Le Tour de Nice…and Then, France!
The City of Nice is seriously promoting the upcoming “Grand Départ” of the Tour de France from its shore. No matter where you look, you see signs of it in every corner of town. I can’t blame them. This is the 7th time in the history of the Tour that Nice is the host of the event…the start and finish of the first two stages of the 107th edition of the legendary Tour de France.
When you’re walking along the Promenade des Anglais, you might spot something unusual: yellow, white with red polka dots, green and white chairs mixed among the traditional Chaises Bleues of Nice. Each one represents the traditional jersey of the best competitor in the different categories. The standings can change from day to day, especially early in the race. The Maillot Jaune (yellow jersey) is worn by the leader. The Maillot Vert (green jersey) goes to the leader of the Points Classification—the amount of points given depends on the day’s stage profile—whether it’s flat or mountainous, for example. Known as the “sprinter’s jersey,” ultimately it goes to a “well-rounded and consistent rider.” The Maillot à Pois Rouges (polka dot jersey) is the “King of the Mountains”—as in the best in the Mountains Classification, awarded to the first riders who reach the summit of designated climbs on each stage. This rider must be a strong climber and often goes to the lightweights. The Maillot Blanc (white jersey) goes to the General Classification leader who is 25 years old or younger (on January 1 in the given race year)—or the best young rider.
The departure takes place steps from my door, on Place Masséna. The first stage is 170 kilometers from Nice to Col de la Colmiane, to Col de Turini, to Col d’Eze and back to Nice. I changed my train back to Paris a few days later than originally planned just to be here for this annual event that is sure to have the city rocking.
According to the official Nice tourism website, special provisions will be made for the Covid-19 pandemic, but I haven’t been able to find what those are…at least not yet. Maybe even the organizers don’t know how to deal with it yet—maybe it all depends on where we stand with the number of active Coronavirus cases before they will let us know? I can’t see cancelling it as a possibility.
Here’s a glimpse of what’s to come (from past Tours, under normal circumstances). Take note, that corner where they’re turning in front of a pharmacy…that’s just down the block from me and that’s my pharmacy of choice. Will I be in the crowds to watch the cyclers take off? Yes, likely…masked.
While anticipating the upcoming event, we’re still taking in the sights and sounds of the seaside resort town. A bubble-maker on the Place Masséna delighted the kids with his mini bubble wand and fascinated my daughter’s photographic eye with her iPhone to capture the cityscape behind the transparent orbs. She caught me here in the background with my hands on my hips, body language that she read as, “Come on kid, let’s get a move on,” so we wouldn’t be late for dinner nearby at Peixes.
Peixes (pronounced “pesh” and meaning “fish” in Portuguese), is the latest of Armand Crespo’s four restaurants (Bistrot d’Antoine, Bar des Oiseaux and Comptoir du Marché). The fresh seafood dishes served in the form of tapas you will find like nothing you’ve ever eaten before—fresh and deliciously woven with a variety of ingredients and flavors. No reservations are necessary (or even possible)—just show up when they open at 7 p.m. to ensure you have a first row seat. They’re also open for lunch starting at noon. (Photo, Turbot at Peixes)
People here in Nice do not seem to be very bothered by dealing with mandatory mask-wearing. My guesstimate is that about 75% of the people are wearing masks in outdoor public places, and 100% in indoor public spaces. This has not seemed to keep them at home or confined as the streets are busy…but clearly not up to the levels of a normal vacationing August. The restaurants aren’t quite as booked solid, but they have expanded their tables for social distancing into the streets—so much so that the restaurant across the street from me has taken to setting up tables next to my front door. I have to pass via the diners to enter my own building! This is a first. During past summers, there would be a guitar-player or the street dancers who do acrobatic tricks down the middle of the street to a bongo drum. Not this year…there’s no room for them while the tables take over.
Several of my Nice resident friends are still staying in and playing it safe from the virus. They won’t see me—I present a risk to them because I haven’t been as self-confined as they have. I can understand their concerns and fears, although I feel very sure and safe in myself and believe I can enjoy my life to its fullest while still being respectful of the current guidelines. It is not in my interest to become infected by the virus or infect anyone else, but I don’t fear the illness or death personally.
In today’s world, it’s impossible to know who to believe with so many contradictory messages in the media. I do know that anytime profit is a motive, the truth is easily skewed. There is a new and very controversial documentary on the scene that is being blasted by the general media as false—”Plandemic.” But one must ask themselves, “What do the producers of such a video have to gain when those that denounce it have plenty to gain by discrediting it?” Regardless of what you want to believe, it’s worth a watch and then you can make your own decision.
Meanwhile, you will find me on the street, in the cafés, on the beaches and on public transportation without fear or regret. If I am shunned by my peers for such bold actions, then so be it. I will leave those emotions for others.
A la prochaine…
Adrian Leeds Group
(with Daughter, Erica, in Nice)
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