A new newspaper for English speakers in France has just launched, and this time it’s a weekly.
“The other English-language expat newspapers in France are monthlies, so this is a first,” said editor Miranda Neame.
Neame previously edited the monthly the French News, which went into liquidation in December 2008. The paper survived for 21 years, and Neame was its editor from 1997.
The new paper, the French Week, will be produced in the village of Castillonnès in the Lot-et-Garonne area in the southwest. The print run will be 40,000 and the cover price for the 16-page weekly will be €1.
Neame will draw on a large network of correspondents around France. “All our correspondents are bilingual and have lived here a long time; they are often married to, or living with French people, and we’ve even got a few French correspondents.”
There are estimated to be about 200,000 British expats living permanently in France, with another 200,000 Britons owning second homes.
Most of the advertisers are people offering services to the expat community. “Our main readership will be British expats,” Neame said, “but the paper won’t just be for them. We expect a fair few of our readers to be French.”
The paper will have national and regional news, features, and comment, and will provide practical advice for English speakers living in France. “The advantage of a weekly is that we will be able to give timely updates,” Neame said.
After the French News collapsed, Neame hoped she would one day edit another English-language publication. Investor Nicholas Hughes came along, and saved the day. There are eight other smaller investors, four of whom are contributors and three readers.
The main English-language monthlies published in France are the Connexion, based in the Côte d’Azur, and The French Paper, set up last year by former Emap publishing director Nicki Wade, and there are several small free magazines such as the Languedoc Sun and its new sister publication the Provence Sun.
The Connexion has been doing so well that the company has launched two free monthlies, The Dordogne Advertiser and the Advertiser in Normandy.
The French News had a loyal readership, but was brought down by industrial and cash flow problems. It was heavily overstaffed. The French Week has just five staff and Neame hopes the “small-is-beautiful” formula will be a winning one.
© Annette Gartland