French and Riviera News Friday 16th February 2024

National News France

Sarkozy to appeal - Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy is to contest a guilty verdict handed to him for illegal campaign funds. Sarkozy has been given a six-month jail term on appeal, after being found guilty of illegal campaign financing for political rallies of his 2012 re-election attempt. The appeals court gave Sarkozy a lower sentence than the original court: a one-year year prison term, half of which was suspended. The six-month prison term can be served through means such as wearing an electronic bracelet, without going to jail. But the sentence will be put on hold as Sarkozy’s lawyer announced this week that he would contest the decision at France’s highest court.

Local

Fatal skiing accident - A 23-year-old woman has died while skiing in Isola 2000. The accident occurred on Wednesday just before lunch time at a crossroads between two ski slopes, one of them a blue slope. The victim who was working at the resort for the season in a ski rental shop and is from Fréjus in the Var, reportedly collided with another 17-year-old skier who was stationary at the time. The young woman was airlifted to hospital where she later died from her injuries. An investigation has been opened and the local police have reminded skiers to always wear a helmet, control speed and be extremely vigilant when on the slopes.

Train strike - The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, says the SNCF should call back retired train conductors to fill in for their striking colleagues this weekend. A controllers' strike began on Thursday evening and runs until 8am on Monday. Estrosi accused unions of sabotaging the half-term holidays and putting the travel plans of millions in jeopardy.

Gassin hospital - The director of Gassin hospital in the Var says he's hopeful that its accident and emergency department will finally be able to reopen 24/7. The Gassin A&E ward has been closed at night for the past five months due to a shortage of emergency doctors. The Force Ouvrière trade union says it's been sounding the alarm about dangerous levels of short-staffing at the hospital for years.

New destinations from Nice International Airport - Transavia airlines has announced two new destinations from Nice international airport this summer with flights to Faro in Portugal and Beirut in Lebanon from just 29 euros. The lines will operate from 18th July on Thursday and Saturday.

New touristic train route - Meanwhile, Trenitalia, Italy’s train service has revealed plans for two new touristic train routes between Italy and France from Turin to Nice/Ventimiglia and also via Breil-sur-Roya. The new service is planned for 2025.

Heavy traffic expected - It looks set to be a busy weekend on the roads in France with the 2nd week of school holidays for zone C, which includes Montpellier, Paris and Toulouse, and the start of the holidays for zone A including, Bordeaux, Clermont-Ferrand, Dijon, Grenoble and Lyon. France’s road authority Bison Futé expects heavy traffic, especially today which is classified as orange and Saturday.

Classic Var – Finally, the Classic Var cycling races gets underway today between Saint-Raphael and Toulon. The brand new one-day race takes participants to a finish at a location bursting with cycling history at the Font Faron.  Mont Faron was part of the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var, Paris-Nice, and for a long time even had its own special climbing time trial.

Business

The Mousquetaires group which runs Intermarché supermarkets in France has withdrawn water bottles from the “Fiée des Lois” and “Premier prix” brands due to “non-compliance with regulations to health risks”. According to the regional health agency in western France the bottles, produced in a factory located in Prahecq, in Deux-Sèvres, are no longer produced or marketed due to the detection of pesticides in the water table used by the company. The supermarket announced in a statement that the bottles were withdrawn from sale on Wednesday February 14th “as a precautionary measure and out of responsibility”.

And – Package holiday firm Jet2 has upgraded its profit forecast for the financial year amid a recent surge in demand for foreign trips. The company said winter bookings were up 17% on the previous year adding that the demand for breaks in the sun came despite ongoing cost of living pressures on households in the UK and that it showed customers "cherish their time away from our rainy island". The company said bookings for the next financial year were encouraging, with summer 2024 package holiday customers also up by 17% so far.

Sport

Football – It’s official French footballer Kylian Mbappe has told Paris St-Germain he intends to leave the club at the end of the season. The 25-year-old's deal with the Ligue 1 champions is scheduled to expire and he has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid.

In the Premier League action this weekend. Tomorrow the lunchtime game will see Brentford play at home to Liverpool. Kick off is at 1.30pm French time. With a 4pm kick off French time; Burnley are at home to Arsenal, Fulham face Aston Villa, Newcastle are at home to Bournemouth, Nottingham Forest play West Ham and Tottenham face Wolves. The last match of the day sees Manchester City at home to Chelsea with a 6.30pm kick off. There are two games on Sunday with Sheffield United at home to Brighton and Luton Town play Manchester United.

Formula One – Red Bull team boss Christian Horner says that allegations of inappropriate and controlling behaviour against him are "a distraction" for his Red Bull team. The Red Bull team boss is the subject of an internal investigation after complaints from a female colleague. Horner has denied the accusations.

Golf - Tiger Woods marked his return to the PGA Tour with a one-over-par 72 at the Genesis Invitational on Thursday. The 15-time major champion, who underwent ankle surgery in April 2023, was playing his first round of an official PGA Tour event since the Masters 10 months ago.

Weather

Cloudy with a chance of some scattered showers inland in the Alpes Maritimes. Clearing as the day goes on with some sunny intervals and a gentle breeze. Highs of 15 degrees in Saint-Tropez and Monaco. 16 degrees in Nice and Marseille. This evening going down to 9 degrees along the coast with clear skies.

The outlook for the weekend. Mainly fine with highs of 15-16 degrees.

Sunrise                07.28am

Sunset                 06.00pm

Sea temperature

Saint-Tropez        14.1 degrees.

Weather elsewhere

Milan                   15 with sunny intervals.

Brussels      13 degrees with light rain.

Amsterdam         12 degrees and light rain.

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