Five things they don’t tell you about the President of France

A humorous look at the position and pomp of the Président de la République

Emmanuel Macron at a presidential rally in 2017; the French president lives and works at Le Palais de l’Elysée in Paris

1. La campagne politique

The run-up to a presidential election is open season for character assassinations. 

The candidates’ manners, looks and suspected bedroom habits are freely dissected. 

What they will and will not do as president is dismissed as mere fantasy, and more than one person will claim to be voting for a dog. 

N’importe quoi!

Read more: Expressions you may hear in the lead up to final French election vote

2. Les élections

On polling day, whether or not to vote is much discussed, along with various scurrilous accusations against the hapless innocents staffing the local voting station. 

In the end, most people do dust off their ID cards and cast their ballots.

 Abstention was 28% in 2022. 

Voting cards are facultative (optional), rather than obligatoire

C’est fait! 

Read more: Did you know: France's president was not always elected by the people

3. L’investiture

No one actually admits to watching an entire day of bigwigs showing off in Paris, speechifying to each other and parading their toys through the streets, but secretly many are hoping the display will rival the royal pomp and ceremony so effortlessly wheeled out on similar occasions just over the Channel. 

Pas mal!

4. Le Palais de l’Elysée

As the president moves into their new home, the electorate again holds its breath as it wonders if maybe this time, for the first time, miracles might happen. 

A new broom, a new finger on the trigger, who knows, maybe the French have finally elected the right leader? 

On ne sait jamais!

5. En fin de compte

Dreams are fragile, however, and disappointment is a bitter pill to swallow. 

Soon everyone is demanding who voted for such an idiot and what on earth they were thinking. 

Luckily, the president can soon be voted out again (five years).

A small minority will be asking why more people did not vote for the dog. 


Read more: Comment: Why don’t the French like the presidents they elect?