French press review 5 August 2017
Issued on: Modified:
The French newspapers bring us some inspiring headlines this morning, from white-collar workers breaking free from corporate chains to scenic cycling trips across Europe. The news is less edifying for the online rental service Airbnb and French football coaches.
If you're fed up with your office job and dream of becoming a carpenter in a peaceful village in the countryside, you're not alone.
Le Figaro brings us a fascinating report on the rising number of highly qualified employees reinventing themselves completely. According to the paper, these "neocraftsmen" are giving up on traditional standards of success in exchange for more freedom and creativity.
The change generally comes after they realise that the position they had striven to get to is little more than a "bullshit job", as theorised by the American anthropologist David Graeber. That's a job which is repetitive, with no tangible results to show for it.
One former banker became a stained-glass artist after rediscovering her passion for art and hasn't looked back since.
But these radical career shifts aren't easy and often require substantial funds. That's why, according to Le Figaro, they're more prevalent among very high earners and adults without children.
Airbnb accused of squeezing out residents
Le Monde brings us an in-depth report on the home rental service Airbnb, which it says is fast becoming a professional market, dominated by big property owners.
Along with several other European newspapers, Le Monde has looked into nearly 150,000 online advertisements. One-fifth of them, it says, were posted by people owning several properties, in an increasingly lucrative market.
The idea behind Airbnb is for people to rent out their homes when they are away, providing cheap, short-term alternatives to hotels. But according to Le Monde, big investors are buying several properties to rent them out full-time, making huge profits in the process.
In Paris the amount of short-term rentals has tripled in the last three years, making the French capital the world's most popular Airbnb destination.
This isn't to everyone's liking. Ian Brossat, the city's deputy mayor in charge of housing, says Paris has lost 20,000 flats to short-term rentals for tourists, and the number of permanent residents has dropped in the city centre.
The head of Airbnb France, Emmanuel Marill denies this claim. He says that 90 percent of the people renting their flats are private individuals, and that the extra income helps them keep their home in Paris.
French football managers under fire
Libération is sporting the rather irreverent headline "Are French football coaches rubbish?"
The page two report claims that French managers are being pushed out of the country's top division because of their "procedural character" and "lack of charisma".
Almost all of the France's biggest clubs - Monaco, Paris St Germain, Saint-Etienne, Nice, Lille, Nantes - are now in the hands of prestigious foreign coaches.
One club president is quoted as saying that it is a problem of mentality. He says that after some poor results, his French manager had told him that he "couldn't do anything about it" but it was too expensive to sack him. The president of FC Nantes, Waldemar Kita, adds that French coaches are more likely to publicly criticise their superiors.
But if French managers are bad, what should we make of English ones? As legendary Auxerre coach Guy Roux comments at the end of the article, referring to Arsenal, the game is becoming more and more international, with very little stability for coaches and owners.
Bohemian bike rides
If you couldn't care less about the geopolitics of football, you can turn to La Croix, with five pages dedicated to cycling. Not the competitive kind, where you have to have watch grown men in sweaty lycro shorts, but the bohemian, cross-country trips which take you to new places.
Apparently, it's increasingly popular among tourists and backpackers. And to give you a few ideas, La Croix suggests six scenic itineraries, the longest of which is 10,000km long and will take you from the northern tip of Finland all the way to Bulgaria. Not a bad idea for a low-budget holiday!