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French Press Review 9 July 2018
The French president is being compared to an absolute monarch in today's papers and the wine swindle of the century has been uncovered.
A number of headlines are dedicated to Emmanuel Macron this morning. And, as the French president prepares to address members of parliament in Versailles, they are far from flattering.
“In the face of difficulties, Macron wants to find a second wind,” quips conservative Le Figaro.
“At the Versailles congress the monarch will not be held accountable,” warns L’Humanité, while Libération has gone for "Macron, the state of disgrace".
“Already under fire from the left, Macron is now being vilified by the right for drifting towards monarcharcical behaviour,” according to Libé. This comes at a time when his popularity is in decline following a number of controversial reforms or comments.
The paper writes that Macron has outdone former head of state Nicolas Sarkozy in terms of being a “hyperpresident”. Indeed holding a summit in Versailles, once home to the absolute monarch Louis XIV, is so over the top that Sarkozy only did it once, while his Socialist successor François Hollande only deemed it necessary following the November 2015 terrorist attacks. According to the left-leaning paper, Macron wants to make this an annual event, comparable to the US president State of the Union address.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s France Unbowed and some right-wing MPs are boycotting today’s event. Others are hoping he will address social issues such as poverty but they have been kept in the dark regarding the content of the president’s speech.
Fake French wine
Le Parisien is unveiling the French scandal of the week on its front page and it involves rosé wine. Brace yourself for utter outrage: 10 million bottles of Spanish orangey-pink wine have been sold with labels claiming they are French products.
The paper deosn't mince its words saying it is "the swindle of the century”.
It began in 2015, Le Parisien tells us. Not only is the consumer totally helpless in the face of this con but so is the producer. A large quantity of faux French wine has been sold to countries like China. To ensure their readers don’t fall foul of the fraud, Le Parisien features a graphic on how to recognise fake French wine. If you can’t read the print on the label and it doesn’t feature the right logo, watch out.
Heatwave and nudity
For the past few weeks France has been hit by a heatwave and Le Parisien is wondering to what extent its city slicker readers can undress.
Some have no qualms about taking their tops off or sporting a bikini when they lounge in a public park. However, the paper reminds us, there are rules and regulations. Even though it is technically not an offence to be naked per se, it is discouraged. If you are caught walking around naked, you could face a year in jail and up to 15,000 euros in fines, because a court is likely to conclude your genitalia were on show thus resulting in conviction for indecent exposure. Going topless in your local park is a no-no.
It turns out that the clampdown on bare flesh is not at its strictest in France's main cities but in seaside towns like Saint-Tropez, Nice or Ajaccio whose authorities are known to warn and even fine those they deem go too far.