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French Press Review 19 July 2018

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The French have a reputation for complaining and today’s press is filled with axes grinding about subjects such as food flavours, rent prices and new rules on the beach.


Le Parisien is angry about flavours of alcoholic drinks that have crept into products that are used even by children. It features a double spread investigation into the matter to see what repercussions Mojito flavoured sweets and yoghurts or even Pina Colada scented shower gels and candles have on the French population.

Doctors and addiction specialists are apparently horrified with this as they feel it’s gearing youngsters up for cocktail drinking and possibly becoming raging alcoholics. Some 11-year-olds already know cocktail recipes and enjoy feeling grown-up and imitating their parents.

Nothing limits the rise of Parisian rents

Another theme of discontent, vented in several papers, is the possibility of rent hikes, particularly in the Paris area.

A court has anulled a law limiting rent rises in the capital introduced by the pregious government. So new tenants can now expect to pay 130 euros more per month, reports Le Parisien. Sadly, this does not go hand in hand with an increase in citizen’s purchasing power.

According to Les Echos, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and her team are hoping to bring back a form of rent control even though the government seems to have no interest in the matter.

Communist L’Humanité notes that consultations by President Emmanuel Macron's government showed 78 percent of respondents saying that some form of rent control was the only way to limit greedy landlords.

“Why is rent being left to the free market?” asks the paper. “This will only lead to an exodus of the middle class who will no longer be able to afford the capital’s prices.”

Wannabe Paris mayor

Staying with Paris, Libération is taking a keen interest in Gaspar Gantzer, a former advisor to Macron's predecessor, François Hollande, and close Macron ally.

He's apparently got his eye on the position of mayor of Paris and is doing what he can to highlight his links with former socialist Mayor Bertrand Delanoë and brush aside Hidalgo.

He tells the paper he has "always helped others defend their ideals but he has so far not been able to push his own ideas". In the interview, he does not virulently oppose some of the measures implemented by the current mayor and he is eager to put some distance between himself and Macron's Republic on the Move party.

However, his candiday for the top dog position at Paris's city chambers doesn't generate support from many on the left, says the paper. Some of the local politicians interviewed find the idea so grotesque, they don't even want to talk about it for fear of turning him into a credible candidate.

Cannes bans hookahs on the beach

David Lisnar, the mayor of the southern French resort of Cannes, is up in arms again this summer.

After trying to ban the burkini a couple of years ago, he's now on the warpath against people smoking the hookah on beaches, local boulevards like the famed Promenade des Anglais and public carparks and is trying to ban them until the end of September.

Lisnar claims hookah smokers are a hindrance to peace and safety and take up too much space. The clampdown doesn't concern hookah bars but as a local representative of France's human rights league tells Libération "One can't help but feel that this ban, like the burkini one, is once again directed at one community in particular".

Antibes and a number of other towns on the Côté d'Azur are also implementing the measure.