|French town of Gallargues beats European record|
Yet, these OFF productions, often try-outs for young actors and playwrights and lasting no more than one hour each, find their own faithful public that will let no heatwave keep them away from this shrine of the theatre arts. It’s all jolly good fun and a counterweight to the more serious tenor of the IN plays in the evening, which can last as long as eight hours and always take place in air-conditioned theatres, except for the large open-air Cour d'Honneur at the Popes' Palace. [Note: The Obama family who vacationed in Avignon this year, left just before the heatwave hit.]
They were fined €35 each for breaking the local ordinance, but their gesture gained notoriety and many supporters.
And yet, many local and national politicians still object to the burkini for self-serving reasons, so to put an end to the controversy the mayor of Grenoble has reopened the pools but referred the matter to President Macron for a clear definition of the law on burkinis. “All politics are local” as the late Tip O’Neill said. Look no further than small French towns where those who are “not from here” are eyed with suspicion, whether French or foreign. This is also true for picturesque villages where affluent outsiders have bought second homes but where we found that the old locals seem to reserve their strongest distaste for Parisians over all others. In their mind, Parisians are “the worst foreigners”.
|Bastille Day Parade|
|Military planes fly over the Arc de Triomphe du Caroussel|
Another benefit of all this show of strength is the effect it has on those who are still struggling to come to terms with France’s decline on the world stage. Since its heyday of the Enlightenment in the 18th century and its dominant role as a cultural, political and military power, when the French language was spoken at all European courts and it brought refinement to the world, the decline has been steady and painful. This airbrushed view of their past grandeur is at the heart of a certain French arrogance that, even today, gives them a sense of superiority that views other people, and especially immigrants, with a certain disdain.