French and Riviera News Friday 26th August 2022

Local News

Exceptional summer for tourism on the French Riviera - Early figures suggest this summer has been an exceptional one for tourism on the Riviera. An estimated six million tourists will have spent time on the Côte d'Azur between May and September - and the quieter months of the year also look promising, with the figure reaching 10 million for the whole year. The Côte d'Azur regional tourism committee is delighted with this year's figures, which have rebounded back to pre-pandemic levels. Hotel occupancy in recent weeks has been around the 90% mark. The first half of September is also looking positive, with occupancy around 75% for now. It's estimated that almost half of visitors to the Riviera are from abroad, with the British making up the biggest share. Foreign visitors spend, on average, €100 per day during their stay.

No F1 Grand Prix at Le Castellet next year - There's disappointment in the Var after it was announced that there will not be a Formula 1 French grand prix at Le Castellet next year. Formula 1 boss Stefano Domenicali confirmed that the French Grand Prix will not be on the calendar in 2023. The French race returned to the Paul Ricard circuit in 2018 after 10 years of absence. Domenicali said the French grand prix could return in the future - but there were no guarantees. More than 1,000 people have signed a petition on Change.org entitled: "We want a French grand prix in 2023". A flag bearing the same slogan can be found pinned outside the entrance to Le Castellet racetrack, signed by 12 Formula One drivers including Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. According to the race's organisers, the 2022 edition of the French grand prix had been a success, attracting 200,000 people.

Draft law on scooters in Alpes-Maritimes - A draft law by an Alpes-Maritimes senator that aims to place new restrictions on electric scooters has received the support of almost 70 fellow senators. Dominique Estrosi-Sassone wants all electric vehicles capable of exceeding 15 kilometres per hour without pedalling to be registered, in a similar way to cars. This includes scooters, hoverboards, Segways and monowheels. Electrically assisted bicycles are not concerned. Under the current laws, only vehicles that can exceed 25 kilometres per hour require registration. The bill could be presented for debate in parliament early next year. It comes after a sharp rise in reported accidents involving electric scooters - 870 last year, and 22 deaths.

Coronavirus testing increasing in Nice - The city of Nice is stepping up its coronavirus testing campaign as the start of the school year approaches. Since yesterday it's been possible to get tested without an appointment at five mobile units dotted around the city - Costanzo, Gorbella, Cimiez, Saint-Isidore and La Caucade. The test centres are open from 10am to 4pm. You just need to bring proof of ID or your Carte Vitale. The Covid incidence rate in the Alpes-Maritimes currently stands at 215 per 100,000 - but it's widely expected that another wave will come as people return to school and work after the summer break.

Six cases of dengue fever on the Riviera - Meanwhile, six cases of dengue fever have been detected on the Riviera so far this summer- and none of them are linked to people who have travelled to tropical countries. Five cases were confirmed in Fayence, in the Var, and a sixth in the Alpes-Maritimes. Dengue fever isn't transmitted from person to person, but via the tiger mosquito. Symptoms include fever, muscle pain, tiredness and headaches. The Paca regional health agency recommends clearing stagnant water around your property.

8,200 cigarette butts collected from beach in Nice - In other local news, a group of 10 volunteers managed to pick up 8,200 cigarette butts from the beach in Nice in just one hour. The discarded cigarette butts weighed almost two kilos.

Plage Marquet in Cap d’Ail reopened to bathers - The Plage Marquet in Cap d'Ail has reopened to bathers. Swimming had been banned there since Monday while analyses of the bacteria levels in the water were carried out. The decision followed last week's storms, which led to a large amount of sewage spilling into the sea.

Record overnight temperatures in the Var - And new figures from Météo France confirm what we already knew: it's far too warm at night. Le Luc, in the Var, broke the record - with overnight temperatures not falling below 20 degrees celsius for 31 days so far this summer. The previous record on the Côte d'Azur was 27 nights in 2003.

Business

The German government has approved a set of energy-saving measures for the winter which will limit the use of lighting and heating in public buildings. The government aims to reduce gas usage by 2% through the new rules. Germany's economy minister said the rules could save private households, companies and the public sector around €10.8bn over two years. It is part of efforts to reduce the country's dependency on Russian gas. Before Russia invaded Ukraine, Germany got 55% of its gas from Russia but it has reduced this to 35% and vowed to end imports completely. However, it remains a huge market for Moscow and paid almost €9bn for Russian oil and gas in the first two months of the war.

YouTube plans to show adverts that educate people about disinformation techniques, following a successful experiment by Cambridge University. Researchers found the videos improved people's ability to recognise manipulative content. They will be shown in Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland to combat fake news about Ukrainian refugees. Google said the "exciting" findings showed how social media can actively pre-empt the spread of disinformation.

Sport

Basketball - Kobe Bryant's widow has been awarded $16m in damages over leaked graphic photos of the helicopter crash that killed the US basketball star and his daughter in 2020. Vanessa Bryant, 40, said she had panic attacks after learning images taken by Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies and firefighters had been shared. A federal jury now said the county must pay Mrs Bryant for emotional distress. Mrs Bryant's husband Kobe Bryant, 41, daughter Gianna, 13, and six family friends died when their helicopter crashed in California in January 2020.

Football - Arsenal forward Nicolas Pépé has decided to move to OGC Nice on loan before the end of the transfer window. The two clubs have reached a deal to allow the player to spend the year at the Allianz Riviera on loan without an option to buy at the end of the spell, with Nice covering only part of the player’s monthly wages of €650,000. The Ivorian footballer joined the Gunners in 2019 for £72m.

Weather

It should stay fine and sunny on the coast today, but further inland we're due thunderstorms this afternoon. Temperatures around 29 degrees celsius on the coast, up to 33 further inland in the Var with light southerly winds. The storms inland should clear this evening to leave clear skies overnight, still very warm with 23 degrees celsius on the coast tonight, 17 further inland.

The outlook for the weekend: generally fine and sunny, some patchy cloud here and there and the chance of rain further inland, 28 degrees celsius on the coast and 30 inland in the Var. More of the same for Sunday: the chance of thunderstorms inland in the Alpes-Maritimes but otherwise staying dry and sunny with 27 degrees on the coast and 31 inland in the Var. 

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