Charlie Hebdo rally

One year after Charlie Hebdo, my friend tells me: ‘This just isn’t the same Paris’

In Place de la République, the Paris square that embodies France and calls to her in her hours of need, the country’s biggest rock star is to play an anthem called Une Dimanche de Janvier (A January Sunday).

Johnny Hallyday’s song is about that unforgettable Sunday following the Charlie Hebdo massacre a year ago. Millions marched, outraged and defiant, against the slaughter, in an outpouring of national unity. But what a long difficult French year it became, culminating in the horrors of 13 November(and the prospect of further killing last week when a fugitive gunman from that second wave was shot on Thursday). The Socialist president, François Hollande, deploys the term “national cohesion”, but only panicked tactical voting – national unity of sorts – in a second round of regional elections prevented the divisive forces of the Front National from taking up to six departments it had won in the first.

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