It has been a week in the French press from an Olympic start to a Valentine’s Day finish with awards and war on the pages of the journeaux. Here are some of the highlights from this week’s French news.
The Agony of Defeat
The Olympics is a time of triumph although, in France, it’s been mostly about defeat. While sports commentators pondered how to say “snowboard” in French (Is it “surf de neige” or not?), France suffered numerous disappointments in Sochi. Figure skater Brian Joubert finished his career without a medal and Alexis Pinturault, a favorite in the super combined skiing event, came in 17th place. France has so far won four medals, three in biathlon — a sport made up by people trying to evade bears in the woods.
They Won’t Get Lucky
The Victoires de la Musique – the French Grammys – were Thursday night, and nearly everyone was there. Le Figaro devoted 600 words to briefly mentioning that Belgian rapper Stromae was the big winner, then complain about the group Indochine’s dressing room and the quality of the award show’s champagne. Also, Daft Punk (“We know that the French person that goes over the best in the United States is a mute French person”) did not go to the Victoires, even though they went to the Grammys just last month, because they’ve never won anything there. Griping about award ceremonies: nothing unites the French and Americans quite like it.
War, Then Peace?
France announced Friday that it would be sending 400 soldiers to the Central African Republic in addition to the 1,600 soldiers they’ve already had on the ground there since last December. The Minister of Defense said that the move was temporary and was actually a mark of the success of the mission. The ministry did not acknowledge President François Hollande’s own statement in December that 1,600 soldiers in the Central African Republic would be enough.