Posted by / Category Cultural Differences, Politics /

As you know, Netflix is releasing House Of Cards Season 3 today. I happen to be a huge fan. But I can’t watch it. I am banned from watching a single episode or reading any spoilers, because my husband is on a business trip, and I need to wait for him to start watching the series. It is hard. I don’t know if I will resist the temptation. What is it with marriage and always having to make compromises? In order to make it easier, I have decided to write the summary of what the French version would look like. Here is what I came up with. How do you like it? Should I continue? Let me know.

Disclaimer: all characters are fictional and the product of my vivid imagination.



The French President, Arnaud Duchemol, is clinically depressed since his mistress, the gorgeous journalist Isabelle Demoulin has dumped him for the leader of the opposition, the charismatic (and very rich) Benoit Pouledor. This is an open secret amongst politicians and journalists, but the rest of France doesn’t know (obviously. That’s how things work in France). The president self medicates with cognac and is feeling suicidal. His Chef de Cabinet, the driven Arielle Boisneau (Chief of Staff) is running the country for him, always finding excuses when she has to lead the Conseil Des Ministres (Cabinet meeting) in his absence.


Elysee Vestibule


One day, after a controversial law might require the use of the unpopular Article 49.3 of the constitution to be approved (see Note 1), the President escapes from the Elysee to try to commit suicide by jumping in front of a Tube.

Fortunately, the drivers have just decided to go on strike, and the president stays on the platform, waiting for a train that never arrives. Arielle Boisneau eventually picks him up, and drives him back to his quarters at the Elysee. The ambitious Prime Minister Antoine Rastignac, who has his eyes set on the Presidency, tries to leak the story to the press. Arielle Boisneau would have tried to stop the story from being published, but she is so angry at the President that she decides to let the story be published. Fortunately for the president, Isabelle Demoulin manages to stop the rumour, blaming Rastignac reckless ambition for the ‘rumour’.

Upon learning that Isabelle has managed to protect him, the President decided to stop drinking. He is happy because he believes that she still cares about him.

Note 1: This clause allows the government to impose the adoption of a text by the assembly, immediately and without a vote, that the assembly cannot oppose without toppling the government through a motion of no confidence. 49.3 is the ‘nuclear option’ for passing a bill



The flamboyant First Lady, Veronique Boyer, is in town. She and the President have thought of divorcing, but with the general election looming in 18 months, it isn’t the right time and would severely damage the President’s popularity. As a result, they are still married for convenience’s sake, but every time he needs her for a public outing, he has to pay her at least 20 000 Euros.

Arielle Boisneau manoeuvres to get the bill passed without the use of 49.3 and without an arrangement with the far right. She made a deal with the Green party for the next environmental law: she will change one of the ministers to have a green representative in the cabinet in exchange for their support.

Rastignac leaks to the press the fact that the President and the First lady are in fact separated. The press is having a field day and publish pictures of the president walking on his own in the Luxembourg garden, looking sad.

Things come to a head when a terrorist organisation manages to take control of the Eiffel tower and threatens to bomb it. Isabelle Demoulin is covering the event. The President takes charge and asks for national unity. Rastignac and Pouledor have no choice but to rally behind him. After 48 hours the hostages are liberated and the Eiffel tower is unscathed. The President’s popularity goes through the roof.

The First lady gives an interview to a leading national newspaper saying that there were a few bumps in the road between her and the President but that they are as happy as ever now. The President is fuming. Veronique explains that she was just trying to help. The President is seen taking anti-depressant pills.


So what do you think? Should I continue?