French and Riviera News Friday 22nd March 2024


National News 

Frédéric Mitterrand dies aged 76 - Frédéric Mitterrand, nephew of former French president Francois Mitterrand and former Minister of Culture under Nicolas Sarkozy as well as television personality, actor, screenwriter, writer, producer, and director has died at the age of 76 after battling aggressive cancer for several months. For many in France Frédéric Mitterrand's name alone evokes a multitude of images and episodes intertwined with France's cultural life. Mitterrand surprised the art world when, in 2009, he became culture and communication minister under Nicolas Sarkozy, the worst enemy of the left.

National scale fraud - Four people have been summoned to appear before the criminal court after a massive traffic of fake driving licences was dismantled in the Bouches du Rhone. During the investigation, police discovered a system which "potentially benefited more than 1,000 candidates who paid between 150 and 1,000 euros to obtain the highway code exam without having to take the tests" and involved the managers of an examination centre and a driving school in the Bouches-du-Rhône. The Aix-en-Provence public prosecutor's office announced on Thursday that it had dismantled a fraud "on a national scale" and four people will be judged on April 12th.  During a large search, 19 people were arrested, four of them, suspected of being the organizers and will be summoned before the criminal court for organized gang fraud, money laundering and corruption.

Local News 

Relief for employees at the Galeries Lafayette in Toulon - Employees at the Galeries Lafayette store in Toulon in the Var have expressed their relief after it was announced that safeguard plan by the courts had been validated. The continuity of activity in the 26 stores in France has been established by the courts, including that of Toulon, which is one of the oldest. The decision, made on Thursday March 21st, by the Bordeaux commercial court was in favour of the continuation of activity.

Red alert for pollen - The Alpes-Maritimes and Var have again been placed on a red alert for high levels of cypress pollen. The pollen is particularly allergenic and causes eye and nose irritation as well as difficulty breathing. Allergy sufferers are being advised to take any prescribed medication they have and try to limit their exposure. Winds and mild temperatures have contributed to the problem, with the alert likely to remain in place for several weeks.

Rental bikes Pony back in service - About a quarter of Pony's shared bikes have returned to the streets of Nice, after they were all withdrawn as a safety precaution. Since Wednesday, 200 manual push-bikes and 40 electric models are again available to hire. Hundreds more are still out of use as they are being individually checked. Pony recalled its entire fleet in Nice earlier this month because of concerns about a possible manufacturing defect in the battery.

Transavia launches new link to Riviera - After Air France announced three new summer routes from Nice earlier this week, it's the turn of its low-cost subsidiary Transavia to launch a new link to the Riviera. From mid-July, Transavia will fly twice a week from Hyères-Toulon airport to Algiers, with tickets going on sale next Tuesday. Transavia will also double the frequency of its link from Toulon to Paris Orly from the end of this month - from two flights a week to four. Meanwhile, easyJet has confirmed it will resume flights from Hyères-Toulon to Bordeaux and London Gatwick from mid-April.

Lucky winner - Time is running out for a gambler in Monaco who has yet to come forward and claim their €150,000 prize in the Quinté+. The lucky winner bought their ticket at a newsagents in the Fontvieille shopping centre last Thursday. French gambling organiser PMU says they have until mid-May to claim their prize - €150,235 to be precise.


The US has filed a landmark lawsuit against Apple, accusing the tech giant of monopolising the smartphone market and crushing competition. In the legal action, the justice department alleges the company abused its control of the iPhone app store to "lock in" customers and developers. Apple has vowed to "vigorously" fight the lawsuit and denies the claims.

Shares of the social media site Reddit closed 48% higher on the company's first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange. On Wednesday, Reddit revealed that it had priced its shares at $34 each. By the close of trade on Thursday its shares stood at $50.44, valuing the firm at more than $9bn (£7.1bn). It was one of the biggest ever initial public offerings (IPO) by a social media platform.

And - Elon Musk's brain-chip company Neuralink has shown its first patient moving a cursor on a computer using an implanted device. In a nine-minute livestream on X Noland Arbaugh uses the cursor to play chess online. Mr Arbaugh was paralysed below the shoulders after a diving accident and received the chip implant in January. The company's goal is to connect human brains to computers to help tackle complex neurological conditions.


Football - Wales beat Finland 4-1 in last night’s semi-final of the Euro 2024 play offs and will now face Poland on Tuesday in the play-off finals.

In the Premier League, Leicester City have been charged with allegedly breaking spending rules during their last three seasons in the top flight. Leicester have been referred to an independent commission for breaching profit and sustainability rules (PSR) and failing to submit audited finances. If found guilty the Championship high-flyers could face a points deduction.

And – Arsenal winger 22-year-old Bukayo Saka has withdrawn from the England squad for friendlies against Brazil and Belgium because of injury. England face Brazil at Wembley on Saturday before hosting Belgium at the national stadium on March 26th.

Formula One – After a two-week break following the first two races of the season, Formula 1 is back with a bang this weekend as the 87th edition of the Australian Grand Prix gets underway in Melbourne.  The first of three practice sessions take place today, leading into qualification before the race itself begins at 3 p.m. local time (AEDT) on Sunday, March 24th. It's the first race of the season to take place on a Sunday, after the opening two meetings of the season were both pushed forward to Saturdays in accordance with the holy month of Ramadan.


Fine and sunny with light winds. Highs of 17 degrees in Saint-Tropez, Monaco and Nice. 18 degrees in Mougins and Antibes. This evening going down to 10 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for the weekend remaining fine with highs of 20-21 degrees. A gentle breeze with strong winds expected in the Var.

Sunrise              06.30am

Sunset               06.46pm

Sea temperature

Toulon             14°

Weather elsewhere

London 12° light rain.

Paris   18° sunny intervals.

Cardiff  12° light rain.



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