French and Riviera News Friday 23rd December 2022


SNCF try last minute talks to end strike action - In a last-ditch attempt to save what’s left of Christmas and more importantly New Year celebrations the SNCF has proposed "additional measures" to controllers to prevent the strike movement from continuing. Thursday evening saw "additional measures" be presented by management in a meeting which started at 6pm and ended just after 10pm. Following the proposals, the unions have until noon today to decide on a "draft agreement" which proposes "strong additional measures in favour of the recognition of their profession the creation of and the progression of their careers”. The new proposals include the creation of an "ASCT business line" (head of the board), which brings together all the controllers under the same hat. 160 additional jobs should also be created from 2023 and the annual bonus for controllers would also increase from 600 to 720 euros gross.

New bill to control immigration in France - The French government has announced a new bill which it said aims to control immigration and improve integration. According to reports in French media, its provisions include the creation of a one-year temporary residence permit for roles which are suffering from shortages of workers and also a permit for skilled workers in the medical and pharmacy fields. The bill is expected to be debated in parliament early in the new year.

Covid testing ahead of festivities - With the approach of the end-of-year celebrations, the Monaco government is recommending that everyone, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, takes a Covid test in order to protect their loved ones, in particular the most fragile. The government said that the strict application of barrier gestures during this period remains necessary to fight effectively against winter viruses and prevent a new epidemic wave.

5-year-old hit by tram in Nice - A 5-year-old girl has been hit by a tram in Nice. The accident occurred at the Magnan tram stop on rue de France in Nice, shortly after 4.30pm on Thursday afternoon. The child was immediately taken to Lenval hospital suffering from a broken arm. According to reports the child had managed to escape the attention of her parents for just a few seconds when the accident occurred.

Drinking water unfit for consummation in the Peillon valley - The city hall of Peillon has organised the distribution of bottled water after a week of residents being unable to drink the tap water. The alert was given last Friday; that the water from the Peillon in the Peillon valley was unfit for consumption, due to the summer drought. Test are continuing to be carried out by the regional water network and the Regional Health Agency.  

Ban on fireworks - The Alpes-Maritimes prefecture has banned the use of fireworks during the holidays. Two decrees were issued on Thursday prohibiting the sale, possession and use the ban is in place until January 1st, 2023 inclusive.

Tis the season to be jolly! - A recent IFOP study has revealed the behaviour of the French during preparations for the festive holidays. The data shows that for many French people, the end-of-year celebrations are a delicate time which can end in disagreements and tension within couples. 62% of women believe they do more or much more than their spouse as far as preparation for Christmas, while nearly half (46%) of men believe they do about as much as their spouses, less than a third (31%) of them believe that the tasks are fairly distributed. How are the tasks distributed? Results showed that women are 76% mainly responsible for decorating the table, 63% for cooking the main course and 57% for decorating the Christmas tree, men are more likely to carry out tasks such as choosing the wine and champagne (55%), preparing seafood (49%) or carrying the tree to set it up or take it down (46%).

The tasks most fairly distributed among couples at Christmas time were, choosing what to eat (53% of French people say they think about it as much as the other), clearing the table and washing the dishes (66% do the same) and food shopping (47% share them).

The first reason for an argument cited by the French concerns the number or value of gifts given to relatives: 43% of women and 49% of men say that this has already been a reason for tension. Next comes the choice of where the Christmas meal will take place, a source of disagreement for 40% of those questioned, then, in fairly similar proportions, the guest list (39%), the day of the Christmas meal (38 %) or the moment when gifts are exchanged (31%). More than 1 in 5 French people say they are stressed at the idea of the Christmas celebrations.

Scrabble remove offensive words - Finally, Mattel, the American publisher of the game Scrabble, has decided to remove offensive words, often of a racist or homophobic nature. In 2021, a new line had already been added to the Scrabble box manual, specifying that "all words constituting incitement to hatred and discrimination are excluded". The new rules will soon apply to those that play on a competitive level. The 16,000 Scrabble players from 2023, will have to comply to the new edition of Scrabble, based on the list of words authorized by the Fédération Internationale de Scrabble francophone (FISF), which excludes 62 words. The board game celebrates its 75th birthday in 2023 and its success is undeniable. "More than 200,000 boxes are sold per year in France”, Scrabble remains at the top of sales each year, like other classics such as La Bonne Paye, Power 4, Monopoly, Cluedo, or Uno.


Hundreds of thousands of travellers arriving in the UK have been told to expect disruption as passport control workers begin strikes. Border Force staff are the latest UK workers to take action as rises in the cost of living outpace pay. The military and civil servants have been drafted in at six major airports and at Newhaven port. Postal workers will also walk out today, and national rail strikes start again from Christmas Eve. About 1,000 Border Force workers, many of whom check people's passports as they arrive in the UK, will strike from 23 to 26 December, and 28 to 31 December. The Home Office said that it had been working to minimise delays for passengers. Heathrow said passengers on departing flights would be unlikely to be delayed - passports are normally checked on the way into a country. Passengers who are arriving will be able to use passport e-gates as usual. But these cannot be used by all passengers, including children under 12.

Revised figures have shown that the UK economy shrank by more than first thought in the three months to September.  The economy contracted by 0.3%, compared with a previous estimate of 0.2%, as business investment performed worse than first thought. Growth figures for the first half of 2022 have also been revised down. The UK is forecast to fall into recession in the final three months of the year as soaring prices hit growth.

Former FTX boss Sam Bankman-Fried will face home detention while awaiting trial in the US on charges that he defrauded customers and investors of the collapsed cryptocurrency exchange. A US judge said the 30-year-old former billionaire could be released to his parents on a $250m bond. At the hearing, Mr Bankman-Fried did not admit or deny guilt. He has previously distanced himself from the charges, which have shaken the entire crypto industry.


Football - Manchester City have beaten Liverpool 3-2 in the league Cup last night. Meanwhile, the Premier League returns on Boxing Day, Monday 26th December with plenty of action. Brentford play Tottenham in the lunchtime match kick off is at 1.30pm French time. 4pm kick off will see Crystal Palace play Fulham, Everton face Wolverhampton, Leicester play Newcastle, Southampton are at home to Brighton, Aston Villa have a 6.30pm kick off against Liverpool and Arsenal are at home to West Ham 9pm kick off.

Tennis - Dan Evans has beaten Andy Murray as England clinched the Battle of the Brits title with an 8-4 win over Scotland. British number two Evans won 6-4 3-6 10-8 against the three-time Grand Slam champion. Evans' victory put England 5-1 ahead and just one win away from the exhibition title in Aberdeen.

Golf - Players will compete for an overall prize fund of 35m euros (£30.8m) over the 30 events of the Ladies European Tour in 2023. The prize pool has risen from 24.5m euros (£21.6m) in 2022. The tour will take in 21 countries.


Sunny intervals with a moderate breeze. Highs of 16 degrees in Nice, 18 in Cannes and 19 in Draguignan and 21 in Saint Tropez. This evening going down to 9 degrees along the coast and 6 degrees inland, with clear skies.

Outlook for Christmas Eve, sunshine, highs of 16 in Nice and 21 degrees in the Var. Christmas day cloudy patches in the Var. Clear skies in the Alpes Maritimes and Nice with highs of 16-17 degrees.

Sunrise     08.01hr 

Sunset      16.56hr



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