RFI France

Reports on France - its people, its culture - and all the big issues facing the French.

Reports on France - its people, its culture - and all the big issues facing the French.
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RFI France


Reports on France - its people, its culture - and all the big issues facing the French.




Rendezvous - The bawdy joy of Georges Brassens

George Brassens, the French pipe-smoking poet-singer, died 30 years ago. Paris's Cité de la musique celebrates both the music and the free-thinking man in a big, joyful, bawdy exhibition. “If you [want to] love my country, you should use Brassens as a travel guide,” says cartoonist and filmmaker Joan Sfar, who is cocurator of Brassens ou la liberté (Brassens, or Freedom) currently running at the Cité de la Musique in Paris. Sfar calls him the French Woodie Guthrie - a white musician who...


Rendezvous - Poets in France herald in the spring

For the 13th year, the nationwide Printemps des poètes (Springtime of the poets) festival is a daily reminder that while you can live without poetry, life is a whole lot finer with it. Founded in 1999, the two-week long festival remains true to its spirit: get poetry back on the public scene and make it accessible to everyone via public readings and events in the most unexpected of places, from metro stations to schools. Some 12,000 events are scheduled across the country. The theme of...


Rendezvous - Finding angels on France's problem estates

An artist from Texas is helping one of France’s most stigmatised housing estates to revamp its image thanks to innovative art projects, which introduce teenagers to flesh-eating plants and rappers to Baroque choruses. “I’ve always believed that the best way for people to take an interest in you is to be interested in others,” says American artist Monte Laster. He lives and works in an old windmill in the heart of one of France’s most notorious housing estates, La Cité des 4,000 in the...


Rendezvous - Serge Gainsbourg 20 years on

France this week celebrates the 20th anniversary of the death of Serge Gainsbourg, one of the major French music personalities of the 20th century. Alison Hird looks back at his life in today's Rendez Vous. This programme was first broadcast in November 2008.


Rendezvous - The campaign for surrogate motherhood in France

Gestational surrogacy, where a woman carries and gives birth to another woman's baby, is forbidden in France. Yet every year some 300 infertile couples turn to surrogate mothers to form a much-desired family. Most go abroad to countries like the UK, Canada and some US States where surrogacy is legal. But once back in France their children have no civil status. As the parliamentary debate on amending France's 1994 Bioethics law is underway, RDV hears from those directly concerned: the...


Rendezvous - Classic cars on show at Rétromobile

The annual classic car fair in Paris, Rétromobile, is now in its 36th year. Among the 400 vehicles on show, are the Mazda which won the Le Mans 24 hour race, 11 Aston Martins up for auction plus a new cheaper way into classic motoring via what are now called "Youngtimers".


Rendezvous - In France they shoot school kids, don’t they?

In the heated, ongoing debate about what’s wrong with France’s education system, little mention is made of what happens in the classroom itself. A British academic says it’s time to take a long hard look at a classroom culture that beats confidence out of its pupils. There’s more to school than getting good marks! Education matters in France and the country invests more in education than defence or employment. School is seen as the motor of the social elevator. Yet it seems to be conking...


Rendezvous - France faces security challenge for workers in the Sahel

In this edition of Rendezvous, RFI's Philip Turle takes a look at how France is trying to protect its nationals in North Africa against the threat of kidnappings and examines why France has become a target for the group calling itself Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.


Rendezvous - Lingerie adapts to real French women's bodies

The French are Europe’s biggest consumers of lingerie, and the latest trend is a return to curves, inspired by 1950’s pin-up corsets and cone bras. This is an acknowledgement that women’s bodies have changed over the last 30 years: the majority now sizing 40 and 42. What’s more, the biggest spenders are middle-aged women, who want more support, but refuse to skimp on sensuality. We head to this year's International Lingerie Trade Fair in Paris to see what's on offer for the fuller figure,...


Rendezvous - Will Le Pen daughter change France's far right?

The daughter of France's far-right leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen, took over the leadership of the Front National this weekend. How will the party evolve under her leadership and what legacy has her father left?


Rendezvous - Optimism Without Borders a surprise hit in pessimistic France

A recent opinion poll showed the French top the bill in the pessimism stakes; they’re more worried about the economic outlook for 2011 than either the Afghans or the Germans. But while they’re in the doldrums collectively, they’re more upbeat as individuals and are rushing to join the recently formed Optimism without Borders.


Rendezvous - Does the Socialist Party have a ghost's chance of taking the French presidency?

Infighting, divisions and a lack of political vision have denied France's Socialist Party a presidential win since 1988. So in a bid to increase its chances, party boss Martine Aubry has devised a system of primaries ahead of the 2012 contest. But, as the programme finds out, some of the major candidates have already decided not to abide by the rules.


Rendezvous - France's oyster producers sound the alarm bell

France is Europe's largest producer and consumer of oysters and most of the 130,000 tonnes produced annually will be savoured around Christmas and New Year. But since spring 2008 a mystery virus has been killing off cupped baby oysters. As they take up to three years to reach maturity, the full effect is now being felt. France's 11,000 oyster growers are warning that production could be halved early next year. So far the indigenous flat oyster has been spared the virus: a chance for...


Rendezvous - French identity: a question of food

The UN cultural and educational institution UNESCO recently included the French gastronomic meal on its intangible world cultural heritage list. It recognised there was something special in the French tradition of eating well and eating collectively, but that this cultural practice is under threat. We look at the history of that tradition and what, if anything, UNESCO recognition will change.


Rendezvous - Paris by night - not what it used to be?

Has Paris's nightlife gone into possibly terminal decline? With many now heading to London, Berlin and Barcelona for nighttime tourism, the city council has organised les Etats Géneraux de la Nuit to find a way to keep Paris's nightlife alive and residents' associations tucked up in bed. Some of the movers and shakers of the city's clubs and venues give their view.


Rendezvous - French Parliament seeks the facts on prostitution

Prostitution isn't illegal in France but since the so-called Sarkozy II law of 2003, soliciting is. And it's made life for prostitutes tougher and more dangerous. With a fact-finding mission on prostitution underway at the National Assembly, many are hoping for a change in the law. “France has a dreadful legal system concerning prostitution, full of contradictions. Because prostitution is tolerated but soliciting is a crime. […] It’s made the milieu of prostitution and the work itself a lot...


Rendezvous - Paris luxury hotels face threat from newcomers

Paris's established luxury hotels are locked in discreet combat to stave off opposition from four new high-class establishments due to open their doors in the French capital between now and 2012. Are hotel managers frightened or is this just healthy competition.


Rendezvous - Gaining access to higher education

In this edition of Rendezvous, RFI's Philip Turle reports on a new initiative to help children in schools in underpriviledged areas gain access to higher education. Under the scheme entitled Pourquoi Pas Moi?, (Why Not Me?) volunteer groups of high school children receive lessons from students studying in France's elitist higher education establishments called the Grands Ecoles.


Rendezvous - Chic and shocking Fiac: art and money for art's sake

In Rendez Vous this week, RFI's Brent Gregston visits France's contemporary art fair, the FIAC, an event that has put Paris back on the map of modern art.


Rendezvous - Digital revolution hits French cinemas

France is aiming to have all of its 2,062 cinemas equipped with digital technology by the end of 2012 - and it's just passed a law to help cinemas finance the change. The move away from 35mm film is a huge and inevitable revolution, and the biggest since the move from black and white to colour.