French and Riviera News Thursday 18th August 2022

Local News

Hotel and restaurant staff in September - The hotel and restaurant industry on the Riviera is worried about a severe lack of available staff come September. The coronavirus shutdown discouraged many people from pursuing seasonal work in the catering industry - preferring instead to find more stable work in another sector. Many summer posts have been filled by students - and there are concerns that there will be a shortage of workers once they return to university. Some restaurants are planning to close their outdoor terraces early in the autumn to reduce capacity, or close for one day a week. Nationally, it's estimated that 200,000 jobs in catering are unfilled.

Young man detained for drink-driving - A young driver in Nice with 17 road offences already to his name has been detained again for drink-driving. The 27-year-old was stopped during a roadside police check and found to be three times over the drink-drive limit. He's in pre-trial detention and is due in court in mid-September.

Broken down train in Toulon - A broken down train in Toulon caused major disruption to rail services yesterday morning between Nice and Marseille. About 20 TER services and several long-distance TGVs were affected. Buses had to replace trains between Hyères and Toulon. Three TGVs on the Paris-Nice line were severely delayed - some by up to two hours. Matters were made worse when an SNCF conductor was assaulted on-board a train, and police had to be called out. It took most of the morning for trains to return to normal, as the line is congested at the best of times, with high-speed trains and stopping services all having to share the same track.

Estrosi concerned about government reform - The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, has expressed concern about a government reform that would make it easier for so-called "dark stores" to operate legally. Dark stores are generally large warehouses in city centres where grocery products are stored for online delivery by the likes of Deliveroo. There are two in Nice - and locals often complain about noise and the regular comings and goings of delivery bikes at all hours. A draft ministerial decree aims to create a clear legal framework for dark stores. Christian Estrosi has written to the French minister in charge of urban planning. He says mayors have not been consulted about the reform - and he wants individual mayors to have the final say on whether they should be allowed. He said dark stores undermined regular supermarkets and convenience stores and made city centres less attractive.

Air conditioning - Despite soaring energy costs, a large number of shops on the Riviera are running air conditioning while keeping their doors open. Paris and Lyon recently banned the practice - and in the capital the first fines for keeping air-conditioned shop doors open have just been handed out. Traders argue that casual browsers are more likely to step inside a store and spend money if the doors are open.

Grande Braderie - Shops and restaurants in Antibes are organising a three-day-long campaign with discounts for customers, starting today. The Grande Braderie will see retailers put cut-price racks of goods outside their stores, with discounts of up to 70% on some products to clear stock before the end of the season. This year, for the first time, restaurants are also taking part, with special promotions and discounts on some dishes. Juan-les-Pins will organise a similar event at the end of September.

Agressive fish - Several beachgoers on the Côte d'Azur have reported being bitten in the leg by particularly aggressive fish while swimming or paddling. The culprit is the ballista, or triggerfish - a roughly 30 centimetre long temperamental fish well known to fishermen, with strong incisors that it typically uses to break into the shells of sea urchins and crabs. When it's hungry or trying to defend its territory, especially during breeding season, it can be known to attack humans.

Liberation of Bormes-les-Mimosas - A ceremony commemorating the liberation of Bormes-les-Mimosas in the Var, with French president Emmanuel Macron in attendance, has been postponed due to the bad weather. Macron was due to lead the ceremony this evening. Because of the rain and storms, it'll now take place on Friday evening instead. The French president is currently on holiday nearby, at Fort Brégancon.

Annual harvest in Bellet - Winemakers in the vineyards of Bellet, above Nice, have begun their annual harvest - two weeks ahead of the usual schedule. Due to a lack of rain and high temperatures, the grapes ripened much faster this year. Usually the grape-picking begins in early September. In the 1980s, the harvest was more like late September or early October. Bellet has eight vineyards that can use the protected AOC brand.

Rosé wine - Meanwhile, the French have remained the number one rosé wine drinkers in the world. An annual study by the World Ros&ea