French and Riviera News Thursday 30th November 2023


Unusual increase in the number of cases of pneumonia in France - France’s Directorate General of Health has warned of an “unusual increase in the number of cases of pneumonia in France”. While the vast majority of infections remain mild, some cases may require hospitalization. Like China, in recent weeks, France has noted an "unusual upsurge in cases".  Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) expressed concern about an increase in cases in China and asked Chinese authorities for more detailed information on the subject, calling on the population to better protect themselves.

The Ministry of Health ensures that the public health agency France is “continuing its analyses at a national level in order to clarify the characteristics and current dynamics of the epidemic”. Furthermore, the National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM) “ensures reinforced monitoring of the consumption of antibiotics, as part of the fight against shortages of the drug”. It was only at the beginning of November, that the ministry asked pharmaceutical groups and pharmacists to make several commitments in order to combat shortages of certain medications, a problem which was particularly accentuated last winter with the shortage especially for children, of the very common antibiotic, amoxicillin.

France moving towards a “tobacco-free generation” - French President Emmanuel Macron, has promised to create “the first tobacco-free generation” by 2032 with plans to ban smoking on all beaches, as well as in public parks, forests and near schools. There are already 7,200 tobacco-free areas in France, including in Nice, which was the first city to establish a cigarette-free beach in 2012 with the approval of France’s League Against Cancer. The government said that instead of smoke-free areas being decided by individual local authorities, central government would introduce a nationwide ban.  After smoking was banned in French bars and restaurants in 2008, later than in Britain, Spain or Italy, polls showed widespread approval by the French public. Tobacco still causes 75,000 avoidable deaths in France each year, and police are facing what the government has called an “explosion” in contraband cigarettes.

Winter Olympics 2030 - The International Olympic Committee has favoured the French Alps bid for the 2030 Winter Olympics. The IOC executive board has decided to enter exclusive talks with Olympic officials in France and the United States for Salt Lake City. A French bid uniting the snowy Alps region and the French Riviera resort Nice came together only in the past few months to compete with Sweden and Switzerland for the IOC’s support. It would be the fourth time France has hosted a Winter Olympics, after Chamonix in 1924, Grenoble in 1968 and Albertville in 1992.

Legal proceedings launched against an elected representative from the village of Rayol Canadel - Legal proceedings have been launched against an elected representative from the village of Rayol-Canadel in the Var. Bettina de Ponfilly, third deputy mayor, is accused of “corruption, following the acquisition and sale of the town council’s land to a Parisian resident”. Bettina de Ponfilly has denied any wrongdoing and through her lawyer “claims that the accusations come from a group of notorious opponents of the current members of the town council and that she was never at the origin of the sale of the plot of land which was initially reserved for social housing”. However, according to the lawyer of the opponents to the mayor of Rayol, Jérôme Leclercq, Bruno Pilato and Jean Bouchard “there is enough evidence to justify filing a legal complaint” including “testimonies from town hall employees and even correspondence from Bettina de Ponfilly”. The three had begun their accusations through the “Good Morning Rayol” blog, in which they denounced the sale of “municipal land at a price significantly below the market value with the elected official intervening to inform a Parisian resident of the sale ahead of it being put on the market and of the involvement of Monsieur de Ponfilly as a shareholder to the architect which built the 204m² house with a pool”.  The lawyer concludes that "as far as any involvement from the mayor Jean Plenat, at this stage, there is no evidence that he was aware of any wrongdoing".

Strike action - The SNCF has announced strike action for tomorrow Friday 1st December. Unions are calling for better wages and working conditions. For the time being it’s not sure how the action will affect regional services. An updated scheduled will be put online from 5pm this Thursday evening.

Paternity leave extended in Monaco - The duration of paternity leave has been extended in Monaco for employees in the private sector. For a single birth, the fathers concerned will now benefit from 21 consecutive calendar days with their infant, compared to 12 days previously. In the event of multiple births, or if the household already has at least two dependent children, the leave extends to 28 consecutive calendar days, compared to 19 previously. While the Principality is still behind European countries such as Finland or Spain which allow 54 and 84 days of paternity leave, it is “new progress” for families and also a step in the right direction for equality when it comes to childcare.

“My responsible restaurant” - The municipal restaurant of Monaco town hall has received the “My responsible restaurant” label. A certificate which attests to more sustainable food practices. Monaco Town Hall continues its commitment to the environment, waste reduction and against waste and the efforts are paying off as it received on Tuesday the "My responsible restaurant" certification.  

Monaco Christmas Village - The Monaco Christmas village will this year pay homage to Prince Rainier III. In addition to some new features, several rides will return to the Quai Albert-1er, including the Ferris wheel. The fair opens its doors from Thursday December 7th to Sunday January 7th, 2024 every day from 11am. 24 chalets will be open along with some 800 fir trees.

Cracker of an occasion for the world egg mayonnaise championship - Finally, it’s set to be a cracker of an occasion as participant prepare for this year’s egg mayonnaise world championships being held on December 4th in Paris and amongst them from Britanny is Mickaël Vacher and his chef Alexis Biard who were both chosen through the Brittany championship last April. The competition is organized each year by the Association for the Protection of Egg Mayonnaise (ASOM), which will award the best egg mayonnaise in the world.


Tesla and SpaceX boss Elon Musk has slammed those advertisers who have left X, warning they will kill the social media platform. At an event in New York, Musk accused companies that have joined an ad boycott of the site formerly known as Twitter of trying to blackmail him. Some firms have paused advertising on X amid concerns over antisemitism, including a post from Mr Musk himself. Musk apologised on Wednesday for that post, saying it might be the "dumbest" thing he has ever shared online.

Google has reached a deal with Canada to avert a news blockade over a law that forces tech giants to pay for news content. Google had vowed to remove links to news in Canada in response to the Online News Act, due to take effect on 19 December. Social media giant Meta is already blocking news on its platforms as a result of the law. The deal comes after months of talks between the search giant and Canada.

And - Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo is facing a class action lawsuit in the US over his promotion of Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world. There are claims that his endorsement led investors to make loss-investments. They are reportedly seeking damages exceeding $1bn.


Football – In the Champions league on Wednesday Arsenal went top of their group after beating Lens 6-0. Meanwhile, Manchester United suffered another setback and have work to do after last night’s draw.

Rugby – England Captain Owen Farrall has made himself unavailable for the Six Nations announcing that he is taking a break from international rugby. The 32-year-old will continue playing for and captaining Saracens.

Cricket - England test captain Ben Stokes has undergone knee surgery. Stokes is now aiming to regain fitness for England’s five-match Test series in India in January.

Golf - Luke Donald will remain Europe's Ryder Cup captain for the 2025 edition in New York after leading his team to victory in Rome in October. Donald has been victorious in all four of his appearances as a player and one as captain.

Athletics – A survey by the World Athletics has found that three-quarters of athletes have been directly impacted by climate change. Athletes highlighted negative effects on performance and health, with 85% saying the sport in general has suffered because of the climate crisis. The survey also revealed 90% of those questioned believe the sport's governing body could also help to build a more sustainable future. World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said the concerns are "loud and clear".


Light rain with a moderate breeze. Highs of 15 degrees in Monaco, Nice, Saint-Tropez. 12 degrees in Vence. Cloudy but remaining dry, with highs of 17 degrees in Toulon. This evening going down to 12 degrees along the coast and 6 degrees inland. Cloudy skies.

Friday, light rain is forecast to continue with highs of 17 degrees. The weekend, fine and sunny with strong winds in the Var region on Saturday. Feeling cooler with temperatures of between 13-15 degrees.

Sunrise       07.42am

Sunset        04.54pm

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