French police cleared a 39-year-old Rwandan refugee of all suspicion on Sunday and released him after questioning the man about a fire at the 15th-century cathedral in the French city of Nantes. “He is not implicated. The inconsistencies that came up have been clarified,” Nantes prosecutor Pierre Sennes told Reuters. The fire engulfed the inside of the Gothic structure in flames on Saturday, destroying a grand organ, stained-glass windows and a painting.
France’s traditional Bastille Day celebrations have been transformed to pay tribute to heroes of the coronavirus crisis. Doctors, nurses, paramedics and supermarket workers are all being honoured on Tuesday as part of the country’s biggest national holiday. This year, however, marching band members wore masks and stood further apart than usual to maintain social distancing.
The spire of Notre Dame cathedral, which was destroyed in a fire last April, will be restored according to the original Gothic design. French President Emmanuel Macron announced the decision, putting an end to speculation that the spire would be rebuilt in a modern style. Mr Macron had previously hinted he was in favor of a “contemporary gesture”.
France’s new prime minister has been named as Jean Castex following the resignation of Edouard Philippe, triggering a government reshuffle. Speculation had been growing that a shake-up at the Elysee Palace was imminent. Mr Philippe had actually seen his popularity increase significantly in recent weeks – despite French authorities facing criticism over their handling of the coronavirus crisis.
Marking another milestone in France’s recovery from coronavirus lockdown, the Eiffel Tower reopened to visitors Thursday after its longest-ever closure in peace time: 104 days. Tourists who are trickling back to Paris were delighted to find the landmark open when some other attractions in the French capital remain closed. The Louvre Museum isn’t reopening until July 6.
Angry police across France have thrown their handcuffs on the ground as they feel “insulted” by claims that they tolerate brutality and racism. Protesting police also drove in convoy down the Champs-Élysées in central Paris on Friday, sounding their horns. They rejected any parallels with the Minneapolis police officers whose fatal arrest of George Floyd sparked a wave of anti-racism protests worldwide.
A Banksy mural stolen from the Bataclan concert hall in Paris, where terrorists killed 90 people in 2015, has been found in Italy. The image of a mourning veiled woman was painted on an emergency exit door of the venue by the British street artist, who chooses to keep his identity a secret, in memory of the victims of the attack in November 2015.
Tear gas choked Paris streets as riot police faced off with protesters setting fires Tuesday amid growing global outrage over George Floyd’s death in the United States, racial injustice and heavy-handed police tactics around the world. French protesters took a knee and raised their fists while firefighters struggled to extinguish multiple blazes as a largely peaceful, multiracial demonstration degenerated into scattered tensions.
Famed French serial killer expert Stephane Bourgoin has confessed that his prestigious career is founded on lies, following a series of revelations. Bourgoin, 67, built a reputation as the country’s foremost expert in serial killers, writing more than 75 books and producing dozens of documentaries, before an investigation brought him down. Bourgoin has now admitted falsehoods, both in the press and on his personal Instagram account.
A French hospital that retested old samples from pneumonia patients has discovered that it treated a man with the coronavirus as early as 27 December, nearly a month before the French government confirmed its first cases. In France, almost 25,000 people have died with the virus since 1 March. The country confirmed its first three Covid-19 cases on 24 January, including two patients in Paris and another in the south-western city of Bordeaux.