The French may well be glad to see the back of a year that saw France make world headlines – but not the sort of headlines they would want. November witnessed the worst spate of social unrest since the nationwide car-burning frenzy of 2005. President Nicolas Sarkozy called those responsible for the recent riots “yobs and traffickers.” Not everyone agreed. Lamia Belassen is a 17-year-old high school student from Paris who’s unhappy with the new reputation building around France’s young people. She’s part of a youth group organized by the city and told Radio France International’s Sarah Elzas that stereotypes are being created.
In France many say social unrest has been on the cards for some time. Dozens of police officers were injured on Monday and Tuesday during clashes with youths in a northern Paris suburb. The intensity of the violence took everyone by surprise – Molotov cocktails were thrown and even shotguns were fired, putting several policemen in hospital. The catalyst for all of this was the death on Sunday of two teenage boys who were killed when their motorcycle collided with a police car. The violent reaction from sections of the community’s rekindled memories of the nationwide rioting two years ago, when the protest act of choice was car-burning.
Paris has some of the world's most interesting cemeteries with the great and good in every other tomb: John paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir in the Montparnasse cemetery; Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf and Jim Morrison in Pere Lachaise; Francois Truffaut in Montmatre - the list goes on and these villages of the dead are tourist attractions in themselves. Illustriously filled cemeteries are one thing, but in the north of Paris you find the oldest animal cemetery in the world. Dogs, cats, and even birds and horses are buried at the Cimetiere des Chiens de Asnieres. And it's not just little old ladies who lay their white poodles to rest there. RFI's Sarah Elzas reports
If you walk around Paris these days, you'll see tourists, but not many Parisians. French people are on vacation, and the streets are deserted. But the emptying of the capital is not entirely voluntary. Many French people are obliged to take the bulk of their holidays in August, because their workplaces are closed.
Cycling might have a bad image in France after this year’s Tour de France doping scandals. But not everywhere. Paris recently launched the biggest city bike commuter service the world has ever seen. It’s called ‘Vélib’ - and is a merger of two French words: velo which means bicycle and lib - or liberté meaning freedom.
Like us here at Network Europe you’ve no doubt often wondered what Serbs do when they go to Paris for the weekend. For Network Europe Anastup Roy discovered that like the Brits they come in search of their own culture, it just involves being more sober.
Paris, this week has been the focus of the world's aerospace industry gathers for the bi-annual air show. Headlines were dominated by the heady competition for sales between Europe's Airline manufacturer, Airbus and its American rival Boeing. But behind the high-tech displays and glittering mock ups - Allegations that a British arms manufacturer made secret payments amounting to billion of US dollars in connection with lucrative arms deals cast a shadow of the event. Radio France International's Hannah Godfrey has the details
We’ve heard about gun violence and about school bullying. In France youth have been blamed for a lot of public violent events in the past few years, from a recent riot that broke out in a Paris train station, to the weeks of riots in 2005 in the Paris suburbs. Lamia Belassen is a 17 year old high school student in Paris who is part of a youth group organized by the city. Sarah Elzas asked her what she thought about the depiction of violent French youth.
For the first time in France, people accused of bearing responsibility for an oil spill, are being brought before a penal court. Seven years after the ecological disaster which devastated four hundred kilometres of France's western coast, the Erika trial started in Paris this week. In 1999, the Erika, a twenty five year old, single hulled, rusty oil tanker, was transporting thirty tons of heavy fuel when it sank off the coast of Brittany. Jail terms and fines worth hundreds of millions of Euros are at stake in this trial, which is expected to last four months. Radio France International's Nick Champeaux went to the first hearings, and he filed this report from Paris.
There's really no denying it - for many Paris, is "the" global capital of romance, where literature and art lead us to believe at least - that Latin lovers stroll along the banks of the romantic river Seine…… But hold on. Did you know that Paris is also home to hundreds of thousands of singles! And that according to statistics there could be as many as 15 million single people in France, That’s twice as many than thirty years ago! RFI's Nick Champeaux wanted to find out why , despite the romantic backdrop, so many people hadn't found their soul-mates...
In France, Housing has become the hot topic. Homeless people and their supporters have set up hundreds of red tents in the centre of Paris, a visual and provocative way, of putting the plight of the homeless, into the spotlight. And it’s working……Presidential hopefuls can no longer ignore it, and are being forced to commit themselves. The problem is that campaign pledges on housing, are rarely followed through. Radio France International’s Sarah Elzas, reports on the issue that keeps making the headlines, but never seems to get resolved.
The French capital always draws hordes of tourists from all over the world, particularly around Christmas. And there are several reasons for that. First, buying Christmas presents in the capital of Haute Couture is the ultimate chic. Paris is also referred to as "the city of lights", and the Christmas decorations only enhance the capital's reputation - especially the Eiffel tower with its special Christmas coat. Nearby the new Quai Branly Museum for indigenous art is organising special events during the festive season. As RFI reports the museum has drawn upon its outstanding indigenous artwork collections to present "African Christmas".
With between half a million and six hundred thousand Jews, France is home to Europe’s largest Jewish community. A majority live in Marseille in the South East of the country, in Strasbourg in the North East, and in Paris. For Network Europe, Radio France International’s Nick Champeaux went to several Jewish neighborhoods in the French capital, and filed this report.
In France, the traditional church is struggling to attract new blood but evangelical and charismatic ones are rapidly gaining ground. The country is warming to services that focus on miracles, gospel singing, adult immersions and speaking in tongues. One American preacher recently attracted an unprecedented 4,000 people a day to a meeting, swelling the ranks of France’s half a million evangelical followers.
French President Jacques Chirac inaugurated the Quai Branly indigenous art museum in the capital on Tuesday. Like his predecessor François Mitterrand, who gave Paris the Louvre pyramid, the 235 million Euro museum is Chirac's legacy to the city, in the final year of his presidency. Beyond the post-colonial angst over the concept of a museum devoted to what used to be called primitive art, and is now called indigenous art, what is the Quai Branly like, as a space to visit ? Are the exhibits the stars of the show, or is it the work of Jean Nouvel, the museum's architect, that is stealing the prize?
Who does not have a soft spot for cows? The Masai love them, the Hindus worship them, Andy Warhol drew them. So why not use them to make people happy and raise money for charity? That's the idea of cow parade, the world's largest art event which has been exhibiting life sized cows in cities like London, Tokyo, New York and Barcelona for the last few years. The concept has now come to Paris. Radio France International reports.
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