Someone recently told me that Ralph McTell's famous folk song "The Streets of London" was originally written about Paris. Well, all I can say is that neither London nor Paris has got anything on Nice for the number and variety of "street people". The mild climate and the number of nooks and crannies in which to doss has attracted bums and stiffs from all over Europe. One favourite spot for dossers is round the side of the rather magnificent War Memorial garden (pictured), so much so that the place stinks permanently of piss.
Every day as I went from the flat I had rented to the beach, I passed an old bag-lady who had made herself a regular home on a street-corner out of old junk, umbrellas and broken deck-chairs!
All very picturesque and you might be inclined to sympathise, but not if you've paid two or three hundred thousand euros for a flat with a view and what you get is a permanent street encampment outside your front door and visible from your balcony.
On the promenade I passed a lovely public garden with palm trees, flowers and benches but it was NOT available to the public, having been completely taken over by a pair of tramps who had spread themselves and their belongings over all the benches, even hanging their clothes up in the trees as a wardrobe. Once during the week I spent in Nice I witnessed the Police moving them on, but they were back within hours.
It's little wonder we sometimes hear of "police brutality" in dealing with these people. It must be very frustrating for them.