What’s up with l’amour in the City of Lights? It’s blazing!
President François Hollande hopped a scooter for a putt-putt zip to prove his true love to Julie Gayet. (When the news broke, Hollande’s old lady, Valerie Trierweiler, rushed to the hospital, where she suffered from “emotional shock”—as if smacked by a TGV.)
This generation of Gallic political dudes is breaking precedent. In a packed 2007 press conference, 600 journalists breathlessly awaited the scoop on Nicholas Sarkozy’s new Gal Pal-Songstress Carla Bruni (now his wife), once linked to the likes of Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, and The Donald.
Sarkozy put it out there: “. . . I decided to break with the disgraceful tradition of French political hypocrisy and lies. It’s clear you now feel comfortable asking me about things you would never have brought up with my predecessors.”
What of the filmy “je ne sais quoi” love lives of the old guard? In 1996, President François Mitterrand died, passing on to the Haute Cuisine in the sky. His wife and mistress stalwartly stood side-by-side at the grave—surrounded by their legitimate and illegitimate children. Now that’s one iconic image (which I cannot afford to buy from Getty Images).
The salons of Paris whispered deliciously about President Giscard d’Estaing’s dalliances. In a television interview, he quipped, “When I was president of the republic, I was in love with 17 million French women. . . . When I saw them in the crowd, they felt it, and then they voted for me.”
Apparently, uptight Charles de Gaulle was the only postwar president to keep a disciplined zip-lip on love. However, after his death, somber TV anchors announced, “General De Gaulle is dead; France is a widow.”
There is much ado about Hollande today. The iconic image of the scooter—Pee-wee Herman had a scooter! Yes, Hollande rides high with the rest of the G-8. POTUS cruises in a Cadillac-badged limousine (dubbed “The Beast” by the Secret Service). Bad boy Putin bested Obama’s mobile with the unveiling of his customized ZiL. German Chancellor Angela Merkel showed up at last October’s EU Summit in a car bearing a “007” license plate–about the time Obama ’fessed up to the NSA snooping on her personal cell. Nobody messes with Merkel.
The French will avoid years of soap opera suffered by the U.S. during President Clinton’s second term. A poll in Le Journal du Dimanche said that 77% brushed off the Hollande affair as a personal issue. So far, Hollande is mute on the Julie Gayet matter.
The wronged Trierweiler will continue her hospital retreat, but forgiveness is in the air. Should she think twice, get a whiff of reality, and unsheathe her manicured nails for some cat scratch fever?