French and Riviera News Friday 12th January 2024


Two people die after helicopter crashes on Riviera coastline - Two people have died in a helicopter crash off the coast of Mandelieu, near Cannes. The crash occurred on Thursday afternoon at around 4pm. The small aircraft, a Robinson R22, took off from Mandelieu airport with two passengers on board and minutes later plunged into the sea, just a few hundred metres from the shore. According to preliminary data, the victims are a 35-year-old female pilot and her student, a 27-year-old man. The investigation continues. 

New government - French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal has announced his new government. Seven men and seven women have been named with the surprise return of Nicolas Sarkozy's former Minister of Justice, Rachida Dati as Culture Minister. Right wing Dati is known for her outspokenness as well as her ambition to become mayor of Paris in 2026.

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin will remain as will justice minister Eric Dupond-Moretti and Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire. Speaking on TFI on Thursday, Attal spoke of his plan for “action” and “results” as the government intends "to find solutions for the problems of the French people” adding that "the government will continue its commitment to lower the taxes of the middle classes". Speaking about becoming the youngest Prime Minister in the history of the Republic, Attal admitted that "he had wondered if he was capable” before saying that "he decided to get involved, because he loves his country and wants to meet the expectations of fellow citizens", citing "the promotion of work, security , our public services, schools, hospitals and the challenge of the environment” and “the fight against global warming”.

“Monaco must be ambitious, but realistic” declares Monaco’s Minister of State - Monaco’s Minister of State Pierre Dartout has declared that the Principality “must remain ambitious, but realistic”. Dartout was speaking during his New Year greetings to the press on Thursday. Dartout described, an international context that is still "difficult and worrying” and from which Monaco is suffering inevitable repercussions however, he added that "the situation in Monaco, in terms of its economy, tourism and security, is much better than elsewhere” due to the solid foundations. The Minister of State however, warned that “Monaco must not remain static and must take on board that things are constantly evolving. Monaco must be able to know how to question itself and be aware of the importance of its attractiveness as well as its inner strength”.

Positive results for Monaco – Meanwhile, the Monaco Tourism and Conventions Department has revealed positive results for the end-of-year holiday period. Hotels posted an average occupancy rate of 50% at Christmas time, well above the usual average for the last month of the year. The New Year period recorded 90% occupancy, exceeding all expectations. Nearly half of the customers who visited hotels or restaurants were French or Italian, surpassing the figures for 2019 and 2022. A significant increase in American attendance was also observed.

Train strike - Trains in our region are being seriously affected by industrial action once again today. Passengers are advised to postpone travel or to check on the SNCF website. Rail traffic according to the SNCF should slowly return to normal by Monday.  Meanwhile, Marseille Saint Charles station was briefly closed on Thursday morning, after abandoned baggage was discovered. The all-clear was given and the station re-opened at about 10.30am.

Var sees first snow fall of 2024 - The Var has seen its first snow fall of 2024. Snow fell on the highest peak in the east of the Var region on Wednesday with many posting pictures of snow-covered trees on social media.


The boss of Ryanair has complained of "minor issues" with new aircraft delivered by Boeing as the US plane manufacturer battles to contain the fallout from its latest safety scare. He said on Thursday that while he remained 100% committed to Boeing for its orders, Ryanair had found instances of poor standards in new planes sent from America. Ryanair is Europe's largest airline by passenger numbers and one of Boeing's largest customers.

Microsoft briefly managed to overtake their rival Apple on Thursday as the world’s most valuable company. As the two battle it out for the title, which measure the value and number of a company’s shares, Microsoft overtook Apple for the first time since 2021 surpassing at numerous moments throughout Thursday’s trading, but Apple reclaimed the top spot by the end of trading.

And – A decision by the Director General of the Paris Mint could be a costly one, after 27 million coins with a new design were made only to not be accepted by the European Commission. The blunder which will see the newly designed 10,20 and 50 cent coins destroyed will reportedly cost between 700,000 and 1.2 million euros.


Football – In the Premier League this evening Burnley are at home to Luton Town. Kick off is at 8.45pm French time. Tomorrow Chelsea play Fulham at lunchtime, kick off is at 1.30pm French time and Newcastle are at home to Manchester City, kick off is at 6.30pm. On Sunday Everton are at home to Aston Villa, kick off is at 3pm French time and Manchester United play Tottenham, kick off is at 5.30pm.

Rugby Union - Andy Farrell has been appointed head coach of the British and Irish Lions for the 2025 tour to Australia. 48 year old Farrell, has led Ireland to a first series win in New Zealand and a Six Nations Grand Slam since taking charge in 2019. Last month he signed a new Ireland contract that runs until 2027. His role with the Lions will start in December 2024.

Cycling – With just over six months before the 2024 Olympic in Paris, Great Britain have won gold in the men's team pursuit for the first time in nine years at the European Championships in the Netherlands. GB edged out world champions Denmark by 1.154 seconds to win in three minutes 45.218 seconds. The British women's team, the reigning world champions, were beaten by Italy in their final and took silver.


Fine and sunny with moderate winds. Highs of 13 degrees in Monaco, 14 degrees in Nice and Cannes. 12 degrees in Saint-Tropez and Toulon. This evening going down to 5 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for the weekend, fine with highs of 14 degrees.

Sunrise                08.02am

Sunset                 05.14pm

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