We heard the news after we got back from the fireworks. We probably would have gone to bed and slept in ignorance until the morning, but Hugo gets news alerts on his phone.
On Friday, there was an outpouring of shock and grief over the attack in Nice on social media. But at least in Lyon, there doesn’t seem to be a public space of tribute and mourning, like there was after the Paris attacks, where people leave flowers and messages. The public reaction is different this time. Maybe it’s because the possibility of more attacks has been hovering in the background, especially during the Eurocup. But that doesn’t diminish the magnitude of this tragedy.
I dug up my old photos of Nice. I haven’t been there since 2012. I thought it was only two years ago, but then I did the math. I meant to go back this summer, but time is short. (By “short” I mean “hurtling along at rogue rocket speed.”)
I’ve only been to Nice twice, but I hold many happy memories of the city. I spent most of my time there alone, wandering free and content. Actually, I think Nice is the first place I learned to do that by myself, where I realized how blissful solo travel can be, seven years ago.
It was 2009, my first time in France. I had just spent a rather awful few days in Marseille and I didn’t know where to go next.
Someone told me Nice was nice, so I went. I rolled in on the train with a view of the Mediterranean listening to the Beatles. I slept on the couch at the hostel for 10 euros because all the beds were full. It was in the kitchen and every time someone opened the refrigerator, the whole room was filled with a disagreeable sweet but stale old fruit fridge smell.
Thanks to an old Facebook album, I have a few relic pictures from that first trip…
I remember going to the rocky beach and bobbing in the gentle blue Mediterranean waves. I went to the market and bought watercolors from a local artist, and salt and pepper shakers labeled “sel” and “poivre”, which I still have.
I went back in November 2012, shortly after I moved to Paris. It was brisk but not cold, and foggy, like my hometown in California.
I’m sharing these photos and memories because that’s all I have to pay tribute to the beautiful city of Nice. We are all mourning the horrific loss of lives and the senseless violence that has ripped families apart, not only in Nice but around the world.