French and Riviera News Tuesday 23rd January 2024


Scottish cyclist found dead in Italy - 38-year-old Steven Harper, a Scottish cyclist who went missing near Monaco has been found dead in Italy. Harper was attempting to pedal from Dundee to India. He is believed to have fallen from a cliff near Ventimiglia in November. His brother, Dale, said he feared that the dad-of-two had eaten a potentially lethal mushroom after being robbed of his bike and possessions in Nice. When the family received text from Steven saying he felt “unwell” after having eaten a mushroom while foraging near Roquebrune-Cap-Martin Dale promptly flew out to the south of France. He was not informed that his brother's body had been found until late December. Italian authorities told him that Steven was seen falling on 23 November, hours after the messages were sent. Workers on a building site came to his aid and a helicopter carried him from the cliffside overlooking Ventimiglia's harbour. He was pronounced dead a short time later.  Steven had travelled through Andorra, Spain and France and was understood to be following the Mediterranean route through Europe. Dale said he had received messages of condolence from "all over the world" and the family had been left "devastated" by the news.

Farmers - Nationally in France, unions representing the agricultural sector have held a meeting with French Prime Minister Gabrial Attal. Farmers are concerned about a variety of issues including the implementation of environmental standards, their pay levels and the price of fuel. Protesting farmers have been blocking the A64 motorway in south-west France for the past few days.

VTC demonstrations – Meanwhile, VTC demonstrations are expected in both the Alpes-Maritimes and the Var as the Union of VTC 06-83 supported by drivers from other cities around the Mediterranean, plans several actions to make their demands heard at the highest level. Following the announcement, the prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes has since issued an order to prohibit the Union of VTCs on the Riviera and Var from demonstrating this week from Monday until Thursday from 6am until midnight on all routes used as part of the Monte-Carlo Rally, but also near Nice airport.

Olympic flame - The Interior Minister held a press conference outlining security arrangements for the Olympic flame. The flame is scheduled to arrive in France, in Marseille, on 8th May. He said that 2,500 police officers and gendarmes will ensure the security of the event. In addition to the 5,000 police and gendarmes mobilized, several anti-drone and counter-sniper devices will be deployed. The flame will then travel around France and overseas territories for 98 days.

Changes to paternity leave in France - Changes to the paternity leave announced by French President Emmanuel Macron will come into force in 2025. New measures plan to replace the currently little-used parental leave, which should allow in total, six months leave for both parents. It has not yet been decided as to whether the leave can be taken by both parents at the same time, or successively. Financially, the new system plans to move away from a social benefit and towards a daily allowance system corresponding to a percentage, which has not yet been decided, of the previous salary and limited to 1,800 euros. Under the current system in France created in 1977, the leave is remunerated at 429 euros per month and at the end of their maternity or paternity leave, a parent can suspend their professional activity until the child is 2 years old or three years, if the parents share the leave.

New report reveals that sexism is deeply rooted in French society - A new report by the High Council for Equality in France has revealed that sexism is still deeply rooted in French society. The study, carried out on a sample of 3,500 people, also points out an increase in macho ideas amongst young men who believe that “feminism threatens their place in society”. This trend affects all age groups, including young men between 25 and 34 years old with 52% of them believing that "men are being targeted" and that it's no longer possible to seduce a woman without being seen as sexist.

According to 40% of 15–25-year-olds, it is even more and more difficult to be a man today. An increase of 14 points compared to last year. Men under 35 also have the feeling of being “treated less well in today’s society because of their gender.” Furthermore, one in five men in this age group “consider it normal to have a higher salary than their colleague in the same position”. One in three of those aged 25-35 believe that it is normal for a woman to stop working to take care of children.

Finally, the report describes “digital platforms” as “real sounding boards for gender stereotypes”. The 100 most viewed content from the main platforms Youtube, Instagram and TikTok found that 68% of this content from “publicises gender stereotypes”.

The return of conservative ideas is also observed among young women. According to the HCE, nearly 60% of them think that a woman should prioritize family life over a career. This is significantly above the average for other age groups.  The report summarises that “sexism begins at home, continues at school and explodes online”.

Number of abandoned or mistreated animals is on the rise in France - Some 44,844 abandoned or mistreated animals were taken into care by the Society for the Protection of Animals the (SPA) in 2023, an increase of 1.5% compared to the previous year. The SPA in France denounces an increase of 1.5% over one year, almost reaching the record high in 2019. Adoptions have started to decline with 40,587 animals finding a new owner last year, a figure down 1.5% compared to 2022.

Locally here in Monaco it is Princess Charlene who is the President of the SPA. Committed to the well-being of animals, Princess Charlene has been working for several years through Her Foundation, in particular, for the protection of the rhinoceroses and supporting the South African SPA.

Warm weather - Temperatures are set to rise this week across France, with highs above the seasonal norm. The peak of the mild weather is expected on Wednesday, accompanied by plenty of sunshine in the southern half of the country. After very wintry weather last week up to 24°C is forecast for the South-West tomorrow. Showers and grey weather is still expected in the vast majority of the country today, with the exception of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, Corsica and the extreme South-West.  However this week will see 14°C in Paris, 15°C in Bordeaux and up to 22°C in Perpignan and even 24°C in Saint-Michel-de-Llotes, in the Pyrénées-Orientales.


United Airlines has said it expects to lose money in the three months between January and March due to the grounding of Boeing 737 Max 9 jets. The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounded 171 of them after an unused door broke away mid-flight. The airliner has 79 of the aircraft in its fleet, more than any other carrier, followed by Alaska Airlines. Both airlines have been forced to cancel hundreds of flights this month as inspections are carried out.

MrBeast, the world’s most popular Youtuber has claimed to have made more than £197,000 from posting a video on X, formerly known as Twitter. Despite having previously said it was not worth posting on the social media site due to small payouts of the advertising revenue in would appear that MrBeast changed his mind and posted an old video which generated more than 155 million views. In November 2022, Forbes estimated that MrBeast made $54m in a year from his YouTube channel. Since then, he has gained millions of subscribers on his main channel, to make a total of 233 million. There are rumours that MrBeast may be negotiating his own show with one of the large video streaming platforms. If this is indeed the case, his experiment on X is a loud signal as to just how much he is worth.


Football - In the premier league last night Brighton drew 0-0 at home to Wolves and in the EFL semi-final this evening, Chelsea are at home to Middlesbrough. Kick-off is at 9pm French time.

Meanwhile, Liverpool say the leg injury Mohamed Salah suffered at the Africa Cup of Nations is "worse than first feared", but Egypt remains hopeful he can return for a potential semi-final. Salah was injured in Egypt's 2-2 draw with Ghana on Thursday in Group B.

Rugby Union – French side Racing 92 have announced the signing of England and Saracens fly-half Owen Farrell at the end of the season. The French Top 14 side said Farrell has signed a two-year deal starting on 1 July.

Tennis - Novak Djokovic has said that his form at the Australian Open is "going in the right direction" as he bids for a record-breaking 25th Grand Slam title. Today, he plays American 12th seed Taylor Fritz, who has lost all of his eight previous matches with the Serb.


Fine to start with becoming increasingly cloudy by the afternoon. Light winds in the Alpes Maritimes with highs of 15 degrees in Nice, Cannes and Saint Tropez, moderate to strong winds expected in the Var. 14 degrees in Monaco. Reaching 17 degrees in Draguignan. This evening going down to 7 degrees along the coast and 1 degree inland.

The outlook for tomorrow and Thursday, remaining much the same with clear skies, some cloud and highs of 15 degrees.

Sunrise       07.56am

Sunset        05.28pm

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