Illegal pandemic travels, Audrey Hepburn behind the glamor and Da Vinci’s Loire Valley

This week, FRANCE examined 24 efforts to make the French language less sexist and spoke to those who dared to travel during these pandemic times. We also watched Audrey Hepburn out of the limelight and witnessed Leonardo Da Vinci’s long heritage in the Loire Valley castle. Further afield, the UN special envoy to Myanmar made the goal of targeted sanctions after the coup.

‘Françaises, Français’: Can the French language be less sexist?

Efforts to tackle entrenched gender biases in France sparked well-known opposition this week when lawmakers demanded a ban on “gender-neutral” writing. But experts say the rearguard action is neither backed by history nor appropriate for current times.

With cultural sites due to Covid-19, the French find refuge in art galleries

Saved by the shutdown orders imposed on other cultural sites, French art galleries have seen a record number of visitors over the past three months and have come to symbolize the last bastion in a pre-pandemic world. For professional artists, more customers is a welcome relief for a sector that has been hit hard by the health crisis and is uncertain about its future.

A man looks at pictures of the American artist Lucienne Bloch showing the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo which is shown as part of the exhibition “The artist’s vision” on February 6, 2021 in the “Galerie de l’instant” in Paris. © Bertrand Guay, AFP

As more governments consider vaccine passports, critics are raising fears of discrimination

As vaccinations increase in pace around the world, the idea of ​​”vaccine passes” is gaining momentum among governments and industries looking for a way out of suspensions, curfews and travel bans. But while some see it as a potential ticket to freedom, others fear that such documentation could exclude or discriminate against those most vulnerable to the pandemic.

Breaking the rules for a “Covid-19 break”: “I just want to feel alive for a few days”

Sara wanted to visit museums again, David found a dirty way to get around border controls and Matthew takes the first chance to jump on a plane to Italy: One year into the coronavirus crisis, more Europeans feel the need to go on Covid -19 breaks.

Matthew, who lived in London, plans to travel to Italy the first chance he gets. © Private


French medical centers were forced to suspend Covid-19 vaccinations

Nearly 2 million people in France have received a first injection of the Covid-19 vaccine so far and over 350,000 have received their second shot, the Ministry of Health said on Tuesday. However, many vaccination centers do not have enough doses of Pfizer-BioNTech jab to meet demand and meetings in the coming weeks are scarce.



“Targeted sanctions are needed,” said the UN Special Envoy for Myanmar

In an interview with FRANCE 24, Christine Schraner Burgener, the UN Special Envoy for Myanmar, hoped that the military would not brutally crack down on the ongoing mass protest movement against the coup on 1 February. She also called for “targeted sanctions” against regime leaders, saying she had asked them to allow her to visit the country, a request they have rejected “for the time being”.


Covid-19: The Swedish exception?

No face masks, no lockdown, no closure of restaurants or schools: the Swedish government trusted the Swedes’ self-discipline to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. Most of them supported their decisions and working from home became the norm. But in the end, the conversations about being responsible and socially distant proved to be insufficient. Although Sweden’s Covid-19 figures are not worse than the European average, the country has reported ten times more deaths than its Scandinavian neighbors.



Lawmakers in the US state of Virginia are voting to abolish the death penalty

Virginia lawmakers have voted to abolish the death penalty. The move marks the end of a long history of the death penalty in the state. Virginia currently has the highest number of executions in the United States. We take a closer look at Valérie Dekimpe from FRANCE 24.


Breaking down Israel’s Covid-19 strategy

Almost half of all Israelis have now received Covid-19 vaccines. Thanks to a world-leading inoculation program, the country is one of the first developed countries to now roll back its latest round of restrictions. This weekend, it introduced its Green Pass schedule: to open restaurants, cinemas and gyms to anyone who can prove they’ve had both doses of the jab. For more information on Israel’s Covid-19 strategy, we speak with Professor Cyrille Cohen, Head of the Immunotherapy Laboratory at Bar-Ilan University. He is also a member of the Israel Advisory Council on Vaccines.

Middle East issues © France 24


Witness the refugee experience through photographs

Muhammed Muheisen is a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer who says he is determined to be more than just a messenger. For the past two decades, he has taken photographs of refugees and internally displaced people around the world and documented their despair, their struggle and their hopes. He is also the founder and chairman of the Everyday Refugees Foundation, an organization that works to empower refugees and educate the world about their situation. He joined us for Perspective to tell us more.


Movie show: Audrey Hepburn’s life beyond the glamor of invisible images

British filmmaker Helena Coan talks to film critic Lisa Nesselson and Eve Jackson about her documentary “Audrey”, which pays homage to the eternal film icon Audrey Hepburn with a mix of film excerpts, interviews with family members and audio clips of the star himself.

ENCORE! © NBC Universal

Singer and poet Arlo Parks on her debut album ‘Collapsed in Sunbeams’

Just 20 years old, London-based singer-songwriter and poet Arlo Parks has just released one of 2021’s most anticipated albums, “Collapsed in Sunbeams”. An album full of soothing vocals, warm guitar chords and neo-soul, it deals with sensitive topics such as mental health and love. She is counted among her fans former US first lady Michelle Obama and she is regularly checked by the international pop sensation Billie Eilish. FRANCE 24’s Florence Villeminot picked her up to find out more about her music and her links to Paris.

Arlo Parks talks to ENCORE! © France 24


Leonardo da Vinci’s legacy lives in France’s Loire Valley

More than 500 years after his death, Leonardo da Vinci’s legacy lives on in the castle in the Loire Valley of France. The Italian genius spent the last three years of his life with King Francis I, in Amboise. Today, volunteers bring the Château d’Amboise to life by recreating royal balls there. At Clos Lucé, which was da Vinci’s home, the chef provides recipes from the 16th century updated. Finally, a researcher tirelessly traces all the traces of the legendary artist in the corners of the Château de Chambord.