Eleanor Beardsley

Josephine Baker, the American-born entertainer and civil rights activist who first achieved fame in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s, was given France's highest honor on Tuesday when she was inducted into the French Pantheon, the nation's mausoleum of heroes.

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GRASSE, France — The town of Grasse sits in the hills above the more famous French Riviera city of Cannes, and it doesn't have the Mediterranean Sea at its doorstep. What it does have is fields of flowers — jasmine, May rose, tuberose, lavender. It is known as the perfume capital of the world.

It wasn't always this way. Back in the18th and 19th centuries, the industry took off in Grasse in part because this was an absolutely putrid-smelling town.

PARIS — Colette Maze welcomes me warmly into her apartment on the 14th floor of a building overlooking the Seine River. From her flowered balcony, she has a view of the Eiffel Tower. She offers me a whiskey or a cognac — along with a hearty laugh as it's 10:30 in the morning.

It's that humor, a sense of optimism and her beloved piano that have buttressed and comforted this centenarian through an often difficult life. Maze has just released her sixth album at the age of 107.

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Updated September 7, 2021 at 5:05 PM ET

On Wednesday, 20 men accused of planning and carrying out the largest peacetime attacks on French soil will go on trial in Paris.

Nearly six years ago, 10 attackers killed 130 people and wounded hundreds more in coordinated shootings and suicide bombings at the Bataclan concert hall, a sports stadium and bars and restaurants across the French capital. The ISIS attacks took place on an unusually balmy November Friday night in 2015, when outdoor café tables were full.

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