The Promenade des Anglais in Nice and Me
Last I wrote, I was on my way to Italy to hike the Via Francigena. It was yet another memorable trek which I will talk about in a future blog post. But first, I want to write about Nice, the Promenade des Anglais and me.
Nice holds a special place in my heart. It was my first introduction to France. As a young 18 year old who had never been outside the US, I attended a summer program in Nice in 1966. My girlfriend Phyllis and I lived in one room just a block from the Promenade. Every day we walked to a bakery and discovered the joys of a butter croissant, a pastry that was not yet known back in Brooklyn. Every day our lunch was a baguette with butter and gruyère cheese, a classic French combination I had never previously tasted. And every afternoon, once our classes were over, Phyllis and I walked to the Promenade des Anglais and laid our straw mats down on the pebbled beach soaking up the French culture and the Riviera sun. We fell in love with Nice and I have adored it ever since.
On so many of my annual fall trips, I've flown into Nice and learned to appreciate it when it's grey and windy, when the retired folks stroll the promenade and when the population has been more diverse and more numerous. I know now it is more than just the Promenade des Anglais, There is a huge population of diverse people living and working in what is a large metropolitan area. But for me, it will always be the beautiful seaside promenade I loved as a girl.
It broke my heart to read of the carnage there. Fifty years ago, I stood under the very same fireworks set off to celebrate Bastille Day as did the students from the University of California, Berkeley who there in July and were among those injured and killed.
We are all French and we are all the victims. But we shouldn't give in to fear, and we should all continue to live our lives and enjoy our pleasures together with others in our beautiful world. I will.
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