"Ironically for English speakers, one of the most prestigious forms of education in France is the 'école normale'..."
And then you have the ENS - the "Superior Normal School". There's always one that has to try outdo the other by coming up with a posher name ;)
BTW, the remark about it being a nightmare in France for offshoring unis would likely be due to the loi de Sauvadet which automatically converts a contracted position into a permanent position after 6 years. Not a bad system for private companies (prevents the eternal contract), but in higher education, it's a nightmare as your "employer" is the entire French higher education system. So impossible to go from from one uni to another as its the same "employer".