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End of the secret garden

The French used to see a person's private life as sacred. But now Anglo-Saxon "transparency" is taking over

By Lucy Wadham   December 2007

When I moved to France, I told myself that I would stick it out for five years, then come home. That was 20 years ago, and I’m still here. Even today there are few things about the culture I enjoy. I dislike French television, French pop music, French humour (such as it is). French theatre is irrelevant and overblown, and contemporary French literature seems dull and elitist. But there is one aspect of life in France I have come to value: the sanctity of a person’s private life. The poetic term for this inviolable sense of privacy—which applies to husbands,…

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