French and Riviera News Friday 25th August 2023

News

Emmanuel Macron evokes shorter school holidays - French President Emmanuel Macron has said that he wants to make French school holidays shorter, sparking a debate among teachers’ unions and parent groups. In an interview with French media Macron marked his return to Paris after three weeks at the presidential summer residence in the Var saying that there were “too many school holidays” in France. He said children who were assessed to be behind with schoolwork should return to classrooms on 20th August for catchup lessons instead of the usual return at the beginning of September and that secondary schoolchildren, who are often allowed to finish in June if they do not have exams, should stay at school for the whole of that month. France has about two weeks’ more school holidays across the year compared with the average in similar countries, although some European countries such as Italy have longer summer breaks.

Heat wave - Meteo France has said that Wednesday August 23rd was the hottest day in France after August 15th since records began. Monday and Tuesday this week had previously set new records. Meteo France are lifting the red warnings currently in place for heat in seventeen departments this morning. Twenty departments will still be on an orange warning for heat, including the Var and the Alpes-Maritimes. Storms are on the way across most of France over the next few days, bringing an end to the heatwave. The storms are expected to arrive in our region on Sunday.

Public transport free in Nice again today – Meanwhile, Public transport in Nice will continue to be free today Friday 25th August. In an attempt to encourage the public to not use their cars, following a level 2 air pollution alert, the local council had made public transport free of charge since Wednesday August 23rd. Despite high winds, thunderstorms expected this weekend Atmosud says that the air quality still remains "poor". Tomorrow, Météo France forecasts wind in the Rhône valley and the Vaucluse, with gusts of up to 40-50 km/h, which should disperse the pollutants. The air quality is expected to improve with the change in weather conditions and a drop in high temperatures.

Swimming ban - Swimming has been banned on a beach in Rayol-Canadel in the Var. Due to a suspicion of water pollution, of unknown origin local authorities have raised the red flag on the small beach of Pramousquier.

Tourism - Bookings at hotels on the Cote d'Azur are comparing favourably to previous years according to new figures from the Regional Tourism Committee. It said that over the whole summer season, the occupancy rate should be 75%, which is up by one per cent compared with the 2019 and 2022 seasons. The peak season occupancy rate on the coast in mid-August was 92%, down slightly from the 95% recorded last year.

Royal visit - It's been announced that King Charles III and Queen Camilla will be visiting France from 20 to 22 September. The royal couple were originally expected to arrive in March after accepting an invitation from President Macron but the trip was postponed because of protests against pension reforms.

Claude Ruiz Picasso dies aged 76 - The youngest son of Spanish artist Pablo Picasso Claude has died in Switzerland aged 76. Claude was a photographer and film director, who also managed his father’s estate from 1989 until July this year, when he handed over responsibility to his younger sister, Paloma. In 2011 he was awarded France’s highest honour, the Legion d’honneur, for his work as an artist and as the court-appointed administrator of his father’s estate.

Busy on the roads this weekend – Finally, French government roads monitor Bison Fute are forecasting another busy weekend on the nation's roads. Today is red in the south-east in the direction of returns and yellow for the rest of the country. Saturday is yellow for departures nationally, red for returns. Sunday is yellow for returns and green for departures.

Business

The owner of OnlyFans - the online platform used by sex workers, musicians, celebrities and more - has been paid $338m (£268.5m) in dividends. The platform says it now hosts more than three million creators, serving almost 240 million users, or "Fans". OnlyFans was founded in 2016 by father and son team Guy and Tim Stokely. They sold the company to Ukrainian-American entrepreneur and porn site owner Mr Radvinsky in 2018. Mr Radvinsky has an estimated net worth of $2.1bn, according to Forbes magazine.

Elon Musk's SpaceX is being sued by the US Department of Justice which alleged that the rocket firm discriminates against refugees and asylum seekers in its hiring practices. The DoJ says SpaceX falsely claimed that it was not allowed to hire non-US citizens. The investigation into SpaceX by the DoJ was prompted after allegations of discrimination from a foreign worker.

And – After six decades of family ownership sandwich chain Subway is set to be bought by a private equity firm.  The company announced it had agreed a deal with US-based firm Roark Capital.  The chain did not reveal the terms of the sale, but Reuters reported it has been valued at more than $9bn (£7.1bn). Subway has grown rapidly in recent years but has faced soaring costs and increased competition. It hailed its takeover as a "major milestone".

Sport

Athletics - Britain's Matthew Hudson-Smith claimed a 400m silver at the World Championships as he finished an agonising 0.09 seconds behind Jamaican champion Antonio Watson. The 28-year-old led until the closing stages but could not hold off Watson, who clocked victory in 44.22 secs.

Formula One - Ferrari's Charles Leclerc says it will be "very, very difficult" to catch Red Bull before the end of the 2025 season, when the current set of Formula 1 regulations will change. Leclerc is one of only two non-Red Bull drivers to set a pole position this year, and Red Bull have won every race. Two-time world champion Max Verstappen is also looking to secure his ninth consecutive race victory for the team. Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton said it was "very possible Charles could be right".

Rugby Union - England wing Anthony Watson has been ruled out of the Rugby World Cup in France with a calf injury. England head coach Steve Borthwick says Watson picked up the injury during last weekend's warm-up defeat by Ireland and will be out for a number of weeks. No replacement has yet been named in the 33-man squad but Jonny May is set to start on the wing against Fiji in Saturday's final warm-up match. England begin their World Cup campaign against Argentina on 9 September.

Football – In the Premier League this evening Chelsea are at home to Luton Town. Kick off is at 9pm French time. Tomorrow in the lunchtime game Bournemouth play Tottenham. With a 4pm kick off French time Arsenal are at home to Fulham, Brentford play Crystal Palace, Everton play Wolves, Manchester United are at home to Nottingham Forest and at 6.30pm Brighton play West Ham. On Sunday Burnley are at home to Aston Villa, Sheffield United play Manchester City and Newcastle are at home to Liverpool.

Weather

Sunny with a gentle breeze. Highs of 29 degrees in Monaco, 30 degrees in Nice and 34 degrees in Vence. An orange heatwave alert remains in place today in the Var and the Alpes Maritimes. 30 degrees in Saint-Tropez with moderate to strong winds. This evening going down to 23 degrees along the coast with clear skies.

The outlook for the weekend. Tomorrow, light showers are forecast in Nice, remaining dry in Saint-Tropez. Sunday thunderstorms expected across the region with a drop in temperatures, with 25 degrees forecast for Nice and Saint-Tropez.

Sunrise       06.45am

Sunset        08.18pm

Beach Weather

Nice – Sea temperature 27 degrees. Air temperature 29 degrees. UV level 8.

Marseille – Sea temperature 26 degrees. Air temperature 30 degrees. UV level 8.  

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