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Articles and News Features

Open-air food markets for healthier, seasonal local produce

One of the most pleasant aspects about living on the French Riviera is exploring the open-air food markets. From Mandelieu to Menton, almost every town and village along the coast has its own marché offering an ever-changing variety of just-picked seasonal fruits, vegetables and herbs, to inspire chefs and foodies alike. Aside from the novelty, there’s plenty of evidence that eating what the season provides naturally –…

How might Brexit affect owning a property in France?

Brexit! There, I said it. I am sure the Editor is going to have kittens at yet another Brexit story (see Brexit Report), but here it goes. Clearly, this story is dominating the English-speaking press at the moment and the claims and counterclaims by one side then the next is bewildering, to say the least. Even the experts can’t agree on what is best for Britain. As far as current and potential French homeowners from the…
Community Sarah Legon

Expats fight against cancer with Cancer Support Group 06

You don’t need to go through it alone. As Sarah Legon explains, an English-speaking support group is here to help. Sadly, it seems cancer touches everyone in one way or another. I helped found the Cancer Support Group for English speakers while I was having chemo at the Clinque Tzanck in Mougins because the oncology nurse asked me to support English-speaking patients. Then Anne Sookhoo, a psychologist known to the…

How paying your income tax in France is going to change

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin signalled in March 2016 that a long talked about reform will definitely go ahead…

Marie Antoinette’s cats and an American rescue attempt

Features Margo Lestz
Did you know that Marie Antoinette almost escaped the guillotine and ended up in Maine, USA? Of course, we all know she…

Dealing with paperwork as a freelancer

Guess that’s why they call it the (Gauloises) Bleues. It was perhaps an oversight on my part to expect my wife, who…

Red wines for winter

Table Talk Alex Ignatieff
Winter was upon us! Bliss. Collapsing into a bucket chair on a terrace in the mountains wondering whether lunch will be…

How the gay community on the Riviera has grown

Community Jameson Farn
May 17th, 2016, is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia. Riviera resident Jameson Farn talks…

Provence Diary: Not the king of the castle

Features Dan Briggs
In general, attempting to speak in French to the French elicits a positive response. There may be a disconcerting pause…

Interview with Carol Drinkwater, the bee’s knees

Reading Barth Hulley
Barth Hulley sits down with author Carol Drinkwater to discuss writing, racism and pollinators. Carol Drinkwater is best…

Happy May Day! La Fête du Muguet, a day to give a flower to someone you love

Features Margo Lestz
May 1st is a public holiday in France. It’s called La Fête du Travail, and it’s the equivalent of the US Labor Day. But…

Menopause: The wonder (where I put that) years

“Crying is good for you,” my mum would sniffle after bursting into tears yet again for no reason. I was in my…

10 steps to getting your French mortgage

Property and Pools Riviera Reporter
Step 1: Sort out your finances You’re looking to buy so you’ll need to get an idea of the amount you can borrow when the…

Benoit Buridant: Q&A with CEO & Co-Founder of FrenchFounders

Finance, Tax and Business Riviera Reporter
RR: You were born in Brest in 1985 and grew up in Toulon. Can you tell us a how you ended up in the US? BB: I always…

Drive of the Bumble Bee, a rally for charity

Community Riviera Reporter
The inaugural Bumble Bee Rally will leave Edinburgh’s Holyrood Palace on Sunday May 8th, 2016, with up to 24 motoring…

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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