‘Forty years on, this very French, eclectic gathering, lubricated by copious wine and fromages to die for, provided some telling snapshots of the country’s, and particularly its left’s, uncertain, confused, and depressed mood and the langueur of its politics.’ Photograph: Getty Images

Paris in the springtime. Around the tables in the country garden on this balmy evening, pals, old schoolfriends, and family celebrated last weekend on(...)

Nicolas Sarkozy arrives at UMP party headquarters in Paris. The 212,000 members of the party will vote on the party’s statute and new name. Photograph: Stephane de Sakutin/Afp/Getty Images

Militants of Nicolas Sarkozy’s conservative UMP will officially change their party’s name to “Les Républicains” – the Republicans – on Saturday. With (...)

A Femen activist tries to block the president of France’s far-right political party Front National (FN) Marine Le Pen as she lays flowers at the foot of a statue of Joan of Arc during a  rally  in Paris. Photograph: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images

Three women from the Femen activist group, making Nazi salutes, disrupted a May Day speech by French far-right leader Marine Le Pen on Friday.After e(...)

French prime minister Manuel Valls after delivering a speech before the vote of no confidence. The outcome shows that President François Hollande’s administration no longer commands a reliable majority. Photograph: Christian Hartmann/Reuters

The French government has survived a vote of no confidence, but has been weakened by the necessity of using an obscure constitutional instrument to p(...)

French president Francois Hollande: he took drastic action by overriding parliament to push through a package of business-friendly economic reforms. Photograph: Alain Jocard/AFP/Getty

French president François Hollande took drastic action on Tuesday to push through a package of business-friendly economic reforms, overriding parliam(...)

Francois Hollande: his party’s control of the national assembly was weakened by the defection last month of one of its deputies to the far left

President François Hollande’s ruling Socialists won a hotly contested parliamentary byelection in eastern France yesterday, narrowly beating a Nationa(...)

Nicolas Sarkozy: he said prime minister Manuel Valls comparison of  France to the former apartheid regime in South Africa was “a moral error”. Photograph: Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty Images

The “sacred union” forged by president François Hollande during three days of Islamist violence that killed 17 people this month has ended.Hollande te(...)

Riot officers patrol in Longpont, north of Paris. The suspects were were identified by a petrol station attendant in the town of Villers-Cotterets, 70km northeast of the French capital. Photograph: Thibault Camus/AP

All France became Charlie Hebdo on Thursday. As one commentator put it, the extremists who attacked the satirical magazine on Wednesday murdered 12 pe(...)

French president François Hollande (right) shakes hands with former president Nicolas Sarkozy at the Élysee Palace in Paris. Photograph: Ian Langsdon/EPA

French president François Hollande appealed for national unity in the wake of Wednesday’s attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine, and so far the politica(...)

The police station in Joué-les-Tours, where French police shot dead a man who attacked them with a knife. Photograph:AFP/Getty Images.

A man armed with a knife has attacked a police officer and been killed by an officer in a suburb of Tours, a city in central France. A statement by th(...)