Podcast: France's energy woes, cheese in the shadow of Roquefort, left vs. right

As France faces an energy crisis, opposition to wind turbines is slowing a shift to renewables. Making sheep cheese in the land of Roquefort. The Revolutionary origins of the left-right political divide.

France has warned about power cuts this winter after Russia cut off gas supplies to most of Europe in response to sanctions following its invasion of Ukraine. While France's nuclear-heavy energy mix should help it weather the storm, half of the country's reactors are offline, raising the spectre of blackouts. This could be an opportunity to further develop renewable energies, such as wind power, says Yves Marignac (@YvesMarignac), a nuclear expert with the Negawatt think tank. The nuclear lobby and political right are fuelling opposition to windfarms but Marignac says the time is right for a shift and that the French are ready to heed calls for energy sufficiency providing they apply to everyone.  (Listen @40'')

France's famous Roquefort blue cheese has been made in the Aveyron region for centuries, but production has dropped in recent years as French cheese eating habits change. People are turning their noses up to stronger, raw milk cheeses, while still looking for local products. Some farmers in Aveyron, long encouraged to produce milk exclusively for Roquefort, are starting to make their own cheese. Remi Seguin has been making cheese on the sheep farm he inherited from his parents, using techniques they taught him, and is enjoying success. (Listen @15'55'')

The left-right political divide dates back to the time of the French Revolution, on 11 September 1789, when members of the constituent assembly chose to sit on different sides of the chamber during a vote on whether or not to give Louis XVI the power of veto. (Listen @11'50'')

Spotlight on France is a podcast from Radio France International. Find us on rfienglish.com, iTunes (link here), Spotify (link here), Google podcasts (link here), or your favourite podcast app (pod.link/1573769878).