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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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...