Nice after the Attack

I’ve Truck attack in Nicetried to write something each day since the horrendous truck attack in Nice, but my words seemed so inadequate I couldn’t bring myself to post them.
Today marks a week since a deranged psychopath purposely drove a truck into the Bastille Day crowds, intentionally killing as many innocent people as possible.



Truck attack in Nice memorialsIn the space of a week, the Promenade des Anglais has gone from one of the most beautiful spots in the world, to a horrific body-strewn massacre, to a sequestered crime scene, to a spontaneous memorial with shocked and silent mourners covering each and every blood stain with flowers, candles, notes, photos, and stuffed animals.  Half the Prom remained closed most of the week as these early piles of flowers grew into mountains…

Every day I walked the trace of the carnage, passing so, so many piles of flowers… and every day, the final stack sent cold shivers: a circle of people silently staring at a pile of dirt and rocks in the middle of the road, the spot where the killer was finally shot dead.  People spit on it as they passed, or violently flung another handful of dirt.  Many of the stones contained anguished messages like “Assassin!” “Burn in Hell!” and “Why, why, why??”

A ceremony was held on the Prom which attracted 40,000 mourners, all still in shock but with some lashing out, searching for someone, anyone, to blame for this unimaginably senseless act.

Truck attack in Nice flowers on the Promenade des AnglaisThat night, knowing that the Prom had to eventually reopen, hundreds of people gathered in the moonlight to create a mile-long human chain, passing all the flowers, notes and toys, one-by-one, from the spot where each victim was felled, to a memorial at the gazebo, and when that was full, they lined the seaside.

One week later, the Promenade des Anglais is open, and if you lived in a cave and had no knowledge of what transpired, you would not know that anything was out of whack until passing the stretch that is lined with flowers.  The Old Town is less crowed than a normal high-season, but in a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, plus an unwillingness to be cowed by fear, it is absolutely full of life.  The beaches are full of sunbathers, the beach volleyball court is active day and night, the street musicians are out in force, the restaurants and full, and there was even an open air salsa dance in the Place Palais de Justice last night.

The funerals are just starting and the full list of victims has only just now been released.  A third of the victims were Muslim, including the first woman that the killer veered onto the sidewalk to hit, a mother of 7 who was wearing a traditional headscarf.  This is not about religion, or politics, just immense sadness.

Photos by Best of Nice

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9 Responses to Nice after the Attack

  1. Mona says:

    We love Nice and we will be back many, many times, that’s for sure. As Canadian working stiffs, we try to spend at least 3-4 weeks there every year, and we hope to increase that to 3-4 months each year when we retire. I personally feel such rage/sorrow that one individual could do such an awful thing in such a fabulous place.

    But in this day and age, the best I think we can do is to clean up, buck up, remain vigilant, and make many new good memories to try to help dim the bad ones.

    When we change our routines out of fear, the miscreants win. We should not for one moment give them the satisfaction.

  2. Paulina Ladreyt says:

    Merci for this informative and, better still, interesting & personal blog. Our family (Franco-Americans from Los Angeles) are visiting family for a few days. Your blog has deepened my appreciation for your city while helping us navigate it.

  3. Debbie says:

    We’ve been coming to Nice for many years, and the last 2 spent over a month each year staying in an apartment on the port. We walked the prom daily, day & night. This was a horrific, senseless tragedy. I am still horrified in the US, I can’t imagine how painful it must be to those who live there. Your recent blog was heartfelt and showed your pain. I can only pray nothing like this ever happens again. We will be back next year for another lengthy stay!

  4. John says:

    Your blog has for a number of years been our main source of information on Nice, your obvious love for the city always shines through.
    One can only imagine the pain that you and the whole of France must be going through at this time.
    We shall be visiting once again next week.

  5. Paul says:

    The Prom won’t be the same for a long time.
    During my forthcoming visit I’d hoped to take pictures of a frothy white wedding cake by the sea.
    I’d hoped to experience the most frivolous spot on earth (Las Vegas and Disneyland being too earnest in making money — besides, no yachts).
    Today, the bride wears black.

  6. Joseph Segaran says:

    We are coming to Nice for a few days holiday tomorrow. Your blog has so far been of great help. So sadden at last weeks events. Looking forward to visiting your beautiful city.

  7. I’m so glad you are ok, Allison. I’ve thinking about you nonstop. Tried to reach you via email. God bless you and the beautiful Nicoise. Thank you for this heartfelt post. I can’t imagine how difficult this has been to experience and process all that has gone on the past week. Our hearts are broken and the world is grieving with you. Sending you my hugs and prayers, until we meet in Nice again.

  8. jeff says:

    I was on that block in May for a week and well never go back . A guy has a bad day and destroys the block only religion can do this as in Paris .
    I’m sure U will delete this .