Archive for the 'Politics' Category


France and the Sharing Economy

A recent cover headline of the news magazine Marianne was “La France Anti-Système,” with several pages about how French people are sick of bureaucracy, taxes, the weak economy and the current administration. They have decided to stop whining and take matters into their own hands to beat the broken systems by joining forces to get […]

How the Tell-All Got Told

Mega-bestseller. A first print run of 200,000 copies released September 4 and already out of stock in many stores and being reprinted. Valérie Trierweiler’s kiss and tell off Merci pour le Moment is a publishing success. Lying, cheating politicos beware: French women don’t keep quiet. The myth that French women don’t mind if their husbands […]

Paris Gets Liberated Today

On the 70th anniversary of The Liberation of Paris, the Hotel de Ville (in the Marais, with its own eponymous metro stop) commemorates one of the most important events in 20th century French history. Told through posters, photographs, newspapers, as well as memorabilia, the exhibit goes from Thursday, August 17, 1944 and the suspension of […]

Ramadan-Themed Ad in the Paris Metro

I don’t remember seeing ads about Ramadan in the Paris metro before this year. Clearly a bigger part of the population than ever is observing Ramadan, the yearly month-long Muslim fasting time, which ends tomorrow. This ad is for a telephone company, Buzzmobile. It says, “Unlimited calls 24h/24. I can gassar without counting!” A footnote says that gassar means “talk […]

The Problem Explained

There’s a big train strike on in France right now. Enfin, it’s not really that big by French standards… just the biggest one in the past four years. Because in France, it’s normal for transport unions to go on strike a lot… and they prefer to go on strike on holidays or in the summer, when the largest […]

Don’t Touch My Friend

Remember this? In the ’80s in France, xenophobia was countered by SOS Racisme, a popular group whose slogan means “Don’t touch my friend.” It was France’s version of the equally cool Two-Tone movement in England, associated with bands like the Specials and the English Beat. I wish there were such a movement now to combat […]

The Appropriation of Joan of Arc

It is highly unfashionable these days in France to show affection or admiration for Joan of Arc because she has been taken as a symbol by the far right, both the anti-foreigner Front National, which meets at her statue every May 1st, and the bizarroïde royalists of Action Française. I still admire the real Joan, […]

Where Are the Jobs?

The Guignols of Canal + went for the jugular this week, showing no mercy to unpopular French president François Hollande after the catastrophic first round of municipal elections. In this brilliantly–and painfully–funny bit, the puppet Hollande sings his desperate search for jobs, looking everywhere for them, including in bookcases and under his car. “Emploioutai!” he sings […]

League of Justice

Last Sunday, four strangers sat down silently at Table No. 1. We were there to count votes for our precinct in the arrondissement’s mayoral election. Opening the majority of small blue envelopes with folded A4 pages produced legitimate results. Near the end of the evening, I unfolded a surprise vote in one of the small […]

Around the Edges

Around 27 million tourists visit Paris each year, but only a small percentage of these people step outside of the city limits. A specially drawn footpath around Paris – and a new book detailing the route – aims to change this situation. Here I discuss the path and the Paris suburbs with its creator, Paul-Hervé […]

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