French and Riviera News Wednesday 13th March 2024

News National France 

Train tickets - Train tickets for the summer holiday go on sale today Wednesday 13th March, in France. The TGV Inoui and Intercités ticket office opened for sales in France and Europe for journeys between July the 6th and September the 11th at 6am this morning. The SNCF has specified that an additional 400,000 places will be offered to meet demand, with 300,000 between Paris and La Rochelle and 100,000 between the French capital and the South-East.

Local 

Drug gang leader arrested - A dangerous drug gang leader has been arrested in Morocco connected to a powerful drug trafficking network in Marseille and the South of France. For several months the city of Marseille has been the scene of bloody clashes between the DZ Mafia and Yoda, two very powerful gangs which dominate drug trafficking in Marseille and whose activity extends throughout the south of the country. The conflict is at the heart of the majority of homicides recorded last year in Marseille. Both groups are accused of murder, assassination, drug trafficking and kidnapping.

Road closure - The moyenne corniche has been closed to traffic between Èze and Villefranche-sur-Mer since Monday evening. The RM6007 was closed due to rockfall and the risk of a landslide. It is expected to remain closed until Thursday. For the time being, diversions have been put in place on the RM33 from Villefranche-sur-Mer and the RM46 from Èze.

Countdown clock - A countdown clock has been installed next to the I Love Nice sign, overlooking the Baie des Anges, as the city prepares to host the last stage of this summer's Tour de France. The finish line is on the Promenade des Anglais this year, instead of the traditional Champs-Elysées sprint finish, because of the Olympics. The timer is counting down the 130 days to go until the final stage of the race, a 34 km time trial from Monaco to Nice.

Saint-Tropez - Saint-Tropez has become the latest seaside town in the Var to be awarded the 'Ports Propres' certificate for the cleanliness of its port. The certificate recognises ports around France that promote sustainable pleasure boat use, reducing waste and preserving biodiversity. Saint-Tropez is the fourth port in the Var to win the award, after Cavalaire, Sainte-Maxime and Cogolin. The awarded ports have a strict set of environmental standards that must be respected, and they are checked during routine audits.

Concerts - An organisation in Nice is putting on a series of concerts where tickets can be bought not with money - but with food. AnimaNice will give tickets to the performances to anyone who turns up with four non-perishable items to donate to local food banks. Tomorrow's concert, by a local jazz ensemble, is at 8.30pm at the Espace Grappelli in Cimiez. Other events, including activities for children, are being organised between now and 5th April at 16 AnimaNice centres dotted around the city. Last year the initiative collected 1.5 tonnes of food - and this year the organisation has doubled its target, with the hope of providing up to 8,000 meals to those in need.

Number of weddings in France on an upward trend - 480,000 French people said "yes" in 2023, according to figures published by INSEE on Tuesday, confirming an upward trend in the number of weddings.  The average age to get wed, which has been increasing for more than 20 years, increased further in reached 37.3 years for women in heterosexual couples, compared to 39.8 years. for men.

Picasso Museum Paris - The Picasso Museum in Paris is opening its new permanent exhibition of the master’s works that includes a room of Françoise Gilot’s work the ex-partner he tried to destroy. When the artist Gilot walked out on Pablo Picasso after a long and turbulent relationship, he told her she would be nothing without him and set out to destroy her career.  After the split, Picasso and his influential friends in France’s artistic and intellectual circles waged what she described as a “war” on her, eventually forcing her to leave France and settle in the US, where she rebuilt her life and career and continued to paint until her death in 2023 at the age of 101. Francoise Gilot is now not being presented as Picasso’s muse or inspiration instead the exhibition concentrates on her as an artist. Gilot met Picasso in a Parisian Cafe in 1943 at the height of the Nazi occupation. She was 21 and he 61. Fiercely independent, Gilot did what none of Picasso’s many other women ever dared: she walked out on him, taking their two children, Claude and Paloma.

Passionate about cycling and would like to volunteer for this year’s Tour de France - Are you passionate about cycling? Do you want to take part as a volunteer at the Tour de France? The organization is looking for volunteers for the start of the last stage, on Sunday July 21st in Monaco. So, if you are an adult, you can register as a volunteer before March 20th, 2024, with the management of the Stade Louis II.  Contact: Management of Stade Louis II – 7 avenue des Castelans – +377 92 05 40 12 – directionstadelouis2@gouv.mc

Business

The Labor Department in the US has announced that the inflation rate picked up in February, as prices for petrol and housing pushed higher. The annual rate was 3.2% in February, up from 3.1% in January. Airfare, car insurance and clothing were among the items driving the increase over the month. Grocery prices, which have jumped in recent years, were unchanged. The monthly report comes during a critical presidential election year and as the US central bank, the Federal Reserve, is debating the next step in its fight to rein in prices.

The deadline dates for your tax return in France have been announced with taxpayers in departments 1 to 19 having until Thursday 23rd May, those in departments 2A to 54 have until Thursday 30th May and those from the departments 55 to 95 and the DOM have until Thursday June 6th.  Note that paper declarations have until May 20th, however, an online declaration is mandatory if your home is connected to the internet. Some tax households will not necessarily need to complete and return their declaration online. If they are one of the nearly 11 million taxpayers eligible for automatic declaration and their situation has not changed compared to last year, the absence of a response after sending the pre-filled form will constitute validation. However, verification is necessary to avoid any errors.

Sport

Football – Arsenal are into the Champions League quarter final after pulling through in a crucial Champions League night beating FC Porto 4-2 on penalties. Barcelona beat Napoli 3-1.

In the Premier League this evening AFC Bournemouth are at home to Luton Town kick off is at 8.30pm French time.


Rugby Union - England wing Immanuel Feyi-Waboso has been ruled out of the Six Nations finale against France on Saturday because of concussion. The 21-year-old played a starring role in the 23-22 win over Ireland last weekend, but he reported concussion symptoms on Monday.

Tennis - Carlos Alcaraz claimed a straight-set victory over Fabian Marozsan to reach the quarterfinals and continue his title defence at Indian Wells. The Spaniard needed 75 minutes to wrap up a 6-3 6-3 win against the Hungarian.

Weather

Sunny with a gentle breeze in Monaco and highs of 14 degrees. Nice and Vence, fine with light winds and highs of 16 degrees. San Remo, Saint Tropez and Antibes clear skies and highs of 15 degrees. This evening going down to 7 degrees along the coast with clear skies.

The outlook for Thursday, remaining fine highs of 15-16 degrees. Friday, sunny intervals light winds in Nice and Saint Tropez. Light cloud is forecast for Monaco. Highs of 16 degrees.

Sunrise       06.45am

Sunset        06.34pm

Sea temperature

Antibes 13.8 degrees.

Weather elsewhere

London      15° thick cloud.

Dublin        13°  light rain.

Paris           15° light cloud

Snow report for Valberg

Weather today – Sunny with light winds and 4 degrees. Outlook for Thursday and Friday sunny intervals, clear skies on Saturday morning clouding over by the afternoon and rain forecast on Sunday.

60cm of snow at the bottom and top snow depth 90cm.

11 out of 15 lifts are open and 31 out of 42 runs are open.

Season closes 24th March.  

And Finally…..

A resident of Aix-en-Provence in the (Bouches-du-Rhône) who won France’s lottery in the 90s has just won for a second time, but this time at EuroDreams, the new European lottery launched by Française des Jeux (FDJ) in November 2023.  A regular player for many years at the lottery and EuroMillions, the winner quickly got into the habit, since November, of adding a third grid, that of EuroDreams. On its online site, the FDJ has already recorded 588,536 winners at EuroDreams in 2024.

 

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