Poor old Francois Hollande, the President of France. It’s been tough enough trying to steer his country through these depressing times of austerity with his economic policy apparently falling down around him. He might not now be seen as the heroic saviour of his nation, more a comically unfortunate Monsieur Hulot character. Well, at least he’s made people laugh.
I rather liked his ‘ordinary bloke’ style with his spurning of the pomp of state. He’s a promiscuous version of the admirably humble new Pope Francis.
His country doesn’t agree and in the opinion polls, he’s now getting the popularity vote that might be awarded to a particularly unhygienic sewer rat.
Even though I’d never corrupt my innocence by reading about politicans’ sex lives, last weekend made that virtually impossible. In case any of you have missed this, it has emerged that the French president is, allegedly, a bit of a bounder. He’s been cheating, allegedly, on his live-in girlfriend, the elegant and wittily sharp-tongued Valérie Trierweiler, France’s “First Lady” – or “First Girlfriend” if you prefer. We are told that he’s been seeing, allegedly, a glamorous actress called Julie Gayet. France can’t stop talking about it but Monsieur le Président refuses to comment. He won’t confirm or deny the rumours saying that his private life has nothing to do with his role as president.
At a press conference yesterday, arranged some time ago to issue a statement about the country’s economy, unsurprizingly the first question was about the status of the nation’s “First Girlfriend,” the president refused to comment and apparently is preparing to sue the magazine, Closer, for invasion of privacy.
Well, this affair, if it is one, is nothing to do with me and I’m resisting the gossip – or trying to. I’d rather admired the French for their tolerance for their leaders’ sex lives so unlike the British who reduce their politicians to all kinds of undignified behaviour in their desperate attempts to stay out of the papers. Things seem to have changed in France. Now everyone wants to know about Julie Gayet and those imagined nights of passion with the president who arrived hiding under a scooter helmet almost as if he was hiding from the press.
Julie Gayet, glamourous actress and Francois Hollande’s alleged lover.
He maintains that he wants to keep his private life out of the gossip magazines but this didn’t stop him giving an interview to Gala magazine in 2010 when he was running for president. In that thoughtful journal, he oozed to the interviewer about his girlfriend, Valérie Trierweiler, saying that she was “the love of my life”.
Francois Hollande with Valérie Trierweiler, “the love of my life”
Not any more, allegedly. M/s Trierweiler, was, allegedly, the last to know that the president’s affections had, allegedly, moved on. She read all about it, allegedly, in Closer magazine and was promptly hospitalised in a state of shock. This really does read like an episode from a soap opera. I suppose, after-all, people can have more than one “love of their lives” – especially if they are French and especially is they are the most powerful man in the country.
Francois Hollande with Ségolène Royal, the mother of his children.
I assume the impressive Ségolène Royal, the mother of his four children, was also the love of his life at some stage. That is most definitely not the case these days and, in a previous burst of media gossip, M/s Royal and M/s Trierweiler have been painted as combative rivals but now, maybe, they will unite against poor Francois.
Monsieur Hollande has never married, well, marriage is so gay these days, and since becoming president, his partner, and, allegedly, all his future ones, are entitled to live in the Élysée Palace at the taxpayers expense. These “First Girlfriends” will have to expect, therefore, at least some degree of public scrutiny and, naturally, a few instrusive camera lenses.
I suspect the French aren’t so much shocked by the president’s sexual conquests as surprized by his success in matters of the heart and, in these austere times, French people think that he’s having much too much fun.
France is, of course, the country of Maurice Chevalier!
STEPHEN DEARSLEY’S SUMMER OF LOVE BY COLIN BELL
My novel, Stephen Dearsley’s Summer Of Love, was published on 31 October 2013. It is the story of a young fogey living in Brighton in 1967 who has a lot to learn when the flowering hippie counter culture changes him and the world around him.
It is now available as a paperback or on Kindle (go to your region’s Amazon site for Kindle orders)
You can order the book from the publishers, Ward Wood Publishing:
…or from Book Depository:
…or from Amazon: