French and Riviera News Tuesday 5th October 2021


Bad weather – All weather warnings have been lifted for parts of south eastern France following the bad weather on Monday October 5th. For safety reasons schools remain closed in Marseille this morning as checks are carried out.  On Monday France’s minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin, called on "all people in the South" to be "very careful". Firefighters were mobilized carrying out up to 1,500 interventions mainly for flooded roads and cellars, remaining mobilized throughout the day and into the evening.

In Marseille which was placed on a maximum weather alert some residents were evacuated due to the threat of flooding. Parents in the Bouches du Rhone, Var and the Alpes Maritimes were asked to collect their children from schools at midday without putting themselves at danger. In addition to the Bouches du Rhone six departments were on alert; the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, the Alpes-Maritimes, the Var, the Vaucluse and the Haute-Corse due to the risk of flooding. Train traffic was interrupted between Marseille and several cities in the region, including Aix-en-Provence and Avignon. The TGV was not affected.

State of natural disaster - Marseille has since called for a "state of natural disaster” to be declared due to damage caused. The mayor of Marseille has written to the Prime Minister to ask him to recognize the city as "a state of natural disaster”. 

Var - In the Var there were more than 180 interventions but "no victims". Var firefighters received 200 emergency calls and carried out 188 interventions.

Alpes Maritimes - In the Alpes Maritimes sixteen interventions were carried out in the west of the department which remained the most affected area by Monday’s heavy rainfall. Emergency services intervened in two hedge fires linked to lightning strikes, seven trees fell to the ground in particular in Pégomas, and several residences were flooded. Firefighters were also called in to rescue people stranded in their cars in Cannes, who were eventually able to extricate themselves on their own. No casualties were reported.

In Saint-Martin-Vésubie, a few people were evacuated as a precaution and housed by the town hall. They were able to return to their homes later in the evening. In the upper valley of the Tinée, very heavy rainfall was also observed resulting in temporary telephone and power cuts.

Strike action - After 18 months of a health crisis which has limited the possibility of large gatherings in France, several unions are calling for demonstrations today Tuesday, October 5th. The protesters are defending wages and purchasing power undermined by inflation and soaring energy prices, as well as protesting the unemployment and pension reform.

Nearly 200 events are planned across France with demonstrators gathering at Place de la République at 2pm in the French capital.  Civil servants are also called upon to strike with possible disruptions in schools and many cities such as Rouen (Seine-Maritime), Dijon (Côte-d'Or), Douai (North), Le Mans (Sarthe), Strasbourg (Bas-Rhin), Marseille (Bouche-du-Rhône) and Bordeaux (Gironde) anticipate disruptions to their public transport network.

According to the SNCF, the circulation of TGV, Thalys, Eurostar and Lyria will be "normal", while the traffic of Intercités, Transilien and TER will be "almost normal", with "possible local disruptions. Timetable changes are already online and can be viewed on the SNCF website. In Paris, the RATP ensures that "traffic will be normal" on the metro. Locally in Nice, the tram network will be disrupted however some bus services will continue to operate. 

Donations to save church steeple - The village of Châteauneuf is calling for donations to restore the steeple of its church. The bell tower of the Saint-Martin church which dominates the village is in need of urgent repair. An emblematic heritage of the town, it can be seen from Opio and Valbonne.

Local election in Saint Paul de Vence validated - The Council of State has validated the last local elections in Saint-Paul de Vence. The result is now definitive. The June 2020 election which resulted in the election of Jean-Pierre Camilla as mayor has just been validated by the Council of State marking the end of the electoral soap opera that has lasted 15 months.

The opposing candidate Corinne Paolini was beaten in the second round on June 28th, 2020 by only 8 votes leading to Paolini bringing the case before the Nice Administrative Court with various grounds for dispute. Among them, a signature which seemed to be non-compliant for 10 ballot papers. In response to the decision the unsuccessful candidate underlined in a press release that "representing 1 voter in 2, will see her remain fully mobilized within the City Council".