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Côte-d'Azur cleans up

Against all the odds (see Wrecker waves smack the Côte-d'Azur), five of Nice’s 15 beach bars re-opened for business this weekend. They looked a bit shot-at: borrowed furniture, scarce decking – so tables directly on concrete footings or the sand, kitchens patched up. But, in Churchillian mode (“we shall feed them on the beaches …”), they were open.

This was something of a miracle after the hammering that the Côte-d’Azur took last Tuesday. Then the Med, apparently furious at private beach proprietors, unleashed an angry attack on the coast from Menton to Cannes and beyond.

Initial fears were that the beach bars and restaurants wouldn’t be back in operation in time for the high-summer season, if at all in 2010. That some are indicates that Latins can respond manfully when times are desperate, and their revenues at stake.

Ash cloud

The 10 other establishments reckon they’ll be ready for business in June. The story is similar along the Côte, repair and clean-up operations going full tilt. “We’re working from 7am to 8pm,” said a beach restaurant owner in Cannes … where matters are given further urgency by the imminence of the film festival. Worries are compounded by the re-appearance of the volcanic ash cloud. The fear is that they’ll get the beach - its bars and festival sponsors’ marquees – back in shape and then no-one will be able to come because air travel is off.

And you thought Britain had problems …