Eleanor Beardsley

GRASSE, France — The town of Grasse sits in the hills above the more famous French Riviera city of Cannes, and it doesn't have the Mediterranean Sea at its doorstep. What it does have is fields of flowers — jasmine, May rose, tuberose, lavender. It is known as the perfume capital of the world.

It wasn't always this way. Back in the18th and 19th centuries, the industry took off in Grasse in part because this was an absolutely putrid-smelling town.

PARIS — Colette Maze welcomes me warmly into her apartment on the 14th floor of a building overlooking the Seine River. From her flowered balcony, she has a view of the Eiffel Tower. She offers me a whiskey or a cognac — along with a hearty laugh as it's 10:30 in the morning.

It's that humor, a sense of optimism and her beloved piano that have buttressed and comforted this centenarian through an often difficult life. Maze has just released her sixth album at the age of 107.

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Updated September 7, 2021 at 5:05 PM ET

On Wednesday, 20 men accused of planning and carrying out the largest peacetime attacks on French soil will go on trial in Paris.

Nearly six years ago, 10 attackers killed 130 people and wounded hundreds more in coordinated shootings and suicide bombings at the Bataclan concert hall, a sports stadium and bars and restaurants across the French capital. The ISIS attacks took place on an unusually balmy November Friday night in 2015, when outdoor café tables were full.

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While European leaders were careful not to directly criticize the Biden administration, many are angry over how the U.S. is departing Afghanistan, a country in which they had a common mission for 20 years. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports from Paris.

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Updated June 8, 2021 at 3:27 PM ET

French President Emmanuel Macron was slapped in the face as he shook hands in a crowd during a visit Tuesday to a small town in southern France. Two men, both age 28, have been arrested. They risk three years in prison and a $50,000 fine over an attack on a public official.

The scene, which was filmed, shows Macron working a rope line in the town of Tain-l'Hermitage. While shaking Macron's hand, a man is able to slap the president's face before security intervenes.

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Gibert Jeune bookstore has held a prominent place on Paris' Place Saint Michel for decades, its yellow awnings nearly as iconic as the plaza's fountain statue of Saint Michael slaying a dragon.

Here, generations of students, intellectuals, bibliophiles and tourists have perused outdoor book stacks before heading to one of the surrounding cafes in the heart of the Latin Quarter.

But in a blow to the left bank neighborhood, the iconic store shuttered its doors this spring. Teacher Pascale Nédélec says Gibert Jeune meant something to generations of students.

A secret recording of an opulent clandestine pop-up restaurant in a private Paris mansion, with patrons flouting mask mandates, has sparked outrage and a police inquiry in France. The high-priced menu promises Champagne and foie gras; in the footage, a man tells a new visitor, "Once you pass through the door, there's no more COVID."

Paris chief prosecutor Rémy Heitz has ordered the judicial police's Brigade for Repression of Personal Delinquency to investigate the underground dinners, the prosecutor's office said in an email to NPR.

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The river Seine runs through the heart of Paris. It has provided serenity for many Parisians during the pandemic, including our colleague Eleanor Beardsley.

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Right. So on Christmas Eve, Britain and the European Union finally finalized their divorce.

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With just days to go until Great Britain officially leaves the European Union's single common market and customs union, the two sides appear close to a trade deal.

But there has been particular apprehension along a stretch of French coastline that is home to the massive cross-channel rail and ferry port of Calais, and Europe's largest seafood processing platform. A dispute over fishing rights — a small but highly symbolic sector — has been one of the main sticking points to a trade deal between the EU and the United Kingdom.

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Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, has tested positive for the coronavirus. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley is in Paris.

Hi, Eleanor.

ELEANOR BEARDSLEY, BYLINE: Hi, Steve.

INSKEEP: How is he?

Four French police officers have been suspended and are in custody after a video that shows them brutally beating a Black man was posted online Thursday.

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In his victory speech last night, President-elect Joe Biden noted that U.S. elections are viewed far beyond our borders.

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Tensions between Turkey and France are rising, as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calls for a boycott on French good and slams French President Emmanuel Macron's call for a "French Islam."

The increased friction follows the beheading of a teacher in France after he showed his class caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad published by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

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