French and Riviera News Friday July 9th 2021


Travel warnings - The French government has issued advice on summer travel with a list of countries to avoid because of a resurgence in coronavirus due to the rapid spread of the delta variant. People are advised to avoid travel to the Iberian Peninsula and Catalonia and Portugal in particular where the delta variant is causing great concern. Other countries on the warning list are Tunisia which is very popular with French holidaymakers, South Africa, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia. While travel to the destinations on the list isn’t banned, people are being strongly discouraged to do so.

Cannes 2021 - The legendary Hollywood director Steven Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw are cruising off the Mediterranean coast but it’s not been confirmed that they will pay a visit to the Cannes Film Festival. The director, who’s 74, is the owner of the Seven Seas, one of the world’s most luxurious super yachts which he bought in 2010 for 200 million dollars. The couple enjoyed a discreet dinner at the Hotel du Cap in Antibes earlier this week and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they make an appearance on the red carpet.

There are two competition films today. “La Fracture” or “The Divide” from the French director Catherine Corsini, stars Pio Marmai and Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi as a couple on the verge of a break up who find themselves in a hospital emergency department as a huge demonstration is taking place in Paris. Meanwhile, Paul Verhoeven’s biographical drama “Benedetta” stars Virginie Efira as a novice 17th century nun who joins an Italian convent and starts a love affair with another woman. Charlotte Rampling and Lambert Wilson also feature. Both films are in French with English subtitles.

Cyclists killed - Two cyclists have been killed after being hit by a car on the RD10, route des Arcs at Lorgues in the Var on Thursday. Authorities say that the two, both men aged 64 and 66 were in a group of 8 cyclists when a car coming from the opposite direction hit them head on. Emergency services were unable to save the two victims. The 30-year-old driver car driver has been treated for shock at Draguignan hospital and will be interviewed by police when fit. Both the men killed were local to the area.

Another accident - A 30-year-old woman and her 5-year-old child have had a miraculous escape after the car they were in hit the central reservation of the A8 motorway and turned on its roof. The accident happened near Le Luc on the eastbound carriageway of the road on Thursday afternoon and caused a lengthy traffic jam. Fortunately, the woman who was driving the car and the child managed to free themselves before emergency services arrived at the scene. Both have been taken to hospital with serious but not life threatening injuries.

Abandoned animals - The French animal welfare association SPA says that it fears it will no longer be able to accommodate the increasing number of abandoned pets that urgently need help. The SPA says that animal refuge centres are close to capacity with a particular shortage of places in catteries. At the start of May, there were 8,932 abandoned animals being housed in SPA shelters, an increase of 6 percent on figures from 2019. The figures have since increased by 14 percent and its not just cats and dogs that are being abandoned but all sorts of animals including reptiles. The SPA says that 2021 looks like it will be a record breaking year for animal abandonment and has criticised irresponsible internet sales as well as impetuous, thoughtless purchases. Some 100,000 pets are abandoned every year in France. The government is working on legislation to tighten regulations on animal sales, particularly on the internet.

Forza Italia - Bars and restaurants near the Italian frontier have been doing a roaring trade with the Italy football team progressing to the final of Euro 2020. Fans have been crowding into Menton in particular to watch the matches and wave the Italian flag around a bit (of course). Bars catering for mainly English clientele on the Côte d’Azur and in Monaco have also been doing welcome brisk business after what has been a nightmare 18 months for the hospitality industry. The tills should be ringing off their hinges on Sunday with Italy playing England in the final.

Award - The readers of the French magazine Propriétés Le Figaro have voted Saint-Raphael in the Var as the most attractive seaside town in the country. 22.51 percent said that they would like to buy property in Saint Raphael with Cap-Ferret on the other side of the Bay of Arcachon in second place with 22.22 percent. Le Lavandou was third most popular with 21.35 percent but Saint Tropez was down in 9th place overall.