Marseille Likes its McDonald’s

It is unheard of. In France, McDonald’s has long stood for the triumph of junk food, economic imperialism, and the spread of American culture. French farmer and politician José Bové shot to fame when he destroyed a McDonald’s restaurant, and for four years, the inhabitants of Oléron have been fighting to keep the fast-food chain from opening a restaurant on...

Parisians Are Pissed at the City’s New Public Urinals

“In the city of lights, love, and romance, it is now possible to take in a sweeping, flower-filled scene of the River Seine and the historic Notre Dame cathedral — all while emptying one’s bladder in a totally legal, even environmentally friendly way.” Not on a tree, adds the Washington Post, but by using one of the new public urinals...

France and the Race Taboo

On the night of July 30, 2018, a white man shot at a group of Arab teens in the suburbs of Beaune, a city in eastern France, and injured seven. According to the U.S. magazine The Nation, French media downplayed the incident as gang-related violence instead of portraying it for what it is: a hate crime. But France does not...

Why Are There Less and Less U.S. Riders on the Tour?

Out of 176 riders, only 5 Americans were on the starting line of the Tour de France this year. The U.K., Poland, and Denmark each had as many riders. By comparison, Belgium had 19 riders and France 35. The United States never really recovered from the Lance Armstrong scandal, writes New York Times reporter Ian Austen. On the Tour, his name is...

Will France’s Soccer Victory Help the Banlieues?

New York Times op-ed writer Antony J. Blinken hopes that the victory of multicolored France in the World Cup final will positively influence Macron’s plan for the banlieues. A third of the members of this year’s world championship team, he reminds us, were born in these neglected, underprivileged urban areas outside Paris. “It’s time for the Macron government to bring long-awaited...

Rédoine Faïd, a Film-Loving Criminal

The charismatic French gangster who broke out of a jail last Sunday using smoke bombs, an angle grinder, and a helicopter is heavily influenced by Hollywood movies, writes Vanity Fair. Among his many inspirations are Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs — he once referred to his accomplice as “Mr. White” during a heist —, Kathryn Bigelow’s Point Break — he and...

French Butchers Threatened by Veganism

The French are eating less and less meat. Butchers have noticed a 10-percent drop in meat sales between 2000 and 2012, and are worried about the threat supposedly brought about by vegans. They are now seeking police protection after several meat shops and restaurants were vandalized in the past few weeks. In a letter to the French Interior Ministry, the...

Edouard Louis: Books as Weapons

The acclaimed French author recently graced the pages of The New York Times and The Washington Post, which profiled him as his third novel, Qui a tué mon père, was published in France and his second novel, Une histoire de la violence (History of Violence), was translated and published in the U.S. As he did in his celebrated debut novel,...

Why Are Books on French Women so Successful in the U.S.?

American writer Sadie Stein has no shame about it: she delights in art de vivre manuals and other self-help books à la française. These guides explaining how to behave, talk, dress, work, eat, flirt, decorate your home, or raise your children like a French woman are increasingly popular in the U.S. “The crazier things get here at home, it seems,...

Gaël Faye: From Rapper to Best-Selling Author

French-Rwandan author Gaël Faye sat down with the New York Times in Paris. He discussed his childhood in Burundi, the outbreak of the civil war and his escape to France, the beginning of his rapping career and his lucky encounter with French editor Catherine Nabokov, and the success of his autobiographical novel, Petit Pays (Small Country), which was translated in...

Can Paris Become a Start-up Capital?

This is the wish of French president Emmanuel Macron and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo. Yet, Forbes thinks that the French project is too ambitious. The French capital has many advantages, writes Peter Cohan, the author of the book Startup Cities, published last February. Paris is home to renowned engineering schools and opened the world’s largest tech campus, the Station F,...

Liberty, Equality, Camembert!

Is this the end of French Camembert? Starting in 2021, the "Camembert de Normandie" Protected Designation of Origin label, which guarantees a locally-made, raw milk cheese, will become available to cheeses made using pasteurized milk. The decision has concerned and enraged local producers, who have called for a boycott of Camembert if the change takes effect. “Soon enough," writes the...

The New Yorker Meets with François Hollande

For a minivan ride and a book-signing event, New Yorker writer Lauren Collins shadowed former French president François Hollande, whose four-hundred page account of his five years in office came out last April. The book, "between a self-help guide and a thriller," is the thirteenth-best-selling book on Amazon in France. Read more at The New Yorker.

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A Memorial for Guadeloupe Slaves Becomes a Flashpoint for France’s Colonial Legacy

In the Caribbean, the French island of Guadeloupe is celebrating this year the 170th anniversary of the abolition of slavery. The former colony, however, is still struggling with unresolved social and economic grievances with France. A memorial for the slaves, inaugurated in 2015, has become a flashpoint for France's colonial legacy. Read more at The Atlantic.  

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Is France Doing Enough to Fight Anti-Semitism?

Last March, 85-year-old Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll was stabbed to death in Paris. This murder was the latest in a series of anti-Semite crimes that started a few years ago. In reaction, the Israeli Prime Minister urged French Jews to flee the country. These crimes, as heinous as they are, must be put into perspective, according to New York Times...

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The Unexpected Alliance Between Macron and Trump

When it came to foreign policy, Barack Obama often sided with Angela Merkel rather than François Hollande. Things have changed since the election of Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron. “Macron has established himself as the [American] president’s go-to leader in Europe,” writes Bloomberg. The two men have repeatedly clashed over climate change and international trade, but there seems to be...

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France Wants Become an Artificial Intelligence Leader

"I think artificial intelligence will disrupt all the different business models and it’s the next disruption to come,” said Emmanuel Macron to the American magazine Wired. “So I want to be part of it.” The French president has recently announced that France will spend €1.5 billion within the next five years to catch up with the United States and China...

Netflix Movies Turned Down at Cannes

The Cannes Film Festival has changed its rules. This year, movies exclusively released on streaming platforms such as Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu, or Amazon will be barred from the competition. Two Netflix movies entered the competition last year: The Meyerowitz Stories by Noah Baumbach and Okja by Bong Joon-ho. “When we selected these two films, I thought I could convince Netflix to release them in cinemas," explained Thierry Frémaux,...

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Are the French More Optimist than the Americans?

American journalist Pamela Druckerman, who has been living in Paris and writing about French parenting for 14 years, is noticing a trend: "France is starting to seem like an upbeat, can-do country, while Americans are less sure that everything will be O.K." "The French haven’t become magically cheerful," she writes. But since Emmanuel Macron was elected last June, "there’s a...

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Tahar Rahim, the “New Al Pacino” of French Cinema

Rolling Stone is in love with Tahar Rahim. The French actor, who plays the role of an FBI agent fighting terrorism alongside Jeff Daniels in the Hulu drama The Looming Tower, is "the show's big breakout star" and "your next Internet crush," writes the magazine. Read more at Rolling Stone.

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Zidane, a “Unifying Figure” in a Divided France

On March 6, the Paris Saint-Germain soccer club lost to Madrid (1 to 3). However, French supporters rejoiced. They celebrated the return of their favorite athlete, French soccer superstar and Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane, who has been living in Spain since 2000. An unknown player until the 1998 World Cup, where he scored two goals that ultimately allowed France...