I’m getting the measure of Nice and broadly approve of the city. Given that it was occupied by the Italians, Germans and Allies and bombed by the last two only seventy years ago, it has regenerated well into a major French City that attracts travellers and inhabitants world wide. This is due to the Medecins father and son and the French mayorial system. The Medecins have their critics for their right wing views and the corruption of the son and the system has been criticised too for excessive power and graft but in terms of advancing the growth of a City it works better than in the UK. Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone became huge personalities as Mayors but what exactly did they do to improve London? The main shopping thoroughfare here is called Avenue Jean Medecin. I doubt if any streets will be renamed after Boris and Ken.
The baroque Italianate architecture sits well alongside more modern buildings. Here I make an adverse comparison to Brighton where execrable sixties boxes stand next to gorgeous creamy Georgian squares and facades. Our urban town planning was so badly let down by the architects of the sixties.
The French also have an edge on transportation. De Gaulle introduced a train system of high speed suburban rail linking into the metro. Had Brighton a French style mayor he would be lobbying hard to improve the rail system to reduce the one hour journey time to London and for a much larger airport. Nice has an international airport, excellent buses and tram networks.
Yesterday we had another insight into Nice when Daffers’ friend Jocelyn invited us to Easter lunch. Here we met some of the expat community including a famous England ex-cricketer who were congregants in the same church. None had that boozy ex-pat character. In the Brexit debate they are the forgotten tribe and are rather concerned whether there will be total withdrawal (or semi like Norway) and wondered where they would be left after a Brexit. With the internet and Sky they can more than keep in touch with mother country and world. As far as I can judge they seemed relaxed with their lot.
It seems an elderly affluent community. There is however for the young a well-known business school and the old quarter with its bars and discos is lively at night. There is an Opera House which you would not see in a city of comparable or even greater size, a top flight football club and many cyclist and yachtsmen. At lunch was a sports lawyer based in Monaco. For tax and logistical reasons many sportsmen make this their base. Cyril our charming driver says he ferries around the Sky cycling team based there.
To sum up, I’m very pleased with my choice of location. Smaller resorts would be dead till the season starts in mid-April. Nice has much to offer. We have been blessed with weather around 60*. Easter we hear was wash-out in Britain. Sad.