Letter from Paris: July 5, 2023 News Digest

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Letter from Paris: July 5, 2023 News Digest

Protests in France over the police killing of an unarmed teenager during a traffic stop in the Paris suburb of Nanterre turned into riots last week. (Charged with homicide, the officer remains in custody.) Cities across the country have been affected. It’s a complicated situation to address- there is long-standing mistrust of the police and what’s perceived as discrimination among the marginalized immigrant populations in the suburbs. A sizable percentage of the masked young people— arrested by the police for looting, vandalism, and violence— are underage. To quote The Guardian: “Macron has urged parents to take responsibility for their children. The justice ministry has said 30% of those arrested have been minors, while Darmanin said the average age of those arrested was 17.” Is it safe to visit France right now, CNN asks? “While the teenager’s death and subsequent outrage has sent shockwaves across France, much of life continues as normal. The central areas of Paris, home to the Louvre Art Museum and the Eiffel Tower have been almost totally unaffected. Likewise the rural and coastal areas that host many visitors.”

The Palace of Versailles, celebrating its 400th birthday this year, has unveiled the Perfumer’s Garden at the Trianon. As described in the official announcement, “Hundreds of different perfume-making plants, grown in keeping with the spirit of the 17th-century Trianon gardens, will help build awareness of the history of fragrance at the court of Versailles.” The project was sponsored by the Maison Francis Kurkdjian.

Perfumer’s garden © Palace of Versailles / D. Saulnier

As tourists have returned in droves after the pandemic closures, France recently outlined its strategy to combat overtourism. As reported by France 24, Tourism Minister Olivia Gregoire said that “France, the world’s biggest tourist destination, particularly needed to better manage the peak-season influxes that threatened ‘the environment, the quality of life for locals, and the experiences for its visitors’.”

Sites like Etretat have been bombarded with visitors after it was featured in the Netflix hit Lupin. The government has enlisted an “industry monitoring group to identify the most at-risk sites and craft strategies for encouraging off-season visits.” A goal “will be to enlist social media “influencers” to spread the word on the risks of overtourism, for example by encouraging people to seek sites off the beaten path or make trips outside the summer months. But higher lodging taxes or access fees could also be in store to help communities cope with the costs of welcoming the throngs of visitors.” The Guardian has a funny take on this, too.

International travel (C) JESHOOTS.COM, Unsplash

Resistance hero Missak Manouchian, an Armenian genocide survivor, will be interred in the Panthéon in February 2024. He will join other Resistance fighters including Jean Moulin and Josephine Baker. In a statement issued by the Élysée Palace, President Emmanuel Macron said, “Manouchian carries a part of our greatness” and embodies the country’s “universal values” of liberty, equality and fraternity.

As reported by France 24, “Manouchian arrived in France in 1925 as a stateless refugee after fleeing the Armenian genocide with his brother, and joined the country’s communist Resistance movement in 1943 during World War II. He led a small group of fighters that carried out a string of successful attacks against the occupying Nazi forces. In 1944, the group, which included a number of Jews, was put out of action when 23 of its members were rounded up and sentenced to death by a German military court. Manouchian was shot by a Nazi firing squad on February 21, 1944. The collaborationist Vichy regime later tried to discredit the group and defuse the anger over the executions in an infamous red poster depicting the dead fighters as terrorists.”

Missak Manouchian. Wikimedia Commons

With hot summer temperatures, we’re all screaming for ice cream in Paris. Some of our favorite shops can be found in this article. 

A new one to add to the list: Gérard Taurin’s recently inaugurated flagship at 37 rue de Lévis in the 17th. Taurin isn’t just a MOF glacier (Meilleur Ouvrier de France), he’s also been awarded World Champion ice-cream maker. The chef carefully selects all the ingredients: milk from organic Percheron farms where the cows are exclusively grass-fed, Gariguette strawberries, Corsican nougat, organic brown sugar, farm-fresh yogurt… His other ice cream parlors can be found in Bois-Colombes (Hauts-de-Seine) and Deauville.

Lead photo credit : Protests in France. Wikimedia Commons

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