French and Riviera News.Tuesday July 6th 2021


Cannes 2021 - The Cannes Film Festival opens at the Palais des Festivals this evening having been delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Spike Lee is the President of the Jury this year and the opening movie will be “Annette”, a musical from the director Leos Carax. Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard star with music by Sparks duo Ron and Russell Mael. More than 2,500 films were submitted for consideration this year after last year’s event had to be cancelled. There are 24 films in the official competition including “Flag Day” by Sean Penn and Wes Anderson’s “French Dispatch”. Sadly there will be no British presence this year owing to coronavirus restrictions.

Respect nature - Visitors to areas of natural beauty are being reminded to respect nature and the environment. Park officials from Vence, Grasse, the Esteron and the Mercantour say that they’re shocked at the lack of respect shown by visitors from thoughtless parking to discarding litter. An information campaign has been launched but authorities have warned that if rules aren’t respected then fines will be issued. Paramount is the need to force home the message that lighting fires is strictly forbidden and that smoking is strongly discouraged and banned in many areas.

Anti tobacco drive - The French government is to step up efforts to get people to stop smoking and to drink less alcohol. In February, President Macron announced a 10 year plan to substantially reduce incidences of cancer in France, many of which are caused by smoking or excessive alcohol consumption. Latest statistics show that 382,000 people in France are diagnosed with cancer every year and there are 157,000 deaths from the disease annually. The French Prime Minister Jean Castex, says that he wants to see cancer rates fall by 60,000 a year. Smoking alone accounts for 45,000 deaths every year with fatal cancers caused by alcohol not far behind. The government has been steadily increasing the price of a packet of 20 cigarettes and more rises are on the way. 10 percent of the adult population are classed as problem drinkers and account for 58 percent of all alcohol sales in the country.

Fake veg - A fruit and vegetable wholesaler from the Bouches du Rhone is under investigation for allegedly switching labels on tonnes of Spanish produce and then passing it off as French at inflated prices. The state prosecutor’s office at Tarascon has been leading investigations along with Gendarmes from Arles and the French Competition Directorate. Reports say that the suspect bought several hundred tonnes of Spanish produce in 2020 and this year including courgettes, peppers, asparagus and squash, switched the labels and then passed it off as French to retailers. Fake invoices were also drawn up and a number of firms are suspected of compliance.

Mandatory jabs? - There are persistent rumours that the government is considering making vaccination against coronavirus mandatory. So far, there’s been no word from the government although health care workers may be ordered to get inoculated if they want to keep their jobs. There is considerable resistance to the vaccines from a sizeable minority of the population for a number of reasons from wild conspiracy theories to more reasonable concerns over the long term effects. 11 vaccines in France are currently mandatory for children under the age of two including MMR, Hepatitis B, Tetanus, Polio and diphtheria.

4th wave - The French Health Minister has warned of a possible 4th wave of coronavirus “from the end of July”. Olivier Veran says that he is becoming increasingly concerned over the spread of the delta variant and is urging the public to get vaccinated. Locally, 75 percent of all new cases of the virus in the Alpes Maritimes and 68 percent in the Var are of the delta variant. Some health experts have said that a 4th wave is “inevitable” although the Pasteur Institute doesn’t think the situation will reach epidemic proportions until after the summer.

Senator death - The death has been announced in Toulon of Senator Patrick Boré. He was 64. Senator Boré served four terms as Mayor of La Ciotat and was a passionate supporter of Toulon Rugby Club. He was a native of the city where his parents kept a butchers shop and played rugby for Racing Club Toulon as a young man. He’d been fighting a long battle against cancer.

New flight - EasyJet has announced a new flight from Nice to the Balearic island of Minorca. Less popular than its neighbour Ibiza, Minorca offers miles and miles of white sandy beaches without the crowds of the more popular holiday islands. EasyJet already flies from Nice to Palma and Ibiza as well as destinations on the Spanish mainland including Barcelona and Seville.


Global shares continue to hover at near record highs although concern over the spr