France. In January, the Union Government for a People's
Movement (UMP) appointed Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy
as its candidate for the presidential election. Sitting
President Jacques Chirac announced in March that he would
not run for a third term. Sarkozy's main opponent was the
Socialist Party's Ségolène Royal, but the temperature of the
electoral movement rose when opinion polls in the spring
showed an increasing support for François Bayrou, candidate
for the bourgeois middle party Union for French Democracy
In the first round of elections in April, Sarkozy won
with 31 percent of the vote against 26 percent for Royal.
Bayrou gained almost 19 percent and in fourth place came
second in the last election, the Nationalist National
Front's leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, supported by just over 10
percent of voters.
to CountryAAH, Sarkozy also won in the second round of elections in May,
with 53 percent of the vote against 47 percent for Royal.
The new president promised "rupture" with traditional French
politics, new economic momentum, a modernization of the
labor market, tougher law enforcement and stricter
immigration laws. New Prime Minister became François Fillon.
The Foreign Minister's post went somewhat unexpectedly to
the socialist Bernard Kouchner, known as the founder of the
aid organization Doctors Without Borders.
In June elections were held for the National Assembly.
The UMP retained its majority and Sarkozy thus consolidated
his victory. But the party did not gain as much overweight
as expected but lost some mandate. The Socialist Party, on
the other hand, progressed compared to the 2002 election.
In foreign policy, Sarkozy marked a clear approach to the
United States, following the chilly relations that prevailed
since its predecessor Chirac criticized the US-led invasion
of Iraq in 2003. Sarkozy announced that France wanted to
help find a political solution in Iraq. In his first major
foreign policy speech in August, the president also said
that the most serious crisis in the world was not Iraq but
neighboring Iran and the dispute over its nuclear program.
In September, Sarkozy presented a reform package that was
intended to save billions in the welfare system. Most
noteworthy were announced changes in very favorable pension
terms for public employees. Previous attempts to weaken
conditions had led to such violent protests that the
proposals had fallen, but Sarkozy promised to stand up to
overcome the huge budget deficit. In October, the first
massive protest against the new government began. It was
mainly employees in the transport sector who went on strike,
with paralyzed public transport as a result. Similar strikes
were also carried out in November.
The promised new Immigration Act was adopted in October.
stricter conditions for family immigration. Requirements
were introduced for knowledge of the French language and
knowledge of French values, and in addition it became
possible to require foreigners DNA tests to prove kinship.
After a long period of speculation in French media,
Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Cécilia announced in October
that they would apply for divorce. The media had, among
other things, noted that the wife did not vote in the second
round and that she was rarely seen by her husband.
Paris - architecture and museums
The oldest major buildings are the terms of the Cluny Museum and the Arène de
Lutèce arena east of the Panthéon, both from Roman times.
On Île de la Cité you will find other older buildings, including the Gothic
cathedral Notre-Dame de Paris (1163-ca. 1345) and the courthouse Palais de
Justice (14th century) with remains of the former royal palace, including the
Gothic castle church Sainte-Chapelle (consecrated 1248).
Right Seinebred is dominated by the Louvre Art Museum, former royal
residence castle, in 1988 expanded with a glass pyramid by IM Pei; the castle's
and museum's building history dates from the 1200's - 1900's.
From here, the classic axis faces west across the Place de la Concorde to the
Grand Palais and Petit Palais exhibition buildings, both built in neo-baroque
style for the 1900 World's Fair; The Eiffel Tower, designed by Gustave
Eiffel, was constructed for the World's Fair in 1889 as the engineering
highlight of the time.
The axis continues towards Place Charles-de-Gaulle with Jean François
Chalgrin's triumphal arch, l'Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile (1836), to end in the
district of La Défense with Johan Otto von Spreckelsen's open cube, La Grande
In the area north and northwest of the Louvre you will find the church
of La Madeleine (consecrated 1842), modeled on Roman antiquity, in addition
to Charles Garnier's neo - baroque opera house (1875) and the former royal
palace Palais-Royal (begun 1632).
To the east of the Louvre and the Forum des Halles are the postmodern Center
of Art and Culture of Georges Rogers and Renzo
Piano, Georges-Pompidou (1977); even further east are the Paris City Museum, the
Musée Carnavalet, the Picasso Museum and the Hôtel de Ville (1882).
At Place de la Bastille is the Carlos Otts (b. 1946) Opéra de la Bastille
(1989), and in the Montmartre district is the Sacré-Cœur church with
Romanesque-Byzantine features (1919).
The domed roofs that characterize the city's skyline are modeled on Roman
architecture, including the neoclassical Panthéon (1789) in the Latin Quarter
and the dome over the church at the Hôtel des Invalides building complex
To the east is the town's oldest church, Saint-Germain-des-Prés (1000's). At
the Seine to the southeast is Jean Nouvel's Arab Institute (1987), which, like von Spreckelsen's triumphal arch was among the architectural advances
that François Mitterrand launched in 1989 in connection with the 200th
anniversary of the French Revolution.
Dominique Perrault's (b. 1953) new building for the Bibliothèque nationale de
France from 1995 was the cornerstone of the series.
In addition to the Louvre, the city's more than 100 museums include the Musée
d'Orsay, the Cluny Museum and the Musée de l'homme, in addition to the many
artist museums, including for Auguste Rodin and Honoré de Balzac.