FRANCE last week seemed all too normal. In keeping with his holiday habits, President Charles de Gaulle was at his country home in the quiet village of Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises in eastern France. His Premier, Maurice Couve de Murville, was on the Riviera, trying to extract some warmth from the pale Mediterranean sun. Brigitte Bardot was in the Alps, along with thousands of other French women and men who had trooped to the ski slopes in record numbers. Le tout Paris was caught up in a frenzied swirl of parties and balls that surprised even...

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