News and Opinion from Anne Barone to Keep You Chic & Slim

|| 6 May 2018

More Brigitte Le Monde Interview

More From The Interview French First Lady Brigitte Macron gave to the French Newspaper Le Monde During Her USA Visit


Brigitte Macron discussing art with American student

image: Brigitte Macron in discussion with arts school student during her visit to the Ellington Arts School in Washington DC. Photo by Alex Brandon / AP accompanied the newspaper's interview.

On the last afternoon of the Macrons' official visit, French first lady Brigitte Macron sat down in the garden of the Ellington Arts School she had just toured and gave an interview to French RTL radio and the French newspaper Le Monde.

Parts of that interview (Brigitte’s favorable comments on Melania Trump and about coping with the strict staging of the visit) have been widely quoted. But other parts of the Le Monde interview I think you will also find interesting.

One point: Brigitte Macron explained that she is still finding her place as “first lady” of France. The position there is much more undefined than in the USA where spouses of presidents have an official position, a generous budget, and numerous staff — all paid for by the taxpayers.

Though Emmanuel Macron hoped to establish a system similar to that in the USA in France, a French petition signed by over 300,000 squelched the idea. So though Brigitte, with some generous help from Vuitton and other designers, serves (unofficially) as the ambassadress of French couture, Brigitte told Le Monde, the spouse of the president in France: “On est là sans être là.” One is there without being there (officially). She adds that she must be very careful not to make herself unwelcome, because it was her husband, not she, who was elected.

As I explain in the Brigitte section of Toujours 2, Valérie Trierweiler, the partner of the previous president made herself “unwelcome” during the early part of Françoise Hollande’s presidency — so unwelcome so that it turned the French people against the general idea of a first lady.

As for the projects Brigitte plans likely involving education, disability, harassment at school or sexual violence against children, she says that she and her staff are moving “in small steps” always being conscious of her indefinite position.

Another point: Previous French presidents and their wives did not like living in the Elysée Palace, the official residence of the French president. But Brigitte told Le Monde that she and Emmanuel Macron love living in the historic building. Brigitte describes in the Elysée Palace as “une maison qui tourne” an adaptable place that allows the Macrons to live there without much change to their previous lifestyle. Since her husband tends to work at all hours of the day and night, it allows the president to go back and forth between his office and the living quarters without leaving the building. Brigitte is also working “à aérer et redécorer,” ventilate and redecorate.

Apparently at the Elysée Palace one can open the windows — unlike at the White House.

be chic, stay slim — Anne Barone

More about France's First Lady Brigitte Macron in Brigitte Chic and related chapters of Anne Barone's latest book.

Chic & Slim Toujours 2