Lionel Jospin

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Ségolène Royal is a veteran of 30 years in French politics. She was the first woman in France to make it to the runoff in a presidential election. Photograph: Loic Venance/AFP/Getty Images

If there were a prize for sheer dogged indestructibility in French politics, Ségolène Royal would surely win it. The first woman to make it to the ru(...)

Ségolène Royal  and Switzerland’s Bertrand Piccard. Photograph: Philipp Guelland/EPA

When an English-speaking politician loses an election, he or she usually leaves public life. Not in France, where politicians appear to be indestructi(...)

Supporters show their selfies with Emmanuel Macronduring a campaign visit in Rodez, France, on Friday. Photograph: Reuters/Regis Duvignau

Donald Trump’s election may seem a strange place to begin to recount the French presidential campaign, but it was the moment when, in the words of Mar(...)

French election candidate Emmanuel Macron giving a speech during a meeting in Arras on Wednesday. Photograph: Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty Images

Both candidates for the “parties of government” that have alternated in power since 1981 failed to make it to the second round of the French president(...)

Campaign posters of French presidential election candidate Emmanuel Macron.  Photograph: Pascal Pavani/AFP/Getty

In more than 20 years as a pollster, Frédéric Dabi, the director of Ifop, France’s oldest polling company, says he has never seen anything as “unthink(...)

 François Hollande  during the opening of the international anti-corruption practitioner conference at the OECD in Paris  yesterday. Photograph: Francois Guillot/Reuters

France’s first socialist government was elected in May 1936, against a backdrop of economic crisis, the rise of populist nationalism in France and fas(...)

‘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(...)

EDF chief executive Jean-Bernard Lévy: offering employees a one-off €10,000 payment to persuade them to work 212 days a year, rather than the current 196. Photograph: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

For years, employees of the French company EDF have enjoyed a perk almost inconceivable to their counterparts in the rest of the industrialised wor(...)

Josephine  de Beauharnais: dsescribed by 19th century historian Frédéric Masson as a woman of easy virtue who spent a huge amount of money. Image: Musée du Luxembourg

“I awake filled with you. Your portrait and yesterday’s intoxicating evening left no repose for my senses. Gentle, incomparable Josephine, what(...)

Only 73 French people have been interred in the Pantheon in Paris, more than half by Napoleon. “Pantheonisation” is one of the last privileges left to a French president, but like everything else, it has turned into a dilemma for François Hollande. Photograph: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

It was a day devoted to the quest for heroes, in an age that no longer seems to produce them. Three former prime ministers, six of France’s leading hi(...)

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