French and Riviera News Tuesday 16th August 2022

Local News

Increased risk of flooding in Autumn - After this summer's droughts, firefighters have warned of an increased risk of flooding this autumn on the Riviera. The National Federation of French Firefighters says such episodes are becoming increasingly common, after the floods in Draguignan in 2010, Antibes in 2015 and storm Alex in 2020. The Riviera's position, between the Alps and the Mediterranean, means storms can be particularly intense - and rising sea temperatures cause an increase in condensation in the air. The firefighters' federation says now is a good time to have a think about what you have stored in your cellar and move any essential items to a higher floor.

Woman drowns in Cannes - In the latest in a series of summer drownings, despite attempts by the emergency services, a woman in her 70s died on Sunday morning while out swimming off the Boulevard Louise-Loreau in Cannes. Meanwhile, firefighters in the Bouches-du-Rhône have also reported a sharp rise in drownings this summer - both at sea and in swimming pools. The heatwave and a significant increase in holidaymakers after two years of the pandemic are contributing factors. So far, in the Bouches-du-Rhône this summer, firefighters and paramedics have been called out 25 times to help swimmers. In 2021, there were 20 callouts for the whole year. Among the advice to prevent drownings are: swim parallel to the shore, wear a safety buoy, swim with someone else if possible and stay in supervised swimming areas. You shouldn't go in the water just after eating, or if you've consumed alcohol.

Driver has lucky escape after a landslide in the Gorges du Cians - A driver has had a very lucky escape from a landslide in the Gorges du Cians, heading towards Valberg. Several rocks fell onto the man's car as he took the road towards Valberg. One of them tore a hole through the car's roof. The driver said he was within a few centimetres of being struck in the head.

Human remains found in Cannes - Human remains were found under railway tracks in Cannes on Sunday. The Grasse prosecutor's office is leading the investigation.

Plain-clothed police patrols in the Var - Plain-clothed police officers are patrolling some of the Var's busiest seaside towns this summer to try to put a stop to anti-social behaviour. About 60 officers are working on this operation, which includes roadside checks on vehicles and controls on noise and other public nuisance.

Pedestrians injured in car accident - Five pedestrians have been injured after a driver lost control of their car in Sainte-Maxime in the Var. The vehicle hit several protective barriers before ploughing into the group of people. One of the victims has severe leg injuries. An investigation is under way.

Crash in Courmes - A motorcyclist and his passenger are in hospital after a crash on the RD6 in Courmes on Sunday evening. They were airlifted to hospital by helicopter. No other vehicle was reportedly involved. The biker, in his 20s, is said to be in a serious condition. A woman in her 20s who was riding with him suffered less serious injuries.

Horse dies at riding club in Sainte-Maxime - A horse at a riding club in Sainte-Maxime in the Var has died after eating poisonous hay. Several other animals were taken ill after eating the hay which was found to contain Scotch broom - which is known to be toxic for animals.

Man arrested after throwing objects - A man who threw objects at passers-by from his window during a festival in Vallauris this weekend has been arrested. Police set up a security perimeter and evacuated the building before forcing their way into the man's apartment. There were no reported injuries.

Riviera wine harvest - The Riviera's wine harvest has begun - much earlier than usual because of the dry, hot weather conditions. Grapes are being picked already at many vineyards in the Var and Alpes-Maritimes. Local winemakers aren't too hopeful about this year's vintage - and they expecting wine yields to be significantly lower than usual. In the Var, the work generally began last week. It's not so much the drought that affects the start date for grape-picking - it's the daily temperature. A long spell of heat such as we've encountered can affect the sugar and acidity balance in the wine.

Jellyfishbot - And don't be alarmed if you see a yellow robot looking a lot like a jellyfish around the Port Vauban in Antibes. The port is testing out a clever new device whose job is to collect the waste that floats between moored boats and the quayside. Three of the Jellyfishbots are busy at work, dragging an orange net behind them to collect waste that stagnates around boats in this two-month experiment.