French and Riviera News Thursday 4th January 2024


Man found dead following floods in northern France - Floods in northern France have led to the body of a man being found in his car on Wednesday afternoon. The 73-year-old was discovered dead in his partially submerged car in the Loire-Atlantique after having reportedly taken a road cut off to traffic due to flooding. The Pas-de-Calais department is still on a red alert for flooding. More than 50 municipalities in the department are currently impacted by rising water levels. A 24-hour centre has been activated at the Pas-de-Calais prefecture to coordinate the action of state services. According to the energy company Enedis, 8,500 customers were without electricity at midday on Wednesday and another 1,500 in the neighbouring Nord department which is under an orange flood alert.

Anti-Semitic tags at airport in Corsica - Police have opened an investigation after anti-Semitic tags were found on several panels at Calvi airport in Corsica. The Corsican Human Rights League along with other political parties and associations have strongly condemned the act and expressed their “solidarity with the members of the Jewish community of Corsica”. Authorities have since taken down the tagging.

19-year-old Irish woman is described as “miraculous” by emergency services - A 19-year-old Irish woman has been found by rescue services in a mountainous forest area of “Les deux Alpes” dressed in just shorts and a t-shirt, after she got lost leaving a nightclub at around 4am on Wednesday. The young tourist had wandered for almost 3 hours in shorts and a t-shirt and miraculously according to authorities, “only suffered from slight hypothermia”. Police have warned partygoers in the area “to be careful and to dress in accordance with the environment”. The young woman was airlifted to hospital in Grenoble, but her life is not in danger.

Man handed 3-year prison sentence for sexual assault in Nice - The man who sexually assaulted a 52-year-old female tourist on the Promenade in Nice has been handed a three-year prison sentence. The incident occurred on Monday morning at around 7am when a 29-year-old Tunisian national was arrested by police. The victim defended herself by violently biting his hand and a nearby police patrol were quick to intervene. The man was found to be in France illegally and was at the time of the attack carrying a knife.

Saint-Tropez receives anonymous donation - Saint-Tropez in the Var has received an anonymous donation of 50,000 euros. The donation has led to local opposition criticizing the donation as well as the use of the funds. The city says that the money will be used to develop the former Louis-Blanc school. The project will see the creation of 17 housing units, as well as the installation of eight local business premises. However, some local officials opposed to the mayor, claim that the use of the money on such a project, “raises many questions” and are “fearful that such a financing could lead to the donor wishing to obtain "something from the project", such as "a housing unit or business premises”. Others opposing the investment in the town have requested that the identity of the individual be given, in private, to all members of the local council.

It’s not the first time that financial donations have provoked such a strong reaction amongst the opposition of the Saint-Tropez council, last September, elected officials were already outraged by the colossal donation from LVMH. The luxury group delivered 2.5 million euros for a similar project.

Importing cigarettes from Italy - With the price of a packet of cigarettes increasing in France this year, many smokers may be considering buying them in Italy where they are half the price. However, the question of how many cigarettes can be legally imported into France from Italy is causing confusion, following a legal case from a master’s student at Sciences Po in Paris against the French state. France does indeed set the limit to one carton of cigarettes, confirmed by the French customs service, however student Sami Gam confirmed that the “customs administration violates European law”. Having referred his case to the Council of State on September 29th the body confirmed that the European Union authorises not one, but four cartons of cigarettes and that therefore the “French legislation does not respect European law”. Now a decree must be published no later than March 29th, to authorize the importation of four cartons of cigarettes per person over the age of 18.

Famous pergolas return to Prom - The famous pergolas on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice have been renovated. The 4 installations were given a much-needed facelift and have regained their shine for the start of 2024.  Part of the daily landscape they appeared on the seafront a few years ago, but were at the time, heavily criticized. Now however, they have become popular amongst rollerbladers, cyclist, runners and walkers providing much needed patches of shade as well as some fantastic photo opportunities.

New Monte-Carlo Acting Academy opens its doors - Gabriele Greggio, son of actor Ezio Greggio has opened an acting school in Monaco. The Monte-Carlo Acting Academy is intended to teach young and old alike the art of theatre and film acting. Greggio grew up in the Principality from the age of 4 to 18, before leaving to study acting in England and the United States and has already been seen in productions for Netflix, Prime Video and the BBC. The school dedicated to learning the art of acting will see classes taught in English and will be open to children and adults.  Speaking to local media Greggio said "I also intend to make the difference between wanting to be an actor and wanting to be famous. The two can go together. You can like both, that's no problem. But if you want to become an actor, the goal is to do your job well, to be passionate, to have a desire to express yourself” he adds that “it’s a journey that must not end. Behind the glamor of the profession, there is a lot of work, a lot of waiting and practice which then allows you to throw yourself into the unknown.”

Revisiting the works of Robert Doisneau – Finally, he is one of the most famous 20th century photographers of his generation and Robert Doisneau's black and white photos in the streets of Paris certainly left their mark, especially the famous kiss on the Rue de Rivoli in front of the Hotel de Ville. This week saw the death his model Françoise Bornet at the age of 93 and an exhibition of his work is currently on at the Museum of Photography in Nice - le merveilleux quotidien, runs until January 28th, 2024.


The low-cost airline company Ryanair has hit out at several online travel agents for taking its flights off their platforms without warning. The company claims larger sites such as, Kiwi and Kayak suddenly removed its flights in December. Ryanair said the websites' removal of flights would increase empty seats by 1% or 2% in December and January. The no-frills airline said it would respond by lowering fares for passengers booking directly through its own website.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has been accused of unlawfully firing eight workers who were critical of its multi-billionaire chief executive.  A complaint by a US labour agency says the employees sent an open letter to the firm's executives in 2022, detailing workplace concerns. According to reports the letter called him a "distraction and embarrassment".

And – A teenager from Oklahoma is believed to have become the first human player to beat Nintendo's classic video game Tetris, 34 years after its release. Willis Gibson posted a video on his YouTube channel of the moment he reached level 157, causing the game to crash. It only took him 38 minutes to beat the game.


Darts - Luke Humphries has beaten teenager Luke Littler 7-4 in a gripping final at Alexandra Palace to win his first PDC World Championship title. 16-year-old Littler was aiming to become darts' youngest ever world champion after a remarkable run to the final. Wednesday's victory over Littler was Humphries 19th win in a row and, after progressing steadily over the past few years, it firmly establishes him at the top of his sport as both world champion and the world number one.

Football – OGC Nice’s Youcef Atal has been handed an eight-month suspended sentence by a French court for inciting religious hatred in a social media post about the conflict in Israel and Gaza. The Nice criminal court ruled that Atal must also pay a €45,000.  The 27-year-old is suspended "until further notice" by his club.

And - In the third round of the FA Cup this evening Crystal Palace are at home to Everton kick off is at 9pm French time.

Tennis - Novak Djokovic has been beaten by Alex de Minaur as Serbia lost to Australia in the United Cup quarter-finals. World number one Djokovic received treatment to his right wrist in his 6-4 6-4 defeat by the Australian in Perth.

Golf - World number one Scottie Scheffler has been voted the PGA Tour Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. Scheffler is the first back-to-back winner of the award since Tiger Woods won three times in a row from 2005-2007. The PGA Tour said the 27-year-old American received 38% of the vote.

Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy says he would be open to play in a tournament backed by LIV Golf if the controversial tour became more like cricket's Indian Premier League. McIlory has been a staunch opponent of LIV which has recruited high-profile players and fractured golf.

Rugby Union - England men's rugby union team have ended their relationship with their union, the Rugby Players Association. The RPA has represented England's players for 20 years in negotiations over fees and commercial deals with the Rugby Football Union (RFU). The RPA will continue to represent England men until this summer.

Cricket –  Today, Australia v Pakistan – third Test, day two.


Mainly fine and sunny with a fresh breeze. Highs of 16 degrees in Nice and Saint-Tropez with strong winds in the Var, 15 degrees in Monaco, 14 degrees in Marseille. Windy in Hyères highs of 13 degrees. This evening going down to 7 degrees and cloudy.

The outlook for tomorrow, heavy rain is forecast across the region with moderate to strong winds and highs of 11 degrees. The weekend, cloudy with highs of 11-12 degrees, strong winds in Marseille and showers forecast for Monaco on Sunday.

Sunrise       08.04am

Sunset        05.06pm

And Finally

A fisherman who fell overboard and spent nearly 24 hours in cold, choppy waters, even rousing a shark’s attention has been rescued off New Zealand’s coast after using his watch reflection to signal for help. The local police station said in a statement that the “absolute miracle” rescue unfolded after the unnamed angler had set off on a solo fishing trip on Tuesday. While trying to reel in a catch, the fisherman fell into the sea about 30 nautical miles off New Zealand’s North Island. As his boat drifted out of reach, the fisherman attempted to swim to the nearby Alderman Islands but was dragged away by strong currents.

Too exhausted to keep swimming, he endured a cold night in the ocean, and at one point a shark came to “have a sniff” before leaving, said police. Incredibly, the angler was saved the following day when three fishermen noticed a reflection on the water and set out in their boat to investigate. They discovered the stranded man desperately trying to catch their attention using the reflection of the sun from this watch.  He was taken back to land and treated for hypothermia and exhaustion.



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