French and Riviera News Tuesday 23rd August 2022

Local News

Rise in people using food banks - Food banks and other charities on the Riviera have reported an alarming rise in the number of people seeking their help with the cost-of-living crisis. They warn that the back-to-school bonus paid to families at this time of year won't be used to cover school supplies, but to pay essential bills. And they fear the matter will only get worse as winter approaches. Consumer price inflation in France currently stands at 6%. The Alpes-Maritimes and Var branches of the Restos du Coeur say they have seen a 40% increase in people needing their help since last year. The Secours Populaire says it is seeing fewer people make donations to its food banks. The Food Bank 06 charity estimates that almost one in five people in the Alpes-Maritimes live below the poverty line.

Nice most expensive student city - In related news, a new study suggests Nice is the most expensive student city in France after Paris. Student union UNEF has published its league table of the cost of living in major university cities around the country. It estimates that an average student in Nice needs to spend €1,114 per month to get by. Soaring rents in Nice - up almost 5% in a year - are the major contributing factor. The average student rent in the city is €629 per month. On the other hand, the cost of public transport has fallen slightly.

Var strengthens forest regulations - After the Bouches-du-Rhône, it's the turn of the Var to strengthen some of its rules to avoid forest fires. Eight of the department's nine main forest areas are now classified "orange" and are considered to be at severe risk. Visiting them is strongly discouraged and using mechanical equipment is banned except for essential agricultural and forestry work before 1pm. 

Cannes braced for flooding in autumn - Meanwhile, the city of Cannes is bracing itself for an autumn of potentially heavy rain and flash flooding. A major operation is under way to ensure that drains and gutters are clear of debris such as leaves and waste, to ensure that rainwater flows freely. It comes as French meteorologists are concerned that the long, hot summer of 2022 will lead to more extreme storm events than usual this year.

Two men detained in Nice - Two men were detained early on Monday morning after they were spotted on CCTV violently kicking another man in the head on Place Garibaldi in Nice. They fled the scene by tram and police were able to catch up with them. The pair face charges of aggravated violence. The victim was taken to hospital but is not said to be in a life-threatening condition.

Free access to public swimmings pools around Marseille and Aix-en-Provence extended - A decision to make every public swimming pool around Marseille and Aix-en-Provence free to use this summer has been extended. The initiative launched on 22nd July due to the hot weather. It's now been extended until the end of August. So far, 125,000 people have benefited from the free access.

Fish farm suffers major loss - The Var's only fish farm has suffered a major loss after tens of thousands of rainbow trout died when their water supply became contaminated. Les Truites du Paradou, near Carnoules, estimates the financial loss at about €40,000. The exact cause of the water pollution remains to be determined.

Bathing prohibited at Plage Marquet - The town hall in Cap d'Ail has issued a decree prohibiting bathing at Plage Marquet on a temporary basis until further notice. The decree is being made because of the quality of the bathing water.

Virgin Mary mystery solved - And we mentioned last week that a statue of the Virgin Mary had mysteriously disappeared from a remote spot on the Franco-Italian border, overlooking the Lac des Bresses in Valdeblore. Now it turns out it hasn't been stolen after all. The 80-centimetre-tall statue was donated to the municipality in 2008. Its previous owner has now taken it away for restoration work, with the commune's permission. A temporary statue will be put in its place while the restorations are completed.


China's central bank has cut its mortgage lending rate as officials work to support the struggling economy. The People's Bank of China (PBOC) lowered the five-year loan prime rate (LPR) by 1.5 percentage points, which matches its biggest cut on record. The world's second largest economy faces a property crisis that has seen some building projects grind to a halt. Lockdowns due to the country's strict zero-Covid policies are also affecting businesses and consumers.

Cineworld has confirmed it is considering filing for bankruptcy i