Today La France takes the spotlight, as Nicolas Sarkozy takes oath as president, Jacques Chirac departs and the 60th Cannes Film Festival begins.
In his first speech as president, Sarkozy appealed to those across the political spectrum, pledging a new era of change and tolerance. France "needs to take risks and follow initiatives," he said. The country also needs to "rehabilitate the values of work, effort, merit and respect," he remarked.
Sarkozy attacked racism and stressed that "order and authority is needed" to deal with security challenges. "We need results because the French people in their daily lives need improvements... We need to invent new solutions." Sarkozy warned that "never have the risks of inertia been so great for France" as in today's fast-paced world. But he vowed to defend La France's independence and identity.
Meanwhile in Cannes, opening ceremonies have begun at the 60th Cannes Film Festival. Hollywood stars George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts and Matt Damon are expected to promote their latest film Ocean's 13.
The panel of judges for the Cannes competition is headed by Stephen Frears, director of The Queen. Actresses Maggie Cheung of Hong Kong and Toni Colette of Australia join Turkey's Nobel-winning author Orhan Pamuk on the panel.
The competition continues through Sunday, May 27, when the French Open tennis championship begins at Roland Garros in Paris.