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Inside France For Members

Inside France: Fantasy Paris, landmark laws and 'irritating' politicians

Emma Pearson
Emma Pearson - [email protected]
Inside France: Fantasy Paris, landmark laws and 'irritating' politicians
France's President Emmanuel Macron (right) with his newly-appointed Prime Minister Gabriel Attal. Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP

From the problems of a 'too popular' politician to the landmark decision for France, via a fantasy representation of Paris and Versailles weddings, 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.

Irritatingly popular?

He's been in post for just two months, but already political insiders appear to be briefing the French press that prime minister Gabriel Attal is "irritating" Emmanuel Macron.

The reported complaints are rather vague in nature and appear to be about Attal being 'too active' in the recent farming crisis. 

A bizarre complaint you might think, but it speaks to the strange relationship between the roles of prime minister and president in the French fifth republic. Technically the prime minister is supposed to run the government while the president takes the 'head of state' role, making the big decisions but not getting involved in the day-to-day politics. It's a structure that is increasingly difficult to maintain in the age of rolling news, especially with an incurable micro-manager such as Macron in post.

READ ALSO What does a French prime minister actually do?

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All this is of course completely unconnected to polling that shows Attal as consistently more popular than Macron with the public - be careful Gabi, don't you remember what happened to Edouard Philippe? (the ex prime minister was sacked by Macron in 2020, widely assumed to be for the crime of being more popular than the boss). 

World of pure imagination

The Paris Olympics poster may not be to everyone's taste (I think it's quite fun and has echoes of Where's Wally/Waldo but I've also seen it compared to the disastrous Willy Wonka Experience) but surely one thing we can all agree on is that it's not supposed to be an accurate representation of Paris?

Paris 2024 official poster. Image: Paris IOC

There's that coastline for a start, plus the giant hand, the circular Seine, the bouncy castle around the Eiffel Tower and lots, lots more.

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5 things to spot in the Paris Olympics poster

However its obviously fantastical nature has not stopped certain rightwing French politicians complaining on social media that the poster is 'woke' because the Les Invalides building does not have a cross on the top. I think this might be the most ridiculous made-up 'scandal' about the Games so far - but there's another five months to go . . . 

Landmark legislation

I must admit it, I had a little tear in my eye as I saw people gather in Paris on Friday to mark a landmark declaration on women's rights, the enshrining of the right to abortion in the French constitution.

So much of the news from around the globe on women's issues has been unremittingly bad, so it's heartwarming to see that an overwhelming majority of people in France (86 percent of the wider population and 91 percent of MPs and Senators) support a woman's right to choose. 

 

We talk about this landmark moment in the latest episode of Talking France, as well as getting married at Versailles, French price controls, finding a good restaurant and blending in with the French. Listen here or on the link below.

 

No bull

And here's a picture of my favourite bovine at the Paris Salon de l'Agriculture which was, as ever, a great day out. If this fella says it's Tuesday, then it's Tuesday.

Prize-winning livestock on show at the Paris Salon de l'Agriculture. Photo: The Local

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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