French and Riviera News Monday 16th January 2023


British woman dies in avalanche in French Alps - A 45-year-old British woman has died after getting caught in an avalanche while hiking with two other people in the French Alps. The accident occurred on Saturday on the Argentière Glacier, one of Mont Blanc's biggest glaciers. Rescue workers and a doctor were sent by helicopter to rescue the victim but were unable revive her. Police have launched an investigation into the woman's death.

The local public prosecutor's office said the woman and her partner had been Nordic skiing with a high mountain guide and were going up the Col du Tour Noir when the avalanche happened. The office confirmed there was an avalanche warning risk of three on a scale of five in place on Saturday. Mont Blanc, western Europe's highest mountain at 4,810 metres (nearly 16,000 feet), attracts 20,000 hikers and skiers every year.

Warmer temperatures in recent years have melted permanently frozen ground raising the risk of rock falls on the most popular routes. Last August, authorities closed down two popular mountain shelters used by Mont Blanc climbers because of potentially deadly drought-related rockfalls.

Meanwhile, according to a recent study carried out by Italian researchers the Alps have lost 36 days of snow cover, with the average depth of the snow cover decreasing by 8.4% per decade, between 1971 and 2019. The study points to an "urgent need" to “adapt" to help the region cope with the effects of global warming caused by human activities.

Weather warning - Météo France has placed the Alpes-Maritimes on a yellow avalanche alert and 24 other departments, mainly in the west of France, are on an orange alert with the risk of strong winds, snow and ice this Monday.

“Anti-inflation shopping basket”- The French government has announced that it is currently working on an "anti-inflation shopping basket" with around 20 consumer products. According to the minister of Commerce several possibilities are being studied in an attempt to ease the effects of inflation which have returned to levels not seen since the 1980s.  One of the possibilities is to have “a basket of basic necessities of about twenty products, which large retailers would undertake to sell almost at cost price". Should the project see the light of day, the basket will apply to “about twenty references out of 20 to 30,000 in store” therefore not excessively penalizing the margins of distributors. The anti-inflation basket has "nothing to do with the food voucher", which the government has several times tried to put in place before giving up and would be introduced in March.

Petrol voucher - The new "Petrol voucher" of 100 euros is available from today Monday 16th January and can be found on the website. Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne announced at the beginning of December that the fuel rebate would be replaced at the beginning of January by an allowance of 100 euros reserved for the 10 million most modest workers. The aid applies to any type of vehicle, including two-wheelers and the deadline for applications is February 28th.

Electric scooters - Parisians will be invited to vote on whether to allow electric scooter rental services to continue operating in the city as authorities weigh banning the controversial for-hire vehicles. The mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo said Paris residents would be asked "a very simple question" in the referendum planned for April 2nd: "Do we or don't we continue with free-floating rental scooters?". The mayor said she herself was leaning towards a ban but would "respect Parisians' vote". A ban would make Paris an exception among major cities.

Man attacked by two dogs - A man has been seriously injured after being attacked by two dogs in Draguignan in the Var. The incident occurred on the Avenue de la Vaugine, on the old track of the “train des Pignes”. The victim was attacked by two Rottweilers. An investigation has been opened by police.

Small town ordered to remove statue - A French court has ordered a small town to remove a statue of the Virgin Mary, saying the “religious display violates the separation of church and state”. The statue is located at a crossroads in La Flotte, a municipality of 2,800 inhabitants on the popular holiday island Ile-de-Re, off France's Atlantic coast. The statue was erected by a local family after World War II in gratitude for a father and son having returned from the conflict alive.  However, an association has referred to a French law dating back to 1905 which forbids religious monuments in public spaces. Local mayor Jean-Paul Heraudeau called the discussion around the statue "ridiculous" because, he said, it was part of the town's "historical heritage" and should be considered "more of a memorial than a religious statue". La Flotte has six months to remove the statue.

Motorist abandons vehicle on fire to go skiing - A motorist has abandoned his car to go skiing after it caught fire on the road to Isola 2000 ski resort. The incident occurred on Sunday morning and when firefighters arrived at the scene, they found that the vehicle had been abandoned by its owner. Later questioned by police the owner said that “smoke was coming from the car" and “he could no longer brake” adding that he “preferred to leave the vehicle so that he could still enjoy his day on the ski slopes".


In a new staff report the International Monetary Fund has said that “a severe fragmentation of the global economy after decades of increasing economic integration could reduce global economic output by up to 7%, but the losses could reach 8-12% in some countries, if technology is also decoupled”. The IMF said even limited fragmentation could shave 0.2% off of global GDP, but said more work was needed to assess the estimated costs to the international monetary system and the global financial safety net.

Tesla has cut the price of some of its most popular electric cars by thousands of pounds in Europe and the US, in a bid to boost customer demand. The firm faces a difficult global economic outlook and increased competition from other carmakers. The price cuts are in the range of 10% to 13% in the UK but run as high as 20% on some US models.

And - Despite the lack of snow fall accompanied with exceptionally mild temperatures, French ski resorts are “delighted with a good start to the season”, driven by good figures for the Christmas holidays. Over the period from December 17th, 2022 to January 6th, 2023, the occupancy rate rose to 70%. A figure "up 5%" compared to the same period last year.


Football – Arsenal have extended their lead at the top of the Premier League to a formidable eight points with an outstanding performance and win in the north London derby at Tottenham beating them 2-0. In other Premier League matches on Sunday Chelsea won 1-0 to Crystal Palace and Newcastle beat Fulham 1-0.

Rugby Union - Former England boss Eddie Jones has been appointed Australia head coach, replacing the sacked Dave Rennie. Jones, who previously coached the Wallabies from 2001 to 2005, has signed a five-year deal through to 2027. The 62-year-old was dismissed by England in December after seven years in the role. He will start with Australia at the end of January, with his contract covering two World Cups and the British and Irish Lions tour in 2025.

Athletics - A company which looks after Usain Bolt's investments is under investigation after reports he may have lost millions of dollars to fraud. Jamaica's Financial Services Commission (FSC) has placed the firm, Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL), in "enhanced oversight" following the allegations. The 36-year-old retired sprinter had investments with SSL for over a decade. The report alleged millions of dollars were missing from the account.


A return to normal cooler temperatures for this time of year across France this week. Cloudy across our region today with highs of 13 degrees in Nice, Monaco and Saint Tropez. Highs of 9 degrees inland in the Alpes Maritimes and 11 degrees inland in the Var. This evening doing down to 6 degrees along the coast and 1 degree inland and cloudy.

Outlook for tomorrow. Rain forecast across the region. Sunshine on Wednesday highs of 13-15 degrees.

Sunrise       08.00hr

Sunset        17.19hr

And Finally

Today, January 16th, has been dubbed by experts as the 'most depressing day of the year'.  The term Blue Monday was coined by psychologist Dr Cliff Arnall, who worked out a formula to show how the third Monday in January is especially bad.It takes into account factors including the average time for New Year's resolutions to fail, the bad weather, debt, the time since Christmas and motivational levels. 



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