Getting Caught in a Terror Attack in France, Episode 116 Special
Steve Stegman and his daughter Sarah were caught in the terror attack in France that happened in Nice on the night of Bastille Day 2016. Steve is a fan of the show and sent in a question about visiting the south of France that I answered on Episode 91. At the time he wanted to know about beach attire in France, recommendations on where to visit, rent a car or not. Then, a couple of days after the Bastille Day attack in Nice I was shocked to get a Facebook message from him indicating that he and his daughter were in Nice watching the fireworks and got caught in the mayhem. Thankfully they were not hurt, but 84 people died on that day, and many more were injured. Steve and Sarah tell us what happened and how they are grateful to the people of Nice who stepped in to assist.
Places Mentioned on this Episode: WizEat Service, Avignon, the Festival d’Avignon, les Baux de Provence, Uzes, Pont du Gard, Nice.
Visiting France? Find the Best Deals & Reviews at TripAdvisor.
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Getting Caught in a Terror Attack in France Show Notes
I wanted to begin the show on a happy note, so I asked Steve and Sarah about their week in France overall. Here are some quick highlights of what they talked about.
- They tried WizEat and enjoyed it very much.
- Avignon: July is a fun time in Avignon because of the Festival d’Avignon.
- Tour in Provence: this tour included a visit to a vineyard, an olive producer, les Baux de Provence, Nîmes, Uzès, Pont du Gard
- Then they took the train to Nice. By luck, Steve changed his hotel reservation to be closer to the old part of Nice (the east end of the city).
- In Nice they enjoyed the city, tried some Socca, went to the beach, enjoyed the new in the ground fountain where kids play. They took the elevator up the hill (look for Ascenseur du Château, it is free).
- The fireworks had drawn 30,000 people and were really nice.
- After the fireworks they joined a crowd of people who were watching a street performer, and as they walked away from that crowd they noticed people running away towards the east (most of the carnage happened where the truck first entered the promenade on the west end of the beach).
- They didn’t know what got people panicked, but they decided to try to go back to their hotel.
- A man who operates a tour company opened the door to his basement office and 30 or 40 people crowded in there.
- They weren’t sure what was happening, but stayed in-doors, in the safety of the basement office for 60 to 90 minutes.
- What was security like on that night in Nice? They saw several soldiers with machine guns and in full gear. They saw several of them before the fireworks, but not after.
- Their hotel was only 3 or 4 blocks away, but they didn’t know if there were still gunmen on the loose so they took the back streets back to their hotel.
- They stayed up all night watching French news.
- They were going to go to Monaco the next day but cancelled it because they were too tired and out of sorts.
- They went to the makeshift memorials along the beach in Nice.
- The people of Nice were very good everywhere helping people out, making sure people had what they needed.
Safety Recommendations from Steve
- Don’t stay too close to places that attract large crowds and big events.
- Keep the hotel map with you just in case.
- Wear good shoes just in case you need to take off running.
- Register with the US State Departments because they will send you updates and reports via email.
- There is risk wherever you go, there is risk back home too. Go to France, be cautious in crowds, especially during celebrations.
- France felt safe overall, but the big gatherings are a little bit scary.
Going forward it is likely that large gatherings will be under more control and surveillance. We will see more police and military force everywhere. French people are not used to that and complain bitterly about the smallest inconvenience, so we are going to have to change our ways.
Make this episode even better! What do you think? Did we leave anything out that you know about? Add your comments here!