How the Nice Attack is Different from Paris: A Traveler’s Take

I don’t normally talk about world events on my blog and I didn’t write about the Paris terrorist attacks last year that happened only a few months after I visited the city.  There is a part of me that understands why terrorists would target Paris, being the capitol of France, a well-known international icon.  Paris is a huge city central for business and government, as well as tourists.  Paris was a shock and while I agree that the media and public gives more attention to first-world countries who experience terrorist attacks, I also understand why.  Attacks on one developed nation feel like an attack on all developed nations.

Why are they different?

The two terrorist attacks feel so different in my mind because hurting Paris, for so many, is quintessentially hurting France.  Nice is a seaside town that has a much higher ratio of tourists.  Hurting Nice hurts internationally.  I know this has been said about the Paris attacks as well.  But, I have read articles and seen images on the Bastille Day attacks in Nice and it seems that the crowds were families with small children.  The victims were tourists and people enjoying fireworks on a quiet beach riddled with lawn chairs and beach umbrellas.

My memories of Paris were hectic, rushed and similar to many large cities.  Walking through Paris, you were bound to rub shoulders with rude, unruly, and discontent people. When the news broke about those terror attacks, I immediately saw the possibility of terrorists hiding in Paris.  But this was Nice. Nice where you skip rocks on a sunny day by the Promenade, lounge around, then enjoy a meal in a quaint bistro in Vieux Nice.  It’s where friendly people engage you in random conversation. Nice is happy, relaxing, idyllic and seemingly isolated from the troubles of the world. Hurting Nice on Bastille Day only compounds the hurt.

As a traveler, it scares me much more that terror attacks have hit Nice. I can only imagine the horror in the town right now. When traveling to larger cities with a higher impoverished population (like a Marseilles or Paris), there is an expectation of more crime.  I felt safe in Nice. My guess is that police usually deal with unruly tourists or the odd pickpocketing and for this terror to hit the town is unthinkable.

It’s still early to determine motives or parties responsible for this tragic event, but I already feel that this one is different. My thoughts goes out to the families that are affected by this tragedy and France as a nation. I would preach caution to anyone planning travel to anywhere in Europe.

The promenade by the beach in Nice is riddled with tourists and has long been associated with happy memories

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