France

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…

Le bromance: Macron has fallen under Boris’s spell

24 January 2020 10:00 pm

Macron has fallen under Boris’s spell

All forecasts are off if Iran shuts the Strait of Hormuz

11 January 2020 9:00 am

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water… Late last year, a range of forecasts…

Islamists have opened a terrifying new front in their war with France

6 January 2020 11:51 pm

France has endured an appalling series of Islamist terror attacks in recent years. One might feel a sense of relief…

Hell is an expat dinner party

7 December 2019 9:00 am

I just don’t understand it. Emigrating from Britain to France is a big step. Shifting from one culture to another…

nato

Trump is saving Nato

5 December 2019 4:32 am

It’s almost Nato as usual when Emmanuel Macron calls Nato ‘brain dead’. It’s Nato as usual, and Donald Trump as…

Meet the unrivalled Sun King of early music, William Christie

23 November 2019 9:00 am

It’s morning in the garden of William Christie, and he’s talking about home improvements. ‘I planted three pines up there…

Could this self-made billionaire become France’s first Muslim president?

12 October 2019 9:00 am

The French writer Michel Houellebecq has a disconcerting habit of correctly predicting unsettling events. In 2001 in Plateforme he predicted…

Emmanuel Macron will regret his failure to crack down on Islamists

8 October 2019 1:11 am

It beggars belief that Mickaël Harpon was employed as a computer expert in the intelligence department at police HQ in…

Labour is following in the doomed footsteps of the French left

27 September 2019 7:57 pm

The left no longer exists as a coherent political force in France. Embarrassed in the 2017 presidential election, the Socialist…

The French city zones where police rarely escape unscathed

12 September 2019 7:11 pm

In December 2015, Donald Trump claimed parts of the French capital were no-go zones for the police. ‘Paris is no…

The mysterious ways of the French

7 September 2019 9:00 am

These new tablets that will save or at least prolong my life have unpredictable side effects which only now, a…

yin

Trump’s yin and yang game with China

24 August 2019 8:12 pm

It should be obvious by now — but somehow isn’t. Whenever @realDonldTrump says something wild, you can bet the real…

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak (Getty)

Why you can’t let Brexit affect your life

24 August 2019 9:00 am

A couple with a first baby sought my advice: they had accepted a low offer for their cramped London flat…

Will the Mistral drive me to murder?

11 May 2019 9:00 am

So far this latest Mistral wind has blown for two and a half weeks. The Mistral is said to blow…

Meet Santini: the world’s worst tourist guide

4 May 2019 9:00 am

Santino was unusually short in the leg and, in his mid-twenties, was already rapidly losing his hair. He had recently…

Notre Dame from above (image: Lana Sator) and, right, Michel Virlogeux and Norman Foster's Millau Viaduct (image: Bernard Jaubert / Imagebroker / Rex / Shutterstock)

Notre Dame is an architectural nullity

27 April 2019 9:00 am

Notre Dame is only important from a Shakespeare’s-birthplace point of view. Architecturally it is a nullity beside the cathedrals of…

(istockphoto.com)

Hope will rise out of the ashes of Notre Dame

20 April 2019 9:00 am

‘Great edifices, like great mountains, are the work of centuries,’ wrote Victor Hugo in Notre-Dame de Paris. ‘The man, the…

The truth is messy. Village gossip is even messier

20 April 2019 9:00 am

An angry villager accosted me outside my house as I came through my front door. ‘You’re wrong about those horses,’…

It may seem incredible, but I’d trust an Italian over a Frenchman any day

9 March 2019 9:00 am

For a few years before coming to Italy, I lived in Paris and I cannot tell you the life-enhancing difference…

Left: cartoon of Hector Berlioz published in the Wiener Theaterzeitung in 1846. Right: the composer in 1863, aged 59

David Cairns explains how we learned to love Berlioz

2 March 2019 9:00 am

According to his friend and fellow-composer Ernest Reyer, the last words Berlioz spoke on his deathbed were: ‘They are finally…

Europe’s culture clash: Macron vs Salvini is a battle over a continent’s soul

16 February 2019 9:00 am

Two weeks ago Luigi Di Maio, Italy’s vice-premier and Labour Minister and the top politician of the Five Star Movement…

Scourge of puritans: Christian Dior with model Sylvie, c.1948

How an anarchist music student become of the fashion greats: the life of Christian Dior

9 February 2019 9:00 am

Strange to think when you visit the Christian Dior show at the V&A that his time as designer was so…