Spotlight on France

Podcast: France in coronavirus lockdown, love in a time of crisis, and the 'confetti' of an empire

Audio 22:52
Spotlight on France episode 35
Spotlight on France episode 35 © RFI

France is on lockdown to try and stop the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, but there have been contradictory explanations about what is and is not allowed. The woman who went on a road trip across France to restore her faith in love. And when France's colonies became departments. 


In the first of a two-week (possibly longer) confinement to try to stop the spread of the Coronavirus in France, and with hospitals starting to get overwhelmed, people are trying to figure out how they can go outside. The lockdown announcement sparked panic-buying in supermarkets and many Parisians fled the city to bunker down in the countryside.  The lockdown also means a delay in the local elections; the second round should have been held this Sunday. (Listen @0'21)

Forced  confinement leaves some people with a lot of time to reflect, and president Emmanuel Macron even called on people to focus on what is essential. Journalist Stefania Rousselle (@stefrousselle) had her own moment of questioning what is essential after the 2015 terrorist attacks in France and the rise of the far right. Depressed, she set off on a road trip across the country to ask people: “What is love?” The result is a book, Amour, portraits of French people, who she says are struggling with the same questions she is. (Listen @11'15)

France turned four of its former colonies into departments on 19 March 1946. Poet and lawmaker Aimé Césaire opposed independence for these small territories, including Guadeloupe and Martinique, arguing they were better off with the social benefits and protections of France. We talk about the story of these territories, called the ‘confetti’ of the French colonial empire. (Listen @8'00)

Spotlight on France is a podcast from Radio France International. Find us on iTunes (link here)Google podcasts (link here), or your favourite podcast app.

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