Author Topic: Fed up in the land of swine and cheese (les affaires de François Hollande)  (Read 172 times)

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Fed up in the land of swine and cheese
By Andrea Peyser
January 24, 2014 | 2:26am
New York Post
Mon Dieu! The French are different from us stalwart Americans. They eat more cheese, drink more red wine, and spend their free time pursuing strenuous extramarital indiscretions — cellulite-free romps replete with the kinds of silky undergarments seen in the TV show “Mad Men.’’

Where do they get the stamina?

But times are a-changing, even in France. From out of the decadent swampland comes the country’s plain, bespectacled and deeply unpopular Socialist President François Hollande. He sparked an American-style media maelstrom this month after a French magazine outed him as more than just a lefty leader — but a bona-fide sleaze­bag.

Photographs were published in Closer mag of a man said to be Hollande, wearing a black helmet and riding a scooter to a secret love nest shared with lovely actress Julie Gayet. This being France, Gayet is a married mother of two.

A bodyguard even reportedly delivered breakfast croissants to the illicit pair. Very civilized.

The middle-aged night move — Hollande is 59 to Gayet’s 41 — was complicated by the ticklish fact that Hollande was ensconced in a relationship with divorced journalist Valérie Trierweiler, 48, the woman for whom he left his previous girlfriend, the mother of his four children, in 2007.

Though the prez was never legally wed to Trierweiler, she had the status of first gal pal. (Think of Gov. Cuomo and his live-in squeeze, TV chef Sandra Lee.) Only, Trierweiler commanded a five-member staff.

And suddenly, the insanely sexist and libertine French were confronted with — quelle horreur! — a love triangle. Should the citizenry ignore le scandale du jour? Or obsess, gossip and moralize over it, as Americans did over the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky affair?

“We’re tired of being a running joke, Europe’s version of ‘Sex and the City,’ ” a female French pal who lives in New York told me.

“French men are pigs is the bottom line.’’

In a nation where fidelity is a mere suggestion — a Pew Research Poll last year found that only 47 percent of French respondents considered cheating on one’s spouse “morally unacceptable,’’ compared with 84 percent of Americans — Trierweiler took the news of Hollande’s faithlessness hard. She checked into a hospital for a week after taking “one pill too many,’’ a friend told The Sunday Times of London. She felt like she was hit by a high-speed train, another pal wrote in Le Parisien newspaper. She was terrified she’d become homeless, reported Paris Match, the magazine for which Trierweiler writes a column, if Hollande picked Gayet, which evidently he did.

Last weekend, Hollande was “in negotiations, including legal ones,’’ for a split with Trierweiler, Britain’s Telegraph reported. Now the world is watching to see if man-stealer Gayet accompanies Hollande to Washington next month for a state dinner with President Obama.

In the midst of this soap opera, something epic happened.

The French said “non’’ to l’affaire Hollande.

“How could François Holland land himself in such a mess?’’ posed France’s serious newspaper, Le Monde. “How could he behave with such insouciance, such frivolity, such imprudence? It beggars belief.’’

With the world watching and Trierweiler suffering, four journalists asked Hollande actual questions about the sexual fracas at a press conference last week in Paris’ Elysée Palace. It may have been a first in France.

Alain Barluet of Le Figaro asked if France still had a first lady.

Hollande answered that he was “totally outraged’’ by the violation of his private life.

But can a public figure ever expect privacy?

French feminists (they exist) mobilized after the 2011 arrest in New York of married Frenchman Dominique Strauss-Kahn on a charge of sexual assault against a hotel maid.

Strauss-Kahn was cleared because of questions about the victim’s credibility. Later, he was alleged to have engaged in sex parties with hookers in France, and he was charged last year with aggravated pimping.

Yet blogs like Vie de Meuf — “a chick’s life’’ — vented fury over France’s sexually entitled men.

Hollande’s private life is a public matter. We’re all Americans now.
A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.

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French president meets with pope amid sex scandal
By Natalie O'Neill
New York Post
January 24, 2014 | 10:09pm

It’s a good thing the pope doesn’t judge. 

France’s horndog President François Hollande met Pope Francis on Friday amid a scandal over Hollande’s affair with an actress behind the first lady’s back. Francis gave Hollande a warm handshake, then quickly ushered him to a private study at the Vatican after the pol showed up in a motorcade surrounded by papal Swiss Guards.

The two-timing Frenchman held an awkward press conference about Africa, Syria and the environment. He posed for a photo with the pope and gave him a copy of St. Francis of Assisi’s autobiography.

The meeting came less than a day after the pope revealed plans to visit the United States next year, according the National Catholic Reporter. Francis wants to attend the World Meeting of Families, a prayer ceremony in Philadelphia, in September 2015, the paper reports.

Valerie Trierweiler, Hollande’s jilted first lady and longtime partner, has travel plans of her own. She is set to fly to Mumbai, India, on Sunday for a meeting about fighting hunger.

And Julie Gayet, Hollande’s mistress, is now suing Closer, the magazine that exposed the affair, for breach of privacy. She’s seeking 50,000 euros.
A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.

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