Evening Update Wednesday 18th January 2023

Tomorrow's the big day of strike disruption in France, with widespread disruption to schools and public transport in the nationwide protest against pension reforms. We're expecting an impact on trains, local buses and trams, but also possibly some flights. On the SNCF, only one in three TGVs is expected to run along the Riviera. Across France, no Intercités services are operating. Locally, there'll be considerable disruption to TER services. The strike is affecting local trains from 7pm tonight until 8am on Friday morning. It’s forecast that just 1 in 10 TER trains will be operating. You can see which trains are running using the online journey planner at ter.sncf.com. In Nice, no trams will be running and several dozen bus lines will also have no service. Street parking in the city will be free on Thursday. The entire Envibus public transport network around Antibes and Sophia-Antipolis will not be running tomorrow. As for planes, the French civil aviation authority has asked airlines to pre-emptively cancel a fifth of their flights into and out of Paris, to ease the pressure on air-traffic controllers. That could well have a knock-on effect on some flights here in Nice. Check with your airline before you travel.

Parts of the Promenade des Anglais in Nice were closed to pedestrians and cyclists today because of the strong sea swell. Pedestrian access to the seafront between Cagnes-sur-Mer and Villeneuve-Loubet was also banned. The Liautaud tunnel in the centre of Nice had to be partially closed due to flooding. The Alpes-Maritimes was placed on a yellow alert due to high sea levels, while the alert for the Var has been lifted.

1,000 pupils were evacuated from their secondary school in Nice this morning due to a suspected gas leak. About 20 firefighters were called out to the Lycée Guillaume-Apollinaire at 9am. Gas technicians were also on the scene this morning to try to locate the leak. 

If you know anyone looking for a job, five-and-a-half thousand of them are currently up for grabs in the Alpes-Maritimes. Local branches of Pôle Emploi are organising a series of jobs fairs and 'job dating' events in the coming weeks. The usual sectors are affected - mainly hotels and catering. But according to Pôle Emploi there's also a good number of vacancies in the tech industry, mostly around Sophia-Antipolis. A digital jobs fair is being organised in Antibes next Thursday.

France's annual census begins tomorrow and runs for a month. Across the Paca region, 277 communes are being counted this year. Towns with more than 10,000 inhabitants take part in a rolling annual census, with a different sample of residents taking part each year. But, in towns and villages with less than 10,000 people, the census applies to everyone - just less often. About 1,600 census officers will be knocking on doors and dropping letters with a link to the online questionnaire, if you're in one of the affected communes. Questions include how many people are in your household, their ages and professions, what commodities your house has, and some questions about your day-to-day life such as how you travel around. To find out if your commune is included this year, and for various questions and answers about how it all works, there's an official website: www.le-recensement-et-moi.fr

French president Emmanuel Macron is due to visit Marseille next month to see the results of a major project to bring improvements to France's second-biggest city. The plan, called Marseille en Grand, was drawn up in 2021 and focused on Marseille's poorer neighbourhoods in the north of the city, including renovations for dilapidated schools and better public transport. Fifteen projects have since been launched, including an extension of the tram network. Marseille's mayor said the French president would make a lengthy visit to the city in the coming weeks.

Nice is experimenting with a new device that aims to prevent bicycles and scooters riding along the tram tracks. A new coating is being applied to the tracks on line 1 this week. The aim is to improve safety and avoid delays to trams.

A secondary school near Saint-Tropez has reignited the discussion about whether schoolchildren should wear a uniform. The lycée in Gassin, in the Var, is considering imposing a standard outfit - and it's put the idea out to consultation among pupils, parents and staff. It's even asked senior students to design the uniform themselves, which if approved, would be made by a local producer. The school's headteacher says he's been considering the idea for a few years - and he says the shared identity could reinforce the school's sense of community, like a football team. If the experiment goes ahead, it would be for one or two days per week.

A dolphin was spotted alongside the yachts moored in Monaco Yacht Club yesterday lunchtime. A similar sighting was reported in Nice on Saturday morning, near Opéra Plage. It's not the first time a dolphin has been found in Monaco - there were repeated sightings around the port last August.

Two burglars caught in the act in Antibes tried to bribe police officers with cash to