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Spotlight on France

RFI France

An in-depth look at what makes this country tick.

An in-depth look at what makes this country tick.
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RFI France


An in-depth look at what makes this country tick.




Visions of Exile Festival in Paris

More and more people are finding themselves in situations of exile, far away from their homes, from their lives, from their loved ones. They are forced to build new lives, forge new communities, find their path into an established society that is not always welcoming. These figures of exile bring with them their skills, talents and personalities. The Visions of Exile Festival in Paris celebrates the creativity of some of these women and men who have successfully overcome our borders. This...


Calls for memorial to animals killed in WWI

Memorials all over northern France commemorate the nearly 10 million soldiers who lost their lives in the four years of trench warfare of the First World War. There are also a handful of memorials to commemorate the animals killed in the war: about 11 million horses, donkeys, dogs and pigeons died. And one group is pushing the city of Paris to make its own memorial.Sarah Elzas has this report.


Rise in LGBT violence, procreation assistance debate continues

French LGBT rights groups have reported a rise in homophobic violence over the last few weeks, with several aggressive attacks documented on social media and covered by the mainstream media. Observers and activists connect the rise in violence to the debate over procreation assistance, which is not available to lesbian couples, and has become the latest battleground for LGBT rights. (Click on the photo to listen) Included in this piece: - Flora Bolter, co-director of LGBTQ + Observatory...


France's post-Brexit business strategy includes new English-language disputes court

France has begun hearing litigation cases in an English-speaking International Chamber at the Paris Court of Appeal. With growing uncertainty over whether the UK will crash out of the European Union without a deal on 29 March, Paris is positioning itself as a more reliable alternative to London for international companies seeking to settle disputes. RFI’s Alison Hird reports.


Paris Motor Show looks to our future on four-wheels

The Paris Motor Show is one of the world’s biggest automobile exhibitions, attracting around a million visitors. Started in 1910, the biennial event is a platform for launching new production models and presenting innovations that offer a glimpse into the future of automobiles. RFI’s Dhananjay Khadilkar visited this year’s exhibition to look at the futuristic concepts that we could soon be experiencing.


Dreaded school test shows love of French language alive and well in poorer communities

In March this year La Dictée Geante (giant dictation) broke the world record when more than 1,400 people took part in the largest ever group dictation in the French football stadium near Paris. Co-founded by writer Rachid Santaki, he and his team run dictations in working-class towns all over the country, turning this dreaded school exercise into a celebratory activity. RFI reports from a gathering in Ile St Denis where people from all generations and walks of life are united by the love...


French abortion providers question 'conscience clause' allowing doctors to refuse procedures

French lawmakers are pushing for a change in the country’s abortion law that allows for doctors to refuse to do the procedure on moral grounds. The so-called “conscience clause” came into the spotlight after the president of the French union of gynecologists and obstetricians made statements equating abortion with murder. In neighbouring Italy, over 70 per cent of doctors refuse to do abortions on moral grounds. How does this clause affect abortion providers in France? (Click on the photo...


French restaurant and hotel sector turns to asylum seekers to fill job vacancies

French President Emmanuel Macron created a stir last week when he was filmed telling an unemployed gardener he could easily find a job by crossing the road and looking in high-demand sectors like restaurants and the hotel trade. Industry officials say there are indeed some 100,000 hotel and restaurant jobs that need filling in France. They’ve called on President Macron to fast-track asylum seekers with relevant experience to cover the shortage.


French wineries have trouble finding grape harvesters

It’s grape harvest season across France, but winemakers have been struggling to find enough people to do the work. Gone are the days of harvest parties, with friends and family members picking grapes and crushing them with their feet (they’re now crushed in mechanical presses). Today winemaking is more professional, and wineries now call on seasonal workers. But with spread-out harvest days, it is not easy to find people, even if the harvest remains a festive event in France.


Visa pour l'image: 30 years of stories they don't want you to hear

Visa pour l'image in the French town of Perpignan is the world's largest photojournalism festival. You get to see free exhibitions on under-reported stories; photojournalists try and sell their pictures in an increasingly cash-strapped industry. From the war in Yemen to the Rohingya crisis, the ravages of chemical waste to massive industrial food production, there's plenty to get you thinking. And before you think it's all doom and gloom RFI has space for an uplifting post-conflict story....


France encourages new generation of global citizens through Labcitoyen programme

60 young adults involved in civil society projects from all five continents are in Paris for the annual LabCitoyen (citizen's laboratory). Organised by the Institut Français, the theme this year is education and human rights. Four female participants from Nigeria, Egypt and New Zealand talk to RFI about their work in human rights back home and what they'll be taking away from their trip to France. Labcitoyen gets youngsters involved in a range of French initiatives in the field of human...


Zero waste movement in France 'becoming sexier and sexier'

Your average French person generates 390 kilos of household waste per year. Some is recycled but most of it ends up in landfill. Bad news for the environment and with tighter EU regulations on pre-treatment it's also becoming an increasingly expensive process. But a growing number of people in France are taking matters into their own hands and joining the Zero Waste movement. RFI reports from its annual festival in Paris and finds an unusually optimistic bunch of people. “Of this 400kgs...


Self-driving cars raise questions about sustainable urban transport in France

France will soon open its roads to autonomous vehicles, and some are hoping the innovation will lead to collective forms of transportation, rather than self-driving individual cars. French car makers and tech companies are in the race to develop the technology for self-driving cars, but there are calls to take advantage of the technological revolution, to rethink the way people get around in cities. (Click on the photo to listen to the report) In this piece: - Nicolas de Crémiers, of...


How can women's football attract more attention

Football fans are currently focused on Russia with the World Cup, but in June next year France will host the Women's Football World Cup - a chance to put the spotlight on the women's game and hopefully draw in more media attention and revenue. The beautiful game for women has come a long way since it was first officially recognised, and mocked, in France in 1971 and the French Football Federation is actively pushing to promote it, but challenges remain. Some of France's greatest women...


France's unique experiment in schooling refugee children

On the outskirts of Paris the children of refugee families from countries like Afghanistan, Eritrea and Sudan are being schooled within an emergency refugee centre. The unique experiment, launched just over a year ago, is challenging for staff and pupils alike but is deemed a success and has attracted huge attention abroad. Is this a model to follow? The reception centre for refugees in Ivry-sur-Seine describes itself as a “humanitarian village” with 400 beds providing emergency shelter to...


Why a tiny French village has become a centre of anti-nuclear protests

A French government laboratory in the village of Bure in north east of France is in the last stages of testing the feasibility of storing nuclear waste there. If the project is approved it would be the world's first permanent nuclear waste site. Local opposition, however, is growing. France is the world’s second biggest producer of nuclear power after the US, and more than three quarters of its electricity comes from nuclear. The problem is a small amount of that spent fuel will remain...


Why 'Made in France' is becoming trendy

Made in France is becoming a trend for a certain type of French consumer. Introduced during the 2012 presidential election campaign as a kind of economic patriotism to reindustrialize France, the idea is now being embraced by consumers who want to know where their products are made. RFI’s Sarah Elzas visited a recent Made in France initiative in Paris to find out more.


May '68: a turning point France should remember

50 years ago this month, France lived through mass protests, street battles and its biggest ever nationwide strike. May '68 had a considerable impact on French society but there's been no official commemoration of the 50th anniversary. Is it time to turn the page? Dominique Vidal turned 18 during that month and tells RFI why it deserves to have its place in history. “My memories of the period before May '68 are in black and white. My memories of the period after May '68 are in colour.”...


Paris's Seine-side booksellers call Unesco to the rescue

Some 220 bouquinistes sell second-hand and rare books along the banks of the River Seine in Paris in what has been called the largest open-air bookshop in the world. But as the internet and changing habits eat into book sales, a growing number of these booksellers are turning to the sale of tourist souvenirs and away from reading material. In a bid to preserve the four-century-old traditions of the trade, a group of bouquinistes has launched a campaign to get them onto Unesco's intangible...


Macron's first year in office

A year ago today French politics was turned upside down with the victory of Emmanuel Macron - a 39 year old former investment banker and economy minister who'd created his own centrist movement - On the Move - from scratch. Macron campaigned as the candidate of hope and promised to transform France. So how has he fared? Adam Plowright author of The French exception: Emmanuel Macron, the extraordinary rise and risk weighs up the president's first year in office.