PARIS — In Paris, it is always possible to wander into the past. But this year, it was also possible to glimpse the future.
France embraced a new president and a new governing party that in some ways represented the polar opposite of the politics finding favor in the United States. But President Emmanuel Macron’s moves were criticized as helping business at the potential expense of workers.
The extreme right in France suffered a serious defeat, showing that the country was not ready to embrace anti-globalization and anti-immigration politicians like Marine Le Pen.
Even as optimism glowed in Paris, smaller towns like Albi were collapsing — their shops closing down, their streets emptying as residents looked for better deals in shopping centers elsewhere and traveled farther away for jobs.
As always, France made readers think about the state of women: whether the first lady, Brigitte Macron; or the 1980s film star Jeanne Moreau, who died in July; or one of the heirs to the L’Oreal Cosmetics fortune, Liliane Bettencourt, who died in September.
Also on the list were the thousands of women who joined the anti-sexual harassment campaign under the hash tag #balancetonporc, or Name Your Pig, even as the country as a whole remained conflicted about how far to go to stamp out the behavior.