French and Riviera News Tuesday 16th February 2021


Teacher and parent unions criticize government decision - Teacher and parent unions have hit out at what they describe as a “completely mind-blowing” decision to ease the health protocol in schools in France. The Ministry of Education announced an easing of measures with teachers no longer systematically considered as a contact case and there is no automatic closure of classes in the event of a contamination with the British Covid variant. Faced with the new protocol, the unions above all denounce the difficulty for teaching staff to constantly adapt to new measures.

Exceptional Covid screening campaign for the Hauts-de-France – Meanwhile the regional Health Agency for the Hauts-de-France has announced that due to the increased circulation of the British Covid Variant in the region an “exceptional” screening campaign is to be organised in Dunkirk along with 2,400 additional doses of the vaccine being allocated. The announcement comes as authorities face a “worsening” of the health situation. Free tests are to be given on Thursday and Friday without an appointment and without a prescription. Dunkirk and the surrounding area have, for several days, seen a worsening of the pandemic marked by a significant proportion of cases of the British variant.

Culture Minister announced “scientific experiments” - France’s Minister of Culture, Roselyne Bachelot has announced that “scientific experiments will be carried out in Paris and Marseille in order to determine if theatres are risk areas” adding that the “test concerts” would take place in March and April. Speaking to French media on Monday evening the minister said "We are working on it. I am very optimistic about seated festivals I keep my fingers crossed”.

Classroom closures due to cases of Covid - The academy of Nice has announced the closure of thirteen classes in schools in the Alpes Maritimes, due to cases of Covid, including seven in Nice. Here is the list published on Monday:

Les Orangers (Nice): one class

Les Eucalyptus (Nice): one class

Saint-Barthélemy elementary school (Nice): one class

Primary, Sun school group (Roquesteron): one class

Saint-Vincent-de-Paul elementary school (Nice): two classes

Pablo Picasso College (Vallauris): one class

Parc Impérial College (Nice): one class

Val Fleuri School (Cagnes-sur-Mer): one class

Kindergarten Ravet (Saint-Laurent-du-Var): one class

Kindergarten Les Lauriers Roses (Nice): one class

Kindergarten Les Mésanges (Nice): one class

Kindergarten Roquebrune-Cap-Martin: one class

In other news 

81-year-old woman hit by train at level crossing - An 81-year-old woman has been hit and killed by a train at the level crossing in Hyères in the Var. The accident occurred at 4pm on Monday afternoon near Hyères train station. Local residents alerted emergency services. At the scene police investigating the exact cause of the accident pointed out that while “it is rare that incidents involving pedestrians occur at this urban crossing with trains approaching at a moderate speed the station, the safety barriers do not apply only to road vehicles, but also to pedestrians”. Following the incident about thirty passengers were evacuated and traffic was disrupted in Hyères following the tragic accident.

La Trinité and Cagnes sur Mer amongst towns recognized for state of natural disaster - Several towns in the region have been recognized as a state of natural disaster for bad weather during 2019 and 2020. Published in the Official Journal of the French Republic on Saturday February 13th, the following places have been recognized:

• from November 22, 2019 to November 24, 2019: La Trinité;

• June 4, 2020: Cagnes-sur-Mer;

• October 2, 2020: Caille, Massoins, Pierrefeu;

• from October 2, 2020 to October 3, 2020: Carros, Escragnolles, Revest-les-Roches, Toudon, Valdeblore and Venanson;

• from October 2, 2020 to October 4, 2020: municipality of La Bollène-Vésubie.

Those concerned have ten days from the publication to file an estimated statement of the losses with their insurance companies, in order to be entitled to compensation.

BNP Paribas - The French bank BNP Paribas has announced that as part of its restrictive policy to fight deforestation it would stop investing in firms producing or buying beef or soybeans cultivated on land in the Amazon cleared or converted since 2008 and only fund companies with zero deforestation strategies by 2025. Four French NGOs said the bank’s initiative sent a clear message to companies trading in the Amazon and Cerrado regions but regretted the targets did not go further or come sooner. 

Lyon orders illegal speed bumps to be demolished - The court of appeal in Lyon has ordered the mayor of the city to demolish illegal speed bumps. The court considers that local authorities have not respected guidelines set out by law. The decision could well set a precedent for the Alpes Maritimes and the Var region. Following the announcement Thierry Modolo president of the Var association “pour une mobilité serene et durable” said that the “decision halts for the time being, the installation of speed bumps which are dangerous not only to motorist but bikers, buses, ambulances and firefighters”.

Outdoor swimming pool in Antibes opens its doors to the public - The outdoor swimming pool in Antibes has opened its doors to the public. Following a strict health protocol due to the health crisis, the pool opened on Monday. Wearing a mask is compulsory and social distancing and barrier gestures must be respected.

Opening hours and prior reservations: Note - some slots require a prior reservation at 04 92 90 68 10. This applies to the period from 12pm to 1:30pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and from 11:30am to 1pm on Wednesday. Access without reservation takes place on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9am to 11:30am and from 1:30pm to 5:30pm and also on Wednesday from 1:30pm to 4:30pm, Saturday from 11am to 5:30pm and Sunday from 8:30am to 1:45pm.

Prices remain unchanged: 2.50 euros entry at a reduced price and 3.50 euros full price for a resident of Antibes, 5 euros if you live in the Sophia Antipolis urban community and 6 euros if you are from elsewhere.

In the Navy - The French Navy has launched a major recruitment campaign with 4,000 posts to be filled this year. With a base located in Toulon according to the Human Resources manager the salaries are interesting “for newcomers, and competitive” and more importantly, working in the army is no longer reserved for men. Women are more than welcome there: "Recruitment does not distinguish between gender. According to HR 15% is made up of women in the navy, and the objective is to increase to 21% or 9,000 women by 2030. For more information go to the website


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