After 2 long years of dust, destruction and Coulee Verte controversy, the barriers are gone and the gates have been flung open…and the verdict on the Promenade du Paillon, Nice’s own Central Park: wow!
Expectations were perhaps a little low: The city is known for its penchant for paving stones and tree chopping, and as the crews frantically worked around the clock the last few weeks, grim sneak peeks saw mud and cement outweighing green by 4 to 1. So when thousands swarmed in for a ‘first look’ this weekend, ready to carp, the overriding emotion was… surprised delight! The grass is thick and plentiful, the flowers and foliage off to a good start, the fountains and misters are fun and inviting, the kid’s area is cool, the panorama is amazing, and there are clean, manned public restrooms! Yes, the park could use a few more chairs, and the fake bird chirps and flower aromas are a little kitchy, but overall it is really terrific.
Even the dreaded iron grills surrounding the park are not imposing, and the opening hours, contrary to early reports, are very reasonable: 7am-9pm in the winter, and until 11pm in the summer.
The Promenade du Paillon will be a wonderful addition to Nice, truly a breath of fresh air!