French and Riviera News Thursday 26th January 2023


Water consumption to be slashed in France under “daily sobriety plan” - France has announced what it calls a “daily sobriety plan” to slash water consumption following a severe drought last summer. The measure was presented by the Ecological Transition Minister on Wednesday Christophe Béchu. The minister spoke of measuring water in “Eco watts’ and overhauling France’s water treatment system adding that the average consumption of 150 litres of water per person per day was not sustainable.

With the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicting a 10 to 40 percent drop in river levels by 2050, Béchu concluded that “nature leaves us no choice" but to act. In 2022 "almost all French departments were affected by restrictions, and 700 municipalities experienced difficulties in drinking water supply”.

New online declaration for homeowners - Homeowners in France will have to complete a new online declaration in 2023 following a “new reporting obligation” introduced by the French government. 34 million homeowners are concerned and have until June the 30th to complete the new declaration.  All you have to do is go to the website and click on the "Manage my real estate" section. You must then indicate in what capacity you occupy your accommodation(s). If a property is not occupied, the identity of the occupants and the period of occupation must be indicated (situation as of January 1, 2023).

Necessary to wave for the train to stop in some stations of southwestern France - We may be used to hailing a taxi or waving for the bus but, now in southwestern France train passengers will be required to wave for the train to stop. Since the beginning of January, the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region has been testing a new formula in the regions train stations of Jassoneix, Pérols-sur-Vézère and Montaignac-sur-Doustre, in Corrèze. The trains which do not reach high speeds, can stop at the request of passengers on the platform by them raising their arm and can similarly let people off by going to see the driver.

Meanwhile the SNCF has put on sale tickets for the May bank holidays and the spring break. For more information go to the SNCF website. The sale comes after January saw the average price of a train ticket in France increase by 5%.

Training exercise - Officers from the Toulon naval base have been carrying out a training exercise on the beach in Saint-Raphael on Wednesday. The French navy conducted the exercise which was aimed at evacuating civilians after a disaster on the Dramont beach in Saint-Raphaël. The soldiers of the foreign legion also took part in the life-size exercise

Mayor removes posters for the circus - The mayor of Six-Fours in the Var has ordered the removal of posters promoting the Zavatta circus which had been displayed throughout the city. Controversy around the animal circus has been brewing since last week. However unable to force the circus to leave the mayor had all the posters removed which were “illegally displayed”.

Measure to ease pressure at Frejus hospital - Management at Fréjus hospital have come up with a range of measures to try to ease the pressure on its over-stretched accident and emergency department. Staff at the Frejus A&E have been overwhelmed with work since early January, with long waiting times for patients and a severe shortage of beds. Several other departments in the hospital will be rearranged to free up several dozen extra beds, while a child psychiatric unit will be moved elsewhere to recover another 15 beds. Hospital management also plan to recruit four extra nurses and three emergency care assistants. The director of the Paca regional health authority is due to visit the hospital in early February to discuss the problems.

Special powers scam - A self-proclaimed psychic and witch doctor who manipulated his victims into paying him €400,000 has been jailed for six years. The 65-year-old claimed to have special powers. Police in Nice identified 12 victims, many of them vulnerable and elderly, although it's possible that others were conned by the man and haven't come forward. One victim believed that the psychic could cure her daughter's cancer - and he threatened her with bad luck if she didn't pay up €10,000. One man, in his 80s, was talked into parting with almost €300,000. Another paid more than €7,000 to try to save his marriage. Defence lawyers had pleaded for a lenient sentence due to ill health, as their client has diabetes, kidney problems and difficulty walking - but this wasn't accepted.

Lock of Napoleon’s hair eventually finds a buyer - An auction house in Monaco has sold a lock of Napoleon's hair for €5,200. The framed piece of the emperor's hair, which was cut after his death so that an imprint of his face could be made, had initially failed to find a buyer at auction. A French businessman who has been building up a collection of Napoleon-related items approached t