Tuesday, March 18

The Fonz

Now I love France. I speak French. I have two Paris funds (Rothschild and Astorg) and visit maybe ten times a year. I, like many French, am impressed by the hard-driving, reform-pushing President Sarkozy not least because he's the son of a Hungarian immigrant father, was raised alone in France by his mother and is Jewish. Further, Sarkozy seems impatient and direct and above-boards - qualities that the pompous ass Jacques Chirac had and lost or never had.

So it is with regret that Sarkozy's popularity has plummeted and he is known in France as "President Bling-Bling."

And why the change, Dear Reader? It is one thing to divorce your wife for a younger model but entirely another to rub your neighbor's face in it - which is, of course, what he did marrying Carla Bruni. Sarkozy is often seen in flash clothes at the trendiest restaurants in the 8th arrondisement wearing an enormous Rolex and aviator Ray Bans. He grants interviews in his jogging shorts and sends text messages during top level meetings. Plus his famous temper - he has been known to storm out of a press conference.

The French, you see, are the most stylish and reserved people in the world when we exclude the Italians. Sarkozy's sartorial yoof is out-of-step with his country and the campaign image from only last year.

And how is he viewed across the channel? Well, the Queen - who Sarkozy and his slapper Bruni shall meet this month - is a tad, ahem, expectant. She presumes royalty and may get Steve McQueen. Fleet Street loves the match-up affair and for myself, I no-doubt await my subscription to Tattler and Hello. Viva la France !

Sonnet and I sneak out to lunch at the River Cafe to celebrate today, Tuesday.