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Inside France: Beer, George Clooney and France on the barricades

Emma Pearson
Emma Pearson - [email protected]
Inside France: Beer, George Clooney and France on the barricades
Mural La fille des remparts (the daughter of the ramparts) in Angouleme. Photo by JOEL SAGET / AFP

This week in France conversation has been dominated by the highly controversial decision of president Emmanuel Macron regarding pension reform, and the reaction that followed, but we've also found time for beer, street art and celebrities in our weekly newsletter Inside France.

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Inside France is our weekly look at some of the news, talking points and gossip in France that you might not have heard about. It’s published each Saturday and members can receive it directly to their inbox, by going to their newsletter preferences or adding their email to the sign-up box in this article.

To the barricades

A tumultuous week in France - a last-minute decision from Emmanuel Macron to ram through his highly controversial pension reform without giving MPs a vote, followed by predictable outrage and street protests.

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Macron's view is that he won re-election in 2022 on a platform that includes pension reform, which gives him a mandate to do this. The view of almost everyone else in France is that putting through a measure as controversial as this without allowing parliament to vote on it is deeply undemocratic.

It will definitely have an effect that reaches far beyond this bill, and even beyond the inevitable strikes and protests in the days to come, affecting the whole of Macron's second term as president. One thing we can always say about France is that it's rarely dull . . .

OPINION Macron, the government and France itself all lose from the pensions debacle

Street art

Also this week, I've been in the south west, visiting the town of Angoulême. Picture-postcard pretty (it's used as the backdrop for the Wes Anderson film The French Dispatch) it's also a cool town, hosting major festivals of film and comic books (bande dessinée) and boasting some seriously impressive street art.

 

It also has some good bars, including several serving beers from the Nantes brewery Little Atlantique. Although north-east France remains the beer heartland, the west coast and Paris both have a rapidly growing number of microbreweries providing some lovely brews for beer fans to taste. 

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I'm a fan of the beers from Brasserie Melusine near Cholet and Gallia, Paname and La Parisienne - all based in the northern Paris suburb of Pantin. 

Celeb tie-in of the week

Hollywood star George Clooney and his wife Amal are reportedly funding an organic fruit and vegetable farm in the southern département of Var, which will be used to provide ingredients for local school lunches.

The Clooneys own property in Var and, according to the local mayor, are "very involved" in the community. If you want to subscribe to The Local's newsletter for second-home owners George, just drop me a line . . .

Podcast 

This week's Talking France of course discusses the latest political turmoil, as well as free chickens, swimming in the Seine, hijab rules and France's 'backwards language' of verlan. Listen here or on the link below.

 

Inside France is our weekly look at some of the news, talking points and gossip in France that you might not have heard about. It’s published each Saturday and members can receive it directly to their inbox, by going to their newsletter preferences or adding their email to the sign-up box in this article.

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