French and Riviera News Wednesday 17th January 2024


French President calls for “France to remain France” - French President Emmanuel Macron has raised eyebrows among several of his opponents following his press conference at the Elysée on Tuesday evening. Macron declared that his government was united so that “France remains France, so that France remains a nation of common sense, resistance and light”. Many have described Macron’s words as leaning to the right, ahead of the European elections. Indeed, the slogan “So that France remains France” was used by the Republicans on a leaflet published in 2008 and also as a campaign slogan by far-right candidate Eric Zemmour during the 2022 presidential campaign.

During his speech, Macron delivered an argument focused on the “rearmament” of France and the French, on numerous levels: “civic”, “demographic” and “agricultural”. The notion of “order” was omnipresent. Responding to a journalist questioning him about the "old-fashioned" image that his speech risked projecting, the president said, "that there is no progress without order" and that " “one is only old-fashioned, when there is only order and no progress.” The Head of State spoke of his desire to "restore benchmarks, through the knowledge, history and values, that we pass on to future generations. Macron promised to "reintroduce civic education", the return of a "graduation ceremony" in middle and high schools and also the supervision of the use of screens for "our children".  The Head of State also mentioned the possible generalization of the "school uniform " in National Education by 2026. He also declared himself “in favour” of the systematic learning of La Marseillaise in primary schools.

Macron also announced plans to increase and replace the current maternity leave for parents in France, “with both parents being allowed to stay with their child for six months if they wish”. Macron criticised the current system saying that it causes “alot of anxiety” as it is “little and poorly paid”.  The new plan “would be shorter than the current parental leave, which can last up to three years and keeps many women away from the job market”. Macron also spoke of a national plan to combat infertility. Today in France, one in four couples who want children are unable to achieve pregnancy after 12 months of trying, a period corresponding to the definition of “infertility” by the World Health Organization. Recent data has shown that the number of births fell by 6.6% in France in 2023, falling below the symbolic 700,000 mark for the first time since the end of the Second World War.

Government’s proposed policies to be announced on January 30th – Meanwhile, recently appointed French Prime Minster Gabrial Attal has said that he is aiming to deliver a speech regarding his government's proposed policies on 30 of January. He said that he had proposed to the President of the National Assembly to deliver his speech on that date.

French population census - The French population census is starting in some municipalities tomorrow, Thursday, January 18. If you're affected, you can complete your census online or by paper questionnaire. In municipalities with less than 10,000 inhabitants, the census takes place every 5 years, and the entire population is concerned. In those with more than 10,000 inhabitants, the census takes place every year but on a different sample of the population each year. To find out if your municipality is part of the census this year, you can go to the census website

INSEE survey - Recent data from INSEE published on Tuesday has shown that the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region had nearly 8% of unoccupied housing in 2020. The Vaucluse, which is the poorest department in the PACA region and the 5th poorest in France, is experiencing the greatest increase in vacant housing with, in some cases, homeowners fearing that tenants will fail to keep up with their rent.  The INSEE PACA survey covers the period from 2009 to 2020. In 11 years, the number of vacant housing units has increased by 45,000 housing units, or nearly 23% (25% at the national level). The region remains below the average for mainland France, which stands at 8.1% vacant housing on average in 2020.  In 2023, 3.1 million homes will be vacant in France.

Cold spell - Meteo France has said that a new episode of freezing and snowy precipitation will affect a large part of northern France today and tomorrow. The episode is linked to depression Irene which is bringing a mass of soft and humid air across the Atlantic coast. Most of northern France is under an orange alert from Meteo France for cold and icy conditions today. Many departments are also under yellow warnings for heavy rain and flooding.

Semaine du goût – Finally, Prince Albert II of Monaco and his wife Princess Charlene along with their children, this week launched the 26th edition of “Semaine du gout” or “National taste week” which this year is dedicated to goat cheese and sunroot. Nearly 700 primary school students will participate in week of activities dedicated to “waking up your taste buds” thanks to the mobilization of the Monaco Goût et Saveurs association, chaired by chef Joël Garault. In the cozy atmosphere of the Eiffel salon of the Hôtel Hermitage, students, chefs and officials gathered around Prince Albert II, Princess Charlène, and their children, hereditary Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, to launch the 26th edition of this back-to-school meeting based on “flavour” education.

This year, sunroot and fresh goat’s cheese are being honoured by the Monaco Goût et Saveurs association. It is now up to gastronomy professionals to tastefully combine these two products to convince the taste buds of young students. Participnats will attend culinary sessions, orchestrated by professionals, under the leadership of chef Joël Garault.  In addition to the workshops, a booklet has been made detailing the history, origin and virtues of the two “star foods” of this year’s edition. Nearly 800 booklets will be distributed.

Another highlight of the year for the Monaco Goût et Saveur association is the organization of a “recipe competition” for CE2 students. After cakes in 2022, then cookies last year, this year the children had to work on sweet or savoury muffins. The participants had to invent an original recipe and submit it to the association's teams who will in March, announce the best recipes.


Ice cream maker Ben & Jerry's has called for a "permanent and immediate ceasefire" in Gaza. The Ben & Jerry's board said the firm stood up for peace. The move is in keeping with the brand, which previously tried to stop sales in West Bank and East Jerusalem. It comes as global boycotts have hit major US firms such as Starbucks over their perceived support of Israel.

The FBI has begun an investigation into claims that the former CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) sexually exploited and abused men at events he hosted around the world. Mike Jeffries and his British partner also face a civil lawsuit alleging they ran a sex-trafficking operation. A lawyer for Mr Jeffries declined to comment.

And - Amazon is once again in the spotlight after the publication of product sheets generated by artificial intelligence.  As is often true with generative AI, the results aren’t perfect. In some cases, the summaries provide an inaccurate description of a product. In others, they exaggerate negative feedback. This has potential implications not just for customers, but for Amazon merchants who depend on positive reviews to boost sales.  Amazon has already been blamed for allowing drop-shipping products and false comments to pass through too easily. A situation which tends to highlight products that are potentially of poor quality, or which do not even exist.


Football – Although it can not be revealed, a date has been set for the hearing into Manchester City’s alleged breaches of financial rules. Meanwhile, Everton are already appealing against a 10-point deduction for a previous charge and Nottingham Forest were charged for breaching league profit and sustainability rules on Monday.

In the FA Cup third round replay this evening Blackpool are at home to Nottingham Forest, Bristol Rovers play Norwich City and Everton face Crystal Palace.

Cricket - England are hopeful that fast bowler Jofra Archer will be able to play in the T20 World Cup in June. 28-year-old Archer has not played any professional cricket since May after a recurrence of a long-standing elbow injury.

Rugby Union - Wales and Gloucester winger Louis Rees-Zammit is to leave rugby union with immediate effect to pursue a career in the NFL. The 22-year-old, who has been capped 32 times by his country, described the decision to join the NFL international player pathway (IPP) as "painstaking". Rees-Zammit is aiming to secure a place on an American football team for 2024.

Tennis - Alexei Popyrin believes he can "do some damage" when he plays Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open second round today. Ten-time champion Djokovic faces the 24 year old Australian in the last match of the night session.


Mostly cloudy with scattered showers. Highs of 13 degrees in Nice and Monaco, 14 degrees in Cannes and Saint-Tropez. 12 degrees in Puget Théniers. This evening going down to 9 degrees along the coast and 4 degrees inland.

The outlook for Thursday, fine and sunny with winds picking up in the Var and highs of 18 degrees. Friday, sunny intervals in the morning, clouding over by the afternoon, highs of 15 degrees with strong winds in the Var.


Sunrise       08.00am

Sunset        05.20pm

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