Evening Update Monday 16th January 2023

A new study suggests that Nice and Cannes are among the French cities where the poorest and richest inhabitants are most likely to live side-by-side. French national statistics body Insee looked at the geographical segregation between poor and rich in 50 cities in mainland France. In the biggest cities, notably Paris, there are clearly defined wealthy neighbourhoods and areas occupied by the less well-off. According to Insee, that segregation has increased over the last 15 years. But the study named Nice and Cannes, as well as Annecy, Bayonne and Lens, as cities where the distinction between rich and poor neighbourhoods was less obvious. In Nice, for example, a home in the prestigious Carré d'Or can set you back €10,000 per square metre, while a few blocks away you're on the Rue d'Angleterre where the property price is half that.

The Alpes-Maritimes remains on a yellow alert from Meteo France due to the risk of avalanches. The forecaster says the likelihood of avalanches on the Riviera's ski resorts is high after recent snowfall. The Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and Hautes-Alpes are also on a yellow vigilance alert. Cold, humid air is expected to bring more snow today and tomorrow, from an altitude of about 500 metres. Up to 20 centimetres of snow is expected in some parts of the Hautes-Alpes. Forecasters say the avalanche risk across the region is likely to remain high until at least next weekend. A 45-year-old British woman died on Saturday in an avalanche on Mont-Blanc.

Another difficult morning on the A8 motorway. A crash involving two cars on the westbound carriageway caused more than an hour of delays near the junction for Nice-West. The accident happened in the height of the morning rush hour.

If you're planning on using the A8 motorway late at night, junction 52, Nice-Saint-Isidore, will be closed from 9pm to 5am every night from today until next Wednesday, 25 January. It's due to repair works. The closure applies to entry and exit slip roads in both directions. Diversions are in place via the RM 6202 and you can join or leave the A8 at Nice Airport/Saint-Augustin instead. Meanwhile, also on the A8 motorway, junction 55 Nice-Est will be closed for the next three nights, Italy-bound, again from 9pm to 5am. You'll need to use Nice-Nord instead.

France's anti-fraud watchdog has carried out spot checks on 15 luxury real estate agencies on the Côte d'Azur to check they’re complying with sanctions on Russian-owned assets. The Directorate General for the Prevention of Fraud, that's the DGCCRF in French, wanted to check that Russian oligarchs are not circumventing the rules which prevent them from selling or renting property assets while sanctions are in place following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The 15 checks were all carried out over the space of just two days, and according to the watchdog, several anomalies were discovered. The DGCCRF says investigations are ongoing and it hasn't ruled out carrying out more searches on the Riviera. The organisation isn't giving out any further information at this stage, to avoid potentially jeopardising any future criminal proceedings.

In other local news, about 100 people demonstrated in Nice on Saturday to protest against the imminent demolition of the Acropolis convention centre. The Citizens' Collective 06 says it does not make sense to destroy such a major venue without offering an alternative. Demolition work on the Acropolis is due to begin in March. The building will make way for an extension of the green promenade along the Paillon valley.

Meanwhile, demolition work on the National Theatre of Nice has now been completed. But there are still 10,000 tonnes of concrete rubble cluttering the site that need to be removed - almost all of which can be recycled.

A convicted burglar nicknamed Spiderman, who scaled tall buildings in Monaco to steal from people's apartments, has had his jail term extended for violence towards prison officers. Dressed entirely in black, wearing a hood and attached to each building by rope, Spiderman carried out a series of daring burglaries, at night, in 2019, including from a 50th floor apartment in the Tour Odeon. He was jailed for three years last summer. He's now appeared in court again and been ordered to serve an extra three months behind bars for three acts of violence, including punching and spitting at prison supervisors.

A group of more than 100 volunteers who normally help clear up litter from the coastline near Marseille have decided to tackle the city centre instead. The Clean My Calanques team picked up 600 kilos of rubbish in just a few hours this weekend - everything from bottles and cans to a discarded toilet seat.

Two rare species of butterfly have been spotted for the first time in the Mercantour national park. The discovery was made in Sospel as part of a programme called Explor'nature, which aims to build up an inventory of local biodiversity.

With less than a month to go until the Nice carnival, work is frantically g