Founded in 1953 by Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber and Françoise Giroud, L’Express was a politically committed outlet predominantly led by Giroud’s strong editorial direction until its rebranding in 1964 along the lines of Time magazine. Its goals were clear: to encourage modernization in French cultural and economic life, to support Pierre Mendès France and to oppose the war in Indochina. This article investigates Giroud’s vision of the press, her politics and her journalistic dialogue with other significant actors at a complex and pivotal juncture in French Cold War history. Giroud opened up the columns of L’Express to a diverse range of leading writers and intellectuals, even to those in disagreement with the publication, as the case study of Jean-Paul Sartre highlighted here shows. In so doing, Giroud’s L’Express constituted a singularly powerful press platform in Cold War France.