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Articles and News Features

Culture and Arts Margo Lestz

5 Jean Cocteau treasures on the Riviera

Jean Cocteau was truly a multi-talented artist. He considered himself a poet but he was also a novelist, playwright, film director, set designer, painter, and ceramicist – a true jack of all trades. Cocteau was born in 1889 near Paris and spent most of his life in and around that area. However, he also spent quite a few of his last years on the Riviera where he left some artwork treasures dotted along the coast. Jean’s…

A step-by-step guide to becoming a freelancer

Despite the French government embracing digital technology to reduce the form-filling burden, paperwork is a way of life for those of us residing in this country. Any brush with officialdom still seems to require no end of justificatives, attestations, and lu et approuvé. Even though form filling has moved online, it still has the potential to strike the fear of God into you – especially when your level of French might…
Table Talk Alex Ignatieff

Wine: Thoughts on 2015 Bordeaux En Primeur

Fantastic! Finally, a year in Bordeaux to really get excited about. This may not be the biggest news of the day as the wine world has been not so quietly excited about the 2015 vintage since the moment the grapes were safely out of Mother Nature’s hands. But it’s a subject worth visiting as the wines are now being released to a deserving public. This gradual drip-feed release, as Châteaux announce their prices for the…

Tracing the 1,000-mile odyssey of D.H. Lawrence’s phoenix headstone

History and Traditions Robert Bullock
Soon after D. H.Lawrence’s burial in Vence Cemetery on March 4th, 1930, his widow Frieda commissioned a simple headstone…

On y va! Hiking though the Alpes-Maritimes by train

Visiting the Riviera Portia Griffey
I have lived in Nice for the past few years, learning French as I go, as I didn’t speak a word when I arrived. Through…

Provence Diary: The life-saving course that made my head swim

Features Dan Briggs
So there I was in the village watching a Euro 2016 warm-up game. The bar had put a TV outside on the street. A woman…

Homes and Houses: Newly built bastide in St Cezaire sur Siagne

Property and Pools Riviera Reporter
Inland from Nice, in the foothills surrounding Grasse, are some of the best and most entrancing views in this magical…

Interview with Nick Danziger: From Monte Carlo into another world

Culture and Arts Molly Brown
The charm of life on the French Riviera has always attracted writers, artists and photographers, but world famous…

Hubert Boivin: Q&A with “Best of Cooking Nice”

Table Talk Riviera Reporter
RR: Hubert Boivin, tell us about your role as President of UPCR, the restaurant owner’s union of Nice and the…

How to say “ouch” in French (and ten other sounds)

Education and Learning Camille Chevalier-Karfis
Onomatopoeia is the written version of a sound – think ssh, ouch or bang. And like everything else, the rules are a…

Discovering the other Piedmont: Nizza Monferrato and Barbera

Visiting the Riviera Chrissie McClatchie
With gentle slopes covered in vines, historic hilltop villages overflowing with charm, chic restaurants and cosy B&Bs,…

An insider’s guide to life west of Cannes

Visiting the Riviera Cheryl Robson
It was a coup de coeur as the French say – a simple fisherman’s cottage with a panoramic view of the bay of Toulon – and…

Interview with Joe Theismann on the Monaco-US Celebrity Amateur Ryder Cup

Sport PJ Heslin
Although I am firmly lodged into my middle years, there are moments when I still feel like a teenager. In preparation…

Posing as a naked model for artist Chris Savage

Culture and Arts Karen Hockney
Most of us know what we like when it comes to choosing a piece of art. But having a framed original work that is…

The French do love their wedding customs

History and Traditions Riviera Reporter
If you are lucky enough to have been invited to a wedding in France, or are planning to get married here, there are a…

French Riviera: Information, News, Facts. Life on the Cote d'Azur - Riviera Reporter

So what is new in 2013?

A flurry of cold, depressing bad news, like the weather. Almost comical stories of the wealthy leaving France to avoid the 75% tax on high incomes (over €1M), before the Constitutional Court overturned the measure early in the New Year. Will Gérard Depardieu and his pals return? Unlikely. To quote one of France’s leading actors: “I am leaving because you consider that success, creation, talent, in fact anything that is different, should be penalised.” So said Depardieu in response to Prime Minister Ayrault’s opinion of him being “pathetic” for taking tax residency in Belgium (this was before Depardieu’s Russian foray).

President Hollande seems not to care about the Constitutional Court and has vowed to drive through some other tax on the higher earners: “We will always ask for more from those that have the most,” he declared.

Bernard ArnaultAnother personality to arouse controversy was Bernard Arnault (pictured), Chief Executive of the luxury goods group, LVMH, who is also moving to Belgium. In attempting to gain Belgian citizenship, could France’s richest man be paving a way to enter the tax haven of Monaco by the “back door”? Rich French people often switch nationality before heading to the Mediterranean It all looks shoddy for France’s image to the outside world, coming hard on the heels of the spat with the Indian aluminium giant, ArcelorMittal. Before Christmas, ArcelorMittal had announced the closure of its plant at Florange in July 2012, giving a deadline of the end of the year for prospective suitors to come forward with offers to take the plant over. No one was forthcoming and there was even talk of nationalising the plant. The whole world stood back in shock at the affront on private enterprise. Eventually the French government was obliged to stand aside and allow economic forces to dictate and private business to make its own tough decisions (and let’s not forget that Mr Mittal still employs over 20,000 people in France even with the loss of 600 at Florange).

One solitary bit of good news, which might have escaped the attention of most, was the settlement early in the year between employer and employee unions on means to “fluidify” the conditions of hiring and firing, allocating employees to parts of the economy that are actually working, rather than hanging onto them at places (like Florange) where things definitely are not. Employers have been saying for ages that they need to be able to take employees on under short-term contracts, rather than the kind of “jobs for life” that many French people assume is a God-given right. Employers also need to be able to act quickly and decisively, so if things have stopped working economically they can make staff redundant without protracted disputes with the unions. This “fluidifying” of the conditions of employment should eventually feed through into the unemployment figures, as structurally there will be more incentive to hire staff in the sectors of the economy that are coming out of the recession.

Unemployment is currently running at just over 12% and looks likely to worsen over the next 12 months with PSA, Renault, Virgin Megastores, as some of the big names making swathing cuts to their workforce. Plus ça change – as we enter 2013 – plus c’est la même chose!

Photo: nicogenin

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