Eleven o’clock, on the old port of Saint-Raphaël. A dozen passers-by are stopped in the middle of the sidewalk, their eyes riveted on the facade of the Roma restaurant. There, behind barriers, the jaws of a huge backhoe loader are nibbling away at the four red letters of the sign of the unmissable Cours Guilbaud establishment.
For the past few days, the pedestrian area of this key artery of downtown Raphael has been under construction. A redevelopment project that will be carried out throughout the low season, for delivery scheduled for the end of April 2023. Moreover, the vast majority of shops are closed. Some storefronts have even been covered with wooden panels.
This is particularly the case for restaurants that have signed an agreement with the City. They will remain closed for the duration of the works. When they reopen, they will be able to welcome their customers on new standardized terraces.
Some take advantage of this period of inactivity to carry out repairs inside their establishments. Only a real estate agency and a bank remain open. For residents, the paths to building entrances are marked by a yellow barrier. A gymkhana for pedestrians and strollers for which everyone is getting their bearings.
Networks moved and new coating
In a few months, absolutely everything must change in this pedestrian area. The first stage, which consisted of destroying the existing terraces, is almost complete. The earthworks have started. Drinking water and sanitation networks will be moved to improve accessibility in the future.
The coating that covers the floor will be harmonized. No more patchwork of poorly coordinated tiles. It will give way to a natural stone covering whose tones will coordinate with those of the future Promenade des Bains, opposite.
Another element that will be common to the future development of the seaside: the bench that will run like a wave, along the Cours Commandant-Guilbaud. It will be fluid and welcoming for walkers.
It is at the storefronts and terraces operated by the restaurants that the changes will be the most spectacular. In order to harmonize the latter, a standardized pergola will equip the terraces.
“It will be a bioclimatic pergola, explains Laurence Bréus, general manager of technical services at Estérel-Côte d’Azur Agglomeration. With its removable glass and aluminum slats, it will provide shade and coolness in summer, but also retain heat in winter, without the need to heat the terraces. This equipment has been specially designed by a designer. If a charter will ensure a certain uniformity, each business will still be able to display its own identity on its sign.
On the other hand, the space usable by the restaurateurs will be reduced since the terraces will move back one meter compared to what was done until now, in order to leave more room for pedestrians.