French and Riviera News Monday 23rd December 2019


Weather warning - Météo France has issued a yellow weather alert with strong winds forecast for the Var and the Alpes Maritimes region today. Sunday saw the Alpes Maritimes placed on an orange weather alert with gusts of up to 140km/h recorded in Grasse. 3,500 homes were left without electricity over the weekend and several flights were cancelled at Nice International Airport.  Many Christmas activities were cancelled and the annual Christmas swim in Nice was called off. Corsica has also been badly hit with winds of up to 160km/h hitting the island and destroying several houses. Between 15 and 20 families had to be relocated. The weather warning remains in place for the Alpes Maritimes and the Var.

Meanwhile the death toll from a storm that battered Spain, Portugal and France has risen to eight.

Strike - Holiday travelers across France are scrambling for alternatives as the strike action against the pension reform enters its 19th day today. Transport is expected to be heavily disrupted with only 4 out of 10 regional trains running and it’s also been reported this morning that unions have closed the oil refinery in the Bouches de Rhone with others expected to follow suit later today.

Meanwhile France's national railway company the SNCF has backtracked on plans to cancel a popular service that allows children to travel alone over Christmas. The SNCF said it was cancelling the service, in which children aged between 4 and 14 are accompanied by a monitor, because of strike action. The move sparked outcry, with some 5,000 children expected to be affected. But following a "Christmas truce" from some striking drivers, the SNCF said on Sunday that it was laying on special trains.

French President calls for ‘truce” over Christmas - French President Emmanuel Macron issued an appeal on Saturday for a truce over the holidays but talks between the government and unions have failed to ease. Macron also announced that he is to give up his own generous presidential pension in an attempt to calm anger over politicians’ privileges. Macron, who turned 42 this weekend, made the symbolic move to become the first president in more than 50 years to give up the automatic pension of more than €6,000 a month that all French leaders receive after leaving office, regardless of age or wealth.

False bomb alert was “a bad joke” - In other news, a man in his fifties who caused the evacuation of the Christmas market in Nice on Saturday has admitted that he had made “a bad joke”. The market had to be evacuated following a false bomb alert. The man who was later arrested admitted to suggesting to one of the security guards “that he was going to buy a bomb” as a result the security guard raised the alarm and 3,500 people were evacuated from the site.

Extension of Nice International Airport - An association in Nice has warned that it will take legal action after local officials gave the green light for the extension of Nice International airport. “Citoyen 06” says that if the Prefect signs the building permit; they will not hesitate to take legal action to have it canceled.

The planned extension would increase the annual capacity of the airport by 4 million passengers. The prefect has until February 11th to announce its decision.


French fashion designer dies aged 86 - French fashion designer Emanuel Ungaro has died in Paris aged 86. Ungaro founded his fashion house in the 1960s and described himself as a "sensual obsessive" - with a reputation for bold colours and prints. He retired and sold the brand in 2005. Ungaro was born in Aix-en-Province in the south of France in 1933.

French President - French President Emmanuel Macron has said that “colonialism was a grave mistake” and called for “turning the page” on the past during a visit to Ivory Coast, a former French colony. Macron, speaking in Ivory Coast’s main city Abidjan, said France was still often seen as maintaining a “hegemonic view and the trappings of colonialism”, which he said was “a grave mistake – a fault of the Republic”. “The African continent is a young continent,” he said. “Three-fourths of your country never knew colonialism,” he continued, addressing the Ivoirian audience, and called on African youth to “build a new partnership of friendship with France”.


Asian shares are hovering at near 18 month highs today as volumes weakened ahead of the Christmas holiday period.

Investors appeared to be squaring off their positions taking hefty gains made earlier this month.

Analysts say that global stocks are “basking in the afterglow of the US-China phase one trade deal” as well as continuing signs of stabilisation in the global growth slowdown.

On Friday ,the S&P 500 extended its run of record highs to seven straight sessions, its longest streak in more than two years.

Data published on Friday showed that US growth nudged up in the third quarter and there were signs that the economy maintained its moderate pace of expansion as the year comes to an end.

Consumer spending has been stronger than previously reported  and there have been upgrades to business spending.


President Trump has said that the United States and China will sign their phase 1 trade agreement “very ,very soon”.

Speaking in Florida ,Mr Trump said that “we just achieved a breakthrough on the trade deal and will be signing it very ,very shortly”.

The Phase 1 deal was agreed earlier this month as part of efforts to end the 17 month old tit-for-tat trade war which has been hitting markets and affecting global growth.

Under the deal ,the US would agree to reduce some tariffs on Chinese goods while Beijing has agreed to buy more American farm products.

The US Trade Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said that the deal will be signed in January.


And-A new survey by the UK Institute of Directors has found that business confidence in the economy has hit its highest level in more than three years.

It’s the first time since the spring of 2018 that firms have become optimistic about the economic outlook with a key confidence measure swinging into positive territory and reaching 21 percent in December -up from 18 percent in November.

The IoD says that the boost in confidence comes following the Conservative Party’s emphatic victory in the general election which meant that company directors ,whatever their personal views now had a framework around which they can put plans together to invest ,hire staff and expand.



Football-There were 2 games in the English Premier League on Sunday.Watford beat Manchester United 2-0 and Chelsea were 2-0 winners at Spurs.

The Spurs-Chelsea game was marred by alleged racist behaviour against the Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger who said that he had been the target of offensive chanting from Spurs fans.

The referee stopped the game and messages were broadcast over the public address system warning supporters that racist chanting was interfering with the game.

A number of objects were also thrown in the direction of the Chelsea goalkeeper in the second half.

The Professional Footballers’ Association has called for a government enquiry into racism.

There was one game in the English Championship on Sunday.Sheffield Wednesday beat Bristol City 1-0.

Cricket-Pakistan have beaten Sri Lanka by 263 runs in the second Test in Karachi.

Sri Lanka were bowled out for 212 in their second innings to give Pakistan a 1-0 lead in the series.

Rugby Union-There was one game in the Gallagher Premiership in England on Sunday.Bath were 38-10 winners at London Irish.


Clear skies with strong north westerly winds.

Top temperature 18 degrees.

Overnight lows of 10 degrees on the coast and 8 degrees inland with clear skies and slackening winds.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day-Clear skies with moderate westerly winds and highs of 16-17 degrees.


A recent survey has shown the foods which brits just cant’ resist and chocolate, cheese and garlic bread are among them. 

Roast potatoes, cakes and crisps also make the list along with Christmas classics such as pigs in blankets and mince pies.

Thousands of adults have admitted the number one food which they can’t turn down is a chocolate treat, even if they are full.

Each December, the average Brit will tuck into three Christmas dinners, seven mince pies, 56 pieces of chocolate and various alcoholic drinks.

Brits will put away three pints of lager, four glasses of wine and two pints of cider each week over December.

Around 48 per cent of people can’t resist picking at food when it is in front of them whilst nearly half have to undo their trousers after indulging too much.

Here are the top 10 foods Brits find it hard to resist:

1. Chocolates
2. Crisps
3. Roast potatoes
4. Cheese
5. Pigs in blankets
6. Cake
7. Sweets
8. Nuts
9. Biscuits
10. Chips


















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