I do hope so. Nice is a beautiful place that you really should visit!