French and Riviera News Friday 19th April 2019

Local

Long queues at Nice International Airport - The mayor of Cannes and chairman of the regions tourism committee David Lisnard has in a letter to France’s Interior Minister, expressed his concern at the long queues affecting border controls at Nice International Airport. Lisnard states in the letter that the “obvious lack of staff does not ensure the correct functioning” adding that there is a “real urgency due to the increased number of passengers expected in the coming weeks due to the Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco Grand Prix”. MP Eric Ciotti has also called for action in order to maintain safety requirements adding that the number of police officers at the border has dropped by 7% between 2017 and 2018.

Traffic Easter weekend - With several hundred thousand motorists planning to hit the roads this weekend in France, due to the Easter break. France’s motorway network Vinci, has warned that traffic will be particularly busy on the region’s A8 motorway in both directions between 3pm and 9pm today and again on Monday between 5pm and 8pm.

Meanwhile the SNCF have announced there will be no train service this Easter weekend between Cannes La Bocca and Les Arcs Draguignan. This is due to renovation work which will take place on the Frayere bridge.

Region’s roads - Part of the Moyenne Corniche has been closed to traffic while work is carried out. Authorities closed part of Avenue Prince Rainier III in Cap d’Ail at 9pm on Thursday. The stretch of road will remain closed until 10pm this evening which means that motorists arriving from Nice will be diverted through Monaco. From 10pm this evening there will be only one lane open as works continues for several months.

A petition to save the flea market “Jas de Robert” in Grimaud -  A petition has been launched to save the flea market “Jas des Robert” in Grimaud. The market which has for the last 30 years been a real institution in Grimaud is under threat as the family owning the land which it is held on has reportedly not renewed the lease which expired at the end of 2018. Every week, without exception “Jas de Robert” attracts thousands of visitors.

I Love Nice - The iconic I Love Nice sign has been fully refurbished and returned to its spot overlooking the Baie des Anges in Nice. The sign, which first appeared after the terror attack of 2016, is now a must for tourists, where it’s estimated the sign has featured in 10 billion photos and social media posts.

Cannes Film Festival - The Cannes Film Festival has revealed 19 films in competition for the Palme D'Or, at this year’s festival. The film world’s biggest including Terrence Malick, Ken Loach and Werner Herzog, have films premiering in May. The festival runs form the 14th to 25th May.

SkyUp Airlines - Nice Côte d’Azur Airport has announced that a new service will be available this summer as the Ukrainian company SkyUp Airlines will run two weekly flights to Kiev on Wednesdays and Saturdays from June 12 until October 26. The announcement confirms the record number of destinations proposed this summer. In total there are 122 including 98 international, operated by 61 companies to 43 countries.

National

Notre Dame - French President Emmanuel Macron has hailed the 'exemplary' actions of firefighters in battling the Notre-Dame blaze. Macron hosted a ceremony for them at the Elysee Palace on Thursday. 600 firefighters were involved in combatting the fire on Monday night and they succeeded in limiting the damage and saving Notre Dame’s iconic towers.

On Thursday evening firefighters and others involved in the effort to save Notre Dame attended a special tribute at Paris City Hall, which was hosted by the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo.

Meanwhile officials announced on Thursday that a temporary wooden cathedral should be built in the shadow of Notre-Dame's famed towers while the building is being repaired. The structure would serve as a home for worshippers and tourists alike. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is understood to have given her approval to the idea.

Micro-currency - French Basque Country has its own micro-currency – and it’s hitting the big time with other European communities hoping to replicate its success. French Basque Country counts a population of just less than 300,000. Inspired to bring Basque pride back to the region, in 2013 about a dozen volunteers launched a euro-equivalent micro-currency and in October 2018, their micro-currency, named the eusko, reached the equivalent of €1 million in circulation, making it the most successful of such monetary experiments in Europe, according to reports.

Today, 17 municipal governments and 820 local shops, businesses and associations in the French Basque Country accept the eusko as legal tender.

Business

Amazon has announced plans to shut its online store in China that allows shoppers to buy from local sellers in a move to downsize operations in the country. The firm said it would no longer run the domestic marketplace from July, but Chinese shoppers will still be able to order goods from Amazon's global store. The retail retreat comes as Amazon faces tough competition from local rivals Alibaba and JD.com.

Debenhams has confirmed that its chief executive Sergio Bucher will step down this week, days after the troubled retailer entered into administration and was taken over by its lenders. A search has begun for Mr Bucher's successor and in the meantime non-executive chairman Terry Duddy will assume the role of interim executive chairman

Shares in the online scrapbook company Pinterest surged more than 28% on its first day of trading, valuing the firm at about £12bn. Pinterest's listing is regarded as an indicator of investor appetite for "unicorns" - private, venture capital-backed firms valued at more than $1bn.

Ride-hailing firm Uber is due to float next month.

Sport

Football - Arsenal beat Napoli 3-0 on aggregate to reach the Europa League semi-finals and Pedro scored twice for Chelsea as they beat Slavia Prague 4-3 (5-3 aggregate) in a thrilling game to progress to the Europa League semi-finals.

And Professional footballers in England and Wales are to boycott social media for 24 hours today, to protest against the way social networks and football authorities respond to racism. It follows a number of high-profile incidents in domestic and international matches this season. Earlier this week, Manchester United captain Ashley Young was racially abused on Twitter.

Cricket - Fast bowler Mohammad Amir has been left out of Pakistan's provisional 15-man squad for the World Cup but included in the squad for the limited-overs series against England that precedes it. Amir missed both the 2011 and 2015 tournaments because of a five-year ban for match fixing. He has been in poor form, taking only five wickets in 14 one-day internationals since Pakistan's Champions Trophy win in 2017.

Rugby Union - Ireland and Ulster captain Rory Best will retire after this year's World Cup in Japan. The hooker made his international debut in 2005 and his tally of 117 caps is the third highest for Ireland. The World Cup runs from 20 September until 2 November.

Weather

Clear skies to start with across the region highs of 23 degrees with a moderate south easterly wind and gust of up to 55 km an hour. Clouding over by this afternoon with some scattered showers inland. This evening going down to 12 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for the weekend and Easter Monday. Saturday, starting off cloudy in Nice and the Alpes Maritimes, clear skies in Saint Tropez and the Var, remaining quite windy. Sunday becoming increasingly cloudy with rain forecast across the region clearing by Monday morning with some scattered showers by the afternoon and highs of 24 degrees.  

 

 

 

 

 

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