We French love to mourn our former presidents. Thousands queued to pay their last respects to Jacques Chirac as he lay in state at the weekend. Monday was a day of national mourning: the tricolour flew at half mast everywhere and a minute’s silence was observed even in schools. It is hard, though, to know which love is greater – the love of mourning the passing of former heads of state, or the love of loathing them with the fervour we held when they were in power. I remember all through the 1970s my mother calling Chirac “facho Chirac” because of his greasy, thinning pulled-back hair, his wannabe Charles de Gaulle style of speaking and his war-like conquest of the right and of Paris city hall. Nevertheless, like millions of others on the left, my mother managed to hold her nose and vote for this “fascist” in the second round of the 2002 presidential elections, when the alternative was Jean-Marie Le Pen. And if she hadn’t already passed away … [Read more...] about Chirac delivered little and left office under a cloud. Why does France now love him?
A blockbuster exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci’s works at the Louvre could be without one of his most famous works after an Italian court suspended its loan to the Paris museum following a last-minute legal challenge. Italia Nostra, a heritage group, argued that Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man drawing, currently in Venice, was too fragile to be transported and risked being damaged by the lighting in the Louvre if displayed for a long period. The court’s decision is the latest hurdle in a plan to bring together Leonardo’s works in Paris to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the artist’s death that first hit problems when Italy’s former populist government – often at odds with Emmanuel Macron, the French president, on issues such as migration – threatened to block the initiative in its entirety. The exhibition is due to open on 24 October. Italia Nostra warned that because the Vitruvian Man could only be displayed for short periods at a time … [Read more...] about Leonardo da Vinci work ‘too fragile’ to be transported to France
Here is a story about Le Loir, a river and region in France. And if there are any geography or French teachers reading this, please don't write a furious letter. No, I don't mean La Loire. La Loire is France's longest river. It runs from the coastal west to the mountainous south, and boasts a verdant landscape of fabulous chateaux and superb vineyards. This is about Le Loir, a much quieter chap, happy to meander for a mere 200 miles in rural obscurity through gentle, mid-west countryside. But given a choice between La and Le, I would go with Le. The village of La Fleche sits in a pleasant spot on the banks of Le Loir river Le Loir is actually a tributary of the Sarthe river. But the Loir Valley - just to keep things nice and confusing - runs 25 miles to the north, seemingly trickling along in its shadow. RELATED ARTICLES Previous 1 2 Next The world's most unusual borders revealed: Spain's 'mini... Never sit next to a crying baby on a flight again! Airline... From a cheeky … [Read more...] about Not to be confused with the busy Loire Valley to its south, the lesser-known Le Loir offers a gentler France
France has said it will block the development of Facebook’s Libra in Europe, dealing the cryptocurrency a fresh blow. The French finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, said plans for Libra could not move ahead until concerns over consumer risk and governments’ monetary sovereignty were addressed. Speaking at a conference in Paris on virtual currencies on Thursday, he said: “I want to be absolutely clear: in these conditions, we cannot authorise the development of Libra on European soil.” Facebook unveiled plans for Libra in June, triggering immediate warnings from some experts that it could shift control over the economy from governments and their central banks to big business. The launch also raised concern about the risks such a currency could pose to consumers, particularly after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which drew attention to Facebook’s management of its customers’ data. The company’s role in the spread of fake news and extremist videos … [Read more...] about France to block Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency in Europe
France is enlisting Iraqi soldiers to hunt down and kill French jihadists fighting for ISIS before they return home and carry out terror attacks, it has been claimed. Special forces are reportedly supplying ground forces with names and photos of up to 30 French citizens who have fled to Iraq. High-ranking French ISIS militants have been selected as targets amid fears they will return home to carry out atrocities, it is claimed. It comes as a shipment of a so-called 'jihadi drug' increasingly used by ISIS fanatics was intercepted in Paris. France is enlisting Iraqi soldiers to hunt down and kill French jihadists fighting for ISIS before they return home and carry out terror attacks, it has been claimed. File picture shows a masked Iraqi counter terrorism operative Illegal shipments (pictured) of the so-called 'Jihadi drug' Captagon worth a total of almost £1.5m have been intercepted in France for the first time According to an investigation by the Wall Street Journal, French … [Read more...] about France enlists Iraqi soldiers to ‘KILL French militants fighting for ISIS before they return home and carry out terror attacks’ as shipment of ‘Jihadi drug which makes fighters fearless’ is intercepted in Paris