The podcast from Paris about French current affairs, culture and politics. Hosted by Sara Bertilsson and Stefan de Vries
Paris, The City of Strikes
It's the seventh week of the National Strike. Will we see any major developments, or will the country stay chaotic over the next couple of days?
What's at stake in the upcoming local Elections? Will the pension reform diminish Macron's chances? And who will become the next Mayor of Paris?
A dustman in Paris was fired because someone tweeted that he was taking a nap. What's behind this story?
Recorded in Paris, 19 January 2020.
How to survive the Strike of the Decade?
This week: Black Thursday is coming! On December 5, a national strike will paralyze the country. It could well last until the New Year. How to survive what could become the biggest strike in decades?
Another black day for the French Army, when 13 soldiers died in a helicopter accident during an anti-jihadist operation in Mali. France’s military involvement in Africa is now in question.
Turning Black Friday green? As the infamous November took its grip on France, the country’s politicians are getting ready to put the breaks on the shopping frenzy.
And will Sara and Stefan quit drinking in the New Year? Emmanuel Macron thinks it's not such a good idea to participate in Dry January.
Recorded in Paris, November 30, 2019.
Why the French are terrible at languages (and what they can do about it)
Parlez-vous franglais? The French are not known for speaking English fluently. Or any other foreign language. Our guest, Giuseppe Fantigrossi of the start-up Play2Speak, will tell us why that is the case, and more importantly: how the French can finally improve their foreign language skills.
This weekend, it has been one year already that the Yellow Vests started their protests. And they are continuing. There were violent clashes in Paris again this Saturday. It coincided with the day the first half of Macron's (first?) five-year mandate ended. To put more pressure on the President, a national unlimited strike, in public transportation, but probably also in schools, hospitals and other public services will start. How warm is this Winter going to be for the French Government?
Also: at the very chic Culture Ministry, a high-ranked civil servant drugged hundreds of young women to make them urinate in front of him. A “crazy pervert” says the Minister, but how come he wasn’t stopped earlier?
Recorded in Paris, November 16, 2019
While New York City is banning foie gras, the French are hooked on Halloween
Seine-Saint-Denis is France's poorest district. In 2024 it will be the main site of the Olympic Games. This week the government presented a plan to improve life for its 1.6 million inhabitants. What are the challenges? And is the plan sufficient?
Bad news for New York Foodies: in 2023, all foie gras will be banned. We talk with New York Chef Hugue Dufour, who is not amused with the ban.
On this side of the Ocean, Halloween is getting more and more popular every year. Ten years ago, the French couldn't be bothered by this very American party, but now they spend 1.3 billion euros on the scary party. Why do they like it? Hosts Sara and Stefan discuss the new tradition.
Recorded in Paris on November 2, 2019.
Why headscarves to the French are like red rags to a bull
Once every while debate rages in France about Muslim veils. This week another high-point was reached: the topic was discussed in no less than 85 (!) TV programmes, with 286 talking heads, not one of them being a veil wearing muslim woman...
In the country that has 'Liberty' and 'Equality' in its publicity slogan, many people would like to see restrictions on the way people dress. And by 'people', they often mean 'Muslim women'. Is banning the headscarf a legitimate way of defending France's 'values' (whatever they may be) or is it an open war against Muslims?
We also talk about another immigrant whose clothing obsessed the French: Marie-Antoinette. In two centuries, the image of the Austrian princess transformed into a pop icon. A new exhibition in Paris ‘celebrates’ her life.
Recorded in Paris, on 19 October 2019
French Media go bananas about Chirac's death
Hosts Sara and Stefan are baffled by this week's media frenzy following former President Jacques Chirac's death. Why did French media go bananas with their coverage? They also discuss the fire at the chemical plant in Rouen. The aftermath showed once again that French citizens have very little trust in government institutions. And to a certain extent, that distrust is justified by the way French authorities has been handling some severe health crises in the past.