“NICE? After that horrific attack? Are you sure?” A friend thought I was nuts when I told him I was off to Nice for a break. My travel agent, too, was iffy when I asked her if it was safe to go. “Well, to be honest, we haven’t got an awful lot of bookings for Nice. But where’s safe these days?” So I landed at Nice’s Cote D’Azur International Airport with visions of heavy airport security, troops on the streets, a climate of fear.
Instead, I found a city at ease with itself—no sign of jitters or tension in the wake of the July 14 terror attack that killed 84 people, mostly foreign tourists. There’s no extra security at the airport (a welcome contrast with Heathrow, where they would strip you to the bone if they had their way). It took me barely minutes to get through immigration. “Bonjour, monsieur,” the man at the desk greeted me with a smile, took a quick look at the passport, and waved me through. The taxi-driver who took me to the hotel said he had just returned from Paris and people there were more nervous than in Nice. “It did feel a bit scary for a few days, but we’re fine now. You’ll see for yourself.”