I have always learnt lessons from history and from Michael Nelson’s The French Riviera A History I have learnt something to share:  Always give back what you borrow.  I quote from the text.

“The French Revolution would not have been complete in Nice without a guillotine, which arrived to meet the needs of the Alpes-Maritimes on 20 November 1793.  The problem was that there was no one to execute.  So Nice lent it at the beginning of December to Grasse, which was then in the Var, which executed thirty citizens.

“They included six priests, ten workmen, four officials, five ‘bourgeois’, one lawyer, one merchant, one spinster and one nun.  Grasse returned it to Nice on 20 January, when they received their own machine.  The Nice workmen initially refused to set up the machine, but eventually it was erected on Place d’Egalité, now the Place du Palais de Justice, but without being used.”

So, really, there was no reason to change the Place d’Egalité to the Place du Decapité.  What remains for me from this story is always to return what you have borrowed.  Just remember to clean it properly, wipe the surface.  It could rust the blade.

© Will van der Walt


Les Semboules, Antibes

April, 2018



Michael Nelson: The French Riviera A History


“Alpes-Maritime” – the county

“Grasse” – the city about 80 kms north-west of Nice

“Var” – the county that Grasse was in


My drawing







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