The great statesman Georges Clemenceau famously fled France to avoid being sent to the Devil’s Island penal system in French Guiana. His crime was defying his governments censorship policies. From the secure city of New York, he wrote his Lettres d’Amerique in the years immediately following the Civil War. The French Revolution had failed, and America had just spilled the blood of 13% of its population in order to defend republican ideals. Clemenceau sought to explain to his fellow citizens the importance of the American fight to the future of civilization.
I have not fled the United States, but I hope to follow in the footsteps of Clemenceau by giving my observations of what is happening here in Europe. I am in school with people from Australia, Germany, Serbia, Nigeria, South Africa, Turkey, and many other nations. The consensus seems to be that, despite the war in Ukraine, Europe is booming.
Nowhere are there any signs of the pandemic. Hotels are overbooked for months. My own hotel was cancelled as I was flying from JFK to Nice. That fiasco is an interesting story by itself. Nonetheless, France is even more crowded than the last time I stayed here. Reservations are necessary in restaurants and difficult to come by. The sidewalks on avenue Jean Medécin, the main shopping street in Nice, are completely overrun by shoppers and diners
I sense that it is forbidden to talk about the pandemic. Instead, it seems that people do not want to go back to normal, but want something that is more than just normal. They are exuberant. Despite the war in Ukraine and the rise in inflation, I suspect that we will see an economic surprise to the upside in Europe. I shall discuss some of my reasons for this belief in my next letter from France.