Evening Update Monday 5th December 2022

Météo France has issued a yellow alert for mountain ranges in the Alpes-Maritimes due to an increased avalanche risk. There was ample snow on the massifs of the Côte d'Azur this weekend - good news for skiers, but forecasters say the avalanche risk is particularly high in the Mercantour. The yellow alert is in place until at least midnight tonight.

The mayor of Nice and France's Jewish Council, the CRIF, have condemned the appearance of Nazi and anti-Semitic graffiti in the city centre over the weekend. The tags were discovered in the Old Town on Saturday morning and were quickly removed by municipal street cleaners. Christian Estrosi said police were working with CCTV images to identify those responsible. The CRIF described the vandalism as "despicable" and thanked the municipal workers for their quick actions.

The Nice metropolitan area has set up a telephone helpline for anyone with questions about the energy crisis and the risk of power cuts this winter. The hotline entered service today and is intended to answer residents' questions, such as how people will be notified about potential power outages and who could be affected. Nice city hall says the risk of power cuts this winter is still hypothetical. The dedicated phone line can be reached by calling 04 97 13 56 00. 

A nationwide amnesty across France has resulted in more than 4,500 weapons being handed in to police in the Alpes-Maritimes and the Var. The week-long operation made it possible for anyone to hand in an inherited, unregistered or found weapon without any questions asked. According to the interior ministry, there are as many as two million undeclared weapons in France. In the Alpes-Maritimes, police collected just over 2,000 firearms and 60,000 rounds of ammunition in just a week. In the Var, 2,500 weapons were recovered.

More details have emerged about the Riviera finale of the Tour de France in 2024. Last week it was announced that the famous cycling race would finish on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, in a break from the usual Champs-Elysées tradition, to alleviate the pressure on police officers in the capital, which is staging the Olympics. Now it's been confirmed that the final day of the Tour de France action will be a time trial between Monaco and Nice, on Sunday 21st July 2024. The last time Monaco hosted a stage of the race was the Grand Départ in 2009. The exact route isn't yet clear, but it won't be a leisurely cycle along the coast - there will be 35 kilometres in total including plenty of climbs.

As train services gradually return to normal across France following strike action last weekend, there are worries that more walkouts could follow around Christmas time. France's transport minister, Clément Beaune, has appealed to SNCF workers' "collective responsibility" to avoid disrupting people's end-of-year holiday travel plans. SNCF management and unions are due to meet again later this week and December could be a hectic month for rail travel. The SNCF employs 10,000 train conductors, whose job is to ensure passengers' safety on board. Without them, trains cannot run.

A chain of French opticians is to offer online consultations in areas where it is difficult to get an appointment with an eye doctor. Alain Afflelou has trialled the scheme in five of its stores and plans to add 25 more locations in the coming months.  Participating shops will be fitted with a consultation room, including equipment to allow doctors to detect issues such as cataracts.

The village of Gassin in the Var has again been named one of the most beautiful in France. With its spectacular views over the Gulf of Saint-Tropez, Gassin is part of a select club of 170 villages around the country to earn the title. Anonymous inspectors tour the length and breadth of France, visiting candidate villages unannounced, before the latest results are announced. Their assessment is based on 30 criteria including urban planning, heritage, architecture and the environment. Gassin has been on the list of most beautiful villages since 1994.

This year’s Telethon ended with a record 78 million euros raised - including more than 330,000 euros in the Var and nearly 390,000 euros in the Alpes-Maritimes. Among the fundraising initiatives was a 30-hour pizza-baking marathon in Menton. A team of a dozen pizza chefs set up an outdoor stall, despite the wind and rain, and sold 264 pizzas to raise money for the charity, raising more than €2,500. They also handed out free pizzas to the local homeless.

A study has claimed to have found the most festive shopping town on the Côte d'Azur. The winner is Cannes, with 8.7 shops selling Christmas gifts per 1,000 inhabitants. That's ahead of Paris on 6.7 and neighbouring Antibes on 5.3. The study, by a Toulouse-based geomarketing start-up, analysed official Insee data for thousands of retail outlets in major cities. It added up the number of shops registered as selling festive goods including food