Postcards from an American in France: People, Places, Art, Food and goings on....
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Beach graded ready to receive rocks, fishermen at 6 am, photo by Mary m Payne
Because of a quite steep nearshore zone in Nice, we lose a lot of our river rocks during the winter and autumn storms. So one of the interesting activities that goes on at this time of year is called "beach widening".
Since 1976, the width of the beach has been documented on the 4.5 kilometer long gravel stretch of beach of Nice.
The results show that "there has been little significant change over the last 30 years despite massive gravel nourishment" ( the supplementing of river rocks to the beach each spring). The city brings in 558,000 cubic meters of "galets" or "cailloux" each year to spread over the beach which is otherwise composed of half sand. In fact, this seems to me the reason we have not lost more beach and has given us our signature stone beaches.
Right now you will see the massive trucks bringing in new smooth rocks from the nearby Var River.
And huge hydraulic shovels are also rebuilding the several rock jetties or "breakwaters" that are built along the beaches and destroyed each storm season.
This year the "breakwaters" are a work of art, built entirely of gigantic stones placed side by side in the way of building a solid wall without cement. This year especially they are as well engineered as table tops. I am impressed and anyone who stops to watch will be. My friend, David Z. told me that each year he spends some time just watching the work. And I know from experience that there is always a small, appreciative audience for these tractor driving geniuses.
Once in a while I am out there on "the Promenade" (affectionately called "the prom" by locals) for a walk at 6h15 and on the day I took my camera there was a fishing competition going on and the trucks were revving their engines getting ready to enhance the beach. In my photos you can see some of the giant boulders that are going to be placed as part of the jetties and you can see the fishermen having breakfast and tending their lines.