French and Riviera News Thursday 18th January 2024


Race against time to make the river Seine safe to swim in by the summer - The Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo is under pressure after recent reports claim that the health standards for being able to swim in the river Seine in Paris are still far from being achieved. Hidalgo has made a point on several occasions of promising that she herself, will be swimming in the Seine in July 2024 as part of the Olympic Games which are being held in the French capital. Worse still however, is that French media has reported that during test events for the Olympic Games, athletes were able to dive into the river despite excessive pollution.

To meet the challenge of making it safe to swim in the river seine, the State and the city of Paris are co-piloting a swimming plan estimated at more than 1.4 billion euros. It consists of reducing the influx of wastewater discharged into the river by the activity of the millions of Ile-de-France residents who live nearby.

New Culture minister announces candidacy for mayor of Paris - Meanwhile, the new French Minister of Culture Rachida Dati has announced her candidacy to be Mayor of Paris in 2026. She is currently mayor of the 7th arrondissement of the capital. Under current legislation, the mayor of Paris is not directly elected by the population. Each arrondissement has its own council and mayor. A selection of members from each arrondissement council form the Conseil de Paris which elects the mayor of Paris.

French footballer Benzema, sues French minister - The French footballer Karim Benzema has sued France’s interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, after the minister said he had “notorious” links with the “Muslim Brotherhood”. The legal challenge accused the minister of using the player to score political points. The minister began targeting Benzema, in mid-October, after the former Real Madrid player expressed his solidarity with the people of Gaza on social media. “Our prayers to the people of Gaza, victims once again of unjust bombardments that spare neither women nor children,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

French senator to appear in court after employing his son at the town hall of Marseille – Locally, French senator Stéphane Ravier is to appear before the Marseille criminal court for having hired his son Thomas Ravier as a gardener for the city in 2015, when he himself was mayor of the 13th and 14th arrondissement. It was only last December, that the far-right elected official had already appeared in court convicted by the Lyon criminal court, for public insult after the publication of an insulting message against a lawyer.

New law for British citizens living abroad - A new law has made it possible for British citizens living abroad to register to vote in UK general elections, regardless of how long they’ve been living outside the UK.  With the previous 15-year time limit removed the British Embassy in Paris is calling on British residents living in France to check if they are eligible. The Commission is the independent and impartial organisation that oversees elections in the UK. Those who have previously lived in or been registered to vote in the UK now have the right to vote in UK parliament elections. They can register online at and will need to confirm their personal information every three years.

Woman dies in house fire in Nice - A woman has died in a house fire in Nice on Wednesday evening. The 76-year-old victim was found dead by firefighters who arrived at the scene shortly after 9.30pm. The fire had broken out in a house in the west of the city on Avenue Sainte-Marguerite the cause of the blaze is not yet known.

Man found dead in a street in Vallauris - Meanwhile, a 60-year-old man has been found dead in Vallauris. Emergency services intervened on Wednesday evening at around 7pm on the avenue des veterans d'Afrique du Nord, after a man was reported to have been found unconscious. An investigation has been opened into the cause of death, including a possible suicide.

Case of rabies in the Var - The French Ministry of Agriculture has said that a case of rabies has been detected in a puppy in the Var. The case was confirmed on January 5 by the National Rabies Reference Laboratory in Nancy. The animal, which was illegally imported from Morocco, died thirteen days after it arrived in France. The Ministry said that all people exposed to the animal were contacted by the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Regional Health Agency and taken care of by an anti-rabies centre.

Life expectancy increases in 2023 - In 2023, life expectancy in France increased to 85.7 years for women and 80 years for men. In its report INSEE has highlighted several problematic points in France including the fall in fertility, mentioned by Emmanuel Macron during his press conference, as well as the birth rate. According to the report, compared to 2022, the number of births has decreased by 6.6%. On the other hand, in France, we are living longer. In fact, INSEE indicates that life expectancy continues to increase. It exceeds 80 years for men for the first time, with an increase of more than a year compared to 2013. Men are now seeing their life expectancy increase more than women. In 2023, life expectancy at birth rises to 85.7 years for women and reaches 80 years for men, an increase of 0.6 years for men, and 0.7 years for the women. Consequently, France continues to age. Between 2003 and today, the share of those over 65 has already increased from 16.1 to 21.2%. If the trend continues, there will soon be fewer people under 20 than those over 65.

Pink Ribbon Monaco is pleased to announce the appointment of honorary president, Princess Charlene of Monaco - Princess Charlene of Monaco has become the honorary president of Pink Ribbon Monaco. Active since 2011, to mark breast cancer awareness month in the Principality, the president and founder of the Pink Ribbon Monaco association Natasha Frost-Savio has said that the “commitment of Princess Charlene has added immeasurable strength to our cause and we are honoured to announce the news and benefit from her support as we approach important events. The Princesses commitment reinforces the associations desire to encourage fundamental research and to support our local community”.

The association will be in action this February with the twelfth edition of the Pink Ribbon walk, on February 11th, which provides symbolic support to people affected by breast cancer and also encourages women to carry out preventive screenings. Princess Charlene is already president of the Monaco SPA and vice-president of the Monaco Red Cross.

“Made in Japan in Monaco” - The 4th edition of “Made in Japan in Monaco” is to take place at the Fairmont Monte-Carlo Hotel on the 3rd and 4th of February. The goal as with every year, is to create opportunities to bring Japan and Monaco closer. This year’s edition will be based on the theme of harmonizing the world of traditional Japan and modernity. The event is open to the public for more information to attend please go to / 06 43 91 73 50/ 20 Rue Basse 98000 Monaco.

French lottery player wins the Euromillions - A French lottery player has won the Euromillions taking home the 88 million euros jackpot. The lucky winner got all 6 correct numbers and 2 correct stars on Tuesday evening. More than 21 million tickets had been played throughout Europe and the lucky numbers were 10-18-21-33 and 45 and stars 8 and 12. It’s the 127th Euromillions winner in France since the creation of the game 20 years ago. Only the United Kingdom does better than France with 133 winners. Spain closes the podium with 123 millionaires since 2004.

Cannes - The Cannes Town Hall has announced that it will be distributing tickets to attend various concerts taking place at MIDƐM+24. Invitations are reserved for Cannes residents, high school students and certain students attending establishments or living in Cannes and will be available on a first come, first served basis at the Cannes Town Hall from 9am on Friday 19 January. There are detailed instructions on how to apply which you can find on

Sainte-Devote - The Monaco government has released information about arrangements for the celebration of Sainte Devote, next Friday January 26. Various organizational and security measures will be put in place in terms of vehicle traffic, as well as public access to areas near the ceremonies. The arrangements will affect the port area, including the Quai Albert 1er, Place Sainte Devote and the Quai des Ameriques starting early in the evening. In particular, the pedestrian access to the railway station at Sainte Devote will be closed from 5.30pm and there will be disruptions to bus lines 1, 2 and 6 as well as ZOU line 607 and the line 80 airport bus. More information is available on

Great hike to Paris – Finally, hikers are currently walking through our region as part of the “Great hike to Paris” which has been organised by the French Hiking Federation ahead of the Olympics to make sure the discipline, which is not a competitive sport, doesn’t get forgotten. With 120 days to reach Paris the challenge is open to all walkers in France, bringing together seven routes converging towards the capital, there are 558 stages throughout the country and also the Alpes-Maritimes. In total, the hike will cover, in seven days, 95 kilometers in the Alpes-Maritimes. Having left Nice last Saturday, the happy band must still pass through Roquefort-les-Pins, Mouans-Sartoux, Mandelieu la Napoule and Théoule-sur-Mer before passing on the relay to walkers in the Var this Friday.


Due to a legal battle which continues over a copyright infringement tech giant Apple has once again been banned from selling two smartwatch models in the US. The company was earlier allowed to sell its Series 9 and Ultra 2 watches while proceedings were ongoing, but a US appeals court has since reversed that decis