French and Riviera News Thursday 18th April 2019


Donations for Notre Dame - News that wealthy French families have pledged enormous donations to rebuild Paris’s damaged Notre-Dame cathedral, has led to criticism from some. Less than two days after the fire which damaged the roof and spire of the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, donations for rebuilding efforts had reached 880 million euros. Of that amount 500 million was pledged by three of France’s wealthiest families, all owners or main shareholders of the world’s largest luxury goods and cosmetics companies making themselves eligible for tax breaks that would mean hundreds of millions of euros in lost revenue for French public services.

Some politicians said wealthy donors would do better to protect France’s heritage by paying their taxes, in reference to huge tax breaks available on the donations. The mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi, defended the donors saying “The big donors are heads of industry, heads of companies and creators of thousands of jobs in our country.”

In response, in a statement issued by the Pinault family’s holding company Artemis on Wednesday they announced that it would renounce the 60 percent tax break on its 100 million euro donation adding that the Pinault family believed “there was no question of shifting the burden to French taxpayers.” It was not immediately clear if other donors would follow their example.

Meanwhile France has announced that it will launch an international architectural competition to redesign the roofline of Notre Dame Cathedral. French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said the competition would give the 850-year-old building “a spire suited to the techniques and challenges of our time”.

And Victor Hugo’s 19th-century classic Notre-Dame de Paris has soared to the top of France’s online bestseller list after the fire. By Wednesday morning, different editions of the 1831 novel occupied the first, third, fifth, seventh and eighth slots in Amazon France’s bestseller list, with a history of the gothic architectural masterpiece taking sixth place.

The book is better known in English as The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the title given to its 1833 English translation.

Bus catches fire in Nice - A Ligne d'Azur bus has caught fire in the centre of Nice on Blvd Dubouchage. The area was cordoned off as firefighters intervened on Wednesday evening. A large cloud of black smoke was visible no injuries were reported.

Treatment for head lice - Considered a nightmare for many parents, every year at the start of the school year, school children fall victim to head lice. However, a new treatment from the US has now been made available in France including in Marseille, Nice and Toulon. “L’instipoux” is a special center which specializes in treating and eradicating head lice. With numerous products on the market head lice have become over the years more and more resistant. The centers offer a child friendly environment making the task of removing the lice easier a procedure which for many parents at home can be a challenge.    

Valbonne rated best place to live on the Côte d’Azur - The town of Valbonne in the Alpes Maritimes has come top of list in a survey of best places to live on the Côte d’Azur. Despite not being by the sea, Valbonne boasts a number of parks and woodland, has two high schools which rank in the top 20 for the Alpes Maritimes and a low crime rate.

Cannes Film Festival - It’s been confirmed that French actor Alain Delon is to receive a tribute to his long career at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. A Palme d'Or of Honor will be awarded to Delon during the 72nd Cannes Film Festival the news was announced by the organisers on Wednesday. In recent years, the Palmes d'honneur have honored Jeanne Moreau, Woody Allen, Bernardo Bertolucci, Jane Fonda, Clint Eastwood, Jean-Paul Belmondo and Agnès Varda amongst others.


Climate change - The Bank of England’s governor Mark Carney and France's François Villeroy de Galhau have set out the financial risks of climate change. The heads of two major central banks have written a stark warning about the dangers to the global economy in an open letter in which they stated that "If some companies and industries fail to adjust to this new world, they will fail to exist”. The letter was co-signed by the chair of the climate-focused Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS).

Additive to be removed - The French government has decided to ban "as a precaution" foods and products containing titanium dioxide (TiO2, an additive known as E171). The announcement was made on Wednesday and will come into effect as of January 1st 2020.  In a joint statement by the ministry of Ecology and Economy it was stated that the "no acceptable daily intake could be established for this additive, due to lack of data". E171 is present in many products, such as confectionery, toothpaste, cosmetics and some medication.


Indian airline Jet Airways has temporarily suspended all its domestic and international flights after failing to find fresh funding. The airline said its last flight would operate on Wednesday as it was not able to pay for fuel and other critical services. It has $1.2bn (£900m) debt and has been in talks with lenders for weeks.

Pinterest, the online scrapbook company, has priced its shares at the top end of its range as it becomes the latest "unicorn" to make its stock market debut. Pinterest is yet to make a profit and admitted in its flotation documents that it may never report income. It is expected to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.

And - Wall Street could soon welcome its first-ever female chief executive after JP Morgan announced that finance boss Marianne Lake will take over running its consumer lending business. The promotion means that Ms Lake could be a potential successor to chief executive Jamie Dimon.


Football - Tottenham overcame Manchester City in a classic encounter to reach the last four of the Champions League for the first time and Liverpool swept aside Porto with a thumping 6-1 aggregate victory to set up a Champions League semi-final tie with Spanish champions Barcelona.

Cricket - England have not picked uncapped pace bowler Jofra Archer in a preliminary 15-man World Cup squad but have named him in one-day squads for games against Pakistan and Ireland. Barbados-born Archer, 24, qualified to play for England in March after a change in residency rules. He could still make the World Cup if he impresses in the pre-tournament matches as changes can be made up to 23 May.

England play Ireland on 3rd May before a five-match series against Pakistan.

Boxing – Jarrell Miller has been denied a licence to fight Anthony Joshua in New York on 1st June after an "adverse finding" in a drug-testing sample. Briton Joshua, 29, was due to defend his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles against undefeated American Miller, who has never fought for a world title. A sample taken from Miller on 20 March prompted the decision by the New York State Athletic Commission. Miller's camp have now requested a B sample be tested. If that sample comes back negative then Miller can make another application for a licence.

Tennis - Britain's Dan Evans has earned a place in the main draw at next month's French Open at Roland Garros. He will be joined by compatriots Kyle Edmund and Cameron Norrie in the draw for the men's singles. It is the first time in two years that Evans has made the main draw by ranking. He returned from a one-year ban for taking cocaine 12 months ago.


Clear skies across the region highs of 19 degrees in Menton, Nice and Antibes and 20 degrees in Saint Maxime and Saint Tropez. A moderate south easterly wind with possible gust of upto 60km an hour in the Var. This evening going down to 13 degrees across the region with clear skies.

The outlook for Friday and  Easter weekend highs of 22 degrees, becoming increasingly cloudy by Friday afternoon in the Var with scattered showers expected inland in the Alpes Maritimes by Saturday and cloudy patches along the coast but remaining mostly dry. Sunday mainly fine with showers forecast for Monday.  


Britain's first ever pet rabbit has been found at a Roman palace experts say, finally ending a debate over who introduced them to the country.

The discovery suggests that the animals arrived 1,000 years earlier than previously thought.

Rabbits are native to Spain and France and it had been thought they were introduced to Britain by the Normans in the 11th Century.

Radiocarbon dating of a bone unearthed at Fishbourne Roman Palace in West Sussex, shows the rabbit was alive in 1AD.



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