RFI Spotlight on France

Spotlight on France

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

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 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 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 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 30 min

Podcast: Football frenzy, foie gras alternatives, Proust forever

Unpicking France's win against Morocco in World Cup semi-final; finding "ethical" alternatives to force-fed foie gras; and why it's worth reading Marcel Proust, 100 years after his death. After France beat Morocco in the World Cup semi-final, Paul Myers looks at whether it makes sense to see it as a face-off between…
15 Dec 2022 34 min

Podcast: abortion rights, living in a cemetery, Walt Disney's French connection

As France's parliament passes a bill that would enshrine the right to abortion in the constitution, a new film explores the time before it was legalised in 1975. The curator of Père Lachaise in Paris on life and biodiversity in France's most famous cemetery. And Walt Disney's 11th century French roots…
1 Dec 2022 22 min

Podcast: Bullfighting, civil disobedience, Vikings lay siege to Paris

A north-south divide over bullfighting, which holds an important cultural spot in many parts of southern France, but which opponents say is animal cruelty. A French climate activist on why blocking roads and interrupting opera performances is the only way to get attention. And the 9th-century Viking attack on Paris. The corrida…
17 Nov 2022 32 min

Podcast: NFTs in Paris, Simone Veil on screen, fingerprint technology

A Paris art gallery embraces NFTs as a new form of expression, that can also make collectors very rich. A biopic of Simone Veil disappoints critics but brings the life of an inspirational woman to a new generation. And the story of the "father of forensic science" whose landmark fingerprint technology caught a…
20 Oct 2022 34 min

Podcast: pregnant in parliament, opera in Paris' streets, Wallace fountains

As the French National Assembly gets younger and more female, some lawmakers say it's time MPs on maternity leave were replaced. Opera singers bring love, tragedy and dialogue to French city streets with free concerts in unexpected places. And the man behind Paris' Wallace fountains, which turn 150 this year. France…
6 Oct 2022 27 min

Podcast: The royal spell, cancelling Russian culture, protecting journalists

France's fascination with Queen Elizabeth II and the British monarchy; being a Russian artist in France in the wake of the Ukraine war; a Parisien house marks two decades of helping journalists in exile. Some seven million French people watched coverage of the funeral of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II on Monday, that…
22 Sep 2022 26 min

Podcast: France's energy woes, cheese in the shadow of Roquefort, left vs. right

As France faces an energy crisis, opposition to wind turbines is slowing a shift to renewables. Making sheep cheese in the land of Roquefort. The Revolutionary origins of the left-right political divide. France has warned about power cuts this winter after Russia cut off gas supplies to most of Europe in response…
8 Sep 2022 29 min

Podcast: Revisiting green hydrogen, gay conversion therapy

Another summer special, where we look back on what has been called the world's first green hydrogen production plant. And a first-hand account of gay conversion therapy, which has since become a crime in France. Spotlight on France is a podcast from Radio France International. Find us on rfienglish.com, iTunes (link here),…
11 Aug 2022 20 min

Podcast: Revisiting dying with dignity, baking Christmas in August

A special summer episode, in which we update last October's conversation with Jacqueline Jencquel, a member of the French Association for the right to die with dignity (ADMD). She talks about planning her own death and what needs to change in French law. Also, from the archives, a look at pastry chefs preparing…
21 Jul 2022 15 min

Podcast: France's healthcare crisis, 'deserting' agro-tech, fête de la musique

France's famously good public healthcare system is in crisis, as emergency services warn of shutdowns over the summer due to lack of staff. Graduates of prestigious AgroParisTech university make waves by turning their backs on an industry they say is "waging war on the living world". The annual Fête de la musique…
16 Jun 2022 28 min

Podcast: Union of the left, SOS trees, celebrating Britain's 'francophile' Queen

A first-time candidate for parliament campaigns for the newly unified left. Why a Frenchman has set up camp in one of Gustav Eiffel's ancient plane trees. France marks the jubilee of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. One of the most interesting parts of the upcoming parliamentary elections in France is the way the…
2 Jun 2022 26 min

Podcast: France's female PM, protecting Marseille's Calanques, Battle of Rocroi

Does France's new female Prime Minister mark a victory for feminism? Marseille's creeks (Calanques), faced with degradation, limit visitors. The battle in 1643 that shifted influence in Europe from Spain to France. Elisabeth Borne, the second female prime minister in France's modern history, bears the official title of "premiere ministre" the feminisation…
19 May 2022 27 min

Podcast: Yellow Vests' revenge, rising abstention, the end of France's brothels

Yellow Vest militants hope to vote Macron out of office. How younger generations are shifting their relationship to voting. And the WWI spy who lobbied successfully to shut down France's brothels in 1946. Candidates running in the first round of presidential elections this Sunday have made the rising cost of living…
7 Apr 2022 34 min
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