Monday, November 8, 2010

Paris Match & French Celebrity Magazines by Daisy Hernandez

As I began to look for the magazine Paris Match and other French magazines, more specifically celebrity magazines, little by little I entered a state of disbelief. I kept on glancing at all the magazines and I found myself looking at American celebrities, or people that I am familiar with. I was expecting to find unfamiliar faces on the cover of these magazines, and all throughout the magazine, but this was not the case. In the section of entertainment and celebrity magazines in most of the newsstands, I saw a pattern. This pattern consisted of the same American celebrities that are usually in the tabloids, but most importantly the magazines out in the newsstands were magazines that you typically see in America, but here are obviously in French, and there were some that I did not recognize. Paris Match is different from most of the magazines, because it is an actual French magazine.

When I purchased the Paris Match magazine, from the beginning I realized this magazine was different from the rest. From the cover of the magazine I was able to tell a lot of things. First of all, the title itself Paris Match obviously was implying that its focus would be Paris. Secondly, the person on the cover was not a known American celebrity like in the rest of the celebrity magazines. The actress on the cover is Sophie Marceau, a well known French actress whom has been in many films including international films. The fact that she is in the cover shows how the magazine gives importance to its French icons and other well known people. Thirdly, the titles on the cover page about the stories are also French related and worldwide. Paris Match in comparison to the other magazines and more so the celebrity magazines, has a well known reputation and it is also less based on rumors and tabloids. The stories here are in depth interviews not just with celebrities but upcoming celebrities, with governmental individuals and people who have made the headlines, whom may have nothing to do with the media. Besides the interviews the magazine is composed of sections regarding beauty and health, not just for women but men as well, something that differentiates it from other celebrity magazines whose focus is usually just women.

Paris Match began in France in the year 1949, and it is a weekly magazine which targets the French public, and it is known for its great quality of images. There is no specific gender which it is addressed to, as the stories and the content of the magazine is very diverse. Paris Match is also the successor of another well known pictorial magazine called, L’Illustration. L’Illustration, “was founded in 1843 and was famed for its lavish use of illustrative material- hence the name” ( This particular magazine was looked down upon after World War II; because of its focus on wars. Thus, later came the emergence of Paris Match. Paris Match is divided into several sections, with sub sections as well. The first section is titled, culture match and its sub sections are theatre (theatre), cinema (films), musique (music), expo ( expositions ), livres (books), radio (radio), humour (humor), biennale ( art or event happening over a course of time), and art (art). The second section is les gens de match (people match) and one of the sub headings is la vie parisienne (the French life). The other sections include match document (a particular story), votre argent (your money), votre santé (your health), vivre match (match live), here it includes beauty, traveling and other things as well. There is more importantly a section dedicated to current events happening in France and all over the world called, l’actualite, and la semaine, which has to do with political issues, with the economy, and anything else that may be going on during the week. Advertisements are also seen throughout the magazine, for example of perfumes, cars and much more.

Paris Match was lead to success in the hands of Jean Provost, who was also the founder of the daily newspaper Le Figaro ( Jean Provost was a well known industrialist of the French press who bought other magazines like Paris Soir and Paris-Midi in 1924 and 1930, and Match. In the midst of being involved politically in France, he found himself in turmoil and had to change his realm of magazines, and Match became Paris Match. The publisher of the magazine is Hachette Filipacchi Médias, and it was later purchased by Daniel Filipacchi in 1976 ( ). The magazine also has a website that is ran by Benoit Leprince. The website like the magazine covers issues not just of celebrities, but worldwide issues, focusing in France, but also still providing a great quality of images. Paris Match can be compared to the American magazine Life Magazine. A huge similarity with Paris Match is the exceptional type of photography that both of the magazines have and are known for. Even on the online websites, there is a huge emphasis on photography. What differentiates these magazines in comparison to other magazines, whether celebrity based or not, is the way the photography is laid out in a way to capture the story. Both magazines also have sections on celebrity news, current events, traveling, and worldwide news. Even though both of these magazines talk about celebrities, these issues are not the main priorities.

Paris Match is a magazine that brings together different subjects that are usually separate and make up different types of magazines. Types of magazines like celebrity magazines that only focus on celebrities, and which are usually American celebrities and not French celebrities. The fact that there are only a few French magazines that are French based, shows us how French media is highly influenced by the United States, and that the American influence is not allowing French media to flourish.

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