Wednesday, July 09, 2014

France Decapitated

Roger Cohen, NYT
JULY 8, 2014

LONDON — The Tour de France bicycle race kicked off in England this year, in Yorkshire to be precise, and ended its third stage on the Mall outside Buckingham Palace. Next pigs will fly.

In fact they’ve already flown, given that this quintessentially French event has started in Britain once before, but still it must be asked if anything is sacred anymore. Perhaps the horse racing at Ascot will soon move to Toulouse.

I was in Paris last week. It was beautiful. Tourists lolled on the bridges enjoying picnics of cheese, baguettes and bad red wine. They were happy. The weather was perfect. The French were grumpy, of course. I did not notice any grumbling about the weird displacement of the Tour across the Channel, but encountered complaints over just about everything else.

A former conservative president, Nicolas Sarkozy, had been hauled into police custody for 15 hours for questioning over alleged corruption. The current Socialist president, François Hollande, had plumbed new depths of unpopularity. The presidency of the Fifth Republic, once the apex of ceremonial glory and near-monarchical power, had all the luster of a damp rag.

(More here.)

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