Eleanor Beardsley

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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.

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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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CANNES, France — For a town that derives its very essence from its annual May celebration of world cinema, the cancellation of the Cannes Film Festival in 2020 due to the pandemic came as a big blow. But thanks to falling infection rates and rising vaccinations, Cannes' red carpet and its iconic festival have returned with couture glamour and cinematic ambition.

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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.

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.

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Two years ago, a fire burned through Notre Dame Cathedral. The damage was so bad that experts have only just now secured the entire structure. And so the real restoration begins. Here's NPR's Eleanor Beardsley.

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