French and Riviera News Tuesday 12th December 2023


France’s Interior Minister fails to pass immigration bill - France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin handed in his resignation, which was refused by French President Emmanuel Macron, after a key immigration reform bill supported by the presidential camp was defeated in the lower house of Parliament the National Assembly on Monday. MPs from the far right, far left and moderate right and left voted on to reject the bill. The government says the bill aims both to control immigration and better integrate migrants. The left argues its measures are too repressive, while the right says the version presented to parliament is not tough enough.

The bill would make it easier for the French government to expel migrants who are sentenced to prison sentences of five years or longer and make it more difficult for migrants to bring family members to France, among other measures. It is, however, significantly more lenient than a draft proposed by the Senate, the upper house of parliament, which is dominated by the right, which would have severely reduced access to healthcare and benefits for illegal migrants.

The bill was an important part of Emmanuel Macron's second five-year term. Three options are now on the table, a return to the Upper House of Parliament with a version adopted by the senators, an examination by a joint committee (CMP) of 14 parliamentarians, or for the government to abandon the bill which would be seen as a defeat.

Mayor of Nice angered by the result - The mayor of Nice Chrisitan Estrosi reacted strongly to the news on X, formerly known as Twitter, saying that “the vote will deprive the Alpes Maritimes region of carrying out 5,000 expulsions and that those who voted against it, will be held responsible for future crimes and offenses, especially those linked to drug trafficking and terrorism”.

President of the republican party satisfied with the result - Meanwhile, the president of the Republican party Eric Ciotti, who made it quite clear publicly that he was against the bill, expressed his satisfaction at the result saying that “now we will be able to resume the debate and really meet the challenges of the immigration crisis in France, which sees nearly a million illegal immigrants arrive in France and which in turn has consequences on the daily lives of our fellow citizens, both in terms of delinquency and the rise of communitarianism."

Teachers walk out in fear for their safety and in support of colleague who was criticised for showing a 17th century Renaissance painting of nude women - Teachers at a school in the west of Paris have refused to work, “worried that they could be attacked”, after Muslim parents complained that a 17th century Renaissance painting of nude women was shown to a class of pupils leaving the teacher in question fearing for her own life. Following the incident Education minister Gabriel Attal, visited the establishment on Monday and later said pupils who made false claims about the teacher in posts on social media would be disciplined. The incident comes after a French court on Friday convicted six teenagers for their role in the 2020 killing of Samuel Paty outside his secondary school near Paris, after they helped to identify him to a radicalised Islamist. Paty, a 47-year-old history and geography teacher, was stabbed and beheaded outside his school.

Strike action - In other news, strike action planned today against the government’s reform to technical colleges in France, will see disruptions locally in some educational establishments and school canteens. The strike also coincides with possible strike action from railway workers today, which would see minimum traffic for the TER and TGV services. However, tram and buses in the region will be running as normal.   

Municipal police plan to strike over Christmas - Meanwhile, municipal police officers have announced plans to strike over the Christmas period on December 24th and 31st. As part of a national movement across France officers are demanding that their demands for a better pension be heard.

Hunters stumble across illegal rave party - A hunting group got more than they bargained for after heading off for a hunt midmorning at the weekend, only to come face to face with over a hundred ravers. The illegal rave party had been organised on land in Aiguines north of Draguignan in the Var, near the D619. The mayor and the police were alerted and 60 people were fined on the spot and in total, six motorists were found to be under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

Spot checks - A spot-check by gendarmes on 100 drivers in Sainte-Maxime in the Var found 13 of them committing road offences. The roadside checks were carried out late on Saturday night, on the main road heading out from Saint-Tropez. Four drivers were under the influence of drugs, five were drink-driving, three didn't have a valid licence and one tried to escape by dangerously reversing along the dual carriageway. Gendarmes say they'll be conducting more random spot-checks as the Christmas festivities approach.

Drinking water - Residents in six towns around Fayence in the Var have been told not to drink or cook with the tap water, or use it to brush teeth, due to a possible contamination. Recent heavy rainfall means wastewater may have entered the mains supply - and some people have complained that their tap water is an unusual colour. The affected towns are Fayence, Mons, Seillans, Montauroux, Tourrettes and Callian. Authorities are distributing bottled water to those affected.

“Christmas Wheels” fund raiser - Do you own a supercar? If so, then Influencer ArmandMA invites you to his big Christmas parade in aid of sick children here in Monaco. For his big Christmas parade on December 23rd, influencer ArmandMA invites supercar owners to join him on the starting line at the Place du Casino, followed by a leisurely drive through the streets of Monaco all to raise money for the Princess Grace Foundation. For more information you can contact ArmandMA on social networks.

Christmas Village - Don’t forget that the Christmas Village – “Rainier III, the Passionate Prince” is in full swing here on the port of Monaco. The village is open until Sunday 7th January with food stands, sales chalets, rides and the famous Ferrie wheel. The public can also see concerts, stage shows, creative workshops and much more. For more information go to

Meanwhile, eagerly awaited by many and in addition to the Christmas Village the Sports Village will be opening this Friday December 15th at 4pm. As part of the end of year celebrations Monaco Town Hall is offering something brand new for the young and the old. Sporting activities will take up residence on the South Dock of the Port of Monaco, from Friday December 15, 2023 at 4 p.m. to Sunday January 7, 2024 at 10:30 p.m. Several key installations will be present: a treetop adventure course (from 8 years old), a climbing structure, made up of several coloured routes representing different levels of difficulty (from 6 years old) as well as 3 obstacle courses of increasing difficulty inspired by the famous TV game Ninja Warrior.  Finally, a 180-meter-long zip line will allow the bravest to fly over the Swimming Pool route, starting from the highest diving board of the Stade Nautique Rainier swimming pool. For more information go to

Narrowest street? - Gassin, in the Var, is trying to get into the record books for having the narrowest street in the world. L'Androuno is a tiny passageway between two buildings, dating back to the 13th century, which at 29cm wide is perhaps best approached walking sideways. Gassin has been promoting it as a tourist attraction for some time and it frequently appears in visitors' Instagram posts. The official Guinness record for narrowest street currently belongs to a town in Germany, at 31cm. Gassin appears to have a good chance of beating that, but it needs official accreditation by the Guinness World Records judges.

Google reveals the most popular requests from the French in 2023 – Finally, a survey carried out by Google has revealed the most popular requests from French people in 2023. The Israel-Hamas war, ChatGPT, Kylian Mbappé and the rapper MHD are among the topics most requested by Internet users on the American search engine.

ChatGPT as well as the war between Israel and Hamas are the two hot topics which have generated the sharpest increase in requests compared to last year. Among public figures are footballer Kylian Mbappé and rugby player Antoine Dupont, appear at the top of the ranking. However, an unexpected question, "How did Mickey Mouse die?" is the top question most asked by the French on Google.


Google has been found guilty of operating an illegal monopoly by a jury in the United States.  Epic Games, which owns popular video game Fortnite, sued Google in 2020, accusing it of unlawfully making its app store dominant over rivals. Hundreds of millions of people use the store to install apps for smartphones powered by Google's Android software. The ruling is a setback for the company on a platform that is a central pillar of its technology empire. Google said it would challenge the outcome.

Shares of US department store Macy's have surged on hopes of a $5.8bn buyout deal. According to US media an investor group has offered to pay $21 for each share of the retailer that they do not already own. Macy's, founded 165 years ago, is famous for hosting the New York City Thanksgiving Day parade. The company, parent of Bloomingdale's and makeup firm Bluemercury, operates more than 720 stores in the US.

And – In the UK higher education leaders have warned that new immigration rules could prevent universities from hiring the best international talent and add that the UK is “closing ranks”. Academics and University bodies claim that an increase in the minimum salary for a skilled worker visa effectively prices out early career academics and researchers who are vital to driving innovation. Some 32% of academic staff at British universities are from overseas.


Football - Turkish football bosses have suspended all leagues after a referee was punched to the ground by a club president following a top-flight game on Monday. The incident sparked chaotic scenes involving players and club officials and even led to the country’s president speaking out and condemning the attack.

Rugby Union - Sunderland's Stadium of Light has been chosen as the opening venue for the Women's Rugby World Cup in 2025. The tournament kicks off on 22 August, with organisers confirming Twickenham Stadium as the final venue on 27 September. England have qualified for the event but Scotland and Wales have not yet.


Sunny intervals. Highs of 17 degrees in Nice, Cannes and Monaco. 18 degrees in Saint-tropez. A moderate wind across the region. This evening going down to 9 degrees along the coast.

The outlook for Wednesday light rain is forecast for Saint-Tropez and sunny intervals with strong winds in Cannes, Nice and Monaco. Thursday 16 degrees and sunny with a gentle breeze.

Sunrise                          07.54am

Sunset                           04.53pm



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