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TALKING FRANCE

PODCAST: Will mass strikes bring France to a halt in the ‘mother of all battles’ ahead?

As France heads into a major confrontation between the government and unions, we're back with a 'strike special' episode of Talking France answering questions like - how long will the current strikes go on for? Do the unions have the power to defeat the government? And should I cancel my holiday to France?

PODCAST: Will mass strikes bring France to a halt in the 'mother of all battles' ahead?

Host Ben McPartland is joined by Local France editor Emma Pearson, journalist Gen Mansfield and political expert John Lichfield to look at all aspects of French striking, from the current conflict to the wider history and culture of striking in France.

As France prepares for the first day of strikes against pension reform on Thursday, John told us: “I think we are in for one of France’s big cataclysmic government versus union confrontations for several, several weeks.”

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

As well as practical info for how to deal with Thursday’s strike and how long the protests are likely to last, we’re also looking at strikes more generally – is the power of French unions declining? Why does France have such a high rate of strikes? How do French people feel about the regular disruption? And is the government likely to back down this time?

We bring you some useful apps to use on strike days and answer questions from readers including ‘Should I cancel my planned holiday to France because of the strikes?’.

And finally there’s some useful French vocab to help you understand strikes, service disruptions and a couple of choice words to use if you get caught up in the chaos.

You can find last week’s episode – where we looked at the detail of the pension reform that is the cause of the strikes – HERE, and all previous episodes of Talking France HERE.

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TALKING FRANCE

PODCAST: Pension strikes to intensify, Vendée rebels and the myth of the ‘sexy French’

The Talking France podcast is back looking at two enduring stereotypes about the French - rudeness and sexy charm - as well as the latest on the pension strikes, the theme park that's causing a political row and how French pensions work for foreigners.

PODCAST: Pension strikes to intensify, Vendée rebels and the myth of the 'sexy French'

Host Ben McPartland is joined by Local France editor Emma Pearson, journalist Genevieve Mansfield, politics expert John Lichfield and historian Emile Chabal to talk all things France and French related.

France is a country that lends itself to stereotypes and one of the most pervasive is of the French themselves as romantic, seductive and sexy – but where does this actually come from?

Emile Chabal, reader in history at the University of Edinburgh and an expert in European political thought of the 20th century, told us: “A combination of French cinema in the 20th century, French music, prominent women in French intellectual life like Simone de Beauvoir – all of these different figures add up to create an idea of France that is particularly open and free, especially in the domain of love and sex. But it’s an image that’s wrong in many ways.”

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

On the subject of both very attractive French people and enduring clichés – this week actress Eva Green blamed “my Frenchness coming out” when she was caught being extremely rude about her colleagues. But are the French actually rude? Or is it just a big misunderstanding with foreigners?

We are of course looking at the latest from the pensions battle, with the help of our politics expert John Lichfield, who told us: “I think in the end the unions are going to have to play hardball because Macron is playing hardball and if they do that they risk losing public support. So it’s a bit of a game of chess that is going on, but I think in the end the numbers on the streets – impressive as they are – cannot win this alone.”

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And we’re travelling to the west of France to a controversial theme park, examining how French pensions work for foreigners and talking about our favourite French noises. 

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

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