This Monday we came home to find a swarm of paparazzi next to our apartment and a fleet of black Peugeots speeding off. Just a typical day in the 8th Arrondissement.
It was the morning after the first round of the French presidential election, and there were motorcades everywhere. Also, it turns out, ex-French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s office is two doors down from us. “I thought that was Carla Bruni who asked me for a light the other day,” joked Murray.
You just can’t get away from politics in Paris right now.
We went for lunch on Murray’s birthday this week and a group of 30-somethings at our communal table was discussing the election. One of them described her Saturday night “fête,” where 25 of her friends held a mock election as a party game. Only the French would call that fun. In the “game,” Emmanuel Macron won 24 to 1. They spent the rest of the night trying to figure out who the weirdo was who had voted for right wing isolationist Marine Le Pen.
In the real first-round vote of the elections, Emmanuel Macron also came out ahead, albeit by a smaller margin. There’s an interesting backstory.
A 39-year-old former investment banker, Macron recently started his own centrist political party, “En Marche!,” after stepping down as Minister of Economics under the current Socialist regime. If successful, he would be the youngest President in France’s history.
Given that Macron in the frontrunner, it’s also interesting to consider the potential first lady of France, his wife Brigitte Trogneux. Like many couples, Macron met his wife in high school. Only in this case, she was his drama teacher. He was 15 at the time, and she was a 40-year-old married mother of three. Upon learning of the shocking romance, Macron’s parents pulled him from the school and sent him to school in Paris where he anxiously awaited his 18th birthday, vowing to marry his teacher. She divorced and they did marry, and now the 64-year-old is constantly at his side. Macron is stepfather to her children, one of whom is two years older than him.
The French and British press have had a heyday with this pair, calling Trogneux a “menopausal Barbie” with her deep tan, bottle blonde bob and skinny leather pants. They even went so far as to suggest that the marriage was a fraud, and that Macron was having a homosexual affair with the head of Radio France. Macron side-stepped the issue saying “I am who I am. I have nothing to hide.” Trogneux dismissed the rumours saying that she is with him day and night, and he wouldn’t be able to pull it off. And she’s not referring to her leather pants.
But what is so unbelievable about this marriage anyway? It’s just like Donald and Melania, only in reverse!
Next Sunday will be the deciding vote. (I wonder how we can wrangle an invitation to another of those wild mock election parties?) And when you see Trogneux in her mini-skirt and heels alongside her victorious boy toy, I hope you’ll applaud alongside us.