Visiting places as different as the Musee d Orsay and Disneyland, he explores culture high and low as well as the everyday pleasures and problems of living in Paris. Leaving the capital, the dispatches also cover provincial France, especially a part of rural Normandy where the author has a house. Here he writes of a dysfunctional farmer neighbour, the difficulties of tending an 'English' lawn and the threat of a new high-speed road development to his tiny commune. Nor are more general aspects of French society ignored.
A section deals with politics, examining the Sarkozy phenomenon as well as anti-French sentiment in the United States, while another follows the author's children through the bureaucratic French education system. Predictably, there are pieces on French food and restaurants, while Lichfield also guides the reader through the linguistic minefield of tu and vous as well as exposing the continuing spectre of the German Occupation and collaboration. Our Man in Paris is a highly readable account of our nearest neighbours and their idiosyncracies. Perceptive and affectionate, it provides a wealth of insights into France and the French.
About the Author
John Lichfield has been with The Independent since its launch in 1986. He was previously US correspondent and Foreign Editor. In 1999 he was named Foreign Reporter of the year in the UK Press Awards for his dispatches from France. He was born in Stoke on Trent in 1949 and educated in Macclesfield and Cambridge. He is married with three children.
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France, UK & Europe: Our Man in Paris: A Foreign Correspondent, France and the French
US: Our Man in Paris: A Foreign Correspondent, France and the French