PARIS DIARY

How I fell in love with the romantic story of French president Emmanuel Macron and wife Brigitte

The casual ease of her demeanour is immensely attractive.

 |  PARIS DIARY  |  5-minute read |   10-03-2018
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When asked what his relationship with PM Modi was like, pat came President Macron’s reply: “I think you can have chemistry even if you are not part of the same generation, and my private life is probably one of the best illustrations of this kind of chemistry.” With that, I fell a little more in love with the leader of my new home country.

Perhaps because I’m so used to public figures going blue in the face denying what everyone already knows, running away from any references to their personal life and embarrassed by the mere mention of love, this unprovoked proclamation by one of the most powerful men in the world moved me.

When asked what his relationship with PM Modi was like, pat came President Macron’s reply: “I think you can have chemistry even if you are not part of the same generation, and my private life is probably one of the best illustrations of this kind of chemistry.” Photo: APWhen asked what his relationship with PM Modi was like, pat came President Macron’s reply: “I think you can have chemistry even if you are not part of the same generation, and my private life is probably one of the best illustrations of this kind of chemistry.” Photo: AP

He was professing it and owning it — his atypical love story. Once again, effortlessly asserting that he meant, “without her, I wouldn’t be me.” I’d say this man is a keeper.

The previous night, at a dinner for the fashion industry at the Élysée Palace, he stopped midspeech to kiss his lady love’s hand. It was a moment dripping with such tenderness that all the arched, catty couturiers involuntarily relaxed their pouts to let out a helpless sigh of deep longing.

At the start of the soirée, as we waited around for the young President (known to be unpunctual) and his wife (24 years his senior), the majority of the gossiping glam guests were being a little wicked — sharing snide barbs about the bob and the wrinkles. But, even before the wine made the chandeliers shimmy and the gilded banquet room spin and giggle, Madame Brigitte Macron won over the pouters.

Not just because he loved her so, but because she was genuinely loveable. She’s slimmer, fitter and more tanned in person. The President’s Chef, whom I interviewed earlier in the day, told me that she eats not five but 10 vegetables and fruits everyday! Half way through dinner, dressed in her signature skinny pants and an ornate blue and silver Louis XVI coat from Louis Vuitton, she arose and made rounds of the tables.

As I stood inches away from her, I couldn’t help but think that her skin is not as well preserved as my mother’s or my Indian aunts’, who are about the same age as her. Before I could delve further into my reverie of how lucky we are to have Indian skin that ages slowly, she disarmingly extended her hand out in introduction. The casual ease of her demeanour was immensely attractive.

I took her hand and a little too enthusiastically told her India is looking forward to her visit. She asked with genuine interest who the top Indian designers are and what she should wear. I muttered something about her embroidered jacket looking like Indian zardozi and perhaps a similar outfit might work.

She laughed out loud, shaking her head, pulling at her jacket seams to let in some air, exclaiming she’s so sweaty and hot in this thick thing, that there is no way she’s subjecting herself to it in India.

She spoke perfect English, switching to French with a nonchalance of a true bilingual, showing off without meaning to. She engaged all five of us on our table into a free flowing conversation. Would it be ok to wear sleeveless in India? I implored her to. What is Benaras like? Manish Arora quipped, “spiritual”.

Amelie Pichard, seated next to me, declared that India had been her most intense experience and so it went… The years, the distance and the hierarchy fell by the wayside and it was unanimous — we all liked her.

When you like someone, that’s that. It’s over. Nothing else matters. And the President’s wife and former teacher was immensely likeable. Her parting remark, about getting older by the day as he gets younger, sealed the deal. A woman who can laugh at her age instead of running to the surgeon is gold.

The night continued with Macron’s words swirling around in my heady head — “You are creators of dreams. We are proud of you, we need you, France needs you… these are dangerous times of nationalism and separatism… you can and do share the values of globalisation. Make France your home.” He meant it.

Making it a point not to connect only with the Gautiers and the Wintours, but generously giving his time to anyone in the room who wanted a chat and/or take a selfie, floating about as if he was just an ordinary man milling at a party. At one point he was FaceTiming Paul McCartney on Stella McCartney’s phone as we all gathered around to be part of a surreal moment.

It was a night like no other and I have no doubt all the fashionistas went home in love with these presidential lovebirds. Mission accomplished. The following day, I found myself in yet another gilded room at the Élysée Palace — the recognisable golden room, where heads of states are greeted.

Staring at the gold cherub statuettes on the ceiling, we were once again waiting for a President who’s packing in more than the hours allow. It was a rare opportunity to explore the contents of his magnificent office. At first with trepidation, under the watchful eye of his handsome security detail, then, realising that the young, jovial guards really didn’t mind if I poked around his desk, with more abandon.

On his desk — Guha’s India after Gandhi in English, Histoire des Indes by Michel Angot in French, a very old, gold-plated photo of General De Gaulle, an ancient gold clock and a single frame with his wedding pictures.

A day that must have felt like a well-earned reward after a 15-year-long fight. In the end, a determined man’s love triumphed. This gives me hope that he might just succeed in his mission to “make the planet great again.”

(Courtesy of Mail Today)

Also read: Why French President Macron told India Today 'Rafale deal is a win-win' 

Writer

Koel Purie Rinchet Koel Purie Rinchet @koelscouch

Professional Attention Seeker. Currently loves and writes in Paris.

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