French and Riviera News Monday 7th August 2023

News

Tragic accident in the Verdon - A six-year-old child has died and three other people, aged 13, 23 and 60, have been seriously injured after being hit by a falling tree. The town council of Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon in the Alpes de Haute Provence released a statement cancelling all festivities planned in the village following the tragic accident which occurred on a beach near the nautical base. Three helicopters were mobilised and the victims from Toulon, Dunkirk and Orléans, who were on holiday in the region, were taken to hospital.  An investigation has been opened to determine the exact circumstances, as strong gusts of wind have been sweeping the south of France for several days.

Fatal accident at amusement park - A 17-year-old boy has died on a giant swing at the Luna Park amusement park in Cap d'Agde in the Hérault and another teenage girl was seriously injured. An investigation has been opened and according to local media the accident occurred on a giant swing 60 meters high, equipped with an elastic band, "Adrenaline", the park's flagship attraction. Participants are not protected by any glass and wear just a helmet on their head and a harness. In August 2019, there had already been an accident on this attraction when a fifty-year-old suffered a head injury.

Two young people killed in road accident after fleeing police check - An investigation is underway after two young people died in a road accident in Limoges on Saturday evening after fleeing a police road check. According to reports the two who were on a motorcycle at the time collided with another car after fleeing police who wanted to check the driver, following a declaration of a stolen motorcycle the day before. The prosecution has opened two investigations, one for refusal to comply and the other for manslaughter. The two-wheeler was at the time of the collision traveling at more than 100 km / h and had driven through several red lights. The two deaths come just over a month after the death, at the end of June, of Nahel, 17, killed by police fire during a road check in Nanterre. His death had triggered several nights of urban violence in France, with clashes between rioters and police. Two weeks earlier, in Angoulême, a 19-year-old was also killed by the shooting of a policeman during a traffic check.

A&E services under strain - According to health associations, hospitals in France are going through an "an absolutely unprecedented crisis". Lack of staff, the influx of tourist and high temperatures are all contributing to a critical situation. A&E departments are once again faced with many difficulties this summer with doctors trying to avoid the closure of A&E departments by increasing their number of hours. The Saint-Jean polyclinic located in Cagnes-sur-Mer (Alpes-Maritimes) has seen its attendance increase since the beginning of August, with nearly 110 patients admitted each day. Hospitals in the Alpes-Maritimes have also faced an increase in patients due to the high temperatures. To avoid overcrowding in the emergency services, the Minister of Health François Braun last June called on the French to dial 15, a number being gradually transformed into a "care access service", instead of going straight to A&E. But according to Patrick Pelloux, the president of the association of emergency doctors in France, this strategy is not effective.

Swimming event cancelled due to high levels of pollution - A swimming event planned in the River Seine has been cancelled at the last minute due to high levels of pollution. The “Open Water Swimming World Cup” was due to take place on Sunday August 6th, but was aborted because, according to the French Swimming Federation “the water quality in the Seine has remained below acceptable standards for safeguarding swimmers’ health”. The pollution is reportedly due to recent heavy rain which causes overflows of untreated waste into the Seine. The French Capital is spending massively on water-management projects that officials say will make pollution caused by storms less frequent. The Seine is the venue for marathon swimming at the Olympic Games and the swimming leg of the Olympic and Paralympic triathlon. Paris 2024 organisers and the city’s authorities said in a joint statement that “in recent weeks, water quality in the Seine has regularly reached the levels required for competitions to be held on the dedicated site, demonstrating the significant progress made”.

Tourist train in Nice overturns - One of the carriages of the Nice tourist train overturned at the weekend while it was turning round at the Promenade des Anglais. The incident occurred at around 2:30pm on Saturday injuring eight people, three of whom had to be taken to hospital.

High risk of forest fires - Nineteen forests area in the Bouches-du-Rhone remain closed today due to the high fire risk which is still in place in the region and was issued on Friday.  The "very high" risk means that "weather conditions such as strong winds and very dry vegetation make the risk of a fire and its ability to spread quickly in wooded areas much higher than normal.

At the weekend a fire broke out on Saturday afternoon in Rognac, covering 22 hectares in an area affected by strong gusts of wind. Significant air and ground resources were deployed, including 320 firefighters. The fire was brought under control, but the area remained under surveillance overnight from Sunday to Monday.

Rise in temperatures - According to forecasters a "rise in temperatures" is expected in the North of France and a "peak of heat" has been announced in the South for the middle of this week. After a week of cooler temperatures, the hot weather is expected to return to the south of France between Tuesday and Thursday, with highs of around 38°C. The reason is due to a mass of hot air coming from Portugal and Spain. Temperatures are expected to rise from Tuesday and Wednesday, especially in the South-West then in the Rhône valley and the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region and as far as Var. 30°C is forecast on Tuesday and 35°C on Wednesday. However, the heat wave is not expected to last with thunderstorms forecast across the country from Thursday.

French President enjoying holiday in the region - French President Emmanuel Macron has been enjoying the region and was spotted having an ice cream in Le Lavandou with family and friends last Thursday, which was followed by diner on Saturday at La Cabasse, a restaurant in Cabasson, in Bormes-les-Mimosas located very close to Fort Brégançon, where the couple are currently on vacation.

Business

Virgin Atlantic pilots have indicated they would consider going on strike following "serious concerns" about fatigue and their wellbeing. According to reports there is an issue with scheduling and rostering arrangements that were put in place during Covid which will come to an end in December. Virgin said it was willing to enter into talks in the coming weeks.

Mark Zuckerberg has said he is "not holding his breath" over a proposed cage fight with rival Elon Musk. In a post on the new social media app Threads, Zuckerberg the owner of Meta said he had proposed 26 August for the showdown. Responding to a post on X in which Musk claimed he was training "throughout the day", Zuckerberg wrote: "I'm ready today... but he hasn't confirmed." The two became direct competitors in July with the launch of Threads.

The Barbie film has hit the billion-dollar mark just 17 days after it was released. The movie will finish the weekend with $1.03bn (£808m) in ticket sales at the global box office. It means Greta Gerwig has become the first woman to reach the milestone as a solo director. Warner Bros described it as a "watershed moment".

Sport

Football - Arsenal beat Manchester City on penalties to win the Community Shield on Sunday.

In the Women’s World Cup England face Nigeria and Australia play Denmark.

And - Kylian Mbappe will not train with the Paris St-Germain first-team squad when they step up preparations today for the start of the Ligue 1 season. Mbappe has been in a contract stand-off with PSG amid a desire to join Real Madrid. The club's all-time leading goalscorer is refusing to sign a year's extension to his contract which ends next summer. PSG therefore want to sell the France forward now and secure a transfer fee rather than let him go for nothing.

Tennis - Dan Evans is through to his first ATP 500 final after a straight-set victory over Grigor Dimitrov in Washington DC. He becomes the the first British player to reach the final in Washington since Andy Murray in 2006. The 33-year-old will hope to claim a second career title to add to the ATP 250 title he won in Melbourne in 2021.

Cycling - Great Britain claimed five Para-cycling gold medals in the evening track session on day four of the UCI Cycling World Championships in Glasgow.

Weather

Sunny with a moderate breeze. Highs of 27 degrees in Monaco, Nice and Cannes. Highs of 26 degrees in Vence and Saint-Tropez. Moderate to strong winds in the Var. 29 degrees in Toulon. This evening going down to 19 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for tomorrow and Wednesday. Highs of 27-28 degrees in the Alpes Maritimes. 31-33 degrees in the Var. Clear skies and moderate winds.

Sunrise       06.25am

Sunset        08.46pm

Beach weather

Nice – Sea temperature 24 degrees. Air temperature 26. UV level 9.

Saint-Tropez - Sea temperature 22 degrees. Air temperature 29      UV level 9.

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