Friday, May 13, 2016

Paris Yesterday

From the newspaper Libération.
From the New York Times. Teargas at Les Invalides.
Putting political problems out of one's head in Paris is actually a greater temptation than eating too much pastry! My impressions of Paris from last week were of lovely weather, people quietly strolling in the streets and enjoying themselves, parks available for calm relaxation, shop windows full of beautiful clothing and food, and overall tranquility. Of course these impressions are misleading, and it's much too comfortable to pretend that everyone is happy.

A day of demonstrations in the streets took place yesterday. In a story titled "France’s Socialist Government Survives a Vote, but Remains Fractured" NYT reporter Adam Nossiter wrote about François Hollande, President of France:
"Anti-government demonstrators, tear gas and police sirens filled streets again in Paris and other French cities on Thursday, with protesters voicing their opposition to the centerpiece of Mr. Hollande’s domestic agenda, legislation intended to make it easier for employers to hire — and fire — workers. ...
"Mr. Hollande’s smile, like that of the Cheshire cat, may soon be all that is left of him. His government survived a vote of no confidence in the National Assembly Thursday evening, two days after it resorted to a little-used power to force through the sharply contested labor law over opposition from some Socialists and others on the left. But with Mr. Hollande’s support in the presidential race at 13 percent and unemployment still above 10 percent, his chances of re-election, or even of making it to the final round of voting, seem to most analysts to be vanishingly slim."
I didn't describe our interactions much, but we had meals with Parisian friends four times during our trip. We discussed the current French political situation in various conversations with these friends. Dissatisfaction with the current situation and particularly with Hollande is widespread, going into elections next year. The rise of the extreme right and their potential to gain many votes is quite disturbing. If only one could remain a carefree tourist all the time!


~~louise~~ said...

If only, Mae...

Jeanie said...

You're right -- the tourist gets the good parts. The residents get both bitter and sweet and it's sounding a bit scary right now. The nationalist thing is extremely disturbing. One can only hope cooler heads will prevail.