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Inside France: Communist cooking tips, scheming politicians and famous pharmacies

Emma Pearson
Emma Pearson - [email protected]
Inside France: Communist cooking tips, scheming politicians and famous pharmacies
Photo by RODGER BOSCH / AFP

From ambitious politicians to unsung town planners, via some very excited Americans in French pharmacies, our weekly newsletter Inside France looks at what we have been talking about in France this week.

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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.

Manoeuvres en vacances 

Most of France's politicians are now on holiday, and many of them are posting 'holiday snaps' on their social media intended to reinforce their political image. My favourite is Communist leader Fabien Roussel posting cooking videos from his camping holiday.

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Fabien Roussel (@fabien_roussel)

 

But one politician who appears not to need a break is Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, who used the quiet period to give an interview to Le Figaro that many saw as declaring his intention to stand for president in 2027.

The question of who will be the centrist candidate at the next presidential election - since Emmanuel Macron cannot stand again - is increasingly preoccupying the political classes, especially the question of picking someone who can defeat Marine Le Pen.

A hardliner who is definitely to the right of Macron's party, Darmanin is increasingly trying to play Le Pen at her own game on topics such as immigration and crime. He's also secured the backing of interior-minister-turned-president Nicolas Sarkozy.

Profile: France's tough-talking interior minister with an eye on the top job

Town planning

As an out-and-proud francophile, I always enjoy watching visitors fall in love with France, but one trend that has become apparent in recent years is tourists (especially Brits and Americans) discovering how much nicer cities are when cars are not allowed to take over.

https://twitter.com/lewis_goodall/status/1691408654237372416

 

Traffic management and town planning are not sexy subjects, but they make an enormous difference to the everyday lives of visitors and locals alike - as witnessed by Paris' bike revolution and excited predictions that it is 'the new Amsterdam' (not quite, but it's moving in that direction).

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The other thing that visitors to France apparently love is pharmacies, if the latest TikTok craze is anything to go by. There are some truly adorable videos of Americans getting very excited by the range on offer in pharmacies in Paris.

 

@elizabethvictoriaclark come to the iconic french pharmacy CityPharma in Paris with me - aka heaven on earth. Will do a haul next. #frenchpharmacy #a313 #biafine #frenchbeauty ♬ Shooting Stars - Bag Raiders

 

I've found myself spending a lot more time browsing in pharmacies since moving to France - although I just assumed that was because I'm now middle-aged!

A vos marques, prêt . . .

Water quality monitoring is also not a sexy subject - but thanks to the work of some of these unsung heroes, Paris hosted its first open-water swimming event in the Seine on Thursday.

https://twitter.com/Paris2024/status/1692055785256177705

 

The race was part of the test events in the river ahead of next year's Olympics when the plan is to hold the open-water swimming events in the city-centre parts of the Seine. After that, river swimming will be opened up to the general public for the first time in more than 100 years.

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Swimming in the river has been banned since 1923 because the levels of pollution made it unsafe.

Quiz of the week 

In most countries if you want to become a citizen, you need to take a written test on the history, geography and politics of the country.

France, however, eschews a written test in favour of an in-person interview at your local préfecture in which you are grilled about France and its values.

READ ALSO Cheese to philosophy: What you are likely to be asked in the French citizenship interview

That doesn't stop news organisations from putting together 'citizenship quizzes' based on what interviewers are likely to ask - this week there's a new (and hard) one from French newspaper Le Parisien, which obviously is in French. The Local has its own version in English here

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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