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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". Find out more on this Here | Back to top

June 2011 - French Government plans to tax holiday home owners

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. Find out more on this Here | Back to top

April 2011 - Holiday Autos warns that prices could rise by up to 30% in the summer of 2011

International car hire broker Holiday Autos that car hire prices could rise by as much as 30% this summer due to global car shortages brought on by the crisis in Japan. Cars used in France, mainly Peugeots, rely heavily on car parts. More information Here | Back to top

November 2010 - French Radio London FRL launches in under 48 hours time - 17th November 2010 French Radio London Limited (FRL) is to launch in London on November 17th 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| Back to top

October 2010 - Speed limits in France: Don't put yourself in the frame Stick to the speed limit in France, warns Chris Dearden of The Independent – foreign motorists are being targeted - October 2010 "a gendarme on his BMW motorbike overtook us and gestured for us to follow. Half a mile later, we turned in and parked alongside a dozen other cars, all caught in the same speed trap -My friend's on-the-spot fine had been €90, but a Dutch Audi driver had been relieved of €700, courtesy of a nearby cash machine. Working on an average fine of, say, €250, and 20 cars an hour, 10 hours a day, that speed trap could be pulling in €18m a year.

The French are un-ashamedly targeting foreign drivers with mobile speed traps along with instant on-the-spot penalties. And the penalties don't stop at relieving you of some of your holiday money, either. If you are 50kmh over the limit, your licence will be confiscated, posted back to Britain at some indeterminate date in the future, and your six-month ban on French roads starts immediately. Just in case your reaction to this possibility is to turn on your UK legal radar detector as you drive off the ferry, you need to remember that if caught, its use in France will bring about immediate arrest." Read the full article here | Back to top

May 2010 - Volcanic Ash closes airports in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Switzerland and France

According to online reports on the 8th and 9th May European air traffic faces growing disruption again, with a cloud of ash spewing from an Icelandic volcano affecting flights in Spain, France and Portugal. Hundreds of flights were cancelled on Saturday, while many trans-Atlantic services were delayed as they skirted the plume of debris from the Eyjafjoell volcano in Iceland, which plunged air travel across the continent into chaos last month. More information Here| Back to top

May 2010 - Freak waves cause havoc in the Nice area

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.In Nice not only the beaches were closed but also part of its famous Promenade des Anglais. The timing of the natural disaster – days before the opening of the tourist season – could spell economic disaster for the French Riviera. In Nice and Cannes, a state of natural catastrophe has been declared to speed up compensation claims for beach front restaurants, some of whom were forced to watch as 6-metre waves carried their sun loungers and other equipment out to sea, just days before the Film Festival and Grand Prix season. More information Here| Back to top

March 2010 - Election in France in March

France has held regional election on two consecutive weekend in March. It is very interesting to see how the poster campaigns are carried out in different Ireland. Whenever there is an election the correx boards go up. They appear to go any public vertical posts -lamposts, street signs, electric cable support, telephone poles, traffic signs and you will often find several on one post. The roads will be full of them. You will not often see them displayed outside someone's home (like in the UK). In France neat boards are errected for the posters when the campaign starts. These are not correx boards, but posters stuck to the metal municipal allocated zone. More information on this Here with photos as well! |Back to top

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 |Back to top

October 2009 - End of the line for Motorail car on train services in France

The French Motorail service from Calais to the south of France is ending.A message on their website says "The French Motorail service from Calais to the South of France will sadly not be running in Summer 2010. The impact of the current economic climate and significant increases in train running costs, partly due to unfavourable exchange rates, means the service would not be financially viable" More information Here |Back to top

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!!!

The Vessel will be operating under British Flag and her crew will be composed of British seafarers. The Vessel will be used on the CHERBOURG to PORTSMOUTH route during the week and will replace Celtic Link’s MV DIPLOMAT on the current week-end sailing to ROSSLARE. The ship will be used from CHERBOURG to ROSSLARE in Southern Ireland on Fridays and from ROSSLARE to CHERBOURG on Saturdays . With a service speed of 24 knots, the crossing time between the Irish Port and the French Port will be 16 hours. The MV DIPLOMAT will maintain the Tuesdays and Thursdays sailings from Rosslare to Cherbourg and the Wednesdays and Sundays sailings from Cherbourg to Rosslare. The MV DIPLOMAT will be used on the CHERBOURG - PORTSMOUTH route during the week-end while the new Vessel is on the FRANCE to IRELAND route, giving Customers a guarantee of a daily departure from either CHERBOURG or PORTSMOUTH. For both passenger and freight Customers, CELTIC LINK FERRIES (IRELAND) LIMITED will be the cheapest of all operators on the Western Channel and Irish Continental routes.Source Celtic Link Ferries |Back to top

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.

"We are totally committed to developing the new Rosslare – Cherbourg service, but to ensure the Norman Voyager is utilised to maximum efficiency, we are pleased to have reached agreement with Celtic Link Ferries." “In continuing tough trading conditions, it is essential that we maximise our business opportunities both in terms of operations and managing costs, whilst providing our customers with high levels of service and frequency. With this new agreement we are very confident that this will succeed.” Norman Voyager has capacity for up to 800 passengers, 200 cars and up to 120 freight vehicles. On board facilities include 110 cabins, bar, restaurant, lounges and shop. She has previously operated on LD Lines’ Portsmouth – Le Havre and Rosslare - Le Havre routes since being introduced in November 2008. Source: LD Lines |Back to top

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. |Back to top

August 2009 - Thin end of the wedge - Sunday and bank holiday opening in France

Unlike Britain and Ireland, supermarkets and DIY stores remain closed in France and the only shops open were smaller food, newsahents, pharmacies and gift shops. For the past three / four years major supermarkets like Carrefour have been opening on bank holidays and now retailers like Intermarche Bricolage (the DIY part of Intermarche have been starting to open on a Sunday as well. Now three workers in the département of Ain have been sacked after they refused to work on Sundays.

The employees stated family commitments as the reason for not agreeing to work, but the major supermarket wrote to them and dismissed them Now the three former employees are pursuing the issue through the civil justice system. The debate on opening on Sundays is not back in the public arena and a law setting out the Sunday opening trading regulations has been approved by French legislators and will result in certain areas and industries being given the right to open on a Sunday.|Back to top

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. More on this here |Back to top

July 2009 - Ryanair to charge £5 to check in on line from October 09

From October 1st the low cost carrier will be charging every customer £5 to check in on line when it introduces its new web check-in and bag-drop system.. Passengers can check-in online from 15 days to four hours before a flight If passengers forget or are unable, they will be charged £40 to be checked in at the airport. The airline will also charge £100 to change the name on a booking online, or £150 over the phone. |Back to top

July 2009 - Changing babies nappies in French restaurants

Is it a coincidence or a nasty habit, two days running seeing babies being changed on restaurant tables in full view of the other customers. More on this here at the blog |Back to top

June 2009 - French tax law changes aimed boosting the property market

The Ammendement Bouvard was introduced on the 1st April. This new French tax law that is aimed at boosting the property market and inceasing construction, it has got some property agents excited. It has brought the advantages of the Loi Scellier to leaseback properties. The law allows French tax residents to offset 25 per cent of the price of a property in a tourism residence (up to  300,000) against personal income tax for nine years.|Back to top

June 2009 - Good news for those dining in French Restaurants this summer

France is cutting the rate of VAT in restaurants and cafes from the current rate of 19.6 per cent to 5.5 per cent. This should mean the costs of meals will be 10% less. The move is at the start of the main two month tourist season in France . France’s Minister for the Economy, Christine Lagarde said that allowing people to continue to dine out will encourage improvement in France's area of expertise..The reduction in VAT is going to let France ... conserve and improve its culinary reputation. More on this stors here at the jmlvillas blog |Back to top

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" |Back to top

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 |Back to top

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 |Update May 2009: British driver Jensen Button won (Brawn) 2nd Brazillian Rubens Barrichello (Brawn) 3rd Finland's Kimi Raikkonen. lBack to top

April 2009 - theFrenchPaper has now launched!

After 8 months of hard work, sleepless nights and plenty of strong coffee, the first issue of theFrenchPaper is now officially on sale across France. At only €2.50 it's terrific value. Packed with great reads, three fantastic pull out sections and full colour throughout we hope you find it a pleasure to read. Our goal is simple - to be France's quality national newspaper in English. To achieve this the paper has four distinctive sections; The 'main paper' has the latest news and critical analysis from across the country, with expert comment, provocative debate and highly practical advice. The 'Living' section celebrates all that is great about living in France - from food and wine to travelling and culture - and reveals how others have managed to forge new lives here. There is a whole section dedicated to 'Kids' to cater for the growing number of families settling in France; and the 'Work & Money' section is packed with practical financial advice and stories about running a business or being employed in France. lBack to top

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. |Back to top

April 2009 - Holiday Homes in the News

Holiday homes are very much in the news at the moment. It is the time when owners of self catering properties much achieve their booking quotas and especially in 2009 when many prospective holiday renters are searching for bargains.More Information here |Top of page

February 2009 - LD Lines introduces new service 6 months early

LD Lines ( has brought forward the introduction of it's new service between Boulogne and Dover to start on the 12th February 2009, 6 months ahead of schedule.They also have services between Le Havre and Portsmouth, Dieppe and Newhaven, Dieppe and Dover and Le Havre to Rosslare in Ireland|Top of page

easyJet launches new UK to Corsica flights

easyJet is introducing flights from Bristol to Bastia in May 2009 and Manchester to Bastia in August 2009.|Top of page

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). |Top of page

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.|Top of page

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 |Top of page

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 |Top of page

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. |Top of page

January 2009 - TV ads coming off French TV or some of it

Following President Sarkozy's involvement with the state owned French TV channels France 2 - 5 and his desire for them to be like the BBC, The board of France Télévisions voted by nine to two in favour of scrapping advertising after 8pm from the 5th January 2009. The decision will affect all four of the country's TV Channels and there will be a blanket ban from 2011. The shortfall in revenue will be funded through two new taxes. One of these will be levied on Internet service providers and another on the extra advertising revenue channelled to the private TV channels. |Top of page

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. |Top of page

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.|Top of page

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. |Top of page

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) |Top of page

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. More information on MIDEM | Top of page

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. |Top of page

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.| Top of page

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. | Top of page

November 2008 - Reims Jazz Festival

The annual jazz festival takes place between the 12th to 22nd November taking place at the Domaine Pommery Champagne House. It dates back to 1994 and hosts a variety of innovative jazz contemporary, fusion, concerts. The festival is regarded as a springboard for young musicians through its support for up-and-coming talent

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 | Top of page

October 2008 - Paris Motor Show celebrates 110th year

President Sarkozy pledged some  400 million of state support for development of non-polluting vehicles after he visited the world's most frequented car show in Paris.The show in the past has unveilled classics like the Citroen DS in the past. This year French car manufacturers, Renault Citroen, Peugot were there in force. | Top of page

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 the tourist office website | Top of page

September 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 but apparently not in the competition. | Top of page

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 | Top of page

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 | Top of page

July 2008 - Former Hotel Le Provençal at Juan Les Pins, south of France is being converted into luxury apartments

Le Provençal that was once a famous hotel with spectacular views over Juan Les Pins and the Mediterranean is being revamped. Located near to the site of the annual Juan Les Pin Jazz festival -Jazz à Juan. 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.| Top of page

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.| Top of page

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 More Information | Top of page

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| Top of page

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)| Top of page

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. | Top of page

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. | Top of page

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.| Top of page

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.| Top of page

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.| Top of page

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.| Top of page

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. | Top of page

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.| Top of page

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. | Top of page

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. Nearly 60 per cent of teachers and 80 per cent of parents are opposed to Saturday classes. One of the parents is President Nicolas Sarkozy who has an eleven year old .| Top of page

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.| Top of page

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.| Top of page

October 2007 - From the 17th November 2007 — Low cost carrier Ryanair strats flights between Dublin and Nice

Aer Lingus's monopoly of flights between Dublin and Nice will end when a daily Ryanair flight starts. Ryanair will also be operating routes to Marrakesh and Fez in Morocco from Nice Cote d'Azur and Marseille from October 31st. 2007 | Top of page

October 2007 - Founder of Ryanair — Dr Tony Ryan dies

Dr Tony Ryan the Ryanair airline founder and entrepreneur died at his home in Co Kildare, Ireland on the 3rd October 2007 after an 18 month battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 71. Michael O'Leary chief executive of Ryanair who was Tony Ryan's personal assistant said," It was a privilege to work for him and to learn from him". More on this story here. | Top of page

October 2007 - Report shows house prices in the Alpes-Maritimes- South of France are still on Increase

The Observatoire Immobillier report for the Côte d'Azur that monitors house prices in the Alpes Maritimes shows house prices are still on the increase. It states that in the first quarter of 2007 buyers were spending 5 per cent more on modern houses and 10 per cent on established ones compared to the same period in 2006. Only 1,400 new build properties have been released in the first six months of 2007 which is 30 per cent less than in 2006. | Top of page

September 2007 - Inheritence tax threshold raised in France to boost property market

President Nicolas Sarkozy has increased the inheritance tax threshold to boost the French property market. The new legislation raises the inheritance tax threshold from  50,000 to  150,000 per parent for each child. For brothers and sisters the threshold rises from  5,000 to  15,000 and for nieces and nephews it will be  7,500. It is estimated that with the new changes as many as 95 per cent of the population in France will no longer pay any inheritance tax at all upon the death of their parents.| Top of page

September 2007 - Halifax reports that house prices in France rose by 15 per cent in 2006

House prices have risen by 18 per cent in Belgium, the highest rise in Europe in 2006 according to the Halifax. In France they reported by 15 per cent and 14 per cent in Spain. Over the last five years Spain had led the way with a 100 per cent increase, with UK at 90 per cent, France 73 per cent and Ireland 71 per cent. | Top of page

September 2007 - Holiday Home Insurance Warning

A correspondent to a French property magazine wrote in August 2007, a warning to other readers about the importance of retaining receipts for items of property at the family holiday home in France. It was reported that the house was broken into in late 2006 and the agent made the discovery. Although the agent dealt with the issue, the owners decided to visit the property as well. The property was insured with a large French insurance company More on this story | Top of page

August 2007 - Archant Life France's stable of magazines have almost doubled their retail sales compared to the same period last year.

FRANCE Magazine, French Property News and Living France have recorded a retail sales growth of 42% for the June issues 2007 compared to the same issue the previous year. The retail performance is the result of a more aggressive news-stand strategy and caps a tremendous overall performance by the titles, with total sales (retail and subscriptions) up by 16.3%. Subscriptions, another area of increased focus by Archant Life France, also showed a healthy 4.3% rise year on year. Living France continues to grow as the best-selling French sector magazine on news stands, with a 21% increase in sales. Meanwhile its subscription base has also expanded by 12%. Paid for sales of French Property News increased by 48.1% on last year and it now has 4,755 retail sales selling through WH Smith and Marks & Spencer only. This on top of the 11,500 paid subscriber and a further 35,000 controlled circulation copies. Miller Hogg, managing director of Archant Life France, said: "These figures are outstanding and are testament to the dedication and expertise we have within the business. The performance in our magazines and websites are reflecting our ability to deliver the Francophile audience's desire for quality content and world class functionality." | Top of page

August 2007 - Helicopter flights at St Tropez limited

The French authorities have limited helicopter flights to St Tropez following complaints about the noise. In 2006 a voluntary agreement authorised 1,200 flight movements a year, but 5,000 flights were registered between June and August 2006. Some companies were found to be flouting the rules.| Top of page

July 2007 - Downing Street launches French website To coincide with the Prime Minister's visit to Paris to meet President Nicolas Sarkozy, Downing Street is launching a French version of its website. The website contains a wealth of information about the Government, the work of the Prime Minister and the history of Downing Street. A Downing Street spokesman said: "Our website has proved very popular and we are keen to make it more accessible to people in the UK and around the world. Translating the site into French is an important step in that direction." This is the second time the website has been translated into a foreign language, following the launch of an Arabic microsite in June. The French version of the site can be seen at: | Top of page

June 2007 - French Prime Minister François Fillon married to Welsh born Penelope

The wife of the French Prime Minister François Fillon was born in South Wales. She met François when they were students in 1976 and married in June 1980 in LLanover near Abergavenny. The couple have five children ageing from six to twenty five and live in a country house at Sarthe which a 12th century château set in 20 acres approximately one and a half hours from Paris non the boundary of l'Anjou and La Maine. They also licve in a small apartment at Hôtel Matignon in Paris. Penelope Fillon is the first British woman to be married to French Prime Minister. Her sister Jane is married to eye surgeon Pierre Fillon (François Fillon's brother)| Top of page

June 2007 - French property prices look set to increase by 6% in 2007 and second home property prices have risen by 19% per annum over last ten years.

A report from the national association of French estate agents FNAIM state that re-sale property prices look set to increase by six per cent in 2007. In April the price of apartments increased by 1.4% compared to March 2007. Although prices for non-new build houses remained almost at a standstill with only an increase of 0.1%, jointly property prices have registered a year on increase of 1.3% during the first three months of 2007. These increases are not as high as in 2006 when they rose by 7.2% ,10.9% in 2005, 15.5% in 2004 and in 2003 14%.

However, property prices of second homes in France have risen on average by 19% over the last ten years according to research by estate agents Savills and the holiday home website Holiday The Rhône-Alpes region has experienced the highest second home price increase over the last five years. Top of page

June 2007 - ICM Research finds that many British buying in France are unaware of the need for insurance.

French Property News reported in it's June edition that according to a recent ICM research that was commissioned by Hiscox that there are now much younger and inexperienced buyers of overseas homes. Young people are buying overseas to get a foot on the property ladder and then eventually selling up and buying in the UK. The research backs up the fact that only 4 per cent of those surveyed said that legal liability for guests having accidents on their property worried them. They should fully examine the policy and find out what they are covered for.more information Top of page

June 2007 - Higher French tourist records for 2006

There were 78 million visitors to France in 2006 according to figures released by junior minister for tourism Léon Bertrand. The figures represent 75 per cent being fellow Europeans - including Spanish, British, Swiss and visitors from Eastern Europe. The increase is a 2.7% increase on 2005.Top of page

May 2007 - Romania wins major prizes at 2007 Cannes Film Festival

At the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, The Palme d'Or, went to Cristian Mungiu for "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days," described as an unsparing yet humane look at life during the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu. It follows the ordeal of two female university students as one tries to help the other obtain an illegal abortion. Cristian Mungiu's film had critical support from the start and the The audience in the Palais des Festivals was audibly delighted by Mungiu's victory. The jury for Un Certain Regard, gave its highest honour to "California Dreamin,' " a first feature by Cristian Nemescu set in Romania during the Kosovo war of 1999. Cristian Nemescu died in a car accident in 2006 at the age of 27.See also Cannes Film Festival. | Top of page

May 2007 - France gets a new President, however it is not the first woman President this time

Nicolas Sarkozy the 52, the son of a Hungarian immigrant, the conservative right wing canditate has been elected France's new President. He gained 53 per cent of the vote of the 85% turnout. He will take over from 74-year-old President Jacques Chirac in May. Ségolène Royal 53, had hoped to join the growing list of first female leaders around the world, but it was not to be. The socialist left wing candiitate gained 47 per cent of the vote. This is third consecutive defeat for the socialists in a presidential election. Top of page

May 2007 - Research has found that London residential property is the most expensive in the world - It has now overtaken Monaco - Cannes is 6th, St Tropez 7th and Paris 9th

A report by Knight Frank and Citi Private Bank has revealed that London has the most expensive residential properties in the world. The average cost in prime central London is £2,300 per square foot. More Top of page

April 2007 - New Identity signs in Monaco

The signs at entry points to Monaco have also been added in Monacan - Principatu de Múnegu - Mune Carlu have been added. The Comité des Traditions Monégasques have arranged these in order to emphasize Monacan identity and heritage.

Top of page

April 2007 - is pleased to announce that it has launched a car rental Excess comparative site

The site shows the Excess amounts charged by the major car rental companies, as well as the daily rates they charge to reduce the Excess.

The information was compiled during April 2007 by Insurance4carhire staff calling each car rental company's airport location at the international airport in the capital city of each country – more than 180 locations in total - and the costs are based on the daily cost of excess for a compact size car.

The survey was conducted in more than 30 countries across Europe, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, USA and Canada. The car rental companies surveyed are: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and National
More information |Top of page

April 2007 - Barclays Bank expands French operation

Barclays Bank that is very much in the news in April after it has agreed a €67bn takeover of Dutch bank ABN Amro. Barclays will hold a 52% stake in the new merged banking group, which will be the world's fifth largest banking group . It has opened a new branch at Port-Frejus in the Var in the south of France. The bank currently has eight branches in the south of France Top of page

April 2007 - Cannes film festival celebrates 60th birthday in May 2007

With more than 200,000 people in the streets of Cannes for the 60th festival, there is bound to be a lot of interest.It starts on the 16th May and ends on the 27th May 2007. Diane Kruger will be the Master of Ceremonies for the 60th Festival de Cannes. She will welcome the President Stephen Frears and his Jury onto the stage of the Palais des Festivals on May 16th 2007. She will also host the Closing Ceremony, on Sunday May 27th, during which the Awards will be announced. See also Cannes Film Festival. | Top of page

April 2007 - easyJet end battle with French authorities over labour practices

The chief executive of easyJet - Andy Harrison presented a proposal in February to the airline's French staff at Orly and will start paying social charges in France in a bid to end a dispute with the French authorities over labour practices.This will mark the end to the company's battle defending its use of UK contracts for staff in France.Top of page

April 2007 - The Louvre Paris opens "another branch"

Desert Louvre has been established and is causing an uproar amongst French experts. France's Culture Minister - Renaud de Vabres has signed a controversial deal worth more than one billion euros with the head of Abu Dhabi tourism - Sheik Sultan bin Tahnoun al-Nahayan. A satellite of the famous Paris art museum is to be established on the island of Saadiyat in 2012. The agreement will last for 30 years. The reason it is controversial is that there are 7.3 million visitors to the Louvre in Paris each year and these visitors will miss out if the works are not being shown in Paris but in United Arab Emirates. The new Louvre will be named "The Louvre Abu Dhabi". It will be a 24,000 square metre gallery and 300 works of art will be loaned in the first four years.Top of page

March 2007 - SpeedFerries will have dedicated bases in Boulogne-sur-mer and Dover

SpeedFerries is going to move its Dover operations base to the old Hoverspeed hoverport in Dover. This means it will be easier to get to as you will no longer have to use the same port facilities as used by Norfolk Line, Seafrance and P & O at the eastern Dock.The new base will have shopping and catering facilities. They hope to have this operating by Easter 2007. SpeedFerries successfully launched the world's first low cost fast ferry company in May 2004 and has had an effect on the ferry industry similar to that of low cost airlines in the airline industry. It is aLimited company, registered in England founded by the Danish entrepreneur, Curt Stavis. It successfully launched its first activity, the all year, cars only, fast ferry service Dover-Boulogne 19 May 2004. Today SpeedFerries has obtained 12 percent of the passenger vehicle market and reached its original objective of delivering a “50 percent cheaper - 50 percent faster” product to cross-Channel travellers. Top of page

March 2007 - Russians are buying up the hotels in the South of France

In 2006 the owner of Chelsea Football Club - Roman Abramovich bought the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc at Antibes, near Cannes.This hotel is a favourite location for the stars of the Cannes Film Festival (see) and is very popular with rich Russian tourists visiting the Côte d'Azur. Their website lists a long alphabetical celebrity guest list. Now a fellow Russian Leonard Blavatnik has just purchased the prestigous Grand- Hôtel du Ca-Ferat located between Nice (see) and Monaco. He is a business oligarch - business magnate who was born in Russia and emigrated to the USA in 1978. This specatular hotel was opened in 1908 and like the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc has a pedigree guest list including Winston Churchil, Aristole Onassis, Pablo Picasso and a fellow Russian Tsar Nicholas 11. There are 44 rooms and 9 suites with room rates from €333 to €1,098 and at times rising to €2,525 per night. The estimated purchase price he has paid is €215 million - £146 million. He has also purchased the Hôtel de Vendôme in Paris.This is located in Place Vendôme in the centre of the French Capital.Top of page

March 2007 - Futuroscope celebrates 20th birthday

Futuroscope the amusement park in the Département of Vienne near Poitiers is celebrating its 20th birthday in 2007.It opened in 1987 and since that time has attracted more than 30 million visitors. It is the second largest amusement park in France. It offers rides and the latest multimedia cinematographic and audivisual techniques.Top of page

March 2007 - 2006 was the warmest autumn in France since 1950

According to Météo France the autumn of 2006 was the hotest in France since 1950. Temperatures were 1.9 degrees centigrade above the seasonal average. Birds that would normally fly to Africa for the winter like warblers and swallows delayed their departure because of the warm weather.Top of page

March 2007 - easyJet announces new routes for the 2007 summer season.

The low cost carrier easyJet has announced that it is to start flights from Bristol to Bordeaux this summer and Gatwick to La Rochelle. Top of page

January 2007 - France considers a congestion charge scheme.

France is considering taxing vehicles entering the capital Paris. The Government is also considering a similar charge on other major cities. The bid to cut polution and traffic jams follows the London example. The Transport Minister Dominique Perben is to head a task force looking at the problem. The report has to be completed by April 2008 and Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said "any changes would be made with a view to not penalising those who have no other choice than living far from the city centres where they work". Top of page

January 2007 - France Magazine celebrates 100 issues.

January 2007 saw the 100 edition of France Magazine. Founded by Jane Last, Philip Faiers and Tony Faiers in 1989 the first issue was published in the spring of 1990. It had a cover price of £2.50 and it all started in a small office in the Cotswolds. W H Smith refused to stock it initially and an 8 second mention on a "Travelog" television programme meant the newsagent had numerous requests for this new magazine and immediately wanted to stock it. It was later sold to Archant publishing group (who also own French Property News and Living France) and one of the founders Philip Faiers is still consultant editor submitting articles from his home in France.Top of page

January 2007 - France 24 TV news is launched

France 24 the French international news channel has been launched. This news channel offers a French perspective on world events. It broadcasts 24 hours a day offering an in depth analysis of current affairs and news. It is broadcast in French and English and later this there will be an Arabic version and a Spanish version is scheduled for 2010. It is available via SKY or TPS.Top of page

January 2007 - Assetz Finance states that more holiday home purchasers are taking out French Mortgages

A recent report by Assetz Finance states that more people buying holiday homes in France are taking out French mortgages instead of paying in cash. Assetz Finance in the last year has seen a rise in the number of British holiday home buyers taking out a French mortgage from 33 per cent in 2005 to 50 per cent in 2006. French mortgages are one to one and a half per cent cheaper in the UK. Top of page

January 2007 - Pet passport scheme is very popular

Brittany Ferries the ferry operator has announced that almost 30,000 dogs and cats were transported by their company. It costs around £10 which is a lot cheaper than one nights stay in the average boarding kennels. The Pet Passport Scheme was introduced in 2004 see also - Pet travel scheme (PETS) Top of page

December 2006 - Marseille to be France's first airport dedicated to cut price air travel

Marseille is to be France's first airport dedicated to low cost airlines with one million passengers expected to pass through the airport in 2007. A new terminal, MP2 ( short for Marseille Provence 2) will be located next to the existing buildings. This will be able to deal with six flights at any time. It will deal with 3.5 million passengers per year. The new facility will boost traffic at France's fourth largest airport Top of page

October 2006 - Holidays in France - Bon Voyage - A drama set in France that turns into a crisis.

Thinking of taking your holidays in France? This wasn't such a good idea in the ITV drama shown over two nights in October 2006 in the UK

A couple Neil and Elizabeth (played by Ben Miles and Rachael Blake) go on holiday together, driving south through rural France with their two children. The marriage is under strain. First of all he takes his pride car an old classic Mercedes that is somewhat temperamental. He won't switch off his mobile phone and eventually she throws it away whilst they are sightseeing. She gives the impression that has been having an affair. Plenty of fine rural French scenery and nothing seems wrong.

En route, they find themselves being stalked by a couple in a white camper van (played by Daniel Ryan and Fay Ripley), who are somewhat evil. Following a road accident the mysterious couple suddenly appear in the middle of the night and kidnap their teenage daughter and younger son.

They have to then find the children (played by Emily Beecham and Cameron Ansell ) who have been abducted as the couple's children played by Fay Ripley and Daniel Ryan had been killed a year or so back and Neil and Elizabeth's children were "ideal" replacements. They take them to their French holiday home and the character played by Daniel Ryan becomes more and more dangerous

They trace them through a vineyard, graveyard and in the end rescue them. Not really the most ideal holiday in France!! Top of page

October 2006 - Britons now own £4.6billion of property in France

Britons have bought some 51,000 properties in France sonce 2000. The last French census in 2004 recorded a 50 per cent increase over five years in the number of Britons who live permanently in France to 100,000 and there are about 500,000 who spend more than six weeks a year there. The country is the favoured place for retirement with 37 per cent wishing to retire there according to an ICM survey as opposed to 30 per cent opting to stay in Britain. At the same time the survey found that if given the choice of nationality, just over half of Britons under 50 would retain their passport, but 22 per cent would opt to become French instead. Top of page

September 2006 - Expansion out to sea at Monaco

The Sovereign Price Albert II has formerly launched his first major project since taking the reins of the Proncipality of Monaco. Tweleve hectares are to be reclaimed from the sea at Le Portier, just west of the Grimaldi Forum. The land is to be developed to offer 300,000 square metres of extra space for housing (40 per cent) and office space, alongside public amenities such as nursery school and crèche. There will also be another shopping centre and additional berths for pleasure boats and a coastal pathway to link Lanvotto to Port Hercule. There are also plans to build a new National Museum here. Work should begin in 2008 and be completed by 2014 and to pay for it - there a budget running into billions of euros. Top of page

August 2006 - Property Boom in France

Property investors are receiving an average 92 per cent return on their investments in property in France. Property investments in France are outperforming those in the UK, Spain and Florida-USA according to a study by property investment specialist Assetz. Florida was second with 81 per cent. The UK stands at just 35 per cent Top of page

August 2006 - Aer Lingus will be charging for carrying luggage

The Irish airline Aer Lingus has followed Ryanair and FlyBe in annoucing that it will charge passengers extra for baggage it carries in the aircraft hold. This will be from the 17th January 2007. They will levy a fee 8.00 / £5.50 for each bag carried for short haul flights or half if it is booked on line in advance. This fee policy reflects the moves among some low cost airlines like Irish competitor Ryanair to apportion costs for optional services. The company has abolished complimentary catering on its European network. The policy will not affect British Airways passengers who are booked on "code share flights" (EI127 /BA329 for excample) that operated from London Heathrow to Dublin, Cork and Shannon. British Airways has negotiated for its passengers to be exempt from the charge. Top of page

July 2006 - Delta Air Lines now has a non-stop scheduled flight between Nice and Atlanta, USA and Sky Europe starts a service to Prague in the Czech Replublic.

Delta Airlines have announced a new regular service between Nice and Hartsfield Jackson. They can now connect with 145 daily flights to over 130 cities around the world. This development takes place less than fifteen years after the Nice to New York (JFK) service was established. The low cost carrier Sky Europe started a service to Prague in April. There are three flights a week. The company started in 2001.Top of page

July 2006 - Villeneuve-Loubet promotes itself as a family resort on the French Riviera

Villeneuve-Loubet as numerous tourist assets. There are seven thousand hotel beds, two natural parks, the Canyon Forest, self catering holiday apartments and villas, the Labyrinthe de L'Aventure, a riding club, a castle, river and of course the Mediterranean Sea. The municipality has decided to promote it's family image by putting a great emphasis on young children. Back in 2004 the town became the only commune on the PACA region coast to be awarded the "Station Kid" label (This is a Ministry of Tourism label taking into account the quality of the environment, security, facilities and activities for Children). There is going to be a big poster campaign Top of page

June 2006 - Airline tax in France

From 1st July 2006 France will be imposing a taxe de solidarité on airline tickets to contribute to the financing of developing countries. When passengers take flights from France they will pay a maximum of1 for economy class and 10 for business class for inter European flights. If they are non-European flights the tax will be 4 for eceonomy and 40 for businees class. This tax is expected to raise over 200 million euros.Top of page

June 2006 - Ryanair chooses Marseille as south of France base and Jetairfly continues it's north - south routes into the winter.

The low cost airline Ryanair plans to make Marseille its 16th "hub" base. It will base aircraft there and operate routes from November 2006 to Dublin, Eindhoven,Brussels Charleroi, Fez in Morocco, Glasgow, London Stanstead, Rome Ciampino and other locations. Meanwhile Jetairfly airlines have announced that due to popular demand they will continue their Brest-Toulon flight into the winter.The service started in April 2006. The company is part of Jetair, Belgium's leading tour operator. It is known in France as Nouvelles Frontières - TUI France and Corsair Top of page

May 2006 Corsica Ferries Celebrated their 10th anniversary in May 2006

In 1996 Corsica Ferries ended the SNCM monopoly of crossing to Corsica. On the 22nd May they celebrated in the port of Nice. The company carried 2.7 million passengers in 8,000 trips or more in ten years. There are now how speed ferries ( NGV's) and of one million passengers travelling between Nice and Corsica in 2005, 750,00 went by sea. Top of page


May 2006 - Cannes Film Festival - Ken Loach won the 2006 Palme D'Or at Cannes

Ken Loach the veteran director has won the 2006 Palme D'Or at the Cannes Film Festival for his film The Wind That Shakes The Barley (Le Vent se lève). It beat 19 other films. The fim is about the early days of the IRA and stars Cillian Murphy and Liam Cunningham as two brothers in early 1920s Ireland, when volunteer guerrilla fighters rose up against the British Black and Tans.

The Grand Prix was won by Flandres by Bruno Dumont.

Andrea Arnold, a new director, won the jury prize ( Prix du Jury) for Red Road, starring Kate Dickie as a CCTV operator on a Glasgow council estate who spots a man from her past in video footage. See also Cannes Film Festival. | Top of page

Meanwhile down the coast at Monaco Ferdinand Allonso won the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix,in the Renault with Juan Pablo Montoya in second and local (Scotsman) David Couthard in third place. May 2006 The 5th Historic Grand Prix at Monaco

1997 saw the first Historic Monaco Grand Prix (Grand Prix de Monaco Historique). It was then held in 2000 and since then every two years in May. It is usually held a week before the Formula one event on the same circuit. Unlike the Formula One event that is 78 laps the races are only 10 to 15 laps depending on the category of cars racing. The event that is organised by the Automobile Club de Monaco is held over Saturday and Sunday with qualifying on the Saturday. Cars that race date back to pre- 1947, but there cannot be any cars post 1978.

The day will attract many visitors who will go to the "Goodwood" Revival meeting in England in September. Tickets are not expensive (unlike the Formula One event) tickets around 15 and restaurant prices are still normal unlike when the Formula One event is on. You can have a most enjoyable day's entertainment.

If you are visiting Monaco for the day, as many of the roads are closed off, parking can be very difficult. An excellent alternative to trying to come in by car is to take a train. There is a great service running along the coast from Ventimigla in Italy (plus Italian connections) on one side to Marseille on the other.

The 5th Historic Grand Prix was no exception. Memorable. It took place on Sunday 21st May 2006, with practice sessions on Saturday 20th May.

The Historic Grand Prix meeting is not over expensive to organise, as the stands, safety barriers, and the other essential infrastructure parts are already in place for the following week's F1 World Championship Grand Prix. Because many of the races are for cars from an age when drivers could be seen at work.

Today's F1 cars have high cockpit surrounds so it's difficult to see anything except the driver's head/sefety helmet - with the cars in the Historic Grand Prix you can enjoy watching these racers with arms steering their beasts, often on opposite lock as they defy physics whilst treading that invisible line between total control and spinning off into the barriers.

Of course, it's only the bravest and most talented who drive these beasts at 10/10ths - some others are content to lap the circuit much more sedately, not wishing to take huge risks with their irreplaceable historic cars. But the heroes and heroines are those that have their cars sliding on the edge and giving spectators images that will last forever.

The day's racing included a 10 lap event for sports cars built before 1953. In 1952, the Monaco event had been run for sports cars, as this was a period in F1 when the regulations were being changed from one engine to another and there was not an abundance of single-seater racuing cars. How different to 1974, when 32 cars vied for 25 places on the grid..... The 2006 sports-car race featured cars that had competed in the '52 event or were competing in similar races at that time.

Amongst a gaggle of well driven 3.4 litre Jaguar C types, a brace of Ferrari 2-litre spyders, an Aston Martin DB3, a magnificent Gordini and two pre-2nd World War BMWs were a trio of Frazer-Nash cars. Much less powerful than many of the other runners, one of them, in the masterly hands of John Ure, dominated the event in early 2000 Schumacher style. Every lap, right on the limit, every lap like poetry in motion. That's why so many enthusiasts show up from around Europe and beyond.

Martin Stretton, in one of two 6-wheel Tyrrell-Cosworth 'bolides' in the 1975-78, was another on the edge throughout trhe penultimate race, perhaps the most exciting event of the day. Stretton, who prepares historic cars for a living, certainly knows how to make 'em slither and slide but somehow manages to keep them out of the barriers. He is the only driver to have won here at each Historic meeting to date.

Another sparkler, American Duncan Dayton came away from the meeting with two fine victories, one in the beautiful 1959 Lotus 16 and another in a 1970 Brabham. In both races he and his great rival, Spaniard Joaquin Folch, locked horns for the umpteenth time. Folch, a previous multi-winner here, had to settle for 2nd in one event and retired early in the other, mechanical gremlins spoiling what should have been a battle royal between the two Lotus 16 matadors.

©jml property Services May 2006 See also Historic Monaco Grand Prix.| Top of page

April 2006 - Pets in Apartments in France

A correspondent of The Riviera Reporter has written to the magazine saying that under French law a person renting a property has a right to keep a dog. This person ows a time share in Antibes and although other residents are permitted to keep dogs, their time share company refuses consent. The Riviera Reporter has replied that under normal circumstances no one can forbid them from keeping an "animal del compagnie" (domestic pet). According to the law dated July 10th 1970 - you can keep several animals - within ";reasonable limits"; - except for certain categories of dangerous animals and dogs oulined in the revised law of January 6th and April 27th 1999.The only types of dogs that can be forbidden outright under the terms of these laws are Pitbulls, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers,Boerbulls and Tosa Inus. Under the law you are required to prevent your dog from disrupting the tranquility of your neighbours by barking or foul odours. The dog must not cause any physical damage to the building or gardens and communal areas

April 2006 - Flights now avaible between Nice, Cork, Dublin and Belfast

Starting on the 1st April 2006 Aer Lingus will be flying to Dublin from Nice on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and to Cork on Friday and Saturday. The frequencies will be increased in the summer. easyJet will have flights to Belfast on Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Top of page

March 2006 - jml Property Insurance can now offer Holiday home property insurance to many European countries.

jml property insurance has been acting as an agent introducing Landlord and Tenant insurance in the UK since 2002. As the company is heavily involved in self-catering holiday home rentals with, there have been numerous requests for property insurance for owner's holiday homes in mainland Europe as well as the UK. There are now more and more people buying holiday homes overseas and in the it makes sense to deal with a company that can provide a policy written in a language the owner can understand.

jmlcan now introduce owners in France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Sweden,Malta, Cyprus and the UK to a policy written in English and underwritten at Lloyds. The premiums are payable in £ sterling and the insurance is arranged via Andrew Copeland (Insurance Consultants) Ltd.

Andrew Copeland are based in London and are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority in the UK. This is very good news for the owner of that dream holiday home property who is not too fluent in French, Spanish or Portuguese who can now understand the full details of the policy in his or her native tongue.

Further details can be found by going to jml-property-insurance. | Top of page

January 2006 - Ryanair to offer online check-in and luggage fees.

Passengers travelling on the budget airline Ryanair are to be offered cheaper airfares and the option to check on in the Internet from March 16th 2006. They will also face charges of £5 / €7 for each item of luggage they check in. The company says that it could cut the number of airport queues for its flights by as much as half and will incentivise passengers to travel with only hand baggage.

Any bag that weighs more than 10kg will have to be checked in. There are also restrictions as to what can be carried on board. Ski boots will have to travel in the hold. Under the new system, any passenger travelling with hand luggage who has an EU passport will be able to check in at the company’s website up to three days before their flight.

Passengers will be asked to print up their own boarding card, complete with a pre-arranged barcode. Upon arrival at the airport they can go directly to the security check in, thus avoiding the check in desks. Passengers who also check in their luggage on line will be charged €3.50 for each bag on the flight and will still have to present their bags at the normal check in desks.

Ryanair has beaten easyJet in becoming the first no-frills airline to offer passengers the option of checking in on line and said it was something they were considering. Aer Lingus has confirmed that it also intends to introduce online check-in later this year, but has no plans to charge customers for each piece of luggage checked in. Top of page

January 2006 -The A8 motorway is becoming like the M25 in England

The Autoroute A8 between Antibes and Nice will become grid locked by 2020 and is France's busiest stretch of motorway. It is one of the most dangerous with 2.5 more accidents than the national average. The section that leaves the cost and heads north just before the airport is quite a black spot. A plan is under public discussion. It is called the contournement de Nice and the objective is to either create two tunnels between Nice est and Vaugrenier and a doubling of the A8 between Antibes and Biot or create two tunnels between Nice est and Breguières with one intersection and exit north east of Sophia Antipolis. The third option is to widen the A8 between Nice est and Nice Saint-isidore. It will take several years before studies and consents are agreed and construction work probably not starting till 2012. Top of page

November 2005 - Now is the time to get your swimming pool in order

The 2003 law regarding swiming pools in France comes into force on January 1st 2006. This specifies that all private pools withouth exception should be equipped with a safety installation, designed in particular to protect children. Failure to observe the new rules could bring a fine of 45,000 euros. There appears to be no system of routine inspection in force, however if you try to rent out your property through an agency, you could well have difficulty if you have not applied for the new security measures. If there is an accident in your "unprotected" poolyou could be in big trouble. In 2002-2004 there was an average off 22 deaths a year in France by drowning in pools. Top of page

Firstly, the law doesn't stipulate any single measure so pool-owners will be able to choose between approved systems. For the moment, the choice is between a security barrier or a soon to be licensed detector that emits a loud audible signal when someone falls into the pool. An infrared beam fence is also on the market but not yet licensed. The security barrier is the least aesthetically pleasing option. The barrier must be at least 1.2m high and carry an official certification which takes into consideration several elements including the child proofness of the gate. Count around 2000 euros, installed. Top of page

An auto-nomous fall detector is the more eye pleasing solution and, although still awaiting official licensing, the Aquasensor model sold by Azur Security meets certification standards. Solar-powered, it can be temporarily disabled and automatically switch itself back on. The Aquasensor costs around 1100 euros and, for the ultra-cautious, can be used in conjunction with a security barrier. Top of page

The new regulations (which do not apply to above ground pools) are effective from January 1, 2004 for pools constructed after that date and for pools of any age constructed on property that is rented seasonally. All other pools must be equipped before January 2006. Considering the statistics on infant death by drowning, owners would be well advised to pre-empt these legal deadlines.

Source The Riviera Reporter. Top of page

November 2005 - Renting Property Traps

What can you do if the property you decide to rent does not live up to the promises and description in the brichure or on line?. Tenants in France are not helpless when dealing with landlords. They do have rights and under standing these at the outset can avoid trouble later.

If you only have a brochure or have seen a sparse web site description, try asking for more precise information from the owner or rental company. Landlords are obliged to give all details required concerning location, rental conditions and extra features such as if there is a satellite TV there and is bed linen included or not.

When you make a booking using an agency you will be asked to pay up to a quarter of the entire rent in advance. There are not any laws that stipulate what a private individual can charge as a deposit and the amount can be agreed between both landlord and renter.

In France there are two deposit types (caution)- "arrhes" and "acompte". Ideally you should only agree on an an arrhes. If the tenant back out of the contract they are unlikely to get the money back, on the other hand if the landlord changes his mind they have to pay the tenant double the amount of deposit.

The problem with an acompte is that neither party has a right to withdraw. The Landlord may even ask the renter to pay the entire rent if they are not able to find another tenant. If a landlord renages on the contract, the tenant can ask for compensation if they cannot find a suitable alternative.

Defects: If the property does not look like anything it has been described at or has defects that will affect the renters stay (Description being "near to to the sea" when in fact it is in reality located 5 km from the sea, do not pay the balance but ask for the arrhes back. Avoid moving in, but if there is no alternative, ask for a reduction.

Evidence of defects: If you cannot come to an agreement with the landlord/owner - then collect evidence. Take photos of the deffects and write it all down in the presence of a bailfiff (huissier). These can be found via the Yellow Pages directory. Alternatively you you could ask French speaking friends to write a statement (attestation) under oath. This should detail the problems. He or she will need to attach a copy of their ID papers to the statement which is then taken to the Direction Departementale de la Concurrence de la Consommation et de la Repression des Fraudes (DDCCRF). This address should be found in the local mairie or Conseil General or the Yellow Pages. Finally as a last resort you can take your complaint to the courts and the local Tourist Office may also be able to help.

Source The Riveria Times Top of page

The Cannes Film Festival - le Festival international du film de Cannes

This is held in May every year and in 2007 it will be the 60th festival. The history goes back to 1939 Jean Zay, the French minister for Public Instruction and the Arts (Ministère de l'Instruction Publique et des Beaux-Arts), proposed the creation of an international film event in France. Cannes was chosen for its "sunshine and enchanting setting". However, because of the Second World War the festival did not commence till the September 20, 1946 at the former Casino de Cannes. From 1951 it moved dates till May and runs for two weeks and has run every year since 1946 except 1948 and 1950.

The most prestigious award given out at Cannes is the Palme d'Or (Golden Palm) for the best film. This non-public Festival is attended by numerous film stars and is a popular venue for movie producers to launch their new films and attempt to sell their works to the distributors who come from all over the world.

It is a fascinating experience to spend part of the day or evening there soaking up the atmosphere and although restaurant, hotel and bar prices are higher than normal, it is still possible to eat and drink at "normal" prices. Naturally hotel beds are at a premium. If you walk along the La Croisette in the early evening you will find early evening television shows being transmitted by channels like TF1 and Canal+ and as dusk draws in the visitors to the film showing in the Palais des Festivals et des Congres start arriving - dinner jackets - smart dresses and for the film stars and their entourage a fleet of cars picking them up from their hotels and delivering them to the red carpeted steps.

When it is dark there is normally a public screening on the beach with a giant screen and behind that you will be able to see a lazar light display illuminating the entire bay and the yachts and boats anchored in it. This can certainly be an interesting (and inexpensive) way to pass a few hours and if you don't know who is in the chaufered driven cars, there are still newsstands open where you can buy one of the popular "people's lives" magazines.

Dates for your diary:

60th Festival de Cannes: from 16th to 27th May 2007

Historic Grand Prix May 2008, with practice sessions on the Saturday.

Other events held in Monaco:

January:The Monte Carlo Rally. April: Luxury and Supercar Show May The Monte Carlo Tennis Masters and the F1 Monaco Grand Prix, the Grand Prix Historique (every other year). Top of page

See also....

Departments and Regions in France CLICK HERE

Buying a Property in France CLICK HERE

Buy to Let Europe CLICK HERE

Riviera realty French Property News article from September 2006 by Karen Tait CLICK HERE

Fact File Nice CLICK HERE

Biot - South of France Picture Gallery CLICK HERE

Places to Visit in the South of France CLICK HERE

Taxe de séjour CLICK HERE

Tax Declarations in France CLICK HERE

The information provided here on the Tips and Topics in Corsica and France page is given in good faith and should not be relied on for accuracy

jml Property Services are members of the National Landlords Association NLA in the UK and Riviera Business Club RBC in the Côte d'Azur France 



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