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The Wake of Tragedy: Considering Charlie Hebdo Weeks Later

PARIS — It is always hard to write in the midst of dramatic events. In the days following the attack on Charlie Hebdo, it felt impossible to report on the tragic attack or the ensuing manhunt for gunmen Chérif and Saïd Kouachi and Amedy Coulibaly. Though I did not feel particularly affected by the attack, […]

The Freedom to Be Funny: Reflecting on France’s Tradition of Satire

In a 2012 Le Monde interview the late publishing director of Charlie Hebdo, Stéphane Charbonnier said these now iconic words: “I would rather die standing up than live on my knees.” (In fact the quote originates with Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata.) In the same article, another of the magazine’s cartoonists injured in the attack, Riss […]

France Reacts to Charlie Hebdo Massacre

PARIS – All over Facebook, people changed their profile pictures to a simple black box with broad white letters that reads “Je suis Charlie.” Joachim Roncin from the French magazine Stylist designed the image just after the terrorist attack that targeted the Parisian office of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday January 7, at […]

What the Cabinet Shake-Up Reveals about the Flaws of the Fifth Republic

On Monday, August 25, the cabinet of Prime Minister Manuel Valls was dismissed and a new cabinet was formed the following day. Valls has been Prime Minister for less than six months. The cabinet dismissal occurred in reaction to the public opposition of Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg and other ministers to the economic policies of President […]

The War of the Roses: Cabinet Shake Up Reflects Dissension Amid Socialists

“Should we now apologize for being on the left?” asked now former Minister of Culture Aurélie Filippetti. Those words could aptly describe the political earthquake that shook the French government on Tuesday, when French Prime Minister Manuel Valls proclaimed a new list of cabinet ministers. Valls was designated PM just six months ago following the socialist […]

Les Tondues: Remembering a Dark Chapter in French Liberation

The Liberation of France is usually associated with joy, relief, and celebration. Allied Forces stormed the beaches of Normandy in June of 1944 and had liberated Paris by August (70 years ago this month). Nazi German forces surrendered unconditionally in May of 1945, and the French people were free once again. Yet, the Liberation was […]

“Fait-Maison”: French Roll Out Logo for “House-made” Restaurant Dishes

The French have always been particular about their food. Under a recent consumer protection law titled, “Public decree No. 2014-797,” restaurants in France will be allowed to display a symbol to indicate that dishes are “homemade.” The law is intended to combat the growing trend of off-premise preparation and frozen, ready-made food in restaurants. However, […]

EU Investigation Puts Corporate Tax Evasion Under Scrutiny

Apple, Starbucks and Fiat have come under close scrutiny in an investigation by the European Commission over a possible loophole they believe the companies have been exploiting to slash their corporate taxes. The European Commission has launched tax investigations in various EU countries in the past, but this is the first time that specific multinational […]

French Government Urges Hospitality

When it comes to tourism, France enjoys a reputation for elegance in its arts and architecture, finesse in its cuisine, and romance in its streets. This reputation attracts millions of travelers to the City of Love and to the French countryside. Unfortunately, France does not enjoy a reputation for hospitality. Neighboring countries often comically mock […]

European Court of Human Rights Upholds France’s Burqa Ban

On Tuesday, July 2 the European Court of Human Rights upheld France’s 2010 law that bans the burqa in public spaces and ruled that the ban does not violate Muslim women’s human rights. The case was brought to the Court by a 24-year-old Muslim French woman in April 2011, who denounced the law as not […]