France

Nuns, a maquisard and the Devil’s Own Rum: a Provençale pilgrimage

4 July 2020 9:00 am

Avid Spectator reader Mr Brown had endured the very strictest of lockdowns for family health reasons in Tunbridge Wells. Since…

How did the UK’s pandemic preparations go so wrong?

4 July 2020 9:00 am

How was Britain so ill-prepared for a pandemic?

What angry young French men want

27 June 2020 9:00 am

Chatting on the café terrace with my new friends Didier and Emile made me aware that certain political ideas, which…

Is left the new right?

20 June 2020 9:00 am

I took a table on the terrace of the reopened bar and ordered une pression from the waitress. ‘Back to…

My hairdresser cured my depression

13 June 2020 9:00 am

I walked to the salon in fiery sunshine. Gorgeous, zaftig Elody was wearing a short satin dressing gown of silver…

The best way to cope with rejection is to write about it

23 May 2020 9:00 am

With more than a dozen acclaimed novels to her name, not to mention short stories, poetry, a memoir and a…

Rules for a deconfinement dinner party

23 May 2020 9:00 am

The most visible local landmark is a solitary two-headed Jurassic mountain called Le Bessillon, six miles long and 800 metres…

My first post-lockdown party

16 May 2020 9:00 am

France is divided into a red zone and a green zone. We’re green. Green for go. From this morning we…

League of nations: the race out of lockdown

16 May 2020 9:00 am

Lifting lockdown is a worldwide experiment

In praise of French doctors

9 May 2020 9:00 am

They made a better job of sorting out my waterworks

Covid statistics are just politics by other means

5 May 2020 9:57 pm

Statistics is the continuation of politics by other means, to misquote Clausewitz. One hundred and fifty years after the crushing…

How the French view their weekly clap for carers

2 May 2020 9:00 am

Once a week we break French emergency law and have a friend round for drinks on the terrace. The terrace…

Paris’s banlieues are burning once again

22 April 2020 6:24 pm

One of the persistent misconceptions of the riots that swept through France in the autumn of 2005 is that they…

France's citizens' climate convention has come back to bite Macron

18 April 2020 5:56 pm

Those of us who are sceptical about the worth of citizens’ assemblies have been noting with interest the upshot of…

I was relishing the lockdown a week ago, but now I need urgent hospital treatment

11 April 2020 9:00 am

In France the rule for going for a walk stipulates an hour in duration or a kilometre in distance. We…

Could coronavirus lead to Frexit?

4 April 2020 7:01 pm

Is France flirting with the idea of Frexit again? Coronavirus is currently provoking a chorus of ‘reprendre le contrôle’ (take…

Had the entire village population been wiped out since last week?

4 April 2020 9:00 am

With my signed and dated laissez-passer in my pocket, I trotted down to the village to see if I could…

Annie Ernaux looks back at her teenage self – and sees a stranger

4 April 2020 9:00 am

How can you recover the teenage girl you were? Not just recall the memories and recount the events — this…

Liberté, égalité and fraternité are being put to the test in France

4 April 2020 12:29 am

When I left my apartment for my morning run today I saw that someone had scrawled on the courtyard in…

Is France being pushed to breaking point?

30 March 2020 8:46 pm

As France prepares to enter its third week of confinement the Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe, has warned that ‘the fight…

France’s downward spiral of coronavirus repression

24 March 2020 11:48 pm

In France there is a palpable sense of administrative and political panic in how to deal with the coronavirus epidemic.…

Catherine Deneuve is at her most Deneuve-ish: The Truth reviewed

21 March 2020 9:00 am

To tell you the truth about The Truth, even though it stars Catherine Deneuve at her most Catherine Deneuve-ish (i.e.…

My love affair with Hannah Arendt

21 March 2020 9:00 am

The three of us — me, Catriona and her daughter Skye — were having a wash and brush-up before going…

Shrieks, shots and broken china: a visit to my rural French GP

7 March 2020 9:00 am

On a hard chair next to the waiting-room door, I sat for an hour defusing thoughts of my own demise,…

British police must learn from France in dealing with Extinction Rebellion

19 February 2020 10:06 pm

I’ve always been a fan of the French police, in part because when I lived in the south of the…