PARIS may attract more tourists but the azure coastline of the Mediterranean, promenades and the ambience of its encompassing communities such as Juan Les Pins and Cannes draw attention particularly from reclusive artists such as Pablo Picasso and Henry Matisse.
For the 3rd time in 18 months, France is under siege – from the Charlie Hebdo shooting to the carnage at the rock concert in Paris and the latest attack in Nice, south of France. France, the cradle of democracy, is now facing the realities of terror as French Prime Minister Francois Hollande called for “dignity and unity” amid the tragedy.
The French Riviera that I saw in September 2012 was calm and soothing with the gentle waves of the Mediterranean. I took the early morning walk along the famous Promenade des Anglais (Walkway of the English), the popular coastline where a French-Tunisian man went on a 2-kilometer rampage onboard a truck killing 84 people, 10 of them kids. Fifty-two are critically injured, 25 of which are in a coma while 202 others were injured.
Except for Bastille Day celebrations, the Promenade des Anglais is a quiet main road leading to the Principality of Monaco, one of the popular sites of the Formula One racing circuit. The other way around goes to Cannes, Juan Les Pins and Saint Tropez.
The Promenade des Anglais is like a big stage for the affluent. Here, the filthy rich show their expensive toys such as Ferraris, Lamborghinis, etc.
From Cannes, the late actress Grace Kelly ended up marrying Prince Rainier of the House of Grimaldi in nearby Monaco. The beautiful American actress became Princess Grace. I had the chance to visit her tomb at the Monaco Cathedral where she wed the late Prince Rainier.
Nudity is ‘au naturel’ in the Mediterranean. The coastline along the Promedane des Anglais is no exception and in places like Cannes and Juan Les Pins.
Juan Les Pins is a postcard perfect place set near the beach of Cannes. France’s Mediterranean coastline is one of the best in Europe although the beach is full of rocks unlike our soft white sands in Boracay. The terror attack in Nice validated the common fear that such terror attack render many of our usual defenses useless – as the war on terror is now being played out in the shores of free countries.
But the senseless act of one man will not diminish the allure of the French Riviera – not a bit.