France grappled with what it is like to look different from those considered mainstream. Obese and overweight people gained a voice, shining a light on the casual, daily humiliations they suffer.
France was still the world’s No. 1 tourist destination, with visitors traveling to Gascony for food and Biarritz for memories of its surfer past against a backdrop of Napoleonic architecture and a new, hip fashion movement. Sports fans flocked to watch the Tour de France — even in the rain.
While the flow of migrants fleeing war and other unrest abated, the interest of wealthy foreigners and businesses in France appeared increasingly robust. France worked to woo companies leaving England because of “Brexit,” and Paris won the 2024 Olympics.
France was where the most expensive home in the world (and one of the most luxurious chateaus) was sold. The buyer was revealed to be the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, who also owns a 440-foot luxury yacht.
France had its outrageous airport moment when a JetBlue airline attendant in Nice punched a passenger who was holding a toddler in his arms.
The country also still creates the whimsical culture for which it has been known through the centuries, whether a Roma circus or an expansive collection of Christian artifacts from the Middle East at the Institut du Monde Arabe.
The latter was in an exhibition that waded into the fraught arena of Christianity in the Muslim world, where France has long had a stake through its colonial ties in North Africa and its protectorates in the Levant.