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25/06/2009 - par Mark Tungate (tungateinparis@hotmail.com)

I should be writing about Iran and how everyone got the news of the revolution via Twitter. But lots of people have already covered that story, so I'm going to write about somewhere closer to home: Nice.

I was there last week, writing an article for a different magazine to this one and catching some sun. Every morning, I bought Nice Matin to soak up the atmosphere and keep in touch with the local news. I often find myself buying the local newspaper when I travel, even when I can barely understand it. The layout and the photographs alone express something about the character of a place. For instance, the masthead of Nice Matin is blue, like the baie des Anges, and red like the sunburn I got on my back while reading it on the beach.

Worse things could have happened to me. While I was in Nice, the newspaper informed me, a man was struck and killed by a parasol that had taken flight in a sudden gust of wind. Poor guy: the arrow of God, indeed. Still, his relatives might gain some small comfort from the fact that this fait-divers sustained me through several conversations at La Storia restaurant and Les Distilleries idéales, which are now my two favourite addresses in Nice.

I had my laptop and mobile phone with me on the trip, but the local newspaper allowed me to be sociable, well informed and slightly less foreign. The prospects for the written press seem to grow darker every day, but perhaps there's a glimmer of hope on the Côte d'Azur.

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