is an Enarque ?
What happened to a ship called the Erika
? Is an EURL
a type of
aristocrat, or a type of firm? And what were the Accords d'Evian ?
Look no further, here are the answers to these and other questions
about French words or names beginning with E
European health card, used by European Union citizens for health cover in France
and other EU countries. E111 has now been replaced by the EHIC card.
Eau d'Evian, see Evian below
Mines - A "grande
école", one of France's
engineering schools, founded by King Louis XVI in 1783; originally
specialising in mines, it today trains experts in various fields of
civil engineering. Its full name is the École Nationale
Mines de Paris . See Higher
Education in France
Kindergarten: France has a strong tradition of pre-school education,
and Ecoles Maternelles are open to pupils from the ages of 2 to 6 (the
start of compulsory education). About a third of French children start
going to kindergarten at the age of 2, and almost all children attend
ecole maternelle between the ages of 3 and 6.
Name formerly given to teacher training colleges in France; their main
purpose was the training of future primary school teachers
(instituteurs). Today future teachers are trained in IUFM - Institut Universitaire de
Formation des Maîtres.
: Top French "grande école" in the field of arts and letters
sciences. See Higher
Education in France
Primaire or Ecole
Primary school, for the education of pupils between the ages of 6 and
11. There are five classes. In some small rural primary schools,
teachers may still take several classes together. For further details
& secondary education in France.
the leading French power company. Formerly a nationalised utility, EDF
is now a public company, in which the French government is the major
shareholder. EDF has expanded its activities into many European
countries, including Britain, though was very reluctant to give up its
monopoly over the electricity distribution market in
France. EDF is the second largest energy company in the world
in terms of stock-market capitalization. In France, over 85% of the
electricity produced by EDF comes from nuclear power generation.
: the French state education system, and the largest employer in
France. Teachers and administrative staff with tenured jobs in the
state education system are classed as fonctionnaires,
or civil servants. Counting tenured employees and those with short-term
the EN has some 1.1 million employees, including about 850,000
teachers. The Education Nationale is administered centrally by the MEN
(Ministère de l’Education Nationale),
and on a
regional basis through Académies,
each one presided over by a Recteur.
EELV : Europe
Ecologie Les Verts. Political movement / party
that emerged between 2008 and 2010 when the Green Party expanded to
form an alliance including other militant environmental groups thatwere
until then outside politics. See Les
France is often described as a “Catholic" country;
but this description
is not technically true. Since 1905, there has been a strict separation
of church and state in France, and France is officially a secular
(laïc) republic. See laïcité.
Nevertheless, Catholicism remains the main religion of France to this
day. In 1999, slightly over half the French population claimed to be
Catholic, though only about 12% of the population are churchgoers.
There are 15 archbishoprics in the
French Catholic church, plus the Catholic archdioceses of Strasbourg
and Metz, which for historic reasons are directly dependent on the
Vatican. Since the revolution, church buildings have belonged to the
nation, and to this day their upkeep is the responsibility of local
more information see Religion
Réformée de France
: the main French protestant church, of Calvinist inspiration. The ERF
isclosely associated with the other main Protestant church in France,
the Lutheran EELF, Eglise Evangélique
Luthérienne de France (French Lutheran Evangelical Church)
particularly present in the area of Montbéliard, a
stronghold in eastern France.
EHPAD : Residence
for elderly people in need of care. Care home with medically trained
staff. EHPADs can be run by local authorities or public bodies, private
companies or non-profit associations. The cost of accommodation
is paid by the family, and may be subsidised for those with
insufficient resources. In 2019 43% of EHPADS were in the public
sector, and the total number of people being cared for was just under
600,000. With the ageing of the population in France, the number of places available is expected to increase to over a million by 2050.
Tower, see Tour Eiffel
: In spite of
the national commitment to the principles of Liberty, Equality and
Fraternity, France remains marked by traditions of elitism that are
ingrained in the very fibre of society. The French Revolution was
supposed to have done away with privileges and elites, and usher in an
age of greater equality; in the event, it – and subsequent
changed the nature of the elites in France, without making a great
impact on the underlying system. Indeed, the notion of
elites’ is one that was fundamental in the shaping of
In terms of local power, the role of
local notables – important figures
remains strong. Notables frequently
fulfil multiple roles in local administration and structures, sometimes
combining these with elected positions on a regional or national scale,
giving them and their close supporters a considerable degree of power.
(See Cumul des mandats).
They are frequently referred to as les elites locales.
The process of devolution in France, set in motion in 1982, has had the
effect of strengthening the power base of local elites.
The French education system, while
offering a good quality non-selective education to all children at
lower levels, is increasingly elitist towards the top, particularly
when it comes to preparing for higher education. Many classes
préparatoires, particularly those
students for entrance to the top institutions of higher education,
called Grandes Ecoles,
are very selective, and the selection
process – and for that matter the system itself –
students from humble or poorer backgrounds. The Grandes Ecoles
themselves, tailor-made to the needs of the nation, train the future
leaders and decision makers in specific fields of the public or private
sector, producing very close networks of former students, that make the
British concept of the “old-boy network" seem
Places in the top grandes
some other institutions are highly sought after, as graduates from
these schools are seen in France as a sort of caste, membership of
which is highly recommended, if not essential, for anyone wanting to
reach the top. The classic example of this is the ENA,
Ecole Normale d’Administration, the Grande Ecole designed to
civil servants and future political leaders. In the corridors of French
power, many if not most of the top positions are occupied by Enarques
, graduates of the ENA. In 1967, Jean-Pierre Chevènement
– himself an Enarque,
and later to be Minister of the Interior under François
coined the word Enarchie, to define the French
system of state elites.
As for business elites, a 2006 review in the
Economist observed that they “often seem to owe more
allegiance to the
group from which they are drawn than to the international corporations
they work for."
Palais de l':
Paris, official residence of the President of France, located
on the Rue du Faubourg St.Honoré, near the Champs
Elysées. Most of the
weekly Cabinet meetings are held in this presidential palace, and it is
from the presiential office that French presidents tend to make
televised broadcasts to the nation. The annual presidential Garden
Party is held in the gardens of the Elysée Palace on Bastille
les Communautés d',
: Associations for the reinsertion of long-term
unemployed and social misfits, founded by Abbé Pierre, the
Communities specialise in the collection and treatment of second-hand
paraphernalia. Emmaüs centres will take almost anything, and
recycle it or else sell it; the centres are popular with bargain
hunters and people looking for furniture and bric-à-brac at
a popular type of pressed cheese, made mainly in the east of
France, in the Franche
Comté and Lorraine regions. Very
account of the big round holes, Emmental is not an appellation
d'Administration, one of France's top "grandes
Founded in 1945, the ENA was set up as a school, open to all, for the training of uncoming generations of
hauts fonctionnaires (top
civil servants) to run France's public sector. However the
school also trains future leaders of industry, and many top French
politicians, including four presidents, are alumni of the school. Originally located in Paris,
the ENA is now in Strasbourg, the capital of Alsace. The network
of graduates, known as Enarques,
is one of the cosiest and most influential old-boy (and old-girl)
networks in France.
In 2019, responding to years of criticism that the ENA has
outlived its function and is now perceived as an instrument for the
benefit of the elite, President Macron, himself an alumnus,
pledged to abolish it. No date has been set.
Graduate of the Ecole Normale d'Administration. See ENA.
: Until 2015 known as GDF-Suez, Engie is the
world’s third largest energy company,
merger of GDF and Suez.
With a 35.7% stake, the French state is the largest single shareholder
in the company. The company employs almost 200,000
people, almost half
of them in France.
It is the largest purchaser and distributor of gas in Europe.
GDF-Suez is a CAC 40
ENS : See Ecole Normale
turbines, see Parc Eolien.
Soft cheese, made in
leading daily sports newspaper, and one of the biggest-selling dailies
1937-1998. Fench senior civil servant assassinated by Corsican
nationalists in 1998. As prefect
of the Corsica region, Erignac represented, for Corsican nationalists,
a symbol of French colonial power. He was gunned down by Corsican
extremists in Ajaccio one evening in February 1998, and is the most
high-ranking victim of nationalist violence on the island. After a
controversial investigation and trial, a group of nationalists were
found guilty of murdering Erignac. One of the accused, Yvan Colonna,
claimed his innocence, and went into hiding for four years, before
being recaptured and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2009.
of the Italian-managed Maltese-registered tanker, on charter to the
French oil company Total-Fina-Elf, that ran aground and sank off the
Brittany coast in 1999, causing one of France's largest oil spills and
environmental disasters. At least 150,000 birds died as a
result of the spillage of heavy oil, that affected beaches from the
Charente to the Finistère.
European "monospace" vehicle, first produced in 1984 by Renault. The initial concept for the
Espace was actually conceived in the Rootes/Chrysler design
facility in Coventry, England; this facility was associated with
Chrysler's French subsidiary, Matra-Simca. When Chrysler sold their UK
operations to Peugeot, the latter were not interested in the monospace
project, so Matra teamed up with Renault, who eventually went
ahead with the project and launched what has since become one
of the company's flagship models.
supérieure des sciences
économiques et commerciales
. One of
world-class business schools, the ESSEC is based in Cergy
Pontoise, in the suburbs of Paris. It has a branch in Singapore. Entry
to ESSEC is highly selective. The school ranked 5th in the Financial
Times world ranking of executive business schools for 2019
Républicain, l' the
main daily newspaper in central eastern France,
published in Nancy, in Lorraine.
Paris mailine railway terminus, serving cental eastern
France. Since 2008, and the opening of the TGV de l'est, the Gare de
l'Est has become the fourth Paris mailine rail terminus offering TGV
services. See rail
travel in France.
: The iconic French delivery van, produced by Renault
from 1959 to 1980.
à Responsabilité Limitée
: type of French microcompany, a
limited liability company formed by a single person, allowing
an individual to benefit from a simple corporate structure
without the complexities of creating a full company.
Popular private commerical radio station, currently
specialising in news and talk. Originally set up in 1955 as a private
radio broadcasting from the Saarland (Germany),
at a time when broadcasting in France was a state monopoly,
the station was soon brought under indirect government control when the
Sofirad company took a controlling stake; but Europe 1 retained a
degree of editorial independence that the official state broadcasters
did not have. Today Europe 1 is again a private broadcaster,
now controlled by the Lagardère
group. In 2007, its pop music partner station Europe 2 was
renamed Virgin Radio, under a franchise agreement with the Virgin group.
International high-speed train, running between London and
Paris, and London and Brussels.
Accords d' Agreement,
signed in 1962, putting an end to the Algerian war. The agreement ,
signed between the French government and the Algerian National
Liberation Front, led to Algerian independence, while giving France the
right to maintain a certain strategic presence in the country for 15
years. France's withdrawal from Algeria, after 130 years of
colonial domination, was the subject of bitter argument in France, and
France narrowly escaped falling into civil war over the issue. The
Algerian crisis lasted from 1954 to 1962, and led in 1958 to
the collapse of the Fourth Republic, and the establishment of the Fifth
Republic under General
It was de Gaulle who masterminded the package that achieved consensus
at the Evian talks. Evian is a town in the French region of
Rhone-Alpes, standing on the French shores of lake Geneva.
Eau d’: Evian mineral water, reputed to have
centuries beneath the Alps, is the leading mineral water in France, and
the world’s leading export product in its field. Evian water
bottled since 1826. The Evian bottling company is today part of the Danone
independent French newsmagazine, founded in 1953 by
Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber and Françoise Giroud, on the
model of the
magazine. Originally a centre-left magazine, l'Express moved to the
centre right in the early 1980's. Many prominent French journalists and
writers have at times been involved with L'Express; they include Jean
Paul Sartre, Raymond Aron and
Extremism : While extremist and populist
flourished in the twenty-first century in many developed
nations, France has long been a country with a surprising
instance, until the rise of the Socialists in the 1970s, the Communist
Party was the major party of the left in France. After its popularity
faded in the 1980s and 1990s, many French voters moved their sympathies
to other parties at the extremes of the political spectrum, left-wing
parties on the left, and the surging Front National on
the right. In the first round of the 2002 Presidential elections,
virtually a third of all votes cast went to an extremist candidate, on
a turnout of 71% of the electorate.
Almost 20% of votes went to the Front National
or ex-FN candidates, and 13.81% was split among four trotskyist or
communist candidates. While this can be seen in part as a form of
protest vote, or lack of confidence in mainstream political parties, it
also illustrates the degree to which France remains a polarised
In the first round of the 2015 Regional elections,
took 27.73% of the vote, more than any other party.
Extremism has long historic roots in
France, going back to absolutism and the collaboration of the Vichy
on the one hand, and the excesses of the French Revolution on the
the French Revolution degenerated into the vicious blood-letting of la
Terreur (1792-1794) with its state-sponsored assassinations and all the
trappings of a modern fascist state, the Revolution remains the
founding event of modern France, and support for mass protest and
street violence, born out of memories of the barricades of
remains stong to this day, a factor that has allowed parties of the far
left and the far right to acquire credibility and popular support more
easily than in most other democratic states.
However the success of extremist parties in 21st
century France can also be attributed to the fact
that mainstream political parties on the left and on
the right have done their bit to strenghten their credibility.
Conservative parties have a long history of assimilating
centre-left and socialist parties with the Communists and other
far-left parties, while the Socialists have persistently sought to make
political capital by portraying the mainstream conservative parties as
the natural bedfellows of the far right. The paradoxical
result was to give credence and respectability
to extremist parties and leaders such as Jean Marie Le Pen
of the National Front, or Arlette Laguiller
of Lutte Ouvrière.
Furthermore, in their keenness to
demonstrate even-handedness, French television stations and
the media have persistently given coverage to charismatic politicians
of the left and the right, turning people such as Le Pen, Laguiller or
more recently Olivier Besancenot,
and the new generations of Le Pens, into popular chat-show guests.
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