It’s official – as of 11:00 yesterday morning Nicolas Sarkozy replaced Jacques Chirac as the President of France. In the 10 short days since the May 6th vote, he has already unleashed a few tasty scandales:
1. On May 7th he flew (in a plush private jet) to Malta take a few days’ vacation on a humongous luxury yacht owned by French industrial M. Bollere. This is seen as very “parvenu” and “nouveau riche” by the french who are rather allergic to conspicuous displays of wealth. There is also the touchy matter of whether M. Bollere will be wanting to garner some state contracts in return for his largesse. Not the best PR start for the man who campaigned as being in perfect sync with the working classes and “little people”.
2. Journalists raked over the voting lists and discovered that his wife Cecilia (she who ran off with New York Sports Journalist last summer) did not vote on May 6th. Loud rumblings as to the state of their marriage ensued, as well as the possibility floated that perhaps Cecilia preferred Segolene to her own husband.
3. Sarkozy is reputedly going to appoint Bernard Kuchner – the French doctor whom I hugely admire and who created “Doctors Without Borders” many years ago – as the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Sarkozy’s own political party is horrified (not to mention disappointed, as many of them are jostling to get appointed) and the left has branded Kuchner (who campaigned alongside Segolene) a traitor. I adore Kuchner (have a bit of a crush on him, to tell the truth) and think he is the right man for the job. Sarkozy’s decision is not only a brilliant political manoeuvre, but also proof of his pragmatism which I believe is a good thing for France.
Here in our little villages of Burgundy the news is much less scandalous:
1. We are currently putting a new, higher fence around the garden at La Maison des Deux Clochers to make the garden (photo at top of page) prettier, more functional, and completely private. However, the last few days have rained which means that our tradesman can’t finish the concrete work and has buggered off to other jobs – very annoying and we’re praying for sunshine.
2. Claire and the rest of the Naudin family threw and amazing open house last weekend at their Domaine in Magny–les–Villers. Claire invited winemakers she is friends with (and whose wine she likes – a gauge of quality if there ever was one) from many different regions of France. There was also the mayor of Magny – Michel Juste – selling his delectable jams, gingerbread, and conserves, and many local cheese makers, olive oil tastings from Provence, etc. It was great fun and we went at 4:30 only planning on being there an hour or so and stayed until 11:00pm. There was music, merguez on the BBQ, and painting for the kids. We also got to meet Corentin, Claire’s 1 month old baby boy. Barry & Virginia White were there from Les Deux Clochers, Ardythe and her gang from Le Relais du Vieux Beaune, and Bob and Joyce Meil who I had been corresponding with by email. Carol Disrud and her husband staying at La Maison de la Vieille Vigne went on Sunday. If they do it again nest year, it is not to be missed!
3. On Sunday evening we had a HUGE lightning storm and Villers-la-Faye got two direct hits, which blew out our Internet cable. We’re just cobbling things back together now, so if I haven’t responded to an email you’ve sent since then, send it again svp.
4. We have my niece Lola over for the day, and the three girls (home from school as is another stat holiday – don’t know why Sarkozy just doesn’t declare the month of May in France a holiday as there is not one full week of work / school during the entire month). It is 12:20 and they are saying they are getting very hungry and want lunch. The nerve. Maybe I too can make friends with M. Bollere and he can fly me to Malta for a little break on his yacht.