The French traditionally didn’t get tattoos, partly because the church frowned on the practice. But there’s been a massive recent shift: a quarter of under-35s have tattoos compared with 1% of over-65s, according to pollsters Ifop. The working-class young are the most decorated.

Since moving to France in 2002, I’ve watched the country complete a cultural revolution. Catholicism has almost died out (only 6% of French people now habitually attend mass), though not as thoroughly as its longtime rival “church”, communism. The non-white population has kept growing...

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