French and Riviera News Friday 29th December 2023


Man admits to killing his wife and their four children - A 33-year-old French man has admitted to killing his wife and their four children, saying he heard voices telling him to “cause harm”. French police had arrested the man on Tuesday after the bodies of his wife and their children, aged nine months, four, seven and 10 years old, were found on Christmas Day in their home in the east of Paris region. The man is reported to have a history of psychiatric illness and had been receiving treatment since 2017 for depression and psychotic behaviour.

Man survives flight from Algeria to Paris hidden in aircraft’s landing gear - A man, believed to be in his 20s has survived a flight from Algeria to Paris hidden in the plane’s landing gear. The individual who is in a critical condition in hospital was discovered during technical checks, hidden in the landing gear compartment of a commercial aircraft that flew into Paris from Algeria. He had no ID on him and was taken to hospital in serious condition. Commercial aircraft cruise at 30,000 to 40,000 feet altitude where temperatures typically drop to around -50 degrees Celsius (-58F), and a lack of oxygen makes survival unlikely for anyone travelling in a landing gear compartment.

Fatal day in the Northern Alpes - Two people have died in an avalanche and one person was killed following a fatal fall in the Northern Alpes on Thursday. The avalanche in the Mont-Blanc massif was triggered early in the afternoon, in an off-piste area near the Saint-Gervais-les-Bains ski resort in the Haute-Savoie killing two people. Meanwhile, in Isére a 31-year-old man who went off trail while out hiking, fell 500 metres from a rocky edge. Another hiker who was with him at the time was evacuated to safety.

Oysters from Arcachon Basin temporarily banned from sale - Oysters from the Arcachon Basin have been temporarily banned from sale after "several cases of collective food poisoning”. Authorities say that the symptoms are those of acute gastroenteritis and no serious cases have been reported to date. Traceability investigations are underway, but several reports already indicate that oysters from the Arcachon Basin "are in question".

As of Thursday 28th December, batches of shellfish harvested or fished in these areas must be withdrawn from sale. People who have shellfish from the area are asked not to consume them and to return them to the point of sale. This measure, which will be lifted "as soon as the health quality of the shellfish becomes fully satisfactory again", primarily affects oyster farmers whose production was to grace many tables on Sunday evening for New Year's Eve.

Employees of Habitat denounce lack of transparency - Around thirty employees of Habitat from Antibes, Nice and Monaco have taken to the street in protest at recent events, which have led to the liquidation of the furniture store. Employees denounce a lack of transparency from management and feel a “mixture of astonishment and anger” at the way things have been handled. Employees claim that their November salary was paid in mid-December and that of December was paid at 60% at the start of the month, with the remaining 40% to be given in mid-January and for the time being it is impossible for staff to look for work elsewhere because the 315 employees in France and Monaco have not yet been made redundant. The brand was due to celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2024.

Russian billionaires accuse their lawyer of wrongdoing - Russian billionaires with an estimated 4 billion euros fortune have accused a lawyer in Nice, of stealing millions of euros from them. The father and son who are at the heart of a vast fraud, following an investigation from the French tax authorities have accused their lawyer in Nice of diverting sums intended for the tax authority for his own benefit. The investigation continues.

Safety during New Year celebrations - The Var prefecture has issued temporary orders on the grounds of safety during the New Year celebrations. They cover the use of fireworks by individuals and the retail sale and transportation of fuel. The orders can be consulted on the prefecture's website Similar measures are also in force in the Alpes-Maritimes. Details can be found on

Home and car insurance set to increase - The cost of many types of household and motor insurance in France is set to rise from 1 January 2025. The government published two decrees relating to contributions due to the natural disaster compensation scheme and to the victims' guarantee fund. The first decree provides for the increase in the rates of additional damage insurance premiums financing the natural disaster compensation scheme. The so-called "Cat Nat" contribution rate will increase on January 1, 2025, from 12% to 20% on insurance contracts for damage to residential and professional property, and from 6 to 9% on theft and fire of automobile contracts. In addition, the second decree provides for an increase of 60 cents, from July 1, 2024 in the annual contribution for property insurance contracts, including auto, home and professional contracts, to the Guarantee Fund for victims of acts of terrorism and other offenses.

Population figures from INSEE – Finally, French statistics body INSEE has published the latest data on population numbers. As at January 1st, 2021, just over 67.4 million people lived in France excluding Mayotte, representing an average growth of 0.3% per year since 2015. Between 2015 and 2021, population growth was twice as high in urban areas as in rural areas.


Football - Arsenal missed their chance to go top of the Premier League last night after being beaten 2-0 by West Ham. It was a stunning third successive Premier League victory for West Ham.

In the Premier League tomorrow, Luton Town are at home to Chelsea, Aston Villa play Burnley, Crystal Palace face Brentford, Manchester City are at home to Sheffield United, Wolves play Everton and Nottingham Forest are at home to Manchester United.

And on the last day of 2023, Sunday, Fulham play Arsenal and Tottenham are at home to Bournemouth and on New Year's Day Liverpool are at home to Newcastle United.

Cricket – South Africa won by an innings and 32 runs against India in the first Test match. The second and final Test starts on 3 January in Cape Town.

Rugby Union - Manu Tuilagi is expected to miss the start of England's Six Nations campaign due to a groin injury. England's opening Six Nations match takes place against Italy in Rome on 3 February. They will then face Wales at Twickenham the following week.


According to a ranking of the richest people in the world French businesswoman, writer and L’Oréal heiress Françoise Bettencourt Meyers has become the first woman to amass a $100bn fortune. The French beauty empire founded by her grandfather is on track for its best stock market performance in decades. L'Oréal shares rose to a record high in Paris on Thursday. The firm has seen its sales rebound after the pandemic, when people under lockdown used less makeup. The net worth of 70-year-old Ms Bettencourt Meyers, crossed $100bn on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, making her the 12th richest person in the world. She is still a distance away from French counterpart and founder of the world’s biggest luxury group LVMH Bernard Arnault, who was second on the list with a net worth of $179bn.

However, it has not all been plain sailing for Françoise Bettencourt Meyers who was accused by her mother Liliane Bettencourt of “abuse” back in 2010 and a lawsuit was filed against her in what became a series of very public family disputes. When her mother L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt died at the age of 94 in 2017, she was remembered mainly for one thing: the family, financial and political scandal known as the “Bettencourt Affair”, which saw the family’s dark secrets put under public scrutiny and even embroiled the then French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in what the French press called a “French Watergate”.

Google has agreed to settle a US lawsuit claiming it invaded the privacy of users by tracking them even when they were browsing in "private mode". The class action sought at least $5bn (£3.9bn) from the world's go-to search engine and parent company Alphabet.

And – Airplane maker Boeing is urging airlines to inspect its 737 Max airplanes for a possible loose bolt in the rudder control systems. The Federal Aviation Administration said that the company has called for inspections after an international operator discovered a bolt with a missing nut. An airplane's rudder is used to control the aircraft while in flight.


Sunny with a gentle breeze. Highs of 14 degrees in Nice, Saint-Tropez and Marseille. 13 degrees in Monaco and 15 degrees in Cannes with light winds. This evening going down to 7 degrees in the Alpes Maritimes and 8 degrees in the Var.

The outlook for tomorrow, Saturday sunny intervals and highs of 15 degrees. New Year’s Eve, drizzle and highs of 14 degrees in Nice. Light rain in Saint-Tropez. New Year’s Day sunny intervals highs of 13-14 degrees with a gentle breeze along the coast.

Sunrise 08.03am

Sunset 05.00pm


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