‘We French do love to demonstrate’

Women walk through a fog of tear gas in ParisImage copyright

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Women walk through a fog of tear gas in Paris

The French government and unions have reached stalemate over a new labour law so it’s protest time again on the streets of Paris, and politics is the conversation du jour while shopping or over lunch, writes Joanna Robertson.

Josiane Bertrand has a small family business – a neighbourhood charcuterie selling sausage, poached pigs’ trotters, pate and jellied pig snouts. Her ham, she says, is the best in Paris and her queue of customers is long.

Despite the ceaseless rain outside – among all its other woes, France is now flooding – it’s a convivial crowd waiting to be served, and the animated conversation is all about strikes.

If the opinion pages of Le Monde are to be believed, the charcuterie queue is a pretty accurate reflection of the mood of the country. Split, roughly half and half, between those for the Work Bill and those against.

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