PODCAST: What next in France’s political crisis and why’s everyone taking the train this summer?

In a very dramatic week for France, The Local's Talking France podcast is back, digesting the political crisis, as well as discussing the summer sales, the expanding train network and whether people in France really work just 35 hours a week.

PODCAST: What next in France's political crisis and why's everyone taking the train this summer?

Host Ben McPartland is joined by Local France editor Emma Pearson, reporter Genevieve Mansfield and political expert John Lichfield to dissect the aftermath of the parliamentary election that has plunged France into a political crisis.

We look at what happened, what Emmanuel Macron’s options are for the months ahead and how the far-right ended up with so many seats in parliament.

Listen on the link below, or find the podcast on Spotify, Apple or Google, or download it HERE.

John Lichfield told us: “We are in an unknown situation for this generation of politicians – they are not used to this type of haggling, trying to form majorities on different issues or alliances. This is not something that has been happening in France for half a century or more.

“In the 1940s and early 1950s there were frequent French parliaments that had no majority, revolving door governments, prime ministers who lasted only a few weeks – that’s not really happened since the system was changed by Charles de Gaulle.”

Stepping away from politics, we’re getting on the train – the latest travel trend is for swapping planes for trains and France is great place to do this thanks to the high-speed TGV network. The country also has some exciting plans for more night-trains and international travel to and from France is also under expansion.

As the summer sales begin, Gen explains how les soldes came about and why it is that the French government so strictly regulates them.

And we’re looking at one of the big questions about France – does everyone here really only work 35 hours a week?

You can find the Talking France podcast on Spotify, Apple or Google, or find all previous episodes HERE

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PODCAST: Travel, politics and Covid: What’s in store for France this summer?

The Talking France podcast is back for the final episode of this series and taking a look ahead to summer - from the possibility of early elections to eating snails, the French tourism industry and the vital cultural importance of les grandes vacances.

PODCAST: Travel, politics and Covid: What's in store for France this summer?

Host Ben McPartland is joined by Local France editor Emma Pearson and reporter Genevieve Mansfield, plus political expert John Lichfield to take a deep dive into everything seasonal.

We’re looking at why the summer vacation is such a big deal in France, to the point that cities empty out, and how the long-standing French tradition of ‘staycation’ might help France’s vital tourism industry withstand the challenges ahead.

You can find the Talking France podcast on Spotify, Apple or Google, listen on the link below or download it HERE.

Usually politicians also take a summer break, but with the ongoing political crisis things might be different this year.

John Lichfield told us: “I think much depends on what happens when the parliament meets properly next week, whether this fragile alliance will allow the government to pass necessary bills like extending the fuel rebate.

“If they can manage to get through that without the system collapsing or gumming up entirely then I think we will see a summer break and hostilities recommence in September.

“Autumn elections? I think not, but it’s hard to see how there won’t be a new election next year, possibly in spring or early summer.”

One of the political challenges ahead is the possibility of changing the constitution to enshrine the right to abortion – Genevieve Mansfield explains how France’s constitution works, the steps required to change it and which constitution lasted just one year.

Strikes and traffic jams are also something of a summer tradition in France so we have tips on dealing with both, and we’re also answering the question that many tourists have asked – in tones ranging from curiosity to disgust – do the French really eat snails, frogs and horses?

Like most of the country, Talking France will be taking a break over the summer, but you can find all our previous episodes HERE, where we answer questions on topics as diverse as the country’s electoral system, regional rivalries and why a woman’s maiden name is so important.

We’re also keen to hear feedback from listeners and we love to get questions – email [email protected] with your thoughts, suggestions and questions.