Just in case you missed it, here are three amusing/depressing/inspiring things happening in the French news this week.
You call this an apartment?
A landlord and a real estate agency are being made to pay a former tenant 18,300 Euro for renting that person a 16.79 square-foot “apartment” for fifteen years. La Croix reports that the space — located in the admittedly chic 11th arrondissement — has “neither a shower nor a toilet, only a sink.” The over-300-Euro price the tenant paid to live there gives new meaning to the phrase Paris à tout prix. The paper reports that the court had initially decided on a 10,000 Euro penalty but the real estate agency appealed that decision.
Republicans: coming soon to a France near you
Sarkozy l’Américain will soon take his nickname to the next level — and his whole party with him. Le Monde reports that the Center-Right UMP (Union for a Popular Movement) is planning to change its name to — wait for it — the Republican party (well, les Républicains to be exact), with the change set to be made official at the party’s big meeting at the end of May. Even if the UMP were to resemble the American Republican party in name, however, it would look more like Democrats-gone-wildly-liberal than anything close to US Republicans today.
Take standup comedy… seriously!
When the French authorities put the kibosh on standup comic and Holocaust-denier Dieudonné’s tour a few months ago, Jon Stewart suggested that maybe “comedy isn’t France’s thing.” They would beg to differ, it seems. The Centre Georges Pompidou is kicking off a multidisciplinary ode to standup comedy this week, entitled “Stand up! The New American Comedy.” An overview in Le Monde calls the exhibit “frankly exciting,” while explaining that standup is a medium that doesn’t age well. Offering the example of homophobic jokes with which Eddie Murphy opened his show Delirious in the 80s, the article explains that the only appropriate context for revisiting such lines today is in a museum.
All French women have one thing in common, and it isn’t pretty
Madame Figaro reports that a study has found that all French women have experienced sexual harassment in public transportation. The article calls the report “alarming” and notes that “in the majority of cases, the victims are minors the first time they are confronted with this phenomenon.” The article goes on to say that the incidents tend to happen not in circumstances one might consider typically dangerous such as suburban trains at night, but rather while riding “busses or school busses between the hours of 8am and 8pm.”