France

Hell is an expat dinner party

7 December 2019 9:00 am

I just don’t understand it. Emigrating from Britain to France is a big step. Shifting from one culture to another…

Meet the unrivalled Sun King of early music, William Christie

23 November 2019 9:00 am

Richard Bratby is granted an audience with the feisty master of early music William Christie, who’s celebrating 40 years with Les Arts Florissants

Could this self-made billionaire become France’s first Muslim president?

12 October 2019 9:00 am

Could this Syrian exile become France’s first Muslim president?

The mysterious ways of the French

7 September 2019 9:00 am

These new tablets that will save or at least prolong my life have unpredictable side effects which only now, a…

Why you can’t let Brexit affect your life

24 August 2019 9:00 am

A couple with a first baby sought my advice: they had accepted a low offer for their cramped London flat…

Will the Mistral drive me to murder?

11 May 2019 9:00 am

So far this latest Mistral wind has blown for two and a half weeks. The Mistral is said to blow…

Meet Santini: the world’s worst tourist guide

4 May 2019 9:00 am

Santino was unusually short in the leg and, in his mid-twenties, was already rapidly losing his hair. He had recently…

Notre Dame from above (image: Lana Sator) and, right, Michel Virlogeux and Norman Foster's Millau Viaduct (image: Bernard Jaubert / Imagebroker / Rex / Shutterstock)

Notre Dame is an architectural nullity

27 April 2019 9:00 am

Notre Dame is only important from a Shakespeare’s-birthplace point of view. Architecturally it is a nullity beside the cathedrals of…

Hope will rise out of the ashes of Notre Dame

20 April 2019 9:00 am

‘Great edifices, like great mountains, are the work of centuries,’ wrote Victor Hugo in Notre-Dame de Paris. ‘The man, the…

The truth is messy. Village gossip is even messier

20 April 2019 9:00 am

An angry villager accosted me outside my house as I came through my front door. ‘You’re wrong about those horses,’…

It may seem incredible, but I’d trust an Italian over a Frenchman any day

9 March 2019 9:00 am

For a few years before coming to Italy, I lived in Paris and I cannot tell you the life-enhancing difference…

Left: cartoon of Hector Berlioz published in the Wiener Theaterzeitung in 1846. Right: the composer in 1863, aged 59

David Cairns explains how we learned to love Berlioz

2 March 2019 9:00 am

For a century the visionary composer was seen as a freak, but finally, 150 years after his death, his time has come

Europe’s culture clash: Macron vs Salvini is a battle over a continent’s soul

16 February 2019 9:00 am

Macron vs Salvini is a battle over a continent’s soul

Scourge of puritans: Christian Dior with model Sylvie, c.1948

How an anarchist music student became one of the fashion greats: the life of Christian Dior

9 February 2019 9:00 am

How an anarchist music student became one of the fashion greats, with the help of a fortune-teller: Melanie McDonagh on the extraordinary life of Christian Dior

Credit: graemenicholson

Hell — and heaven – on the French Riviera

19 January 2019 9:00 am

We drove down from the hills to visit friends of friends with a house by the sea and on the…

Portrait of the week: Theresa May’s double defeat on Brexit

8 December 2018 9:00 am

Home Political hobbyists speculated on the future of Brexit if the government fell, if a new Conservative leader was chosen,…

We lost our elderly, dementing French charge

8 December 2018 9:00 am

I entered the cave house carrying groceries and panting from the climb to find an old hippie woman displaying rugs…

Emmanuel Macron has united France against him

8 December 2018 9:00 am

I would say we’ll always have Paris. But maybe not. It was only a few weeks ago that French president…

French President Emmanuel Macron during a wreath laying ceremony in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on November 11, 2017 during the Armistice Day commemorations marking the end of the first world war

France’s second world war shame

17 November 2018 9:00 am

The monument to this French village’s war dead is a plain white stone block with the head of a grizzled…

Is Emmanuel Macron having a meltdown?

10 November 2018 9:00 am

Emmanuel Macron is becoming isolated in both France and the EU

Not skunk as we know it – smoking the stuff is bad news

The perils of smoking three-year-old Glaswegian skunk

10 November 2018 9:00 am

Three years ago we were given a bag of skunk, Catriona and I, provenance Glasgow. It was one gigantic dried…

Back to the disappointingly familiar, disappointingly limited wares in the half-dozen shops that close most afternoons and sometimes capriciously all day

40-plus reasons to love and hate France

3 November 2018 9:00 am

I apologised, was gladly granted an indulgence, and on Sunday I packed a small bag and reached into a drawer…

‘I go against my instincts to be just an actor’

‘I should just shut up’: Dominic West on #MeToo and the perils of talking politics

20 October 2018 9:00 am

Dominic West talks to Melissa Kite about #MeToo and the perils of discussing politics

450 bottles of red? What more could I want from a neighbour

29 September 2018 9:00 am

I have a friend here in this French village to which we moved just over a week ago. He is…

What is motivating Macron’s self-destructive Brexit position?

29 September 2018 9:00 am

As France prepared to go to the polls in the Spring of 2017, it was already probable that Emmanuel Macron…