Friday, 27 February 2009
Don't touch my Picardy!
The Independent's coverage of French current affairs comes from the top drawer this week. I normally turn to the peerless Charles Bremner of the Times for my French gossip and news, but a change of paper in my local coffee shop meant a daily pre-work flick through the Indie.
In today's paper alone, there are features on the proposed restructure of the French regions - see the hard copy for an excellent map of the newly delineated boundaries - while the frankly laughable minimalist art scene and Ségolène Royal's latest brush with the paps get column inches, too.
Of these three stories, Sarkozy's plan to virtually dispense with Picardy and merge other major administrative chunks is the most eye-catching to anyone who knows and loves France. Given that the French notion of terroir is not merely attributable to wine and food but, crucially, to les habitants and where they were born and bred, a plot to turn someone from a Burgundian to a Franche-Comtois overnight seems incendiary. I predict a riot. Or, failing that, a stroppy march through town or a turnip blockade on the roads if farmers get wind of it.