Tips and Topics In France, Corsica and Monaco 2008 onwards

Factfile News and Information

July 2011 French Government drops plans to tax holiday home owners

Following the controvesal proposal to tax holiday home owners in France (see below), A meeting was held on the weekend of the 18th / 19th June -11 with President Nicolas Sarkozy, Budget Minister François Baroin and senators representing French nationals living abroad, the proposed tax was dropped.According to a report in Citywire Money "The decision to scrap the tax may well have rested on the fact that French expats – who would also have been subject to the new tax – will for the first time have a chance to vote next year in the presidential elections. Sarkozy is currently seeking a second term in office".

June 2011 French Government plans to tax holiday home owners — June 2011

Sarkozy's plan to tax holiday homes alarms 'les rosbifs' By John Lichfield in Paris

Apparently this tax, due to take effect in January 2012, will apply to second homes owned by non-residents, whether they are French or foreign!

Up to 360,000 homes could be affected, about half of which are thought to be owned by British nationals.

Under the new law, the taxman would charge 20 per cent of the theoretical annual "rental value" of a second home, whether it is rented out or not. Homes rented out full-time will be exempt, since their owners are already assumed to pay sufficient French tax.

Holiday home owners currently pay domestic property taxes — Taxe d'habitation (if applicable TV Licence include — L'audiovisuel public) and Taxes foncieres.

Read the rest of the aricle Here .

November 2010 French Radio London — FRL launches on the 17th November 2010

French Radio London Limited (FRL) is to launch in London on the 17th November having secured a channel slot on the London II DAB digital radio multiplex. FRL will be the capital's first French language terrestrial broadcast station and is aimed primarily at London's 400,000 native French speakers. It will also appeal to the huge Francophile community – 14 million British people visit France every year, the largest group of foreign visitors to La Belle France.More information Here

May 2010 Freak waves cause havoc in the Nice area of the South of France

Massive waves have hit the French Riviera between Nice and Cannes causing major material damage to the densely-populated coast on Tuesday afternoon 4th May. The freak weather struck as the region is preparing to host the 63rd Cannes Film Festival. Freak waves battered the southern French coast between Menton to La Ciotat on Tuesday afternoon, causing major damage to beach constructions only a few days before the Cannes Film Festival is set to begin. More information Here

March 2010 Insurance advice following storms in France this week

LA tempête Xynthia, which ripped through south west France during Saturday 27th February and Sunday morning 28th February 2010, has been declared a catastrophe naturelle by Prime Minister François Fillon. This means insurance companies are obliged to take into account flood damage and the government will publish details of the areas covered in the next 48 hours. Property insurance company Intasure have asked owners of properties damaged by the storm winds that hit south west France to contact them so that any claims can be processed. Intasure are asking policy holders to take photographs of the damage that has been caused and to get written quotes for the work required. More information Here

February 2010 French Riviera covered in Snow

Snow hit the French Riviera in the last week and this secene was typical and the property is located only 2.5 km from the sea. We received an email news sheet from The Riviera Times on Friday 12th February. They said" While most of our northern neighbours are only just recovering from snow and blizzards, the Riviera is bursting with life and colour under an azure blue sky... More on this story Here

February 2010 BCC Riviera Goes International — 31st January 2010

The BCC (British Chamber of Commerce) Riviera has a new look for the new year. It has taken the decision to undergo a name change, and will now be known as the Riviera Business Club — the network for international business people. Whilst the organisation will still be backed by the BCC, it is felt that the new name will better reflect the growing international composition of the club's membership — and help to broaden its reach across a part of France which attracts a wide range of nationalities. More on this story Here

December 2009 Winner of the 2009 BCC Business Person of the Year announced on Saturday 28th November 2009

The Riviera Business Person of the Year Gala was held in a new format.Around 100 international business people descended on the Riviera Marriott Hotel in Cap d'Ail on November 28th to find out who had won the BCC Riviera Business Person of the Year for 2009. It was a black-tie event that was a perfect mix for business and pleasure.

BCC Riviera's president Ab Kuijer said in his opening address that times are still tough for business owners, but that people are adapting to the new situation and that new business is moving. The role of the BCC Riviera is more than ever to stimulate that movement amongst each other. More on this story Here

October 2009 Motorail Services terminating in France

24th October 2009: There was a report in one of the Saturday newspapers today saying that the Rail Europe’s French Motorail service was to cease. This was a great way for the motorist who wanted to take their car to France without driving long distances and clocking up a lot of mileage. You simply took the car ferry or Channel Tunnel to Calais and the car went on the train and you stayed in the passenger compartment of the train and it travelled through the night.More information Here

October 2009 Major improvement project at the Port of Nice that could cause property prices to rise

Work has just started tjhis week on a three phase restoration project of the port in Nice, France that will make it more accesible to the main city, have underground parking and wider pavements.The 120 million budget programme should be completed in 2011. More Information here

September 2009 LD Lines and Celtic Link Ferries New agreement for Ireland — France Route

As part of a re-organisation of its Ireland – France ferry services, LD Lines has announced a new ship charter agreement with ferry operator Celtic Link Ferries. LD Lines’ vessel Norman Voyager, will now be operating under charter to Celtic Link Ferries from 29 September 2009. "The new commercial agreement between the two companies on the Ireland – France link is a significant move by LD Lines in consolidating ship deployment and meeting customer demand", as LD Lines’ Managing Director, Christophe Santoni explains. More Here

September 2009 Celtic Link Ferries (Ireland) New Route Announcement

Celtic Link Ferries (Ireland) Ltd are pleased to announce the the acquisition of a new vessel and the opening of a new service between Cherboug in northern France and Portsmouth in southern England. The new service will commence in October 2009. The Vessel will have a capacity of 130 trucks or 500 cars, and will be capable of carrying 1000 passengers. ALL PASSENGERS AND FREIGHT CUSTOMERS WILL BE ABLE TO TRAVEL 365 DAYS A YEAR ON THE NEW ROUTE!!! More Here

August 2009 Flying Swimming Pool at Biot, Alpes Maritime in the South of France

The peace and tranquillity of this picturesque hilltop village located between Antibes and Nice was disturbed for a few minutes in the late morning of Friday 28th August 09 around 11.00 a.m. Notices had gone up in the village's additional parking zone in Chemin due Jeu de la Beaume, a large area of grass opposite the Biot football ground that a helicopter would be landing to collect a swimming pool. Out of the sky came the red monster that landed and collected a swimming pool that had recently been off loaded from a transporter. More on this Here

August 2009 Tourist trapped in French town hall overnight

A young British tourist was locked in overnight at the Hôtel de Ville at Dannemarie in lower Alsace France on Friday night. 22nd August 2009. Apparently she went into the building on Friday evening to used the toilet. The mayor of Dannemarie Monsieur Paul Rumbach is reported to have said that she assumed the Hôtel de Ville was not the town hall but an hotel. Before locking up the staff thought they heard a noise in the toilet, but did not check.

The tourist tried switching on and off the town hall’s lights to attract attention and then fixed a message to the front door in broken French saying she was locked in. She had to spend the night in the entrance hall. On Saturday morning a local chemist noticed the message and she was shortly released from her ordeal. The mayor is thinking of putting up a translation in both English and German (this area of France is close to the Herman border) saying that Hôtel de Ville means “Town Hall” or Rathaus. If she was able to have put up the message in broken French she would have realized that building was a town hall and probably just went in to use the toilet.

July 2009 French housing market moving again

According to a news report in the August 09 edition of "Living France" magazine after several slow months, there are certain factors that are coming in to stimulate the French property market. Le Crédit Lyonnais (LCL) has received a record number of mortgage applications in May — some 3,000 application from domestic and international buyers. Properties are now being offered for sale at much more realistic prices. The mortgage broker CAFPI forecasts that the price of luxury properties in France will remain stable in 2009.

May 2009 French Property Tax Deadline

If you own a property in France you should have completed your tax return by the 31st May. The French tax authorities could have sent you the fdecration form "Avis Impôt sur le revenue". They have a specialist department for non resident owners "CDI Non Residents" at 93465 NOISY-GD- CEDEX. If you don't actually let your property, you must not ignore the form, fill it in and send a letter explaining that you don't let the property or have stopped letting it.More information here

May 2009 Monaco Grand Prix and Cannes Film Festival

The Grand Prix was won by British driver Jensen Button won (Brawn) 2nd Brazillian Rubens Barrichello (Brawn) 3rd Finland's Kimi Raikkonen.

In Cannes, Austrian Michael Haneke won his first Palme d'Or with his parable of fascism, "The White Ribbon" and Charlotte Gainsbourg takes best actress award for her role in Lars von Trier's Antichrist.The best actor award went to Christoph Waltz who plays a linguistically brilliant Nazi – the "Jew Hunter". There was a British winner for the Cannes Jury prize Andrea Arnold who won her second Jury Prize for Fish Tank about a a fearless, troubled 15-year-old whose life changes when her terrible mother finally goes out with someone nice.

May 2009 Visitors Down on the Riviera

The Riviera Reporter has reported that an area that is under strain on the Riviera is the visitors numbers as economic considerations suggest some tourists will stick to a "stay-cation" this year. Both the Monaco Grand Prix and the Cannes Film Festival figures are down and it was even possible to book hotel rooms a month before those dates for the first time in decades. Some hotels along the coast are accepting 1 day bookings when they normally insist on 4 to 5 nights during peak months. The Riviera Reporter comments " There'll be more room to spread your towel on the beach this summer"

April 2009 Monaco F1 Grand Prix 2009

The Formula one motor racing Grand Prix takes place in the streets of Monaco on the weekend of the 21st to 24th May. Qualifying is on Saturday 23rd and the race itself on the 24th May. The Historic Monaco Grand Prix (Grand Prix de Monaco Historique)is not being held this year, as it is held every other year. Meanwhile in the April/May 2009 edition of The Riviera Reporter they report "Monaco now has 400 eyes watching your every move as the latest surveillance cameras have been installed and your number plate is checked as you enter."

April 2009 Aer Lingus London Gatwick Hub offers new services to Nice

From the end of April 2009 Aer Lingus is flying twice daily from London Gatwick (their new Engligh hub)to Nice. The Irish low cost operator Ryanair is resuming it's service from the end of April till the 23rd of October from London Stanstead to Toulon-Hyères. This is more convenient than Nice for residents in the Var. There will be flights four days a week with a daily service in July and August.

March 2009 Drink Drive laws in Italy Update — Take great care if you take the car you rent in the South of France into Italy for the day.

Italy Magazine's March 2009 edition reports that the new Codice della Strada (The Highway Code) has stated that if you drink more than three glasses of wine or more than one brandy you will not pass Police alcohol tests. Apart from having the driving license suspended up to a year, the vehicle can also be confiscated and sold by the state.

February 2009 AMB Cote d'Azur reaches the grand age of being five years old!

Launched in February 2004, and starting from humble beginnings, the site has grown from just one writer Alice Barker, to having a fabulous team of over 20 writers, all passionate about the beautiful region. AMB Côte d’Azur was created by husband and wife team, Alice and Nigel Barker. Using Nigel’s extensive technical computer background and Alice’s desktop publishing skills, the website became the natural vehicle to share their combined love and interest of this beautiful region of France.

February 2009 Monaco scraps the land extension plan

The scheme to extend Monaco's land area by 275,000 m2 off Fontvielle has been cancelled till further notice.It was going to cost in the region of 10 billion and the official explanation of the decision to scrap the scheme emphasizes the need for further assurance that the environmental consequences are minimised as far as possible.

February 2009 Buying or selling info in France

If you need to check out what property has sold for in France then you need to visit The data is provided by Notaires. You'll find prices and indices for each type of property (house, apartment, land) based on its geographical location (region, department, municipality, district, neighbourhood).

February 2009 Pancake Day — As reported in the Riviera Reporter February / March 2009

In the UK, of course it is Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent starts. That is Mardi gras in France, but it is not the day when crêpes are traditionally eaten in France. The date is February 2nd and the day is known as Chandeleur. In English in Catholic times Candlemas. In modern churchspeak it is the feast of the Purification, marking Mary's presenting Jesus at the temple in Jerusalem forty days after his birth. Where the old customs holds sway in France pancakes shouln't be eaten on that day before eight o'clock in the evening. Anyone who wishes, can have a go at tossing a crêpe in the pan. If this is done successfully then it is a sign that the person will have a propsperous year. Source Riviera Reporter

February 2009 Nice Carnival Celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2009

The Nice Carnival (Le Carnaval de Nice ) 2009 takes place from 13 February to 1 March 2009. It is one of the biggest Mardi Gras carnivals in the world. There will be the illuminated corsi carnavalesques (carnival floats) and the famous battle of flowers. The burlesque and poetic parades are a coming together of floats made from papier-mâché or covered in flowers, accompanied by performances from street artists and groups of musicians. The procession is made up of 20 floats decorated according to a theme and about 150 “large heads”; it turns into a colourful parade of dazzling colours into which blend the street artists and groups of musicians from around the world. In the evening, all the floats are illuminated and the procession lights up the whole of Nice.

The 2009 themes conjures up "the art of masquerading in all its senses": the wearing of masks, of course, changing one’s appearance and putting on a performance, in short, the art of deception. From simple dressing up to cosmetic surgery, carnival is no longer the only kingdom of cross-dressing and trickery in all its possible guises, obviously in a modern and delirious fantasy setting.

February 2009 Monaco scraps the land extension plan

The scheme to extend Monaco's land area by 275,000 m2 off Fontvielle has been cancelled till further notice.It was going to cost in the region of 10 billion and the official explanation of the decision to scrap the scheme emphasizes the need for further assurance that the environmental consequences are minimised as far as possible.

February 2009 Buying or selling info in France — If you need to check out what property has sold for in France then you need to visit . The data is provided by Notaires. You'll find prices and indices for each type of property (house, apartment, land) based on its geographical location (region, department, municipality, district, neighbourhood).

February 2009 French ban promoting mobiles to children

New laws are to be put into place clamping down on children's use of mobile phones in France amid growing fears that they may cause cancer and other diseases. Jean-Louis Borloo, the Environment Minister for France announced recently that any advertising of mobiles to children under 12 is to be banned. The French government will also introduce new limits for radiation from the phones and make it compulsory for handsets to be sold with earphones, so that users can avoid irradiating their heads and brains. And one of the country's largest cities last month started an advertising campaign to discourage the use of the phones by children.

January 2009 French Prime Minister Francois Fillon unveiled a multi-billion-euro stimulus plan

It is targeting the transport and housing sectors, as well as research and heritage renovation work. The French government is now under intense pressure to show how the project will perform and protect workers from the economic downturn. Many unions are demanding a back-up recovery plan to boost consumer spending by increasing pensions and salaries. Around 870 million euros will be invested in the transport network, 730 million euros into research and universities, 620 million on culture and heritage renovation work, and 1.1 billion euros used to build and renovate social housing. Several billion more are spread across dozens of small-scale projects, from energy-efficient farming to boosting security in mental hospitals, with planned investments pulled forward to the period 2009-2010

January 2009 Is this the end of French News?

After 21 years in print, the publishing house succumbs to lack of cash flow. French News is for sale. The company was put into liquidation on December 2. The self-financed publishing house did not have enough reserves of capital to face the credit crunch.They were unable to print the December edition, however it has come out on line and they are running a campaign to raise funds to-relaunch the publication.

January 2009 FRANCE Magazine Scoops Awards

FRANCE Magazine had cause to celebrate at this year’s French Travel Article of the Year awards after a story we featured scooped top honours in the magazine category and then went on to win the Best Article of the Year award. From the sea to the source by Judy Armstrong – an account of Judy’s trip of a lifetime cycling the length of the River Loire – was published in the February UK issue of France and received the highest total mark from the judging panel.

January 2009 Fierce storms devastate southwest France

Weather forecasters warned again that those regions devastated by the storms could see damage by flooding and further gales..The fiercest storm since December 1999 killed at least nine people in southwest France and 12 in northeast Spain as gusts uprooted trees, damaged buildings and initially left 1.7 million homes without power. French rescuers scrambled Sunday to reopen railways, douse forest fires and restore power to nearly a million homes plunged into darkness by a violent storm

January 2009 Midem — Cannes (Marché International du Disque et de l'Edition Musicale) January 2009

8,000 participants, spanning all sectors of the global music business, from over 80 countries left Cannes on the 21st Januarytaying that MIDEM 2009 had served as a launching pad for them to examine new business models that embrace digital and that they are facing the future with confidence. 60s British pop and rock icon Donovan took Cannes by storm with live performances including one which hushed assembled journalists attending a press conference by the singer.

January 2009 The Monte Carlo Rally — Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo 21-24 January 2009

World junior champion, French man Sébastien Ogier, driving a Peugeot 207 S2000, won the 2009 Rally of Monte Carlo ahead of two other Peugeot drivers, Freddy Loix of Belgium and French compatriot Stephane Sarrazin.The Citroen World Rally Championship (WRC) driver was making a one-off appearance in the Intercontinental Rally Championship (IRC)

November 2008 Brittany Ferries takes delivery of new vessel

In December Brittany Ferries takes delivery of their new ship, Armorique before fitting her out for service in March 2009. It will operate between Plymouth and Roscoff and has been named after the Breton national park and has cost 120 million. On 10 February 2009 it will commence service. In a period of economic gloom and uncertainty, this £100 million investment proves the enduring appeal of France as a tourist destination. The ship’s vibrant, contemporary interiors draw inspiration from the colours of Brittany, and have been designed to offer new levels of space, light, and comfort.

Passengers will enjoy a choice of stylish bars, boutiques, lounges and restaurants as well as two cinemas and dedicated areas for teenagers and children. 248 comfortable en suite cabins are available, with a total of 788 beds. The ship has been custom-built in Helsinki to suit the specific requirements of the Plymouth – Roscoff route, upon which Brittany Ferries was founded 37 years ago. With garage space for 60 articulated lorries, and up to 500 cars, Armorique offers greatly increased capacities for both freight hauliers and holidaymakers, and she carries 120 crew to look after as many as 1,500

November 2008 Speedferries goes into administration

The Joint Administrators regretfully announce the closure of Speedferries Limited Speedferries Limited will now cease to operate services between Dover and Boulogne. They had been offering a fastcraft service between Dover and Boulogne taking just 50 minutes . Prices started at just £27 for a car and 5 people. Meanwhile Norfolkline has announced a special 20% discount for affected SpeedFerries customers who are able to provide proof of an existing reservation. This offer is bookable until the 12th December for all departures in 2008 and 2009 subject to availability.Another carrier, LD Lines have issued an offer for SpeedFerries passengers. The ferry firm is offering a 75 per cent discount on its current prices for people with valid tickets booked on the Dover to Boulogne route. The deal will let customers turn up at the ports of Portsmouth, Newhaven, Le Havre or Dieppe with their tickets an hour in advance for travel before December 17, 2008.

SpeedFerries started in 2004. It had only one high-speed ferry, called SpeedOne. Its founder was Curt Stavis, originally from Denmark.In January 2005 the company was featured in the BBC's Trouble at the Top programme "Fight the Pirates".

SpeedOne, was seized in Boulogne on Thursday evening 6 November 2008 on the basis of SpeedFerries Limited’s debts to the port in relation to port dues and taxes. Curt Stavis, said: "The arrest was totally unexpected, as the authorities had given written confirmation that no legal steps would be taken prior to a meeting planned for 10am today (November 7). "At this meeting SpeedFerries in consultation with its bankers and financial advisors, were to present a proposal for a resolution of the issues relating to outstanding dues and taxes, as well as disputes with the port." The closure of the SpeedFerries service has seen 100 jobs lost.

November 2008 Tour de France to start in Monaco in 2009

Running from Saturday July 4th to Sunday July 26th 2009, the 96th Tour de France will be made up of 21 stages and will cover a total distance of 3,500 kilometres. It starts in Monaco and then through the South of France to the Pyrénés and to Andora and then there wil;l be two days in Spain. Later there are stages in Switzerland. Addining to the international tour fever the 2010 Tour starts in Rotterdam in Netherlands on July 3rd, 2010.

October 2008 Nice Riviera Tourist Pass now available

The Nice Riviera Tourist Pass has been introduced and is ideal for those spending a few days in the city. The pass allows visitors to make the most of unlimited usage of the city’s “Grand Tour” double decker buses and free entrance to attractions like the Monaco exotic gardens, the Russian Cathedral and museums including the Marc Chagall museum. There are also price reductions at selected restaurants and shops. You can have the choice of purchasing a one day, two day or three day pass. More information at More information at .

October 2008 Good time to buy in France according to a report in The Irish Times

The Irish Times reported on the 25th September that it is now a "Good time to buy as French prices fall by up to 25 percent" They reported that a survey in the daily newspaper "Aujourd'hui En France" revealed that prices have already fallen in 2008 between five and twenty five per cent. Marseille that has a large stock of of new unsold property is amongst one of the worst affected areas. It is a different story in Paris where prices have climbed by 9.4 per cent..

September 2008 A film featuring the arrival of Coco Chanel in Grasse — Chanel & Stravinsky l'histoire secrète

22nd September 2008 and many of the streets in the pretty hilltop town of Grasse are blocked off as filming has just started in the old town, featuring the arrival of Coco Chanel in Grasse. The film is entitled "Chanel & Stravinsky l'histoire secrète" (The Secret Story of Chanel and Stravinsky). It will star Anna Mouglaiis as Coco Chanel and Mads Mikkelsen (who was in Casino Royale) is to be Stravinsky.Jan Kounen is directing the film.

It is set in the 1920's. Unfortunately shooting has started just as the excellent summer weather has gone downhill.The film is out in 2009 year and will appear in the Cannes Film Festival . Cannes Film Festival but apparently not in the competition.

August 2008 Villa Léopolda at Cap Ferrat in the Côte d’Azur in the south of France sells for €500m / £390m.

The villa built in the early 1900’s has been sold to a Russian billionaire. It has now smashed the record for the most expensive house in the world. It is set in 20 acres of gardens overlooking Cap Ferrat near the picturesque fishing village of Villefranche-sur-Mer. The villa was originally built for King Leopold II of Belgium. Other owners have been the Angelli family, the founders of Fiat A report from Nice Matin has said that it has been sold by Lily Safra, Edmond Safra’s widow. He was a Lebanese Jewish banking billionaire who was murdered in Monaco in 1999 by his male nurse. The new Russian owner wishes to remain anonymous.

August 2008 Jazz à Juan organisers hit the top

Building on the success of the previous year, the organisers of the Jazz à Juan festival in Juan-les-Pins have just received the results for this year’s festival – and its good news! This year, an increase of 5% was noted in the number of paying visitors with a sale of, on average, 1753 tickets each evening. Only the youth ticket sales were down, decreasing from 5 to 2.5%, as the organisers chose not to apply a reduced price on the evening James Blunt performed. More on this story here

August 2008 LD Lines introduces new route — Dover — Boulogne

The ferry service is for freight and tourist traffic — cars, coaches and foot passengers on four daily return sailings. It will take one hour 45 minutes. Website

July 2008 Former Hotel Le Provençal at Juan Les Pins, south of France is being converted into luxury apartments costing up to 37 million for a penthouse

Le Provençal that was once a famous hotel with spectacular views over Juan Les Pins and the Mediterranean is being revamped. It was originally built in 1926 as a 290 room hotel by American millionaire Frank Jay Gould and its era entertained guests like John F Kennedy, Winston Churchill, Douglas Fairbanks Jnr and Charlie Chaplin.

The hotel closed in 1966 and the 15,000sq m 10 storey white building has stood empty for the past forty years. English property developer Cyril Dennis who has successfully developed a large amount of London's docklands has paid a reported £48 million to the German owner. It is now being re-furbished and being converted into luxury apartments. There will be 56 of these plus 4 studios and the prices are likely to be between €2.7 million and €37 million for one of the penthouses. A parking space will cost €50,000 each and there are 131 of these.

May 2008 Monaco Grand Prix

On a very wet Sunday on the 25th May, Lewis Hamilton won the Grand Prix in a McLaren-Mercedes he was the first Englishman to win the race since Graham Hill in 1969. Second was Robert Kubica BMW Sauber from Poland and third was Brazilian Felipe Massa in a Ferrari who had been on pole position

May 2008 Cannes Film Festival

The Cannes Film Festival's Palme d'Or was won by the French production Entre les murs (The Class) on the 25th May 2008. The film, directed by Laurent Cantet, used teachers and students to chronicle a year in the life of an inner-city school. This is the first time a French film has won the Palme d'Or since Sous le Soleil de Satan by Maurice Pialat in 1987.

Grand Prix GOMORRA de — by Matteo Garrone

Prize of the 61st Festival de Cannes ex-aequo Catherine Deneuve dans for UN CONTE DE NOËL de by Arnaud DESPLECHIN Clint Eastwood pour — for L’ÉCHANGE (The Exchange)

Award for the Best Director ÜÇ MAYMUN (Three Monkeys — Les Trois Singes) de — by Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Jury Prize IL DIVO de — by Paolo Sorrentino Prix d'interprétation masculine Benicio Del Toro dans for CHE de- by Steven SODERBERGH

Best Performance for an Actress Sandra Corveloni dans for LINHA DE PASSE de by Walter SALLES, Daniela THOMAS

Award for the Best Screenplay LE SILENCE DE LORNA de — by Jean-Pierre et Luc DARDENNE

Benicio del Toro won the prize for best actor for his lead role in Guerrilla, Steven Soderbergh's biopic of Che Guevara

The President of the 2008 jury was the American actor Sean Penn

March 2008 Lyon to move to Dubai! Not quite

A Dubai entrepreneur who has fallen in love with Lyon, plans to build a new version of the French city in Dubai. The new district will be called Lyon-Dubai-City and although this will not be a Disney style copy of the city it will be complete with cinemas, cafés and building built in Lyonasise style. It will be about the size of the latin quarter of Paris and the estimated costs are around 500 million. The city will be organised on European lines. In April 2007 it was announced that The Louvre Paris opens "another branch" with a Museum in Abu Dhabi (scroll down this page for this report)

March 2008 Mediterranean building ban

Environment ministers of 14 countries have agreed in principle to ban the construction of commercial and residential developments within 100 metres of the Mediterranean coastline. The new Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) was ratified in Almería by the ministers.

The convention has agreed that along the 29,000 mile shoreline of the Mediterranean that no construction would be permitted within 100 metres of the coast in an effort to help protect the coastline from the damage caused by development and human contact.

Christina Narbona Spain’s minister for the environment and José Fernández Pérez, Spain’s environment ministry Director of coastal areas told a press conference that Albania, Algeria, Croatia, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Malta, Montenegro, Morocco, Slovenia, Syria and Tunisia have all ratified the Barcelona Convention and that Bosnia, Cyprus, Egypt Lebanon, Libya and Turkey have not at this stage, however they are believed to be signing the agreement later in 2008.

March 2008 Vladimire Putin buys a Château near Saint-Tropez

The Daily Telegraph revealed earlier this year that former Russian President Vladimir Putin had bought a Château near Saint-Tropez. According to their report, it is in the process of being renovated in time for the spring. The accommodation includes an inside and outside swimming pool and has 20 30 rooms.

February 2008 Airline News Update

easyJet who has acquirred GB Airaways from the Bland Group will be flying to Corsica. They will offer services from London Gatwick to Ajacio and Bastia and additional routes in France to Montpellier and Nantes. Meanwhile Ryanair has launched it 25th European base at Birmingham. From Birmingham they will offer services to Biarritz, Dinard, Marseille and Perpignan.

February 2008 Ikea sets a provisional date for early 2010 for new store in the South of France

The Swedish furniture group IKEA is intnsifying efforts to finalise a location of it's new store. They have set a provisional date of early 2010 to open the new store. The propsed site at Mougins has been rejected and they are looking at a site at Bec de l'Estéron in the Gillete commune. It is a big site with no problem for access roads.

February 2008 Monaco has a new hotel

The Novotel Monte-Carlo has opened in Boulevard Princesse Charlotte. It is a 218 bedroom hotel that is being marketed as a Three star plus. This means that it will not compete with the luxury hotels or the mid range sector. The hotel intends to attract business and leisure clientel. 18 of the rooms are suites and the hotel also has an outdoor heated swimming pool, a roof terrace, fitness room, two hammams and a 24 hour retaurant. It is located approximately 200 metres from the railway station. Meanwhile whilst France has a smoking ban, Monaco does not. However smoking at the Joël Robuchon restaurant at the Métropole Hotel is no longer an option. Smoking is still allowed in the bar but it is expected that the Moegasque authorities will introduce tougher smoking laws shortly.

February 2008 Increase in passenger traffic at Nice Airport in 2007

The year end report for Nice Airport showed that traffic has now crossed the ten million mark. In 2007 10,385,000 passengers passed through showing a growth of 4.5 per cent on the 2006 figures. The busiest time was May to September.As far as routes are concerned, Paris is the most popular followed by London and Amsterdam. Air France comes out as number one airline followed by easyJet and British Airways. Two new airlines started flying to Nice in 2007 — Ryanair from Dublin and Vueling from Barcelona. There are now 65 destinations in 23 countries flying to Nice.

February 2008 House prices to remain stable in France in 2008

France's national association of estate agents FNAIM (Fédération Nationale de l'Immobilier) has said that after an increase of some 140 per cent over the last ten years, house prices in France will continue to rise in 2008, however this will be a slower rate than in previous years. Their annual report has revealed that in the last quarter of 2007 house prices rose 2.5 per cent. The President of FNAIM René Pallincourt stated that the stability of the market would persist throughout 2008 saying in Le Monde "It apears that any downturn can be dismissed, prices will stabilise within the 0.2 per cent growth range". According to one major French estate agent Orpi, 6.5 per cent of enquiries came from house hunters whereas only 2.5 per cent from vendors.

February 2008 Contrôle technique is modified

The French equivalent to MOT (in UK) / NCT (National Car Test in Ireland) the Contrôle technique will have changes that were introduced on the 1st January 2008 has been modified to allow for the harmonisation process within the European Union. The test still has to be carried out every two years (like in Ireland, but unlike annually in the UK) after it is four years old (as in Ireland but three in the UK). The changes now mean the car can fail if there is a low-level brake fluid, oil leaks or oil on the body of the shock absorber, absence of anti slip material on the break pedal, damage to seat belts, damage to the airbag container and disfiunction of the on-board pollution contol.

January 2008 France goes "Smoke Free" in cafes, bars and restaurants from 2nd January

A ban on cigars, cigarettes and pipes takes effect from midnight on the 1st January. As in Ireland. Sweeden, Italy, Scotland, Wales and then England the sokers are having to move outside if they want to smoke at their local bar or restaurant. The effect has been an increase of sales of outdoor heaters as the law allows smoking to continue on terraces of bars as long as they are open to the elements as has been the case in Ireland and Britain. The ban will also include discos and casinos. Smoking in restaurants has in fact been technically against the law for over 10 years.The law allowed for part of the restaurant to be a non-smoking zone. In February 2007 smoking was banned in airports, railway stations, hospitals, schools, shops and offices. If you are in the south of France and you still need to smoke in these former "smoking areas" go over the border into Monaco.

January 2008 96th Tour de France to start in Monaco in 2009

The Tour de France cycling race will depart from Monaco in 2009.The last time it was started from the south east area of France was in 1981. The 4th July 2009 will be the day that the race commences with a hard 15 km time trial. The starting point will be on the Grand Prix grid at Port Hercule, from there the riders cycle to the Moyenne Corniche above Beausoleil. then progress to Roquebrune Cap Martin and into Monaco again. On Sunday 5th July they will leave the Principality, for the first stage. The Tour has been in Monaco on four occasions in it's history. These were 1939, 1952, 1953 and 1964.

January 2008 Standardisation in French school calendar

From September 2008 the school day is to be standardised throughout France with Primary schools no longer operating classes on Wednesday or Saturdays as there is a switch to a four day week. The school calendar currently varies throughout the country, however the new rules will mean that holidays are no longer staggered and all schools will break up at the same time. Parents will be much happier as well as this means they can go away for a weekend or have a lie in on a Saturday.

January 2008 New Gas checks on properties for sale in France

Since 1st November 2007 all properties offered for sale in France with natural — mains gas services installed more than 15 years ago must include a Diagnostic Gaz in the Dossier de Diagnostic Technique (This is rather like the HIP — Home information pack in England and Wales). It costs around 100 — 150 euros for the test that includes supply pipes, boiler, water heater and radiators. The certificate will be valid for three years and the seller has to organise and pay for this before a compris de vente can be signed. Buying in France More on this story here

January 2008 British and Irish citizens now own 3.81 million properties overseas

The figure does not include timeshares. The research agency Datamonitor has found that 1.21 million properties are owned by permanent Irish or UK residents. There is £44 billion on the overseas property market in 2006 and the research says that growth will be over 13% between 2008 and 2012. The main countries people still choose are France, Spain and the USA.

January 2008 2008 brings in new routes – bases for low cost airlines in France

Ryanair the Irish low cost airline is launching three new routes from Bristol airport to Bergerac in the Dordogne, Pau the gateway to the Pyrénées and Béziers in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. These routes will run three times a week from May 2008.

Meanwhile easyJet is opening two new bases. These will be at Paris Charles de Gaulle and Lyon. The airline is planning to double its presence in France by 2011 and will base five additional aircraft in the two new bases. It is estimated that easyJet will carry some 8 million passengers through French airports in 2008.

Tips and Topics in In France, Corsica and Monaco 2005 to 2007

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