France, like America, reached a fork in the political road in its last election. We turned one way (by about 80,000 votes in three key states out of a nation of 320 million) and France turned the other (by about 30 percent). They elected the candidate of hope, Emmanuel Macron — and rejected the Trump-like candidate of fear, Marine le Pen.
I’m in Paris, which seems to be breathing a post-election sigh of relief. In a park, being out and about with Parisians at play, I have an appreciation of the beauty of a society that chooses the collective good rather than a vast gap between rich and poor. This scene feels like a rejection of the angry, anti-Europe, small-government message of Le Pen for a festival of diversity and government-funded public spaces.
This is Day 46 of my “100 Days in Europe” series. As I travel with Rick Steves’ Europe Tours, research my guidebooks, and make new TV shows, I’m reporting on my experiences across Europe. Still to come: Ireland, England, Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, and more. Thanks for joining me here on my blog and via Facebook.