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Inside France For Members

Inside France: Political deadlock, religious clothing and odd-shaped balls

Emma Pearson
Emma Pearson - [email protected]
Inside France: Political deadlock, religious clothing and odd-shaped balls
Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP

From the desperate political wrangling of Emmanuel Macron to the reasons why France is again talking about Muslim women's clothing, via some train news and the start of Rugby World Cup, 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.

French secularism (again)

As French schools restarted on Monday we're back to business as usual - and in France that means another row about 'religious' clothing.

The latest version concerns the abaya in schools. There are very real concerns about equality and secularism, and France's state laïcité is a policy supported by the vast majority of the population - but after a while you can't help but notice that every single one of these secularism rows focuses on one group - Muslim women and girls.  

99 problems

Meanwhile Emmanuel Macron is facing the exact same problem that he faced this time last year - he has no overall majority in parliament and little chance of building one.

Another round of meetings with party chiefs has produced little of substance and it looks like France is set for another year of parliamentary deadlock, with the government resorting to the constitutional power known as Article 49.3 to force through crucial items like the budget. 

If we're really in for another four years of this, it's little wonder that within the political world, attention is already focused on 2027

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All aboard

But before we get too gloomy about the state of the country, we did get some good train news this week - the Paris-Berlin sleeper service is coming back from December and France plans to launch a rail pass modelled on Germany's '€49 ticket'.

READ ALSO Where can you get a night train from Paris?

Odd-shaped balls

As a fan, I'm obviously very excited about the start of the Rugby World Cup - but also at how much France is embracing it, even the emergency services are (apparently) practising their rugby skills.

 

I went to a couple of internationals in France last year which organisers were using as test events for World Cup matches and I'm going to stick my neck out and predict that fans will have a really good time. French club rugby always has a great atmosphere so I'm excited for the foreign fans who will get to experience it too.

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I'm also strongly rooting for a France win - not only would it be great for Les bleus to win their first World Cup in the year that they're hosting, but this team really does represent a golden generation of astonishing French talent. When they get it right, it's like watching poetry in motion. 

 

Podcast

And we're happy to be back with the Talking France podcast.

This week is a rentrée-special episode looking at the challenges facing the country as it goes back to work, the reasons behind that abaya ban and why property taxes are rising. Plus our French holiday tips. 

 

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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