Posted by / Category Politics /

It is going from very bad to even worse. All the social media networks are rife with rumors of pregnancy of Julie Gayet, the mistress of the French president. Despite yesterday’s news conference, we still don’t know whether Valerie Trierweiler (the First lady/girlfriend) will go to the USA with Francois Hollande in February. She is still in hospital. Why did she checked herself in? What will she do when she gets out? Nobody knows. What a soap opera! 

Because of my article in The Times magazine, Sky News, ABC Australia and various other TV/radio have interviewed me. The publicity that I am receiving is possibly the only good thing to come out of ‘l’affaire Hollande’ and I am seriously wondering whether I should send him a Thank You card.

On a more serious note, this affair has highlighted the schism between my home country and the rest of the world. I was talking to my family over the weekend, and they didn’t understand why the foreign press was making such a big deal out of it. 
” Why is Francois Hollande on the front page? After all, it is his private life. Why do you Brits even care?”, said my Dad. And, pragmatic as always, he added “It looks like his prostate problems are over.” It does indeed.

Over here, nobody understands why the French press and the French opposition are so lenient with Francois Hollande. Yesterday’s news conference didn’t clarify much, if anything at all. Difficult questions were asked after a much too long preliminary speech (playing the clock, Mister president?), and in a very polite and circumvoluted way (such as: were there any security lapses?). Francois Hollande’s responses remained general and at times patronising, and I couldn’t help but compare Hollande’s vague responses with Sarkozy’s frankness when he admitted to being in a serious relationship with Carla Bruni. Whatever you and I think of president Sarkozy, he clearly owned up to what was going on.

So, why doesn’t anyone care in France? Apparently, the whole affair might even have marginally increased president Hollande’s approval ratings, because it has made him look more human. This is also because, as we French have no king any more, the President is, I believe, implicitly expected to behave like one, and part of the job was to be the Father of the nation, right? Well, he quite clearly took his role very literally indeed.

Two things are worrying me right now: as a French woman living in London, I can clearly see that the French president is a laughing stock everywhere in the world except in France. This is hard to deny, right? Just look at the press everywhere (Look here if you don’t believe me). This is clearly not going to help my home country in the long run, as it makes us look like clowns at best and amateurs at worst. More importantly, when will the real issues be dealt with? Can we please get back to work? PLEASE!!!

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London
  • Ah. L’affaire Francaise. Or, as we, on this side of the pond call it, Just another day in Paradise…

    The issue of a woman and her lover- or a man and her lover- is one that affects the family of those involved. Can we please stop worrying and carrying on about these issues and deal with the real problems- like getting everyone back to work, like cleaning up the pollution, etc.

    • Roy, I agree with you. That said, as a French taxpayer, I would like to know who is the First Lady as my money funds her lifestyle. The rest is of no interest to me!

  • Hahaha. Father of the nation. YUCK.

    • Yuck indeed. In fact, the whole affair stinks, right?

  • I don’t believe that every detail of a politician’s life needs to be public, but here are some of the things that come to the mind of this American. Should the leader of a major nation be out of contact with his office and tooling around town with no security? Does he really think he could keep doing this without any bad guys figuring it out?

    He seems like a serial womanizer. Can’t understand why any of these women would put up with that. Can’t understand why a nation would vote for a fellow who doesn’t even have the grace to end one relationship before starting another — especially if he seems allergic to marriage.

    If he’s lying so boldly to the women in his life, why should he be trusted as a politician?

    Why is he conducting his affair in the apartment owned by a criminal? I can see all kinds of ethics and other problems with that?

    Why don’t the French see that sometimes how you conduct your private life sometimes does matter in your public life? They are not that separate. I’ll shut up now.

    • I think that I can explain some of this: when he was elected, he promised to be ‘Mister Normal’. Well, we French were silly enough to believe him I suppose!

  • Well, you know what Muriel? It might sound funny and perhaps crazy to you, but I haven’t read the newspaper in over a year. So thanks for that bit of news. I guess I just like to inhabit my ‘inner world’, my world of dreams 🙂 … anyways, my ‘take’ on it? Oh well, what’s a good steak without some ‘Holland’aise sauce ;)….. except, his meal should be a very private affair.. why do we even care?…

    • I wish I could live in my own world, but I don’t think that it will happen any time soon. Not in London anyway. As for being a private affair, well, he is a public character so some of it will transpire. And transpire it did…what a soap opera!

  • I don’t really care about our President’s love life. I agree with you: I’d like him to focus on real issues and to get back to work.

    I think he must clarify the situation though. No, he cannot expect from us to forget these questions: why are the French paying for the staff and expenses of the official “First Girlfriend” if he doesn’t want to be with her anymore? Why is he having an affair in an apartment owned by a criminal? How can France be taken seriously if our President cannot find the courage to be clear about what has happened, make a choice once and for all and be more responsible (and, yes, mature?!)?

    I’d like this “Affaire Hollande” to be over as soon as possible. So that we can read/discuss about the real problems our country has to solve. Merci.

    • Same here. The problem is that it is all over the press over here. It might be ok in France but I keep getting comments. Frankly, I have had enough.

  • That sketch was hilarious! Hollande is indeed an international laughing stock. Here in France, we just see him lurch from one crisis to another and handle all of them badly.

    I don’t understand how French journalists can be such toadies. Well, actually I can, seeing as they have so many avantages fiscaux that might disappear if they drew the long knives… and if they disappear, much of the French media would disappear too! So, boot-licking (or worse) it is.

    • I don’t think that it is only boot-licking. It is deeper than this. A sex scandal is good for the CV of a politician in France. It proves that he has horsepower! I can’t believe I just wrote this,..

  • You said it- let’s get back to work!

    • Well, there is only one problem: I don’t know if he will be taken seriously after this. Let’s wait and see.

  • What great timing! Personally I don’t follow much in politics, celebs and etc. and found myself asking “Who?” but I’m sure across the Pond folks are more tuned in….I mean after the whole Monica thing it’s all pretty ho-hum… “ho” what?

    • Well, I think that our President went even further than Bill Clinton. I have to say that I would have preferred not to know.

  • Yes, we Americans are quite accustomed to scandal in politics (unfortunately), so I don’t think France is looking any more politically foolish than we do on any given day.

    • Really? The only difference is that a sex scandal ends a politician’s career in the US. In France, it enhances the CV!

  • Chat to any expat Italian over here (well, maybe a female one at least) and I reckon they’ll share your sentiments after the recent shambles that was the Berlusconi administration. Don’t worry, it’s not just France! British PMs are clearly just too dull to be worth covering in the papers…even those who did have affairs were so tedious they were yesterday’s news within mere hours…

    • Well, to be totally frank with you, I wish that our politicians were a bit more like the British ones right now.

  • Love the post – yes he does look like ridiculous and you are right – he admits to nothing…what was the quote – Private life should be private? Yes, but maybe I’m too American – but when you are the leader of a country – shouldn’t you be setting some kind of example? But then again – his examples in policy seems as non-committal as his relationships! I think the Satire news in the States did it best with this commentator’s review of the situation – http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/432189/january-15-2014/alpha-dog-of-the-week—francois-hollande

    • Thanks for the link -I like the review. I think that the French president was naive: this is the 21st century and you can’t expect not to be caught when you ride a scooter to see your mistress. Hollande needs to wake up and smell the coffee!

  • My thoughts are what kind of example is he setting for the nation and the new generation to be precise!