Current events in France (#6) To better understand a country, it is useful to read its press and watch its TV. You can see what are the main issues for the people, what are the current controversies (the French are very good at that...). In this section, I try to register, month after month, the main topics for the French.
 WARNING ! The comments below do NOT reflect MY own opinion but are a tentative synthesis of what comes out from the French press and TV in a given month ! I do express my own opinions on page Editorial !

This page concerns 2021, 2020 (and 2019) : for previous years, click here.

  • More in Harriet's diary...
Webmaster Philippe Rochefort and wife Harriet, with a friend, discussing current world affairs in a French bistrot.
What was making the headlines in 2019....  

... and now in 2020 and 2021....

  • January 2019
    • The Yellow Vest movement is still active after eight weeks of demonstrations, a mix of the understandable protest of the weakest and the least adaptable to a global world and a dangerous populist movement that wants to overthrow the government, attracting all the gangs and thugs just wanting to loot and destroy. Read more on Harriet's site and on this site.
  • February.
    • Still the Yellow Vests , with a demonstration every Saturday.
  • March
    • The nightmare of the Yellow Vests continues, March 16 being the day of the most violent demonstration. The government seems unable to cope and expects that the giant debate it organized all over the country will calm down the Yellow Vests.
  • April-May
    • April 16 : a national tragedy, Notre-Dame cathedral burning ; the whole country realizes what the monument means to everybody in France believers or not. (Read about historical Paris and the steps of its restoration)
    • May 26 : the European elections show a high score for the Extreme-Right party but a better-than-expected score for Macron's party, a terrible defeat for theExtreme Left and for the Right and a very good score for the Ecologist party.
  • July-August
    • The newly elected European parliament is inaugurated with (still) 73 British members. Look what they did.
  • September
    • On the island of Oléron, there is a rooster called Maurice, whos sings early every morning, like any decent rooster should do. The neighbors complained about the noise and took the farmer to court. Maurice won his case and the whole country is relieved
    • After the death of former President Jacques Chirac, the French are, surprisingly, quasi-unanimously touched and express it. What they like about him 1/ his personality (a big eater and drinker, close to the people, very erudite) and 2/ his decision in 2003 not to go to war in Iraq with the US (see French bashing).
  • October
    • The Brexit makes the headlines almost everyday and the French wonder : "Are the Brits THAT stupid or THAT smart?". Read my little fable about Brexit.
  • December
    • Huge strikes of the workers of all trains and (Paris) metro system to oppose a law which would put an end to their privileges for retirement (age 52 with full pension !).

Yellow Vests in Paris, Rue Cler, Jan.5, 2019














  • January 2020
    • A very long strike (more than a month and a half) of the national train company (SNCF) and of the Paris transit system (RATP) makes the life of commuters and travelers very difficult
    • The Brexit is done as of Jan.31 : see some of its immediate consequences
  • February-March
    • About the coronavirus epidemy : the most endlessly-repeated instruction from the government is "Wash your hands several times a day and stop greeting people with a kiss on both cheeks". The first one is considered difficult but the second one is considered impossible to execute!
    • Of course, as the epidemy develops, the constraints become enormous (like in Italy and Spain) : as of March 16, the confinement is total and it is forbiden to leave home except for very brief trips to buy food (for two weeks renewable).
  • April
    • The cobfinement is renewed til May 11
    • The 1918-1919 pandemic flu (Grippe Espagnole) killed 210,000 persons in France ; as of today Apr.25, the toll of the current pandemic is 25,000.

  • May to October : what happened in France from the lockdown (in March) to the curfew (in October) = 85% the epidemics and its disastrous effects on the economy, 10% the foolishness of the other countries (Trump, the Brexit) and 5% the rest
    • October 16, a horrible terrorist attack: a history high school teacher is stabbed and decapitated ; his crime : he gave a lecture on the concept of freedom of information. Read about the crime and Charlie-Hebdo
    • November 15 : the French are very unhappy with the coverage of the assassination by the anglo-saxon press up to a point where the President of France himself called directly the New York Times and the Financial Times to protest and to (try to) explain what the French mea by "laïcité" (secularism)

  • 2021
    • Jan.2021 : since February last year, the Covid-19 pandemic represents a huge part of the press coverage. Nothing specific ad different from what you find in you media. I'll try to find examples of specifically French views, if any...

    • Feb.-April : Covid-19 makes the headlines and it looks like nothing else is happening in the country... I'll resume this page when the pandemics is over.

      Sept. : The cancellation by the Australian government of a huge contract for French submarines (signed in 2016) to the benefit of an US supplier, after months of secret negotiations between the three governments of Australia, USA and UK is not a banal commercial incident : it is unanimously seen as a major humiliation for France from unfaithful allies and a serious and lasting blow to their relations with France.

      Nov.30,2021 : Josephine Baker, American-born dancer who became French in the 1930s is buried in the Pantheon, along with the most illustrious French heroes.



 To related pages : previous years : 2017 to 2018 (#5), 2013 to 2016 (#4), 2009 to 2012 (#3), 2007&2008 (#2), 2005&2006 (#1), French society, major French issues, strengths and weaknesses of France, etc...

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Harriet Welty Rochefort writes articles and books about France and the French. Order her books:

  • "Joie de Vivre", Secrets of Wining, Dining and Romancing like the French, St.Martin's Press, New York, 2012
  • "French Toast, An American in Paris Celebrates The Maddening Mysteries of the French", St.Martin's Press, New York, 1999
  • "French Fried, The Culinary Capers of An American in Paris", St.Martin's Press, New York, 2001

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