Romance in France

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Romance in France

The French magazine Closer recently published a page-long spread that startled the nation’s residents. You may wonder what kind of article could possibly create such an issue. Well, it is not about the economy, fashion or cuisine. It’s about love.

A picture of France’s head of state, Francois Hollande, featured on the cover of the magazine, along with the headline, “love secret of the president,” referring to his apparent affair with an actress. Francois Hollande is a divorced man with four children who lives at the Elysee Palace, the French president’s official residence, with his partner, Valerie Trierweiler.

When this seven-page spread on his so-called secret romance was released to the public, people started talking. The Elysee has requested the magazine to withdraw the article and is possibly preparing to sue the magazine’s company for reputation damage.

From Francois Mitterrand to Nicolas Sarkozy, it seems like French presidents have a history of becoming embroiled in convoluted love affairs. However, the interesting part in the Hollande tale is the media’s reaction.

People were certainly discussing whether the affair is true, also wondering what would happen with his current girlfriend. But what caught my eye was that politicians, even from different parties, were defending Hollande. One opposition politician said that what Hollande does in his private life is completely up to him and that the president’s privacy should be respected.

A journalist from the Europe 1 radio station commented that people should be discreet about exposing the private life of the head of state and should not “?‘downgrade’ the president to some “minor reality TV star.”

Of course there are some people who hold a negative view of the situation, but they are mostly just discontented with the fact that the president is “living it up” while the economy and the unemployment rate declines, rather than deploring Hollande’s personal relationships and extending their disapproval to the man’s political capability.

For now, we can only wait and see how the Elysee handles this scandal. But, what we know for sure, is that France is in love.

* Park Seo-hyeon Student at Hanyang University

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