We get a lot of questions from people who want to know whether it is still fun to come to the South of France. In Dutch shopping streets, you are apparently warned immediately by active BOAs (underpaid auxiliary agents) with a police whistle if you keep less than 1.5 meters away from others. You will also be fined if you eat a cake with more than three people or if you wear a medical face mask on public transport. It is the Netherlands at its narrowest, because if there are rules that can limit the freedom of the common man, then the government will go completely crazy. It makes sense that people think that it will be many times worse in France. France with its bureaucracy, the many police officers and the strict government that likes to keep its citizens in line.
We investigated for you in Cannes, Juan Les Pins and Nice. Well, not really out on research, we happened to go there because the weather was nice and we felt like diving into the sea. And to eat a fresh Pan Bagnat. Until June 2, it was forbidden to lie on the beach. It had been thought that you could swim and exercise on the beach. Here and there are still signs with “Plage Dynamique”. Before June 2, we walked along the beach and sat “sneaky” on the sand. On the beach in Saint Laurent du Var, I jokingly asked an elderly lady if she knows that sitting still is forbidden; shouldn’t we all be active on the beach? “Oh, I’m so active, but in my head. Don’t worry about me, ”she laughed. Ahead, a family with friends was playing cards and chatting while the children swam in the sea. The police in Cannes and Nice were the strictest during this period, but between these cities; in Antibes, Juan Les Pins and Cagnes sur Mer agents shrugged their shoulders.
How is life in the South of France with the “Crise Sanitaire”?
The reality since June 2 is that everyone is back in the sand and taking a dip in the sea. There is still a “sanitary crisis” until July 24. In practice, this means that every now and then a girl with a walkie talkie corrects whether someone puts his towel too close to another beach lover. But honestly, that’s fine. We also like a bit of privacy and distance on the beach. Most of the beach restaurants are open again and the loungers are on the beach. With a little more distance between the beds, but that is actually an improvement.
In Nice, Mayor Estrosi is fighting hard to get everyone’s mouth masks on the street. An extra cycling track has been built on the Promenade des Anglais, for example, because cycling is healthy for people. As a result, streets are blocked with cars causing more exhaust gases. Whether it is wise? The yellow cycle paths in Nice are at least everywhere this summer. We drive into Nice by car, to the center and see especially many older people walking around with a mask. But once in the old Italian part at the Solaya market and on Place Garibaldi, nobody thinks about Estrosi. Or Corona. Terraces are packed, people are lining up to get a seat. Little seems to have changed. The beer is deliciously cold and the socca tastes just like it used to. Only the waiters wear a mask. Until July 24. Then they too are liberated.
In some shops and supermarkets, you are asked if you want to wear a mask, in other shops it is mandatory. Everyone actually does what feels best. There is gel and alcohol everywhere to wash hands. We hope this stays a bit; that people will pay more attention to hygiene because supermarket carts are always a bit rancid.
It all remains strange; in the parking garages, there are free brokerage magazines from March 2020. As if everyone has suddenly left and we slowly take back the city. Tourists are missed everywhere; it is considerably quieter and many restaurateurs are afraid that they will not make it to autumn. In a city like Cannes, 70,000 people live and there are more than 700 restaurants. People go out to eat, but restaurants cannot make the turn-over as before. The hope is that after June 15, first tourists will come again and then want to enjoy extra and spend money.
As for the virus; It is increasingly clear to many people that Covid-19 was mainly a strong Chinese flu. Unfortunately, the media has sparked this a lot to scare people. Marseille professor Didier Raoult was right: the virus has completely disappeared this summer and will probably never return in this form. And those who have incipient complaints and are tested positive will receive a beneficial mix of hydroxychloroquine with antibiotics and zinc at the Cote d’Azur. A single politician with clown shoes or a Microsoft nerd is still trying to scare you by threatening a second wave. But the only second, and third, and fourth-wave that you will encounter, you will find in the Mediterranean Sea.
In short, life in the South of France may have improved. People view the official news differently and we know what is most important in life: health and each other.