Category : France

Congratulations to Rafa Nadal for Winning his tenth French Open Title

Posted in France, History, Spain, Sports

Remembering D-Day (II)–General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Speech

Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Forces:

You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely.

Read it all (audio link also available).

Posted in America/U.S.A., Europe, France, Germany, History, Military / Armed Forces

Remembering D-Day (I)–Winston Churchill’s Speech, June 6, 1944

I have also to announce to the House that during the night and the early hours of this morning the first of the series of landings in force upon the European Continent has taken place. In this case the liberating assault fell upon the coast of France. An immense armada of upwards of 4,000 ships, together with several thousand smaller craft, crossed the Channel. Massed airborne landings have been successfully effected behind the enemy lines, and landings on the beaches are proceeding at various points at the present time. The fire of the shore batteries has been largely quelled. The obstacles that were constructed in the sea have not proved so difficult as was apprehended. The Anglo-American Allies are sustained by about 11,000 firstline aircraft, which can be drawn upon as may be needed for the purposes of the battle. I cannot, of course, commit myself to any particular details. Reports are coming in in rapid succession. So far the Commanders who are engaged report that everything is proceeding according to plan. And what a plan! This vast operation is undoubtedly the most complicated and difficult that has ever taken place. It involves tides, wind, waves, visibility, both from the air and the sea standpoint, and the combined employment of land, air and sea forces in the highest degree of intimacy and in contact with conditions which could not and cannot be fully foreseen.

There are already hopes that actual tactical surprise has been attained, and we hope to furnish the enemy with a succession of surprises during the course of the fighting. The battle that has now begun will grow constantly in scale and in intensity for many weeks to come, and I shall not attempt to speculate upon its course. This I may say, however. Complete unity prevails throughout the Allied Armies. There is a brotherhood in arms between us and our friends of the United States. There is complete confidence in the supreme commander, General Eisenhower, and his lieutenants, and also in the commander of the Expeditionary Force, General Montgomery. The ardour and spirit of the troops, as I saw myself, embarking in these last few days was splendid to witness. Nothing that equipment, science or forethought could do has been neglected, and the whole process of opening this great new front will be pursued with the utmost resolution both by the commanders and by the United States and British Governments whom they serve. I have been at the centres where the latest information is received, and I can state to the House that this operation is proceeding in a thoroughly satisfactory manner. Many dangers and difficulties which at this time last night appeared extremely formidable are behind us. The passage of the sea has been made with far less loss than we apprehended. The resistance of the batteries has been greatly weakened by the bombing of the Air Force, and the superior bombardment of our ships quickly reduced their fire to dimensions which did not affect the problem. The landings of the troops on a broad front, both British and American- -Allied troops, I will not give lists of all the different nationalities they represent-but the landings along the whole front have been effective, and our troops have penetrated, in some cases, several miles inland. Lodgments exist on a broad front.

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Posted in England / UK, France, History, Military / Armed Forces

(NYT) Emmanuel Macron Wins Decisive Victory in France

Emmanuel Macron, a youthful former investment banker, handily won France’s presidential election on Sunday, defeating the staunch nationalist Marine Le Pen after voters firmly rejected her far-right message and backed his call for centrist change, according to partial returns.

Mr. Macron, 39, who has never held elected office, will become the youngest president in the 59-year history of France’s Fifth Republic after leading an improbable campaign that swept aside France’s establishment political parties.

The election was watched around the world for magnifying many of the broader tensions rippling through Western democracies, including the United States: populist anger at the political mainstream, economic insecurity among middle-class voters and rising resentment toward immigrants.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Europe, France, Politics in General

(America) Jean-Luc Marion: The dilemmas of Catholic voters in France and beyond

About the question of decadence, I want to be precise. I think that we are in decadence when we have no crises. In politics—and in private life as well—it is possible to enter into a crisis, that is, to be in a situation where you can make a choice and this choice can make a difference. This, then, is the “regular” situation, so to speak.

What is very alarming, to my view, is that in Europe in general (and possibly not only in Europe), since perhaps the beginning of globalization, the Reagan years, we are in a situation where the political leaders in charge have less and less real power. They have fewer and fewer choices, and no one can modify the situation.

It is very strange that for instance the financial “crises”—there have been two of them at least recently—we were unable to intervene and stop the process. We have this impression that things are going on and on and on, and that no one can do anything. This is the absence of crisis, that leads to what I call decadence. I want to make a strong difference between the two terms.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Posted in * Economics, Politics, France, Politics in General

(Bloomberg) France Braces for Runoff Between Nationalism and Globalism

In the coming two weeks of the French campaign, Marine Le Pen’s challenge is to break through a wall of voter antipathy that she inherited from her father. Emmanuel Macron’s task is to persuade the French he has the gravitas and experience to be president.

The far-right Le Pen and centrist Macron both took just under a quarter of the vote in a contest with 11 candidates. Now they must convince the rest of the population that they have what it takes to lead the country after the May 7 runoff.

The next round will see two radically different visions. Macron embraces globalization and European integration, Le Pen channels the forces of discontent that triggered Brexit and brought Donald Trump to power. The runoff will also be unique in that it will be the first contested by neither of the major parties, giving Macron, 39, and Le Pen, 48, space to try to forge alliances that might have seemed unlikely until recently.

“Marine Le Pen’s toughest job is to break the traditional glass ceiling which her father Jean-Marie also suffered from,” said Yves-Marie Cann, a pollster at Elabe. “Even if her image is better than his was, the truth remains that most voters say they don’t share her ideas and have a bad opinion of the Front.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Europe, France, Globalization, Politics in General

(NYT) Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen Are Poised to Advance in French Election

In France’s most consequential election in recent history, voters on Sunday endorsed Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen — one a political novice, the other a far-right firebrand — both outsiders but with starkly different visions for the country, early returns and projections indicated.

The result was a full-throated rebuke of France’s traditional mainstream parties, setting the country on an uncertain path at a critical moment when France’s election could also decide the future of the European Union. The two candidates appeared to be headed to a runoff on May 7.

Mr. Macron, a former investment banker, abandoned traditional parties a year ago to form his own movement with an eclectic blend of left and right views. He campaigned on a pro-European Union platform, coupled with calls to overhaul the rules governing the French economy.

“The French people have decided to put me ahead of the first round of the vote,” Mr. Macron told jubilant supporters at a rally in Paris. “I’m aware of the honor and the responsibility that rest on my shoulders.”

Ms. Le Pen’s success is a victory for skeptics who oppose the European Union and for those who want to see more “France first” policies to restrict signs of Muslim faith in public, like the wearing of head scarves.

Read it all.

Posted in France, Politics in General

An Economist vs Eurasia Group debate–France’s presidential election: What are Marine Le Pen’s odds of victory?

“EURASIA GROUP and The Economist are frequently sympatico,” says Ian Bremmer, “but not on the French elections.” Mr Bremmer is the president of Eurasia Group, a risk consultancy. He recently took us to task on Twitter regarding our statistical forecast for France’s upcoming election. Our model calculates that Marine Le Pen of the National Front has a 1% chance of becoming the country’s next president. Eurasia pegs her probability at a far higher 40%, and Mr Bremmer wrote that our analysis was the “biggest mistake I’ve seen from them in ages”.

After seeing Mr Bremmer’s tweet, our data editor offered him a friendly wager on Ms Le Pen’s electoral fortunes, at the current price on the PredictIt betting market of 30%. After some back-and-forth, we have agreed to a bet at those odds: $60 on Mr Bremmer’s end if Ms Le Pen loses, $140 on our data editor’s side if she wins. Either way, the proceeds will be donated to Médecins Sans Frontières, a charity. However, the victor will also claim from the vanquished a fine bottle of Meursault wine. “Since we’re betting on Le Pen,” Mr Bremmer says, “a French white seems required”.

In addition to our wager, we have invited Mr Bremmer to share with our readers an explanation of how Eurasia Group reached its conclusion that Ms Le Pen has a 40% shot to win, and responded with an account of our own reasoning. We hope you enjoy the debate.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Europe, France, Politics in General

Barcelona completes one of the greatest comebacks of all-time in Champions League stunner

There is no other way to describe this remarkable match, that may well be one of the greatest ever seen in the Champions League, and certainly saw the greatest comeback in the Champions League as Barcelona recovered from a 4-0 first-leg deficit to pull off a divine 6-1 victory over Paris Saint-Germain to go through to the quarter-finals.

No side had ever come from four down in the first leg before, no-one can ever have witnessed a match like this before.

To top it off, delivery came in stoppage time, from homegrown Sergi Roberto. It can’t be forgotten that it also saw one of the greatest collapses the game has ever seen, such was the PSG’s regular moments of chaos contrasted with some of the supreme quality on display.

Read it all.

Posted in France, Men, Spain, Sports

(Economist) The amazing story of “Les Misérables”, a book that changed the world

Save for Hugo’s literary rivals (Alexandre Dumas likened it to “wading through mud”), everybody loved the long haul of Valjean’s rehabilitation in the company of characters who soon entered folklore: the street-girl Fantine, her daughter Cosette, the urchin Gavroche, the student Marius. Shorn of its condemnation of slavery, the novel even circulated in a pirate edition among Confederate soldiers during the American civil war. In a weary pun on their commander’s name, they dubbed themselves “Lee’s Miserables”.

From the humane treatment of ex-offenders to the care of street children, “Les Misérables” spearheaded calls for reform and contributed to “the future improvement of society”. Few books really change the world. This one did, long before it broke box-office records on stage. In the musical Hugo’s hero intones—in a song loved by television talent-show contestants—“Bring Him Home”. Mr [David] Bellos does just that, as he restores “Les Mis” to its maker and his times.

Read it all.

Posted in Books, France, History

Bishop in Europe Robert Innes: Faith in Lyon

It took three and three-quarter hours to travel by TGV from Brussels to Lyon, far enough to be in a different climate, where the crocuses, primroses and even some daffodils were in bloom. We checked in to a family-run hotel close to the magnificent Place Bellecour, in the heart of France’s second city.

There was just time to change before leaving for Mass, where chaplain Ben Harding and I were guests of Cardinal Philippe Barbarin. He gave me a gracious introduction and invited me to read the gospel. The temperature inside the splendid cathedral was icy, and we were glad of our coats.

Read it all and enjoy the pictures.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Europe, France, Parish Ministry

Monday Mental Health Break-A Wonderful Visual Portrayal of Mont Saint-Michel

Posted in * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Europe, France, Photos/Photography

(AFP) Another 5,000 Jews quit France for Israel: agency

Another 5,000 French Jews emigrated to Israel last year, figures showed Monday, continuing a trend that has seen tens of thousands quit the country after a series of attacks targeting the community.

The Jewish Agency of Israel issued the update as France marked two years since attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices and on a Jewish supermarket in Paris, where four shoppers were shot dead.

Daniel Benhaim, who heads the Israeli-backed group in France, said that insecurity had been a “catalyst” for many Jews who were already thinking of leaving.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, France, Israel, Judaism, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Other Faiths, Psychology, Religion & Culture

(NYT) An Artistic Discovery Makes a Curator’s Heart Pound

It’s an auctioneer’s jackpot dream. A man walks in off the street, opens a portfolio of drawings, and there, mixed in with the jumble of routine low-value items, is a long-lost work by Leonardo da Vinci.

And that, more or less, is what happened to Thaddée Prate, director of old master pictures at the Tajan auction house here, which is to announce on Monday the discovery of a drawing that a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art says is by Leonardo, the Renaissance genius and master draftsman. Tajan values the work at 15 million euros, or about $15.8 million. On Thursday, this reporter was ushered into Tajan’s private viewing room, where the drawing, of the martyred St. Sebastian, about 7½ inches by 5 inches, stood resplendent in an Italian Renaissance gold frame on an old wooden easel.

In March, Mr. Prate recalled being “in a bit of a rush” when a retired doctor visited Tajan with 14 unframed drawings that had been collected by his bibliophile father. (The owner’s name and residence somewhere in “central France” remain a closely guarded secret, at his request.) Mr. Prate spotted a vigorous pen-and-ink study of St. Sebastian tied to a tree, inscribed on the mount “Michelange” (Michelangelo).

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Art, Europe, France, History

(Economist Erasmus Blog) A new Orthodox church next to the Eiffel Tower boosts Russian soft power

The skyline of Paris has just acquired yet another arresting feature. Only a stone’s throw from the Eiffel Tower, a spanking new Russian Orthodox cathedral, complete with five onion domes and a cultural centre, was inaugurated on December 4th by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, amid sonorous rhetoric about the long and chequered history of the Russian diaspora in France.

To secular observers, this was the latest success for Russian soft power, showing that even in times when intergovernmental relations are frosty, ecclesiastical relations can still forge ahead. In October, Patriarch Kirill reconsecrated the Russian cathedral in London and had a brief meeting with the supreme governor of the Church of England, Queen Elizabeth; this was a more cordial chat than any conversation the political leaders of Britain and Russia have had recently.

The new temple in Paris was, in a sense, both a product and a hostage of secular politics. Nicolas Sarkozy, France’s then-president, agreed to its construction, with Russian funds, back in 2007 as a good-will gesture to Russia. Plans to turn the cathedral’s opening into a moment of diplomatic togetherness, attended by the French and Russian presidents, foundered after the countries’ row over Syria sharpened. But nothing prevented Patriarch Kirill from inaugurating the new house of prayer, with French cultural figures like the singer Mireille Matthieu in attendance.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Architecture, Europe, France, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Russia, Urban/City Life and Issues