French and Riviera News Tuesday 21st March 2023

News

Protests - Protests against the pension reform have been planned in many cities across France today Tuesday, March 21st, following the rejection of a vote of no confidence in the National Assembly on Monday March 20th. Thousands of people took to the streets yesterday following the result denouncing the use of Article 49.3 and the rejection of the vote of no confidence which had led to the passing of the reform.

In Paris, Bordeaux, Rennes, Strasbourg, Lille, Toulouse, Saint-Étienne, Brest, Lyon, Rouen and Nancy thousands of demonstrators marched. In Paris and Strasbourg, bins were burned and billboards were smashed. In Abbeville, the town hall was invaded by demonstrators. 

Several cases of police violence, particularly in the French capital, were reported on social networks by independent journalists. According to a police source at least 142 people were arrested in Paris. Demonstrators denounced the "coup de force" from the French government and called for the resignation of the President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron and the Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne.

Meanwhile, the CGT has called for an increase in mobilization and a massive participation for Thursday’s industrial action and beyond if necessary. President Emmanuel Macron is due to meet with Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne this morning.

Petrol shortages due to strike action - One out of two service stations in the Bouches-du-Rhone are affected by petrol shortages, due to strike action at three oil refineries in the region. The Bouches-du-Rhone is the most affected department in France with the situation predicted to get worse in the coming days.

About a dozen petrol stations around the Alpes-Maritimes - and more than 60 in the Var - are suffering supply shortages. On Monday there were long queues outside several petrol stations in the Var, where about 40 petrol stations are out of fuel and another 20 have limited stocks, with the area around Toulon worst affected.

Meanwhile, the Vaucluse department has issued restrictions on fuel purchases, capped at 30 litres per person, to stop panic-buying. At this stage, the fuel supply situation nationwide remains stable, with only 6% of service stations nationally lacking one or more types of fuel. In the Alpes-Maritimes, nine service stations have limited stocks, including the Total on the Promenade des Anglais, and several petrol stations around Saint-Laurent-du-Var and Cagnes-sur-Mer. Only three petrol stations are totally out of fuel.

Flights - The French civil aviation authority has asked airlines to pre-emptively cancel 20% of their flights to and from Paris-Orly and Marseille airports over the next few days due to ongoing industrial action by air traffic controllers over France's pension reforms. Thursday is likely to see a greater impact to flights. If you're due to fly to Paris any time this week, it's worth checking with your airline before you travel. We already know that the Lignes d'Azur network around Nice will be severely disrupted on Thursday. There will be no trams running at all, and no service on about 25 bus routes. You'll find the details on lignesdazur.com

Wastewater to clean streets and gardens in Antibes-Juan-Les-Pins - This summer, wastewater will clean the streets and gardens of Antibes-Juan-les-Pins town council has announced that this summer wastewater will clean the streets and gardens. As per last summer the city will put its wastewater to good use following a request to the prefect in 2022 for the authorization to use part of the water treated by the Salis wastewater treatment plant.

Fight against bullying - Primary schools around the Alpes-Maritimes are to introduce a "buddy" system to try to prevent cases of bullying. The scheme was launched in secondary schools in 2016 and is now being extended to primary level. Their role is to be a trusted person to turn to, and to warn an adult if they see a classmate is being bullied. Several schools have signed up to the experiment and will launch an awareness campaign among pupils and parents. According to the French education ministry, one in 40 primary school pupils suffers some form of bullying or harassment, and this rises to one in 20 in secondary school. The Alpes-Maritimes also has an anti-bullying helpline for parents and students alike. It's 04 93 53 72 51.

Michelin guide - The town of Tende is celebrating after making into the Michelin guide of 100 places in France that are worth making a detour to go and explore. Tende is the biggest municipality in the Alpes-Maritimes by surface area, stretching over 17,000 hectares, with 28 mountain lakes. It's one of only two places in the Alpes-Maritimes that make the Michelin top 100. The other is Biot.

Villa L’Aiglon for sale - The former house of Grace Kelly is on sale in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin at a record price. The villa l'Aiglon, in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, is for sale at a price of 39 million euros. Once inhabited by Grace Kelly, the property offers breathtaking views of Monaco. Built in the Belle Époque style, Villa L'Aiglon is part of the historical architectural heritage of the region. It was the former mayor of Beausoleil Camille Blanc who had the villa built in 1891 with the architect Henri Schmidt, Director General of the architectural works of the Société des Bains de Mer de Monaco. The house was also inhabited by Grace Kelly.

Lemon harvest - Finally, it’s good news for this year’s lemon harvest in Menton lemon which is currently in full swing. Despite fears caused by the drought, the current harvest is considered quite good with professionals saying that is should reach at least the same volume of last year, of 70 tons.

Business

Fears in financial markets appeared to ease, a day after regulators agreed a rescue deal for troubled lending giant Credit Suisse. The bank was bought by rival UBS. Along with the collapse of two smaller US banks, its struggles had sparked fears over the global financial system. Hope that the deal would help contain the crisis helped lift shares in Europe and the US.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is to bailout Sri Lanka as it faces its worst economic crisis since independence. Sri Lanka has secured the 2.4-billion-pound bailout in a deal which has taken nearly a year to make. Sri Lanka’s Foreign minister Ali Sabry told said that the government will raise funds by restructuring state-owned enterprises and privatising the national airline. However, analysts warned Sri Lanka still faces a tough road ahead. The country's economy has been hit hard by the pandemic, rising energy prices, populist tax cuts and inflation of more than 50%.

After already axing 18,000 jobs in January online retail giant Amazon plans to cut another 9,000 jobs as it seeks to save costs. The firm, which employs 1.5 million people worldwide, said the cuts would fall mainly in areas including cloud computing and advertising. It did not say which countries would be affected but said the positions would be closed in the next few weeks.

And - Known for his famous, red-soled shoes French designer Christian Louboutin has confirmed the opening of his very first hotel in Portugal at the beginning of April. In love with Portugal for several years the designer already owns two houses there, notably in Lisbon. But it is nevertheless on a small, picturesque village that he set his sights and imagined his first hotel, 20 minutes from the very popular seaside resort of Comporta, with breath-taking views of the sea.

It was on Monday that here in the Principality the décor for this year’s “Bal de la Rose” was unveiled designed by the man himself. Christian Louboutin from Brittany is famous for having helped bring stilettos back into fashion on the 1990sand 2000s, designing dozens of styles with heel heights of 120 mm (4.72 inches) and higher. The designer's professed goal has been to "make a woman look sexy, beautiful, to make her legs look as long as possible. His single biggest client is American novelist Danielle Steel who is believed to own over 6,000 pairs and is known to have purchased up to 80 pairs at a time when shopping at his stores. 

Sport

Football – Tottenham Hotspur are expected to agree the departure of their Italian manager Antonio Conte this week, with former player and English first-team coach Ryan Mason, 31, likely to take charge until the end of the season. 

Meanwhile, Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford, Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount and Newcastle keeper Nick Pope have withdrawn from the England squad for this month's Euro 2024 qualifiers. Rashford picked up a knock during his side's FA Cup quarter-final win against Fulham on Sunday. Pope, who has 10 caps, suffered an injury in Newcastle's 2-1 win at Nottingham Forest on Friday and Mount is also recovering from an injury and will stay with Chelsea. Southgate's side travel to Italy on 23rd March before hosting Ukraine at Wembley on 26 March.

Tennis - Britain's Jack Draper has pulled out of this week's Miami Open as he does not want to make an injury worse. Draper retires early in the second set of a fourth round match against Carlos Alcaraz due to injury. Alcaraz won the tournament and became the new world number one.

Weather

Fine and sunny with a gentle breeze. 17 degrees in Nice, Menton, Monaco and Saint Tropez. Highs of 16 degrees in Mougins. 18 degrees in Toulon and Marseille with a moderate breeze. Reaching 21 degrees inland in Draguignan. This evening going down to 9 degrees along the coast with clear skies.

The outlook for Wednesday and Thursday remaining much the same with highs of 16-17 degrees.

Sunrise       06.32am

Sunset         06.43pm

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