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Inside France For Members

Inside France: Versailles congress, Macron's dip and best restaurants

Emma Pearson
Emma Pearson - [email protected]
Inside France: Versailles congress, Macron's dip and best restaurants

From war to boeuf bourguignon, via a presidential swim and how France is set to make history on Monday, 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.

Historic event

This week the move to enshrine the right to abortion in France's constitution passed its final major hurdle when it was approved by the Senate - the final step will be a special congress held on Monday in the grand setting of the Palace of Versailles.

If this goes ahead as expected, it will make France the only country in the world to clearly protect the right to terminate a pregnancy in this way in the constitution.

There had been some worry that the male-dominated and traditionally socially conservative Senate would try to block the proposal, which was first made by Emmanuel Macron shortly after the legal precedent of Roe v Wade was overturned in the USA, allowing states to restrict the rights of women to terminate pregnancies.

In the end, however, the French Senate overwhelmingly supported the idea - 267 for and 50 against.

The Assemblée nationale had already voted 337-32 in favour and polls show that around 85 percent of the public also support the move.

I'm struggling to think of any recent issues that have attracted so much support, and from right across the political spectrum. Abortion might just be the least controversial issue in France today.

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Spectre of war 

This week we've also been talking about the difficult subject of war - specifically why Macron said what he did about ground troops in Ukraine and how it fits in with France's place in the world and its military commitments.

We discuss this on the Talking France podcast, as well as the latest from the farmer protests, why the French taxman might be spying on your social media and some reasons to move to Lyon. Listen here or on the link below.

 

Best beef

This week I had what claimed to be the best boeuf bourguignon in Paris - now I haven't tasted all of the boeuf bourguignon in Paris so I cannot independently verify this claim, but it was very good indeed.

And it reminded me how common these 'titles' are, and how it's usually a very good sign of someone who takes their craft seriously. From the best cassoulet in Toulouse to the best baguette de tradition in Seine-Saint-Denis there are hundreds of these competitions every year, a sign of a thriving culture of gastronomy.

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It's also one more reason to try and become French president (or maybe marry a president) since the prize for the baker who creates the best baguette in Paris is a year-long contract to supply the Elysée Palace.

And speaking of food, the new edition of the Bib Gourmand came out this week - this restaurant guide produced by Michelin is a listing of restaurants that produce excellent food and have menus available for €40 or less, it's a great way to find delicious and creative but affordable cooking in all corners of France.

Seine swims

This week Macron told journalists that he will swim in the River Seine, but refused to say when, adding "otherwise all you guys will be there".

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo has also said that she intends to, although at a test swim event last summer she delegated the actual swimming to her deputy Emmanuel Grégoire, which is a leadership style I can very much get behind.

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All this of course is within the context of making the Seine safe for swimming in time for the Olympics this summer - and if anyone is planning on being in France for the Games, we have a new weekly newsletter for all of the latest Olympics and Paralympics news plus practical tips for anyone attending. Sign up 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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