Advertisement

Inside France For Members

Inside France: Seine sewage, Impressionist art and croissant wars

Emma Pearson
Emma Pearson - [email protected]
Inside France: Seine sewage, Impressionist art and croissant wars
A man and a child ride a bike on the flooded docks along the Seine river in Paris, on April 4, 2024. Photo by Emmanuel Dunand / AFP

From the state of the River Seine to Parisian cyclists, via famous artists and the French pastry craze taking TikTok by storm, our weekly newsletter Inside France looks at what we have been talking about in France this week.

Advertisement

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.

River deep, expectation high

The River Seine has been attracting a lot of international attention this week, as a charity released a report saying that the water quality won't be good enough to hold open water swimming events during the Olympics this summer.

Organisers and Paris officials insist that it will be ready, with the help of a couple of engineering projects designed to prevent overflow of the sewage system into the river. They continue to insist there is 'no Plan B' (I don't believe it for a moment) while Emmanuel Macron says he will swim in the Seine this summer.

I had a nice chat with RTE's Claire Byrne about this topic and my prediction? The Olympic events will take place in the Seine. I'm prepared to bet up to €1 on that.

History and croissants 

This week's Talking France podcast started off with two pieces of history that continue to have a lasting impact on France - the signing in 1904 of the Entente Cordiale, declaring France and the UK as friends and allies, and the foundation in 1972 of the Front National far-right party. Today renamed Rassemblement National and run by founder Jean-Marie Le Pen's daughter it continues to exert a huge influence on French politics. 

Advertisement

We also talk about tax and rail tickets and Genevieve made us taste test this thing. 

 

Frankly I don't think I'm paid enough for this kind of high-risk journalism. Listen to Talking France here or on the link below.

 

Shanks' pony*

New data from the city of Paris reveals that just 4.3 percent of journeys in the city are done by car, with vehicles now slipping to fourth place in the most popular means of transport behind walking, public transport and cycling.

The full data tells quite a story - more than half (53.5 percent) of journeys are completed on foot, 30 percent on public transport, 11.2 percent by bike and 4.3 percent by vehicle.

Therefore it seems entirely appropriate that city planners prioritise pedestrians and cyclists when designing new infrastructure and the 'motorists lobby' needs to be seen for what it is; an extremely minority pursuit.

Advertisement

Revised impression

And if you're in Paris between now and July I really recommend the Musée d'Orsay's Inventing Impressionism exhibition - by putting them in their historical context, it really gives new meaning to artists that we all think that we know well. I also enjoyed this contemporary newspaper cartoon, of a pregnant woman being implored not to take the risk of seeing the 'shocking' Impressionist paintings by the likes of Claude Monet and Paul Cézanne.

The caption reads 'Oh Madame! It would not be wise. Go home!'

Newspaper cartoon shown in the Musée d'Orsay's Inventing Impressionism exhibition. 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.

* For non British readers, 'Shanks' pony' means to walk or travel somewhere on foot. Apparently there is a French equivalent too - aller sur la haquenée des cordeliers or sometimes aller sur la mule des cordeliers, it means 'go by the Cordeliers' mule', the Cordeliers being an order of monks famous for making all their journeys on foot.

Spanish has a similar phrase - el caballo de San Francisco or St Francis' horse, St Francis being another poor monk known for taking journeys on foot.

Yes, I fell down a language geek rabbit hole again . . .

More

Comments

Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also