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French press review 10 September 2012

Text by: Vladimir Smekhov
5 min

President Hollande's plummeting popularity and condemnation of France's richest man, are both big stories in the French press today...


Six out of ten citizens are unhappy with the French president. On its politics pages, Le Figaro features the most recent opinion survey, confirming the trend of falling popularity of François Hollande just four months after his election.

The paper quotes a survey specialist as saying that while Hollande’s support base with the socialist electorate is intact, he is gradually losing the support of those who rallied to him during the second round of the elections.

The article notes that the president’s popularity slump is fastest in the middle class electorate, who feel that they’ll be forced to carry the bulk of the deficit reduction effort.

The communist L’Humanité features the leader of the far-left, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, on a campaign against the European budget treaty. According to the daily, Mélenchon wants to force the government to hold a referendum on the treaty.

The far-left leader is seeking to distance himself from the National Front leader Marine Le Pen who also opposes the treaty for what he considers nationalistic reasons. “Our opposition to the current project is aimed at changing it and giving it a more social

“Get out of here, rich idiot”, says Libération on its front page. Its photo-montage displays a full length portrait of beaming Bernard Arnault, the richest man in France and owner of the luxury group LVMH, holding a bright red suitcase.

The newspaper is angry at news that the financier and the head of LVMH luxury empire is applying for Belgian citizenship to avoid paying Hollande’s announced 75% tax on earnings above 1 million euros.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

"The billionaire appears as a symbol of the selfishness of the mega rich", continues the paper. And it’s not the first time he looks set to go into financial exile. The newspaper remembers that in 1981, when François Mitterrand came into power, Arnault relocated to the US
for three years.

A few days ago, reports the paper, the billionaire met with the French Prime minister to plead against the 75% tax on the rich. “Even though nothing else proves that he is leaving Paris to avoid it, with almost 11 million euros in annual revenues, the best- paid boss in France has a lot to lose”, concludes the socialist daily.

"The second war of tablets is declared", says the business daily Les Echos in its editorial dedicated to the launch of Amazon’s new Fire Kindle.

“When Apple launched ipad, consumers did not even know they needed a tablet”, says the editor “Now they can’t imagine being able to survive without it”.

But now a bunch of predators are trying to capture this new, fast-growing market. The tablet has become an extension of the consumer, says the paper. To the extent that the battle for the tablet market has become ruthless. Most of the tablet manufacturers have so far tried to cram more features into their highly-priced “swiss knife” devices. Amazon has just changed the game, concludes the editor, by slashing the price of the tablet. Beware, Apple.

Like secrets? Find out about the Hidden Paris

“A Renoir painting for 5 euros”. The popular French daily tells the incredible story of an American woman who found the bargain of the century by buying what turns out to be a Pierre-August Renoir painting for seven dollars on a Virginia flee market.

The painting was brought to the US by a prominent art collector, Herbert May at the beginning of the 20th century. But it disappeared from the records in 1926. Bought for 5 euros by the female buyer now dubbed “a Renoir girl”, the painting is allegedly worth between 60 000 and 80 000 euros.

But perhaps, even more unbelievable is the reason the young woman bought the painting. She told the press that what made her decide to buy it was the fact that the Renoir was sold as part of a package including a doll and a plastic cow, which she really liked…

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