Bayrou: France's New Man in the Middle

A month before the French go to the polls, François Bayrou's greatest asset seems to be who he's not. As voters have wearied of the in-your-face UMP party candidate Nicolas Sarkozy and the Socialists' Ségolène Royal, the self-styled centrist Bayrou has bounded up the charts.

Primordial Train Wreck

A 100-meter-deep tunnel near the Jura Mountains on the border of Switzerland and France is the site of what will arguably be the most important event in the history of the universe.

Periscope

Letter From the Editor Our Who's Next issue always builds off the power A-list, but rarely includes quite so many pioneers. Ségolène Royal , an unmarried mother with four kids, has so seduced France she appears likely to be its president.

Corn on the Catwalk

When France announced the first six ideas emerging from its new Agency for Industrial Innovation, media attention focused on the Quaero project. Lost in the hype over this "French Google" was something a bit more original than a clone: BioHub, a €98 million refinery that will turn starches into plastics, representing Europe's latest offensive in biotech.Biotechnology comes in colors--red for pharmaceuticals, green for agriculture and white for the use of plants to replace petroleum in...

Periscope

American and Iraqi forces face a major problem in Baghdad: how to deal with the Mahdi Army, which has been linked to death squads responsible for a string of assassinations and kidnappings.

Trouble in the Cockpit

And so the dogfight over the Rhine came to a head. Two heads, actually. A round of midair musical chairs last week saw Noel Forgeard, the French co-CEO of EADS, the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co., resign amid scandal.

Living Little in Paris

For all its august grandeur, Paris is remarkably petite. At 105 square kilometers, Europe's smallest capital is 16 times less roomy than London. The City of Light isn't even the biggest city in France--it ranks 113th, outdone by sleepy hamlets like Aragnouet and Guémené-Penfao.

'The Art of Shrinking'

Mayor Jürgen Polzehl calls it "the art of shrinking." On the outskirts of the eastern German city of Schwedt, bulldozers have razed a series of 11-story prefab housing units, once known to residents as "The Wall" because the gray blocks obstructed the view of downtown.

The Good Life

Bespoke tailoring used to be a luxury just for the guys. Now chic women are discovering that wearing a custom suit designed to conceal their flaws and flaunt their assets can make them look more soignée than a month of sweating in the gym. "You've only got to look at Marlene Dietrich to know how glamorous a woman looks in a well-cut suit," says HenryRose, who runs Stella McCartney's luxurious bespoke salon in Mayfair and counts Madonna among his clients.

Real Absinthe

Absinthe is back. Dozens of European distillers are conjuring up the "green fairy" for new palates, its fresh, meadowy taste reminiscent of pastis. The drink was banned in America and much of Europe early last century after allegedly inducing acts of insanity, including Vincent van Gogh's decision to cut off his ear.

A World Of Digital Dim Sum

In the beginning, our entertainment landscape looked a lot like a big family dinner. Everybody piled around the TV, and we all ate whatever the major networks were serving up.

Flight Of The French

The Belgians call them "fiscal refugees," but these refugees wear Chanel. They are runaways from high taxes in France. Officially, France has lost, on average, one millionaire or billionaire taxpayer per day for tax reasons since 1997, when the government started trying to track capital flight.

Tough Europe

It's a safe bet that the typical American's image of the European shopping experience is of quaint little shoppes, not of "hard discounters" who compete on price even more brutally, and with fewer frills, than Wal-Mart.

Spirits: Just Don't Drive

After nearly a century's absence, absinthe is making hearts grow fond again all across Europe. In trendy bars and apartment soirees from Barcelona to Bristol, young professionals are mixing the famously hallucinogenic elixir of Belle Epoque painters and poets.

LESSONS OF THE LOGAN

When the French voted no to the European constitution, they were rejecting the specter of a borderless world in which foreign goods, Polish plumbers and even British politicians would be handed a growing role in French society.

NOTHING IS FOREVER

There isn't a spot of shade, for trees would obscure the sightlines of the surveillance cameras. Guards patrol the streets, almost empty but for the Hasidim in their overcoats and black fedoras, and the Gujaratis in suit jackets.

'C'est Pas Possible'

The military band was there; the stage lights flashed on and off in a celebratory rehearsal and the giant screens set up in front of Paris City Hall captured a swelling crowd of thousands.

'Shock Ticket'

"An Explosive Tandem," "A Shocking Duo," "The Brother Enemies." The French press has made France's new government sound like a superhero death match. In one corner, the new prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, familiar to Americans as the arrogant, suave, silver-maned intellectual who confronted the United States at the United Nations in the lead-up to the Iraq war.

BACK FROM THE BRINK

A decade ago, one wondered how the sun itself still managed to rise over Rwanda, let alone planes bearing tourists. Over three infernal months in the spring of 1994, the country saw at least 800,000 of its citizens slaughtered.

Back From the Brink

A decade ago, one wondered how the sun itself still managed to rise over Rwanda, let alone planes bearing tourists. Over three infernal months in the spring of 1994, the country saw at least 800,000 of its citizens slaughtered.

Le Pen's Last Laugh?

Will Jean-Marie Le Pen get the last laugh? He sent French voters screaming into the streets to keep him from the presidency in 2002, but France's notorious far-right curmudgeon is all smiles now.

'An Illegal, Immoral Order'

When his unit of the 82nd Airborne Division was getting ready to deploy to Iraq last year, U.S. Army Pfc. Jeremy Hinzman started fighting a battle of his own--in Canada.

RACING ON THE EDGE

If Lance Armstrong has come to define the American champion abroad--single-minded, unwavering, respected but not loved--then Bode Miller is the anti-Armstrong.

The Gentleman Thief

In the end, the "gentleman thief" broke down like a boy. Stephane Breitwieser, 33, who carried out some of the brashest art thefts the world has ever seen, sat sobbing in a French courtroom earlier this month.

SNAP JUDGEMENT: BOOKS

We the Media by Dan GillmorComplaining about the media is a popular pastime but no one did anything about it, says Gillmor, until Weblogs came along. The California-based columnist explains why the legion of blogs--several million to date--are on a collision course with big media as it slides steadily toward cheaper and dumber news.

The Ides Of September

Forget the Olympics. A country like France prefers a more dramatic tale, ripe with flawed characters and complex moral questions. From the beaches of Normandy to the Cote d'Azur, French vacationers have been transfixed by a real-life tale whose plotline features an outcast prodigal son arising to challenge his aging former mentor, the most powerful man in the nation. "It's the serial of the summer," says Carole Barjon of the Nouvel Observateur."It" is the political struggle within France's...

TOO BOUNTIFUL HARVEST

Wine is culture. It is also history, especially in France, where some say it is a link to God. Is it, however, food?A strange question, perhaps. But as the first ripe grapes are plucked around France this fall, the government will decide.

CROSS-CHUNNEL FUSION

Paris? London? What's the difference, when you can hop a train after work as if it were the Metro and be in one or the other in time for dinner?This autumn, the superfast Eurostar celebrates its 10th year, darting between the twin capitals in a scant two-and-a-half hours.

Q&Amp;A: Springboard For Terror?

In a nation plagued by a vicious five-year-old civil war, the northeastern Congolese town of Bunia has become a byword for appalling anarchy--and another tough challenge for the United Nations.

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