News in brief
French grape harvests are set to be lower than last year, the Ministry of Agriculture has revealed. The ministry’s statistics agency Agreste estimates that the 2017 grape harvest will be 16% to 17% lower than last year’s and 16% lower overall than the average harvests of the last five years. Spring’s cold snap will particularly affect the south-west vineyards, especially those of Bordeaux, says the ministry.
Paris rooftops have been added to the UNESCO list of France’s ‘intangible cultural heritage’ and the city is bidding for them to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Extreme heatwaves reaching temperatures of up to 50°C could hit France by 2100, researchers say. A study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, concluded that temperatures in certain regions of France could rise by anything from 6°C to 13°C over the next eight decades.
Children in thousands of nurseries and primary schools across France are returning to a four-day week this September after the government gave local authorities the option. As we went to press, about a third of communes had chosen to reduce the current four-and-a-half-day week.
An anti-brexit supporter in Gloucestershire has declared his home an independent republic. Dr William Riches, 77, lives in the Forest of Dean where 59% of people voted to leave the EU. He named his new state the Independent Republic of Middlewatch and named his wife Judith president.
Europe’s tallest sand dune, the Dune du Pilat in Arcachon, has grown by 1.3m in the last year according to the Observatoire Côte Aquitaine. The natural site, which attracts millions of visitors each year, now reaches a height of 110.5m.
A new French government website (also available on a mobile device) allows you to search for petrol prices in the petrol stations near you to find the cheapest. To carry out a search, you must select the type of petrol you need and then enter your location – either the town or the département. For more details visit prix-carburants.gouv.fr/mobile.
British drivers could be allowed to drive on the left-hand side of the road in Calais as a one-off treat. The wacky idea was mooted by the president of the Hauts-de-france region, Xavier Bertrand, during a recent speech at the French embassy in London. He said the initiative could take place for a day or a weekend to help boost tourism and show that Britons were welcome in France after Brexit. However, the Calais mairie said it wasn’t clear whether it was a serious proposal or an off-the-cuff joke.