Merveilleux! Great news out of the land of cheese and wine today — France has become the 14th country to legalize gay marriage! The decision — 331-225 was the final tally in the National Assembly — comes after months of heated debate and public protests. France’s justice minister, Christiane Taubira, said the first weddings could be as soon as June. Last week, New Zealand also legalized same-sex marriage, though it was less controversial there. Now, if only the United States would get with it… [AP]
Beginning yesterday, France will provide access to free birth control for teenaged girls ages 15 to 18 without parental notification, as well as reimburse the cost of abortions to all women over age 18.
Pinch me. Am I dreaming? It’s not still April Fools’ Day, right? Keep reading »
White bread, rich cheeses, and red wine are beloved staples of the Gallic diet. They smoke, they drink, they consume loads of saturated fats… yet they don’t have an obesity problem, they don’t lose their looks with age, and they have the lowest rate of cardiovascular mortality worldwide. What gives, France? We’re not the only ones who are dying to know: researchers call it (and, furthermore, how they get their hair to look so perfectly disheveled without being greasy) “the French paradox” as they seek to explain the link connecting the way the French eat (and, yes, drink) to their long, healthy lifespans, second only to Japan. Keep reading »
Topless nuns were seen hosing down anti-gay marriage demonstrators with “holy sperm” last Sunday in Paris.
Go ahead. Read that sentence again.
Of course, these weren’t real nuns! FEMEN, the breast-baring Ukrainian women’s movement, is famous for spreading awareness about a cause through nudity. When FEMEN found out that more than 100,000 Catholics would be protesting against France’s legislation to allow gay marriage and adoption, they got their weapons ready. With various slogans written across their chests, including “In Gay We Trust” and “Fuck God,” Femen members got creative with baby powder, spraying the mist on protesters, calling it “Jesus Sperm.” Keep reading »
I am much too obsessed with Paris for my own good, especially considering that I’ve never been there. I’m enamored of the idea of it, so when I do eventually go (and, by God, I will), there is a decent chance that I will be hideously disappointed. With that in mind, I’m significantly less interested in purchasing tickets to Paris than I am in purchasing photography books that portray it as idealistically as I do in my head. Why go all the way there just to be let down when I can sit right here and just pretend that I’m there and it’s awesome? Paris, Portrait of a City, “the true family album of all Parisians,” is just the glossy 544-page photo book I need to sustain my delusions, and with its chronological layout spanning photographers from Daguerre to Cartier-Bresson, it’s a solid lesson in European history, too. We’ll always have Paris, after all. [$69.99, Taschen]
Carla Bruni certainly made her mark as one of the more, uh, contentious first ladies ever to hit French office: the longtime singer and model, not to mention the heiress to an industrial dynasty, made ceaseless waves with her swank wardrobe, party-girl past, and dubious intentions when she wed recently divorced French president Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007. Sarkozy vacated office earlier this year (in favor of François Hollande, whose own live-in girlfriend has stirred up quite a bit of national strife herself), but his disheartening political demise was far and away from the last we’ve seen of the couple — Mr. and Mrs. Sarkozy have recently found themselves mired in allegations of corruption over illegal cash donations the former president may or may not have received from Liliane Bettencourt, the heiress to L’Oreal and France’s richest woman. And if you thought the disgraced couple’s public humiliation saturation point had maxed out (one would assume, after their mansion and offices were raided by police last month), well, it’s time to reconsider. Keep reading »
Breathalyzers aren’t just for the po-po any more: In France, a new law requires every driver to carry two breathalyzers in their car. The intent to decrease the amount of drunk driving accidents by having drivers test themselves with breathalyzers before they decide to drive home inebriated. Keep reading »
The production of counterfeit luxury goods is a criminal offense, and designers have always been vocal in their condemnation of the practice. Last week, Prada chief executive officer (and Miuccia’s husband) Patrizio Bertelli stoked controversy when he shared his opinion on the matter, saying, “Fake goods aren’t totally bad; at least it created jobs at some counterfeit factories.” He went on to reason, “We don’t want to be a brand that nobody wants to copy.” When questions arose, a Prada spokesman justified Bertelli’s statement, proceeding to say that “the quote is part of an extended conversation” that acknowledged the way in which “the market of counterfeits is an objective reality for successful brands and how this phenomenon has its own reality, also in terms of manufacturing, that is very structured.” This kind of progressive attitude, previously unheard of amongst the high fashion flock, is a natural extension of the fact that these activities will continue to exist, so why not put a positive spin on it? Keep reading »