The story of the rise and likely fall of the French ‘pavillon’


Over the past 60 years they have spread across France, mushrooming around towns and cities to now number close to 20 million. Their generic name in French is le pavillon, the individual houses in suburban estates which share a same aesthetic model, and which began life as the key to house ownership for the lower middle classes. Lucie Delaporte reviews a book published last month by French sociologists Hervé Marchal and Jean-Marc Stébé, Le Pavillon, une passion française, in which they detail the chequered history of the popular pavillon, whose continued expansion appears doomed for environmental reasons.

French minister François de Rugy quits after revelations about lifestyle and expenses

France — Investigation

François de Rugy, the environment minister and number two in President Emmanuel Macron's government behind prime minister Édouard Philippe, resigned on Tuesday 16 July following a string of revelations by Mediapart about his lifestyle as a minister, including grand dinners paid for out of the public purse. De Rugy quit just as Mediapart was about to make fresh revelations about his use of expenses as an MP. Michaël Hajdenberg, Antton Rouget and Fabrice Arfi report.

Slumlords profit from high Paris property rental prices

France — Link

Across the French capital, rated one of the most expensive to live in worldwide, examples abound of illegal rentals of cupboard-space lodgings.

Scandal of the well-paid politicians living in cheap social housing in Paris


Property prices and rents are notoriously high in the French capital, finding affordable accommodation is hard and there is currently a three or four year waiting list for low-income families to get social housing. However, poorer families are not the only people who appreciate the benefits of state-subsidised homes in Paris. For some of them are occupied by well-paid councillors, assistant mayors, national politicians and senior executives, who refuse to leave accommodation supposedly reserved for the less well-off. Michaël Hajdenberg reports.

French housing crisis report calls for urgent building plan


France has reached an unprecedented housing crisis, with an estimated 3.6 million people living in inadequate or substandard housing while the country lacks some 900,000 accommodations in the publicly-managed ‘social housing’rented sector. That was the dire message of the latest yearly report released earlier this month by the Fondation Abbé Pierre, one of France’s leading charitable organisations dedicated to improving housing conditions for the poor, which called on presidential election candidates to sign up to a "social contract" to meet the urgent demand for affordable and decent accomodation. Ellen Salvi reports.

Eric Cantona stages presidential election bid

France — Link

Former footballer Eric Cantona launches a bid for the French presidency in an attempt to draw atention to the housing crisis in France.

A town hall bringing the fight against slumlords


Until now, slumlords operating in the poor suburban neighbourhoods surrounding Paris have notoriously escaped legal action through a combination of inertia on the part of local authorities, the fear and lack of alternative accommodation on the part of tenants, and the phantom-like existence of these cash-paid proprietors. But two suburban town halls, in Clichy-sous-Bois and Gennevilliers, have now undertaken a vigorous combat against slum property owners, and are succeeding in bringing them to court. Ellen Salvi reports on a case heard earlier this month, and which reveals a tale of desperate squalor and exploitation that is the daily predicament of thousands living around the capital.

Leading French charity sounds alarm over 'unprecedented' housing crisis


More than 8.5 million people in France are in, or face soon falling into, precarious living conditions as the effects of the economic downturn begin to also engulf middle income earners in an ‘unprecedented' housing crisis, warns one of France's leading charitable organizations, the Abbé Pierre foundation, in a report published this month.