Corinne Maier

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Marchers on Boulevard Raspail in Paris on May 27, 1968.Credit Bruno Barbey/Magnum Photos

One of my biggest regrets is that I was born too late for the barricades of May 1968. I was only 4 years old, and so I missed this huge “happening”, the student and worker uprising that brought France to a standstill. My mother’s sister, who was then a 22-year-old elementary school teacher here, recalled with nostalgia the strange atmosphere in the city, where, she said, “the daily routine stopped and everyone went on a picnic”.

Thanks to Aunt Anne-Marie, who told me several times of “her” May ’68, I’ve always viewed the protests from a female perspective. At first glance, however, women are rarely visible.…  Seguir leyendo »

“God smokes Cuban cigars,” Catherine Deneuve sang more than 25 years ago in a song that’s still famous here. The cigarette is part of our international image, alongside the baguette and the slenderness of French women.

The reality is different, though. True, the French smoke a bit more than Americans, but we smoke somewhat less than some of our European neighbors, like the Austrians, the Greeks and the Dutch.

What is more notable is that the French have lagged in the West’s antismoking fight. America is at war against cigarettes. Ireland and Norway banished them in public spaces in 2004. They were soon followed by Italy, Spain, Sweden and Britain.…  Seguir leyendo »