RFI Spotlight on France

Spotlight on France

An in-depth look at what makes this country tick.
Weekly English France News
106 Episodes
1 – 20

Podcast: French farmers protest, battling the mathematics gender gap

No quick fix for French farmers who have been protesting by laying siege to Paris. And it's just the latest in a long string of farmers' demonstrations over the last 100 years. Plus, why French girls are faring worse at maths than boys, and what to do about it. Farmers…
1 Feb 31 min

Podcast: Fixing France, opposing immigration reforms, Françoise Giroud

A critique that highlights the gap between France and its ideals. Protests to try and block the new "racist" immigration reforms. And the story of Françoise Giroud, journalist-turned-minister in the 1970s.  France is a country of impossible ideals, built on the myth of a Revolution fought to secure Liberté, Égalité and Fraternité, but…
18 Jan 31 min

Podcast: British in France, returning human remains, the Comtesse du Barry

How British people in France have been navigating visiting and living in France since Brexit effectively ended their visa-free travel to Europe. What to do with the human remains in French museums? And the story behind Louis XV's third mistress, the Comtesse du Barry, and how her name got associated…
7 Dec 2023 29 min

Podcast: French rooster revival, thrifting, reporter Albert Londres

The man trying to save France's emblematic Gaulois doré rooster from oblivion. How online platforms are rivaling charity shops as thrifting and second hand products take off. And the story of Albert Londres, who left a lasting mark on French journalism. Since the Middle Ages, the Gallic rooster has been…
23 Nov 2023 29 min

Podcast: Israel-Hamas conflict bleeds into France, bikers against bullying

France is feeling the shockwaves of the war in Gaza with a rise in Islamophobia and a wave of anti-Semitic attacks that have got the public and politicians worried. Also, bikers rev up to fight school bullying. And the African-American fighter pilot who flew for France in WWI because the…
9 Nov 2023 32 min

Podcast: immigration referendum, childfree in France, the feline astronaut

Is a referendum the answer to France's deadlock on immigration reform? Childless by choice in the European country with the highest birthrate. And the story of Félicette – the first cat to fly into space. After the reform of the pension system, the next thorny political issue is immigration, with…
12 Oct 2023 32 min

Podcast: France's heatwave legacy, 15-minute city conspiracies, the first TGV

How France shifted its approach to heatwaves after nearly 15,000 people died in the summer of 2003. An urban planning concept gets picked up by conspiracy theorists. And the first TGV that started France's expansion of high-speed rail travel. The world has just had its hottest three months on record…
14 Sep 2023 29 min

Podcast: A deeper look at urban and police violence in France's banlieues

As the dust settles on a week of intense urban violence triggered by the police shooting of a young man in the northern working-class suburb of Nanterre, we look at the causes and what, if anything, has changed in these poorer, multi-racial neighbourhoods since the 2005 riots. What role has…
13 Jul 2023 34 min

Podcast: French union paradox, Tintin today, first Miss France

Why French unions are so prominent despite record low membership. How Tintin defied critiques of racism, sexism and anti-Semitism to remain one of France's favourite comic strip characters. And the 1920 beauty pageant that evolved into Miss France, watched by millions each year.  France's leading trade unions have seen a…
4 May 2023 27 min

Podcast: holding multinationals to account, Agent Orange on stage, ten years of gay marriage

France's pioneering 2017 law that made French-based multinational companies responsible for human rights and environmental violations wherever they do business. Also, a Franco-Vietnamese theatre director brings Vietnamese history to life on stage. And the first same-sex marriage remembered 10 years after it became legal. The collapse of the Rana Plaza…
20 Apr 2023 33 min

Podcast: France and China, menstrual leave, the 'Picasso Papers'

France's evolving relationship with China; allowing women time off for period pain; and why artist Pablo Picasso never became French. France has historically had good relations with China, but as Europe has been looking to distance itself from the People's Republic, France has had to follow suit. RFI's Jan van der…
6 Apr 2023 27 min

Podcast: testing French democracy, surviving eco-anxiety, naming children

Is the French government denying people their democratic rights by passing its controversial pension reform without a vote in parliament? No, says a constitutional expert, but it has led to a political crisis. Fighting eco-anxiety by searching out France's eco-optimists. And a Napoleonic law that limited how you could name…
23 Mar 2023 28 min

Podcast: ChatGPT in French schools, Placard Man, first French pensions

How French educators are grappling with new AI-based technology, like ChatGPT, and how it will affect teaching, evaluating and learning. Voltuan, the most-recognised man on French demos, talks about life as a full-time activist. And the 17th century origins of France's pension system.  Faced with a growing number of students…
9 Feb 2023 30 min

Podcast: Pension reform fury, employment after 55, Paris Peace Accords

A majority of French people disapprove of the government proposal to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64-years-old. Women could come off worse than men, and it will involve addressing senior employment, which France does not do particularly well. And how the Paris Peace Accords, marking a temporary end to…
26 Jan 2023 29 min

Podcast: Senegalese riflemen, cryptocurrency woes, Napoleon III

Long-awaited recognition for France's colonial infantry corps. Who are the French victims of the collapse of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange? Napoleon III's transformation of France. The "tirailleurs Senegalais" – riflemen from former French colonies in west Africa who fought in the French army – will be allowed to claim their French state pensions while living…
12 Jan 2023 30 min
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