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Promenade Des Anglais

As our group strolled the Promenade Des Anglais yesterday morning in the brightest of weather with a turquoise sea I was sad that our cycling correspondent Guy Danaway was not with us as there was a terrific exhibition of photographs on it called The Tour in Nice to celebrate Le Grand Depart from Nice at the start of the Tour de France next year.

These were of photos over the last century and this of its stages in Nice.

One was of 5 time winner Bernard Hinault surely one of the modern greats with his 5 wins.

An aggressive cyclist know as Le Patron (or The Badger) he had an uncompromisingly aggressive style.

His greatest rivals Laurent Fignon and Greg Lemond were both within his team forcing him to change allegiances.

In 1980 he protested and absented himself mid tour presenting it to Joop Zoetemelk who also appeared in the photographs.

I especially enjoyed the pre-WW2 photographs. In those days spectators invariably wore hats.

I often say to those who don’t get the Tour and say the riders whizz by in seconds that it is one of the few epic sporting events that takes place outside a stadium and the closest you will get to participators. It is also an interesting way to appreciate the beauty and variety of France.

The Promenade is one of the features of Nice. It is as wide as a road, extending in a crescent to the airport, and a place where strollers, dog walkers, joggers and pram pushers can all be accommodated.

On one side is the Mediterranean and beach bars and on the other palm trees, the great hotels and apartment blocks.

In fact it was an Anglican church that funded its construction to find work for immigrants that moved south. Its worst day was July 14 2015 when a jihadist mounted the Promenade in a delivery truck mowing down 86 innocent victims.

Nice is a resilient city that changed hands 5 times during the war and had a severe German occupation.

Two resistance fighters were strung up in what is now the central thoroughfare Rue Jacques Medecin and schoolchildren were forced to witness them. One does wonder how the civilized country of Beethoven, Bach and Mozart could conceive such brutality.

About Tom Hollingworth

Tom Hollingsworth is a former deputy sports editor of the Daily Express. For many years he worked in a sports agency, representing mainly football players and motor racing drivers. Tom holds a private pilot’s licence and flying is his principal recreation. More Posts