De Retour

We’ve been back in Nice a little over a week, and have been surprised at how many small and large changes have occurred in the relatively short time (four months) we were away.

The biggest change has been in the area of public transport. The second tram line was inaugurated at the end of June, and is now running from both airport terminals to our centrally located neighborhood (by December it will run all the way east to the Port), with a spanking new underground station a couple of blocks away. Having failed to experience anything like major new infrastructure back home in recent years, I couldn’t help but be surprised at how thrilling it was to see a fine example of urban investment. Honestly, I felt the way I do when I buy a new pair of shoes!

The new tram has made other urban improvements possible. The city has been able to take hundreds of buses off the street by reducing the number of routes and redirecting certain lines, all with the goal of easing noise and air pollution, while actually improving access to fast public transportation. The mayor’s office claims 90 percent of Niçois will soon be served by a tram or bus passing every 15 minutes.

Once choked with noxious traffic, deafening noise and stinky soot, the old bus routes are undergoing an impressive beautification. Projects are underway to re-pave sidewalks and plant trees, the latter being part of the City Hall vast “végétalisation” effort. 


Nice street being improved.

The other changes perhaps are a fast forward to what these improvements portend for the status of our neighborhood. The Gambetta/Fleurs/Victor Hugo zone of Nice is populous and thriving. But during our absence the first discreet luxury hotel opened on our former street. A pretty park has been restored. In addition to new CBD dispensaries and shops specializing in the kind of local products tourists buy (e.g., Savoneries), two fairly ordinary cafes disappeared to be replaced by examples of globally trendy coffee houses, with their English names and mediocre pastries. In fact, the tourist district in the heart of the city is expanding here. And everywhere.

It was kind of fun to see the changes. And, after a summer of rural living, city life and its conveniences (movie theaters) are a treat. We’ve promised ourselves we’ll take regular nature breaks in the nearby hills. In the meantime, there’s always the Prom.

Sunset on the Prom.

About kmazz

I spend as much time as possible pursuing my interests in global culture, photography, arts and politics.
This entry was posted in expat, expat life, France, Nice, France, Promenade des Anglais. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to De Retour

  1. cichand says:

    I too, am thrilled with all the beautification changes around the city and the clean tram that makes airport travel a breeze. I do look forward to less noise pollution and having to whip out my earplugs every time I walk somewhere. For me, and I’m sure others, we await the end of the year when all should be done and we’ll worth it.

  2. Francesca says:

    Will be great to see the tram next time we are there 😊

    Sent from my iPhone so please excuse the brevity


  3. Glad life is improving around you so well, Kathleen. Enjoy!!! Best to you and Dave, JIm

  4. Diane says:

    Uh oh, it’s happened. Kathleen has gone French.

  5. says:

    Fab as always! 

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

  6. Ian M Wallace says:

    It’s great to see Nice forging ahead, investing in infrastructure projects. Kathleen and David: you have picked the right French city! Will you be taking the tram to the cinema?

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