French and Riviera News Wednesday 31st May 2023


Negotiations on treaty against plastic pollution blocked - The negotiations on a treaty against plastic pollution, which began on Monday afternoon in Paris, have been blocked by a political showdown. Saudi Arabia and several Gulf countries, as well as Russia, China, India and even Brazil, refuse that the future treaty be approved by a two-thirds majority vote if no consensus is found. Facing them, a majority of countries defend the vote as a last resort. Camila Zepeda of the Mexican delegation declared on Tuesday that “We are missing out on what brings us here, namely plastic pollution” before adding that “we are wasting time and energy in discussions that go round in circles, so let's get to the point."

Meanwhile, some French media criticised the French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday evening, for failing to attend in person the gathering in the French capital and calling for “action” through a video message which was sent to the negotiators meeting. Macron went on to evoke a "time bomb".  According to a projection by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the production of plastics could triple from 460 million tonnes to 1.2 billion tonnes in 2060 if nothing is done. The aim of negotiations was to achieve a "legally binding" text by the end of 2024, a year ahead of the United Nations conference on the ocean being held in Nice

Government’s fight against “illegal medical tourism” could take time to implement - It looks like plans by the French government to merge the identity card and the carte Vitale for social security, may take time to implement. Speaking to French media Gabriel Attal announced that an “interministerial mission” will have to be carried out to determine, "how and in what time frame the merger would be possible". His comments have led reporters to believe that the changes will not see the “light of day in our lifetime” and they also questioned exactly what is “an interministerial mission”?

For the government the measure is part of a vast plan against social security fraud, to fight against "illegal medical tourism".  According to Gabriel Attal, the Minister Delegate in charge of Public Accounts, some people coming to France use "someone else's carte Vitale for health care". To avoid this France is looking towards a similar system which is already used in Portugal, Sweden and Belgium. The Belgians have merged the social security card and the identity card since 2014.

Two-year-old drowns in swimming pool - A two-year-old girl has drowned in an unsecured swimming pool in Toulon in the Var. The incident occurred on Monday evening when the toddler escaped the vigilance of her mother. According to police, the girl was playing with her 4-year-old brother in the garden when the accident occurred, and it was her brother who alerted their mother who was inside the house at the time. Attempts to revive the child by her mother and the arrival of emergency services failed.

This is at least the second accident of this kind in recent weeks in the region. On Saturday April 22, a two-year-old child lost his life after falling into the swimming pool of a holiday home in Cannes. With the warm weather and sunshine, authorities are calling for “caution”. Last month, the Var prefecture updated its website page devoted to safety of private swimming pools and of swimming in general.

Safety at sea - The coastal surveillance brigade are organising open days in the Var, to answer questions about safety at sea. On Friday June 9th they will be at the captaincy of Bandol, June 16th at that of Saint-Mandrier and June 23rd at that of Hyères. Operation “Ocean” runs from 9am to 11.30am and allows you to meet the maritime gendarmes of the coastal surveillance brigade and ask them your questions. The opportunity is also to discuss and better understand the dangers at sea. Essential advice that concerns both boaters, fishermen and those practicing nautical activities.

All the information is also available on the web. For example, on the site or that of the National Society of Rescuers at Sea:, section "news", then "advice".

Port of La Gavine in Hyeres closed - The port of La Gavine in Hyeres in the Var has been closed for the night due to a slick of diesel which spread on Tuesday evening. An anti-pollution dam was set up by emergency services and agents from the port of Hyères to limit any damage and one person was taken care of due to the strong smell lof hydrocarbons.

Truck stuck under bridge following argument - There were major jams for several hours in the city centre of Marseille on Tuesday, after a truck became stuck under a bridge following an argument with another motorist. The lorry driver who became distracted during the  altercation somehow managed to crash the truck under the bridge which was too low, blocking traffic in the area for several hours.

Meanwhile, there was major traffic disruption on the A8 motorway near the Italian border on Tuesday afternoon after a tanker crashed on the A10 motorway in Italy, just after Ventimiglia. A security perimeter was established, and drivers had to exit at Ventimiglia to continue their journey via the secondary road network. The accident had a strong impact on traffic on the A8 motorway, with a jam of nearly 10 kilometres forming at the border. As a result, the Roquebrune-Cap-Martin (junction 58) and Menton (junction 59) exits have been closed towards Italy. VINCI Autoroutes have said that the Italian authorities have requested the implementation of reversal measures for heavy goods vehicles heading for Italy and they are therefore invited to turn around at the La Turbie and Menton interchanges.

Justin and Hailey Bieber enjoy getaway in the Var - Justin and Hailey Bieber have been spotted enjoying time in the Var. While the singer has remained discreet on his social networks his wife, model Hailey has published photos enjoying the vineyards of Correns and a stroll in the village. Local media has suggested that the Canadian singer may be recording his latest album at nearby Chateau Miraval.

Yego self-service scooter service to arrive this Friday in Nice - It’s been announced that the new Yego self-service scooters in Nice will start operating on June 2nd.  Yego, the successor to City Scoot, will initially deploy 200 scooters followed by a gradual increase each week, to reach a maximum of 700 scooters, which will constitute the entire fleet of shared electric scooters in Nice. The company offers a systematic verification of correct parking at the end of each journey and users will now have to take a photo at the time of return certifying that they have left the electric two-wheeler in an authorized public parking space. A Yego team will be responsible for verifying all photos taken by subscribers.

Henri Matisse’s former apartment in Nice is for sale - According to local media Henri Matisse's incredible former apartment in Nice is up for sale. Located in the Cimiez district of Nice, the five roomed apartment was the main residence of the Impressionist painter Henri Matisse for a decade. The painter lived there for many years between the winter of 1916-17 and his death in 1954, considering the Côte d'Azur to be a paradise. The apartment is located in the prestigious Le Régina residence. The Régina attracted many notable figures and residents and was built as a luxury hotel for royals and dignitaries, who sought out a suitable place to stay while in Nice, namely Queen Victoria of England. Other notable visitors included Winston Churchill, Empress Elisabeth and Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria, and Leopold II of Belgium.  The apartment offers a magnificent view of the entire city. A pergola, a swimming pool, a playground and a tennis court are available in the gardens of the building.


Nvidia was briefly worth $1 trillion on Tuesday, thanks to AI boom. For a few hours the company joined the ranks, as its share price shot up more than 5% before retreating. Shares had already jumped more than 25% last week after the company forecast "surging demand" due to advances in artificial intelligence (AI). Apple, Amazon, Alphabet and Microsoft are the other publicly traded US firms worth more than $1tn (£800bn). Founded in 1993, Nvidia was originally known for making the type of computer chips that process graphics, particularly for computer games.

To mark the start of two new post-Brexit trade deals a shipment of British goods, which will include signed Beano comics, are to be sent to Australia and New Zealand. The deals mean all tariffs on UK goods exports to Australia and New Zealand will be removed, while the UK government says red tape has also been slashed for digital trade and work visas. Alongside the new trade deals, ministers say young Britons will benefit from opportunities to travel to Australia with the expansion of the shared Youth Mobility and Working Holiday Maker visa schemes.

And – In the UK Rail passengers are set to suffer further travel disruption over the next few days due to more strikes in long-running disputes over pay, jobs and conditions. Train companies are warning that services will be "severely reduced" because of industrial action by drivers and other workers.


Tennis - The last day of the first round of Roland-Garros was marked by the elimination of world number 2 Daniil Medvedev, but also by the superb victory of Frenchman Gaël Monfils, in five sets. The second round of Roland-Garros begins today with several matches, including Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic.

And Britain's Cameron Norrie says he is relishing playing in "the tough moments" as he prepares to face home player Lucas Pouille at the French Open. Norrie, seeded 14th, plays qualifier Pouille this evening at 7pm French time.

Football - Juventus will pay a 718,000 euro (£620,000) fine as part of a settlement agreement with Italian football authorities over a case concerning payment of player salaries. Juventus were docked 10 points last week over a separate investigation into the club's past transfer dealings. The settlement means Juventus have accepted that 10-point penalty and will not receive a further points deduction. It brings an end to any ongoing cases involving the Turin club.

Meanwhile, five men who illegally streamed Premier League football matches to tens of thousands of people have been jailed. The gang sold cut-price £10-a-month subscriptions, bragging they made money showing games not otherwise available to watch live in the UK because of "blackout" broadcasting rules. Their operation, described as the biggest so far, received more than £7m from 50,000 subscribers. The sentencing follows a rare private prosecution by the Premier League.

In the Europa League final tonight Sevilla play Roma. Kick off is at 9pm French time.

Rugby Union - The Rugby Football Union will decide today whether to grant London Irish an extra week to complete a takeover. Irish's owners have been in talks with an American consortium over the sale of the Premiership side. A deadline of 30 May had been set by the RFU, otherwise the club risked suspension from the Premiership.

Cricket - Josh Tongue will make his Test debut against Ireland at Lord's on Thursday in an England side that will also include Jonny Bairstow.


Cloud clearing giving way to sunshine and highs of 25 degrees in Nice and Cannes, 24 degrees in Monaco and 23 degrees in Saint Tropez. A moderate breeze. Thundery showers are forecast for Marseille with highs of 22 degrees. Those showers are expected to reach the hinterland of the Alpes Maritimes and the Var by late afternoon.

This evening going down to 17 degrees with clear skies. The outlook for Thursday and Friday, mainly fine, some scattered showers inland. Highs of 24-25 degrees.

Sunrise       05.52am

Sunset        09.04pm

Beach weather forecast

Nice – Sea temperature 19 degrees. Air temperature 24 degrees mainly fine. UV level 8.

Saint Tropez - Sea temperature 20 degrees. Air temperature 25 degrees. Cloudy to begin with clearing by this afternoon. UV level 8.

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