What is a city for you?
Quite a bizarre question, this one. But if you take a second to think about it, and really go beyond the textbook definition of ‘a place where people live and go about their daily activities’ you’ll find that a city can take on an array of different meanings. A city can be a feeling, it can be a memory, it can mean art or splendid sceneries. It can mean peace and quiet or exciting nightlife. But what’s even more amazing is that a city can take on one meaning for someone and a completely different one for someone else.
There are many things to be said about Nice, but I’m not here to present a travel brochure or nitpick at every little detail about the place. I’ll talk about what it means to me, what I feel about it, and hope that through my words you will be able to see it in a different light. You’ll notice details that otherwise would be overlooked forever.
Over the last few years, Nice has become somewhat of a wonderful dream to me. From the minute I step off the plane and inhale the salty smell specific to port cities, I feel like I’m floating on clouds of serenity. I would imagine that would be the definition of ‘a safe space’. My worries are always stopped at the border. They don’t have permission to enter.
So I’m left alone, to relax.
I’ve never enjoyed the sun as much as I enjoy it when I’m there. For some reason, it doesn’t shine as bright anywhere else. This city emanates the kind of energy and creativity of poets and artists from long ago. It’s like it absorbed their very soul and decided to coax anyone who visits to stop, lift their head up and take in the view that became a muse for so many artists.
As you stroll around the old town’s narrow streets and glimpse the pastel colours of the houses, you can’t help but feel like you’ve been transported into one of those fairy books from the past. It’s cheesy, but who cares when it makes you feel so warm?
Walking along the Promenade des Anglais is by far the best thing to do, any time of day. Walking and actually looking around, seeing all the different people going about their day, living their lives, encourages me to go on myself. It’s refreshing, knowing that there are others breathing the same air you’re breathing, seeing the same scenery you’re seeing, listening to the sound of the waves crashing against the stones. If you think about life this way, you’ll never get lonely. And I began to think of life this way only by walking around Nice. That’s when it clicked.
Finally, Nice is my first post in this category and will always hold a special place in my heart because when I’m in this city, I feel like I’m held tight in my father’s arms. I feel like no matter what, I’ll always be protected. Nice is a city he showed me, a place filled with memories of the two of us and over the years, it became a place where we go to comfort each other.
So I ask again, what is a city for you? Because the answer can never be as simple as “a large, populated urban area”.