Evening Update Monday 23rd January 2023

18 young migrants, many of them unaccompanied minors, have received medical care after spending several days detained by border police in makeshift accommodation near the Franco-Italian border. The young people, aged between 16 and 25, were reportedly being held in a 25-square-metre room at a building belonging to the French border force in Menton. Paramedics were called out earlier this morning and have carried out checks on their health. An investigation is under way to find out where they are from, and why they were being kept in such conditions. The 18 migrants were being kept in a prefab building near Saint-Louis border post, as migrant reception centres in the area are saturated.
Border police say they're seeing unprecedented numbers of migrants crossing into the French Riviera after arriving on Italian shores in recent weeks. Most of them take the road from Ventimiglia to Menton.

A 22-year-old man has been shot dead on a housing estate in Marseille - in the city's second murder in less than a week. The man received a single bullet to the head and paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene in the early hours of this morning. The killing happened in Marseille's third arrondissement, one of the poorest areas in the city, with a history of drugs-related violence. Last Wednesday, a 45-year-old man was shot dead in the 15th arrondissement, another area known for drug trafficking problems. Last year, the Marseille prosecutor's office investigated 32 suspected gang-related murders in the Bouches-du-Rhône, including 28 in Marseille alone.

Firefighters in Nice have had a busy weekend. On Sunday at lunchtime, 30 firefighters were called out to a fire at a bakery on Avenue Borriglione, in the Libération district of Nice. Tram services on line 1 had to be briefly stopped and one person was treated for injuries. On Saturday, firefighters put out several shrub fires at the Parc Phénix. None of the venue's visitors, or animals, was injured. And about a dozen people were evacuated from their homes in the early hours of Sunday morning when a fire broke out in an apartment block on Avenue Henri-Dunant in the north of Nice. A first-floor apartment was completely destroyed. Two people were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

The cost of driving along the A8 motorway through Nice will be frozen this year - while elsewhere on the motorway network, tolls are set to rise on 1st February. Vinci Autoroutes has promised not to increase the fee for cars and motorbikes at the Nice-Saint-Isidore tolls. It’ll remain €1.50 each way. Local MP Eric Ciotti wrote to the motorway operator earlier this month asking for the price freeze, as a gesture for people struggling with the rising cost of living. Many Nice residents use the A8 for short journeys, to get from one side of the city to the other. Ciotti believes it's unfair that locals should have to pay a toll to do so, while drivers in Paris, for example, can use the city's ring road free of charge.

Nice Airport has bounced back after two terrible years for international travel due to the pandemic. New figures show Nice Côte d'Azur airport welcomed 12 million passengers last year. That's double the number achieved in 2021. After running at a reduced capacity during the coronavirus shutdowns, Terminal 1 at the airport reopened last March. Passenger numbers are still slightly down on the pre-pandemic figures seen in 2019. But there's optimism for this coming summer, with new routes - including to Atlanta, Georgia - and a new low-cost connection to London Gatwick. There will also be increased capacity on the flight from Nice to Dubai, which from June will use Airbus A380s, the largest passenger aircraft in the world, capable of carrying 500 people. Airport management say one of their goals this year is to "de-seasonalise" air traffic. That means spreading passenger numbers as broadly as possible over the whole year, to avoid big spikes in traffic and keep the quiet winter season as short as possible.

Monaco residents will head to the polls in mid-March to elect their mayor. Georges Marsan, who's been in the role since 2003, has confirmed he'll be a candidate again. He's seeking re-election for what would be a sixth term in office. Marsan has been a member of Monaco's municipal council since 1993.

He doesn't drink - but former French president Nicolas Sarkozy is about to buy a vineyard in the Var as a business investment, in partnership with his wife, singer Carla Bruni. According to a trade newspaper specialising in the French wine industry, the former presidential couple are close to signing a deal to acquire the Domaine de Cantarelle, in partnership with several Saint-Tropez business moguls specialising in leisure and luxury. It's the largest wine estate in the Côteaux Varois protected appellation, not far from Saint-Maximin. This won't be Nicolas Sarkozy's first vineyard acquisition. He bought the 200-hectare Château Estoublon in the Bouches-du-Rhône last year.

In local sport, France's Sebastien Ogier won the Monte Carlo rally for a record ninth time on Sunday, breaking the tie with fellow Frenchman Sebastien Loeb. The eight-time world champion powered his Toyota