One day, I was walking on the Promenade des Anglais (from the Negresco Hotel end towards the Old Town) when I stopped dead in my tracks and just stared at the beach (some other people had stopped walking too). What was going on? The rocks were GONE (video link), for as far up the beach as I could see! I really thought that it was a mirage and that my mind was playing (pleasing) tricks on me – personally, I hate the rocks! After realizing what I was truly seeing, I was overcome with how beautiful the beach looked – clean, sleek, and SMOOTH!! (For me, just like a real beach should look like.)
The city spends a lot of time, energy, and money to reinforce the 8 km/5 miles of beaches, due to erosion of the coastline and in preparation for tourist season. According to the Nice Matin: the rocks used to be taken from the Paillon River, east of Nice, but for the past ten years, this has been stopped due to the fragile riverbed; the pebbles are purchased, from a current budget of 700-800,000 Euros per year; during the winter months, 15,000 cubic meters of pebbles are eroded by the waves; and this year, the city is ordering 10,000 cubic meters to replace those lost in the past two years.
Although I don’t like swimming, I would love to stroll along the edge of the waves on a sandy beach here, like I did every summer near Montpellier.
Mais bon, the sand vs. pebbles debate continues, as everyone has an opinion: the rocks are cleaner than sand (fear of fungal infection); they are a traditional symbol of the city; sand is more comfortable to walk and lie on (logique, non?), etc, etc. Reportedly, the mayor is taking notes, so who knows? Maybe one day, my ‘mirage’ will last more than one day!