We’ve just come back from four days in the Luberon, only a couple of hours away but unknown and different territory for us. So we’ll be posting some photos over the next few weeks.
In the meantime here’s a few photographs that didn’t make it into the blog over the last month, but stay with us for Macron …
You may have picked up this week that M. Macron found himself face-to-face with a rather cheeky adolescent who sang a bit of a socialist anthem and then said basically “How’s it going, Manu?” Well Emmanuel, to give him his full name, did not take kindly to this and ripped into the kid for disrespect suggesting other things that in any future conversations he should be addressed as “M. Le President”. (Click here to see the encounter with English sub-titles.)
It was one of those interesting events that highlights the differences between Britain and France. In Britain of course we have a monarch and a Prime Minister. The monarch embodies – or is supposed to embody – such things as nobility, dignity, history and permanence. She, or he, is aloof from the dirt of politics and is a symbol of what Britain is – a summing up in the flesh, of all the nation stands for. This is of course why any pledge of loyalty is made to “Her Majesty the Queen”. The fact that the British have a distant monarch with somewhat abstract values takes the pressure off the Prime Minister who, mired in politics, can be incompetent, dithering, cowardly and a bad judge of when to call elections. (No names mentioned.)
France however has a problem. They famously removed the monarchy in 1789 and since have made sure that any potential monarchs are in no position to come back: various heirs to the French throne languish in crumbling châteaux across the country but are no more likely to gain the Crown than England is to win the World Cup. This means that an enormous weight descends upon the President. He – and so far it has only ever been a he – is simultaneously a man of the people but also a man over the people. He is a politician but also more than that: he embodies the French State; La République française. So, M. Le President was correct in rebuking the unfortunate adolescent. To insult the French president as president is to insult the Republic and its values. Two morals. One, be careful what you say when you meet the French president. Two, don’t be in a hurry to get rid of the monarchy. Life gets messy without it.