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Let them eat cutbacks: 'Marie-Antoinette syndrome' alive in France

Date

Henry Samuel

French President Francois Hollande and partner Valerie Trierweiler

French President Francois Hollande and partner Valerie Trierweiler Photo: AFP

Paris: Valerie Trierweiler has been accused of succumbing to the Marie-Antoinette syndrome of frivolity and luxury while a gloom-racked France toils.

The 47-year-old partner of President Francois Hollande was criticised in a leading magazine for eschewing her Left-wing principles in favour of champagne Socialism, despite the threat of thousands of job losses in the coming weeks in France.

VSD, a weekly magazine, focused its ire on Miss Trierweiler's decision to attend the haute couture shows of Paris fashion week.

It described pictures of her beaming alongside Bernard Arnault, France's richest man, and Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue, in the catwalk front rows as a "political fault".

"While thousands of French are fighting to avoid redundancy... (she) attended the fashion shows," it wrote.

"Valerie Trierweiler, who often claims to be 'Socialist to her soul'... ultimately prefers supporting the one industry that has no particular need of her help - the luxury fashion world. It sends out a very mixed message to the millions of voters who elected her partner to office hoping for a change in morals and mentality."

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy was regularly portrayed as a frivolous figure painfully unaware of the plight of the average French person while her husband Nicolas Sarkozy was president.

VSD said her successor had fallen into the same trap.

"Mixing with the elite has always had the power to anaesthetise the conscience and dilute one's convictions, and Valerie Trierweiler clearly hasn't been able to hold out against this for long."

Miss Trierweiler met Mr Hollande, 57, at a political rally 15 years ago and they have been a couple for five years.

In what appeared to be a damage limitation move, a picture of Miss Trierweiler strolling with Mr Hollande in the public Luxembourg gardens and sitting at a cafe terrace, just like any other Parisian couple, was displayed on the front cover of Thursday's Paris Match, the magazine where she works.

The Daily Telegraph

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