French and Riviera News Wednesday 8th July 2020

Record success rate for baccalaureate students - This year’s baccalaureate in France has seen a record success rate with 91.5% of the 740,000 candidates passing the exam, marking a sharp increase of 13.7 points compared to last year. Disrupted by the coronavirus crisis. The previous record high school pass rate dates back to 2016 with 88.6%.

In the region more than 9 out of 10 students passed in both the Alpes Maritimes and the Var and in Monaco out of 427 candidates, only two students find themselves having to re-sit with the Principality only just missing the 100% success rate.

Meanwhile French President Emmanuel Macron took to social media platform TikTok sending a message of congratulations on Tuesday to all those that had passed and calling for them to “celebrate” while adding “good luck for the future”. It was the Head of State’s first post on the social media platform.

Swimmer reported missing in La Seyne sur Mer - A man in his fifties has been reported missing after jumping into the sea on Tuesday evening in La Seyne sur Mer in the Var.  The regional surveillance rescue centre for the region, the Cross Med, was alerted shortly after 7.30pm.

Security operation carried out by police in Toulon - Police in Toulon have carried out a “security operation” in the east of the city against drug trafficking in the area.  Thirty police officers from different units took over the Sainte-Musse district on Tuesday, making two arrests in connection with drug dealing.

Prince Albert meets with Professor Didier Raoult - On a private trip to Marseille, His Serene Highness Prince Albert II Monaco has met with former mayor Jean-Claude Gaudin before meeting the team from the IHU of Marseille and Professor Didier Raoult who caused controversy during the Covid-19 pandemic by defending the use of chloroquine as a benchmark drug for lung diseases, saying that it had suddenly been declared dangerous after having been safely used for 80 years.  It was the first meeting between the Professor and Prince Albert. 

Biot - The village of Biot, in the Alpes Maritimes has been given a colourful makeover with the local council planting over 500 flowers and installing 40 hanging baskets around the village. The small medieval village famous for its ceramics and glassblowing, now offers to both visitors and locals a colourful backdrop for long summer evenings.

Four-star hotel in Antibes - The first 4-star hotel in the centre of the old town of Antibes has opened its doors. La villa port d’Antibes and spa had previously had to delay the opening due to lockdown. The hotel, the first of its ranking is located in between the port and the old town and started welcoming its first guests mid-June.


Covid-19 – France’s general health director has announced that there have been 13 more deaths due to coronavirus in the last 24 hours in France, bringing the total number of lives claimed by Covid-19 to 29,933.

Meanwhile according to figures released by INSEE on Tuesday the increase in deaths caused by the coronavirus is more marked for people born in Africa, the Maghreb and Asia than in France. The Institute goes on to say that the fact is that these people reside in populated areas, but many are also "key workers", who continued their activity during the epidemic.

In France, 129,000 deaths from all causes were noted in March and April, during the coronavirus epidemic, compared to 102,800 for the same period in 2019. Representing an increase of 25%. However, large disparities appear according to the country of birth. Thus, the deaths of people born abroad increased by 48% over the period compared to the same period in 2019, compared 22% for the deaths of people born in France, according to figures from INSEE.

Nursing staff in France – France’s Prime Minister Jean Castex has announced that the money to be injected into the health sector in France in order to increase salaries for nursing staff in France would increase by one billion to 7.5 billion euros.

Feminists in France express outrage - Feminists in France have expressed outrage over the appointment of a man accused of rape as Interior Minister.

Feminist militants protested outside the Ministry of the Interior on Tuesday as Gérald Darmanin officially took up his post as Interior Minister.

37-year-old Darmanin, is accused by a woman of having raped her after she sought his help in having a criminal record removed. Last month, appeals judges in Paris ordered the reopening of an investigation into the claims which date from 2009.


The European Commission has said that the economy of countries using the euro currency would likely retract by 8.7 percent this year in a more pessimistic outlook on the continent’s recovery from the Covid-19 epidemic than previously forecast.

The European Commission said the economies of countries that sustained the heaviest tolls of the Covid-19 epidemic, including France, Italy and Spain, would all contract by more than 10 percent before partially recovering in 2021. 

New forecasts saw the eurozone economy bouncing back by 6.1 percent in 2021, meaning it will still be worse off than it was prior to countries shutting down their economies in hopes of slowing the spread of the disease.

US jeans brand Levi’s has announced it is cutting 700 jobs, or about 15% of its corporate staff, due to the downturn caused by the Coivd-19 pandemic.

The firm, hit by a 62% fall in sales in its most recent quarter, said the reductions were necessary "given the uncertainties" of the virus impact.

And - The UK’s Chancellor will announce later today a £2bn "kickstart scheme" planned to create more jobs for young people.

The fund will subsidise six-month work placements for people on Universal Credit aged between 16 and 24 in the UK, who are at risk of long-term unemployment.

Labour welcomed the move but said the government had failed to "rise to the scale of the unemployment crisis".


Football – Chelsea survived a late scare against Crystal Palace in the English Premier league on Tuesday night beating them 2-3. The win means the Blues move above Leicester into third place in the table, five points ahead of fifth-placed Manchester United.

In other games last night Watford beat Norwich 2-1 and Arsenal had their hopes dashed after a one all draw against Leicester city.

This evening’s Premier League action will see Man City play Newcastle, Sheffield United face Wolves, West Ham against Burnley and Brighton play Liverpool.

Meanwhile Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said that his dream is to have a team "full of Scousers" - with all first-team players graduating from the club's academy.

Klopp made clear he is looking for players with a certain outlook rather than judging them by birthplace - pointing to the three year contract this week for England Under-17 winger Harvey Elliott, born in Surrey and a product of Fulham's youth system. 

Some of Liverpool's most notable players have been locally produced, though; former England internationals Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher were both born on Merseyside and emerged from the club's youth system.

Formula One - It’s been reported that the Formula One driver Fernando Alonso is planning to return to the sport next year with Renault.

The Spanish two-time world champion, who will be 39 later this month will accor