French and Riviera News Tuesday 16th November 2021


Court case for man who is accused of starting forest fire - A construction worker has appeared in court in Aix-en-Provence accused of being responsible for the largest fire that the Bouches du Rhone region has known in the last 50 years, after he discarded a cigarette butt on a building site on the 10th August 2016. The trial which started on Monday November 15th, accuses the 40-year-old for having involuntarily lit a fire that ravaged more than 2600 hectares in August 2016 as well as affect more than 200 buildings. 447 complaints have been filed against the individual. The damage from the blaze is estimated at nearly 65 million euros and cost for the fire department of 1.2 million euros. The accused faces up to 5 years in prison and a 75,000 euro fine. The case continues.

Ice rink in Nice overrun by two rival groups of teenagers - The city of Nice has filed a complaint and two people have been arrested after two rival gangs of teenagers met at the city's Jean-Bouin ice rink to fight one another. The incident occurred at the weekend and the city has said it is "concerned" and will be "monitoring" the situation closely. The groups of teenagers had chosen the ice rink as their field of confrontation. Police were alerted by employees of the town hall which then led to two arrests being made.

Ash tree in Vence candidate for most beautiful tree in the region - An ash tree in the town of Vence is to represent the Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur region for the tree competition of the year 2021. While few residents agree on its age which is thought to be at between 470- and 483-years-old, all agree on its candidacy for the competition having voted for it online, placing it as the most beautiful tree in the region. Organized since 2011, the Tree of the Year is supported by Terre Sauvage magazine and the National Forestry Office. It rewards trees located in France and distinguishes those whose natural, aesthetic, and historical aspects are the most appreciated. To vote for the ash tree, nothing could be simpler, just fill out an online ballot and specify your email. The winner of the tree competition will be announced in February.

Town launches financial aid for a "greener" environment - Meanwhile in order to encourage a "greener" environment the city of Rezé in the suburbs of Nantes, has launched an original approach this autumn. It offers its inhabitants to help them financially to buy a tree or shrub, so that it can be planted in their garden. A refund of half the price of the tree is offered to the Rezéens until December 17th. This "purchase aid" is limited to 50 euros per tree and per household (per address).

Diabetes testing- The City of Nice is offering free diabetes testing this week at several venues throughout the city. Sante Publique France estimates that 3.5 million French people are treated for diabetes. You can find more details at

Geraint Thomas has bike stolen in Menton - Welsh cyclist Thomas has had his bike stolen during a coffee break in Menton. The 2018 Tour de France winner posted the news on social media, saying he had to take a taxi home. Later on Sunday he told his followers he had been reunited with the bike.

Ikea Nice recruiting - After years of delay, the opening of the Ikea store in Nice is getting closer and is now scheduled for next spring. On Monday the brand announced the opening of a new phase of recruitment in the search for about 400 full-time or part-time employees in various fields. Surrounded by housing, offices and shops, in the direct vicinity of the Allianz Riviera stadium and connected to line 3 of the tramway, the future Ikea will extend over 24,000 m² covered with 7,000 m² of green solar panels.

Migration crisis on the border between Belarus and Poland - French President Emmanuel Macron and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have agreed on a "de-escalation" of the migration crisis on the border between Belarus and Poland. The Elysée made the announcement on Monday following nearly a two-hour conversation between the two presidents. The Elysée indicated that Putin had said that he would "talk" to his Belarusian counterpart.

Council of State orders government to reduce use of pesticides - The Council of State has ordered the French government to reduce the use of pesticides in Natura 2000 sites, dedicated to the protection of biodiversity. Hailed as a "new victory" for the NGO France Nature Environnement.

The network of Natura 2000 sites has existed for almost 30 years in France and covers 12.9% of the French territory, 15% of which is agricultural area. A European directive requires Member States to ban or restrict the use of synthetic pesticides in Natura 2000 sites. But France Nature Environnement, a federation of nature and environmental associations, says that this directive is not "implemented on the ground". The decision of the Council of State therefore aims to "put an end to more than 10 years of inaction by successive governments.

The French are taking fewer antibiotics - A study has shown that the French are taking fewer antibiotics and that above all, the trend observed for several years has been strongly accentuated by the covid crisis. Public Health France announced that the consumption of these drugs has decreased in 2020.

The reduction of this consumption is an objective pursued by the health authorities, in France and in other countries, in order to curb the appearance of bacteria resistant to antibiotics. Among developed countries, France is particularly concerned because the consumption of antibiotics remains nearly a third higher than the European average.

Eight out of ten French people say they are happy - Nearly eight out of ten French people say they are happy, a figure up five points compared to 2018. According to the survey published today by Elabe, 57% of French people are optimistic about their future. According to the survey, after the health crisis, two-thirds of French people describe their "place of life" as a "place in which it is good to live". 8% of them have moved after the pandemic and 19% want to do so in the future. However, many reasons for dissatisfaction and concern remain, particularly with the quality of social ties, insecurity, access to public services and places of culture and leisure. 36% of French people have to impose restriction in order to make ends meet, and among them, only 43% feel they have chosen their life.

The feeling of living in an unjust society, if it remains clearly dominant (68%) it is however down ten points compared to the peak of anger of the crisis of the yellow vests. If pessimism about the future of French society remains in the majority (60%), it is also down ten points. Among the values most appreciated by the French comes first respect (score of 8.8/10), ahead of honesty (8.6/10), justice (8.5/10), and security (8.5/10). Finally, six out of ten French people believe that France's economic model is not compatible with the issues raised by the ecological challenge. Three-quarters of French people even consider that we are obliged to change our lifestyles.


US President Joe Biden has signed into law a $1.2tn (£894bn) spending bill, marking a legislative achievement for his administration. The bill caused a rift in Biden's party that was partly blamed for a Democratic election loss this month. Another massive social spending bill is currently being considered in Congress.

Royal Dutch Shell has announced a plan to move its headquarters to the UK as part of proposals to simplify the company's structure. The oil giant will ask shareholders to vote on shifting its tax residence from the Netherlands to the UK.

Deliveroo and Picard frozen foods have signed an exclusive partnership. The two brands are getting closer in more than 100 cities in France including Lyon, Grenoble and Toulouse. So having a frozen coconut chicken curry signed Picard delivered by Deliveroo is now possible. An exclusive partnership as Picard does not use any platform other than Deliveroo - apart from its own home delivery service - to deliver its dishes to its customers.

According to reports from the German and British press, Audi and BMW are in the process of negotiating a takeover of McLaren, which has since been denied. Present in F1 and specialist in supercars, the sports brand has several assets. On Monday, McLaren denied any acquisition by Audi.


Football - England hit double figures for the first time since 1964 with a 10-0 win against San Marino as they secured qualification for the 2022 World Cup. Meanwhile Scotland secured their place in the World Cup play-off semi-finals beating Denmark 2-0. This evening France play Finland and Wales Play Belgium.

Rugby Union - England captain Owen Farrell and hooker Jamie George have been ruled out of Saturday's Test against South Africa due to injury. Saturday's game at Twickenham will see England aim to make it three wins from three from their autumn internationals, having also b eaten Tonga on 6th November. 

Tennis - Roger Federer is unlikely to play in next year's Australian Open as he recovers from injury.


Sunny intervals with a moderate breeze. Highs of 19 degrees in Monaco, Nice, Cannes and Saint Tropez. This evening going down to 10 degrees in the Alpes Maritimes and 11 degrees in the Var with clear skies.

The outlook for Wednesday and Thursday - Light cloud in the Alpes Maritimes on Wednesday with sunny intervals in the Var. Clear skies and highs of 18 degrees across the region on Thursday.

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