Nicolas Sarkozy

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A man holds a placard reading “Retirement at the age of 55, for workers in the building sector and for the others” as he takes part in a demonstration in Lyon on Tuesday to protest against French government’s plan to overhaul the country’s retirement system, as part of a national general strike. Photograph: Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP via Getty Images

When confronted with domestic stalemate and strife, French presidents have tended to take refuge in foreign affairs. It is certainly open to Emmanuel (...)

French authorities have opened a corruption investigation into the circumstances that led to Qatar being awarded the 2022 World Cup. Photograph: Valery Hache/Getty/AFP

French authorities have opened a corruption investigation into the circumstances that led to Qatar being awarded the 2022 World Cup. The investigation(...)

A poster stating “All on strike on December 5th” at the Bourse du Travail during preparations for a national strike against French government pension reform plans, in Nice, France. Photograph: Eric Gaillard/Reuters

France is set to plunge into an open-ended, nationwide strike of unusual proportions as of 10pm on Wednesday. The action is expected to continue for d(...)

A man waits on a train platform  in Marseille beside a train belonging to the state-owned railway company SNCF. File photograph: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty Images

The playwright Georges Courteline made French civil servants the object of ridicule in his 1893 play Messieurs les ronds-de-cuir, named after the roun(...)

Stung by the gilets jaunes revolt, the continuing rise of the far-right and the persistent slur that his La République en Marche is a purely bourgeois party, the president has made immigration a theme of his autumn agenda. Photograph: Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images

In approaching immigration, Emmanuel Macron need only look to his immediate predecessors in the Élysée Palace to see how not to do it. One of the keys(...)

France’s president Emmanuel Macron: believes the far right must not be allowed to continue to monopolise the immigration issue. Photograph: Eric Cabanis/AFP via Getty Images

Immigration is the most explosive issue in French politics, yet president Emmanuel Macron decided to make it a key theme this autumn. The National Ass(...)

Former French prime minister Edouard Balladur (90) and François Léotard (77), who was Balladur’s defence minister. File photographs: Jean-Pierre Muller and Marc Le Chelard/AFP/Getty Images

The so-called Karachi trial, which opens on Monday in Paris and is to continue until the end of the month, is a murky tale of arms sales and kickbacks(...)

Nadir Dendoune and his mother, Messaouda. Figs in April, an hour-long profile of  Messaouda,   is being shown this summer in festivals, prisons and public parks. Photograph: Camille Millerand

As you pass the Porte de Châtillon on the Paris ring road, you might catch a glimpse of a giant wall painting. “Chibani”, it says, next to a portrait(...)

French former environment minister François de Rugy and his wife, journalist Severine Servat,  in Paris last week. De Rugy presented his resignation following a controversy about the alleged misuse of public funds. Photograph: Julien de Rosa/EPA

For Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, it was diamonds. For Roland Dumas, Berluti shoes. Now, into the annals of French political scandals goes François de Rug(...)

Christine Lagarde: being the unlikely candidate has consistently been the making of her. Photograph: Saul Loeb

“No, no, no, no, no, no,” Christine Lagarde said last year when asked if she was interested in running the European Central Bank (ECB). What she meant(...)

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