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French astronaut returns to earth after 200 days... and will find France has changed a little

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French astronaut returns to earth after 200 days... and will find France has changed a little
Photo: AFP
16:20 CEST+02:00
French astronaut Thomas Pesquet returns from space on Friday, and some things have changed in France since he left.
Astronaut Thomas Pesquet left Earth in mid-November on a six month mission on the International Space Station. But on Friday, he's coming back. 
 
During his time away he has seen the world from among the stars and has snapped a lot of it along the way, including some incredible pictures of France, something his Twitter followers are no doubt very grateful for. 
 
When Pesquet eventually returns to France he will find his country has changed somewhat.
 
When he was first launched into space, Francois Hollande was still president and hadn't yet decided whether or not to run for reelection.
 
(Thomas Pesquet returns to earth.)
 
 
At the time, it looked likely that Alain Juppé of the right-wing Republians party would become France's next president, given his lead in the polls.
 
When Pesquet went into space on November 19th, it was just a few days after the country's new president Emmanuel Macron had announced his own bid. 
 
When Pesquet returns to earth he will find that Macron, who no one really gave a hope of winning back in November, is the country's new president, with a brand new party behind him. Not only that, he is also the talk of the globe after trolling Donald Trump and standing up to Vladimir Putin in recent days.
 
 
Macron's efforts have made the French proud of their president, on an international level at least, something that was certainly not the case when Pesquet left for space.
 
The astronaut may even find some of the doom and gloom which has clouded France in recent years, and even decades, has lifted somewhat.
 
The astronaut might notice an air of optimism around the country given that a recent poll showed the French felt positive about the future and consumer confidence was the highest it has been since 2007.
 
Pesquet will also be pleased to hear that the unemployment rate has dropped below ten percent while he was away. Indeed it's the lowest it has been for five years.
 
But aside from the serious political and economic changes that took place in the months since Pesquet's ascent, there have also been some smaller (and stranger) changes to take place in his home country.
 
Being fluent in English, Pesquet will be interested to find that the 2018 editions of France's Robert and Larousse dictionaries have revealed the addition of several new words to the French language that have been influenced by English. 
 
Many of them he will be familiar with such as "retweeter" and "liker", which are already common for social media users.
 
Parlez-vous franglais? More English words officially enter French language
 
The astronaut may also want to know that as of January 1st 2017 every person in France is automatically an organ donor.
 
Pesquet will have to sign himself off the official register if he doesn't want to donate. 
 
 
Pesquet might be less interested but nevertheless intrigued by the fact that since he has been away France has published its first school textbook depicting the clitoris in a move that has been hailed as a "big first".
 
He will also get to spend some of the new anti-forgery 50-euro notes that have been introduced to buy himself a decent meal at a French bistro and a glass or two of red wine.
 
And he's definitely earned it. Just see the link below.
 
 
IN PICTURES: France as seen from space through the unique lens of an astronaut
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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