Paris is Paris – it is not France

France from space 2018

Despite the world’s focus on Paris, the capital and surrounding region covers just 2% of the land area of France and has just 18% of the population

“Paris is France and France is Paris,” remarked a journalist on a recent BBC radio discussion on 1968. Forget the rest of the country, she meant: it’s what happens in Paris that counts.

Later, she claimed she was being ironic but it is an equivalence you hear a lot outside France: if you know what’s happening in the capital then you’ve got the country sussed.

International reporters often get taken in by “capitalism”.

They live and work in Paris and come to believe, like generations of writers and artists ...

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