French and Riviera News Wednesday 2nd December 2020


Ski resorts - “Don’t go skiing in Switzerland or Italy” is the message from French President Emmanuel Macron, who has announced plans to take “restrictive and dissuasive measures to prevent the French from going skiing abroad, especially in Switzerland. The Head of State said on Tuesday that he did not want to "create a situation of imbalance with stations in France".

With ski lifts closed in France for Christmas the Head of State said that he understood "the anguish of elected mountain officials and professionals" and assured that everything was being done to "be able to start again as soon as possible in January" when there will be more visibility" on the Covid-19 epidemic. Faced with the discontent of mountain professionals, the French government has announced a series of aid measures, in particular compensation for ski lifts closed in December, and a partial unemployment scheme for seasonal workers.

Meanwhile French MP Pascale Fontenel-Person has suggested postponing the winter and spring school holidays to “save” the winter sports season saying that this would make it possible to limit the number of visitors to the stations, while spreading the season over a longer period.

Vaccination – During Tuesday’s press conference President Macron also announced that a general public vaccination programme will take place "between April and June" after the vaccination of the most vulnerable groups. Speaking during the press conference with the Belgian Prime Minister, Macron said that the first wave of vaccinations, which will "not be a general public campaign" will take place as soon as possible after approvals had been received, "between the end of December and the beginning of January."

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jean Castex has said that elderly people in nursing homes will be vaccinated as a priority and that he will give details of the government's vaccine strategy from this Thursday.

Travel - The French Minister of Transport has said that people will be able to take the train or plane as soon as lockdown is lifted. Speaking in an interview on French television the minister said that "100% of trains" would be available and that tickets would be exchangeable or refundable until the day of departure. He added that he expects the supply of plane tickets to be tripled compared to the confinement period.

Covid-19 - Figures published on Tuesday have shown that the number of hospitalized patients with Covid-19 in France has dropped below the 28,000 threshold. The number of patients in intensive care continues to decline: 3,594 patients with Covid-19 are still in intensive care units, compared to 3,739 the day before. The country has recorded 8,083 new cases of Covid-19 infection in 24 hours, and 365 new deaths according to data from Public Health France. For the first time since November 4th, the number of hospitalized patients fell below the threshold of 28,000, after a peak of more than 33,000 patients reached on November 16th.

World AIDS Day - Associations in the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region have marked World AIDS Day on Tuesday with a strong message saying that “screening is essential”. December 1st marked World AIDS Day and screening remains the key issue in the fight against HIV which began more than 40 years ago. 38 million people around the world live with HIV. In France last year, 1.7 million new infections were identified. The Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region is also the third most affected metropolitan region. In 2020, there were 650,000 fewer tests compared to 2019 and because of the Covid epidemic, HIV testing has been neglected.

Toys - The CCAS of Menton is appealing for donations of toys for children from families in difficulty in the town. Because of Covid-19 there will be no chalet this year and only new toys are being accepted. Donations of toys can be left at the CCAS at 4 Promenade Maréchal Leclerc in Menton from December 7th to 18th.

Le Lavandou to Corsica to raise awareness on marine pollution - Extreme free diver Michel Nox, has swum from Le Lavandou in the Var to Corsica to raise awareness on marine pollution. Accustomed to sporting achievements, 46-year-old Nox, swam 236km in eight days.

Monaco property remains resilient - Savills Monaco - Despite this very special context, we were surprised by the resilience of the Monegasque market and its ability to ensure business continuity. Whether rental or acquisition, the market has remained extremely dynamic and Monaco managed to maintain a level of transactions equivalent to 2019 in terms of re-sales during the first 6 months of 2020. We are happy to see the region remains very attractive to investors! For more real estate advice go to


The carnage on the UK high street is continuing with the news that all Debenhams stores are to close following the failure of last-ditch efforts to save the ailing chain store. 12,000 people are set to lose their jobs when the 124 stores in the chain close their doors and the news comes just hours after Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia group entered administration putting 13,000 jobs at risk. Debenhams had been in administration since April and hopes of a rescue deal were finally crushed on Tuesday when the last remaining bidder JD Sports withdrew. The 242-year-old business had already been trimming its store portfolio and laying off staff since May as it struggled to stay afloat. Tough trading during the coronavirus pandemic has been the last straw for Debenhams and Arcadia who employ more than 25,000 people between them.

Bitcoin has been continuing its recent meteoric rally reaching a peak of 19,920 dollars briefly on Tuesday before falling back. The virtual currency has risen by more than 170 percent since the start of the year with analysts suggesting that some investors have been treating it as a safe haven asset. After reaching a previous peak three years ago, Bitcoin fell back to 3,300 dollars and despite reaching nearly 20,000 dollars on Tuesday, it quickly shed more than 1,500 dollars. Other factors which have prompted the recent rally are a decision by PayPal to allow its platform to be used to buy and sell the virtual currency as well as a number of large institutional investors declaring an interest in buying into funds tied to it.

French tax authorities have confirmed that UK residents who own second homes in France will no longer benefit from the EU exemption from social levies. The news means that UK residents with second homes in France will pay a total tax levy of 36.2 percent on profits when they sell their property. France has become an increasingly popular target for British residents wishing to purchase a holiday home because of attractive prices in many rural areas as well as the amount of stock. UK residents have also been attracted by the relative ease they can reach their second home by air, rail and road but all that will now change after the transition period ends on the 31st of December. Any enquiries about your tax rights in France as a non-resident after the Brexit transition period ends can be made to Blevins Franks who have a useful downloadable guide on their website


Football - Liverpool are through to the last 16 of the European Champions League thanks to a 1-0 win over Ajax at Anfield. Manchester City who were already through shared a 0-0 draw at Porto while Marseille who were out already beat Olympiakos 2-1. Tonight, Chelsea who are already through are away at Sevilla while Manchester United host PSG.

In the English Championship last night Cardiff beat Huddersfield 3-0. Birmingham lost 2-1 at home to Barnsley. Preston were 3-2 winners at Bournemouth. Derby and Coventry drew 1-1. QPR lost 2-1 at home to Bristol City. And Brentford were 2-0 winners at Rotherham.

Formula 1 - Romain Grosjean has said that he “saw death coming” in his crash at the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday. The Haas driver’s car pierced the barrier, split in two and burst into flames on the first lap of the race. Grosjean managed to free himself from the car after 30 seconds with the cockpit halo device thought to have played a major part in his lucky escape. He suffered burns on the back of both hands and is still receiving hospital treatments. Formula 1 is conducting a major safety review.

George Russell could replace Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes at this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix on the Bahrain circuit. Hamilton is out after contracting coronavirus and it's understood that Mercedes have approached Williams to see if they can use Russell this weekend.

Cricket - England have completed a three nil T20 whitewash over South Africa. South Africa made 191-3 from their 20 overs at Newlands before England replied with a total of 192-1 from 17.4 overs to win the match by 9 wickets.

Australia are playing India in the third one day international in Canberra. The match is a dead rubber with Australia having already wrapped up the series. India are batting and were on 133-4 after 26 overs.

Rugby Union - England are favourites to win the Autumn Nations Cup final against France this weekend at Twickenham. Several top French players are not available for the match as their club sides have limited their appearances for the national side to 3 games over the extended autumn Test window.


Partially cloudy with light to moderate westerly winds. Top temperature 12 degrees. Overnight lows of 8 degrees on the coast and 1 degree inland with a widespread frost and clear skies.

Thursday and Friday - Partially cloudy tomorrow with a high of 13. Rain and showers on Friday with a high of 12 degrees.

And finally

Scream to relieve Covid-19 stress? A hotline has been launched along with a website which allows you to scream out load to let out anger. Named “just scream baby” you can call, wait for the beep, shout and hang up, that’s all there is to it. "There is no living human being on the other end of the line."

However, the experience does not end there, as each voice message left on this number is then recorded and broadcast on the site within 24 hours of the call. The service is in fact based on the principle of scream therapy. “The scream as a therapeutic tool was developed in the 1970s to release pent-up emotion.” Screaming, therefore, literally allows you to release the stress stored there so you can move forward.

In Iceland there is the “LET IT OUT” site which offers the same service, only beware! This virtual "cry therapy" goes a little further, because it will become part of reality: the recorded cries will in fact then be broadcast in Iceland, via loudspeakers installed in the most popular places.

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