Anger in the Streets and Hubert Robert’s Imagined Ruins

Grande Gallerie in Ruins by Robert

As French President Emmanuel Macron unwaveringly pushes forward his plan to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64, French cities are erupting with increasingly violent protests. Yesterday, March 23, more than a million people took to the streets to reaffirm their opposition to the unpopular reform. Strikes are upending…

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Franz Reichelt, Shocking Story One Man’s Tragic Obsession

Reichelt's jump

Last summer, while wandering in Biarritz, I came across a quaint little bookstore two steps away from the glamorous beachfront. Browsing the display tables, an intriguing cover caught my eye. Les Envolés, by Étienne Kern, won last year’s Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman (the equivalent of a National Book Award…

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Mutation of a Famous Fable: ChatGPT Meets La Fontaine

The Crow and the Fox

You’ve probably heard about the artificial intelligence chat robot called ChatGPT. Since its debut at the end of 2022, millions of people have used it to create documents, cull data, or simply talk with a new “friend”. ChatGPT’s language processing software is so conversational that the program seems to have…

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February Potpourri: News and Noteworthy Nonsense from France

Cast of Marie Antoinette

Here are a few of my favorite news stories and humorous highlights of French buzz from February 2023. Mitigating Machismo According to a French road safety study, male drivers were responsible for 84% of traffic fatalities in 2021. Men also represented 93% of drivers who were caught operating a vehicle…

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The Irreverent Charlie Hebdo: Ever Defiant, Forever Under Attack

Caricature of Iran's Supreme Leader

January 7th was the 8th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, which left 12 dead and 11 wounded. The motivation for the attack was linked to the many crude depictions of Muhammad that have appeared in Charlie Hebdo. This biting news journal employs exaggeration,…

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A Game for Swallows, Revealing Humanity Beneath the Rubble

Le Jeu des Hirondelles focus

I’ve long been fascinated by stories that take place in the Middle East and as a bande dessinée fanatic, when I come across a French graphic memoir that tackles the subject, I often can’t resist obtaining a copy. Such was the case last month when I discovered the French-Lebanese author…

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January Potpourri: Latest Fun and Flippancy from France

Cartoon, Protests against retirement reforms

What follows is an incomplete and irreverent summary of French news from January 2023. Brought to you, in part, by some of France’s favorite cartoonists. Ushering In the New Year Macron’s Proposed Retirement Reforms In January, millions of French people took to the streets to protest President Macron’s proposed retirement…

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