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Controversial Bastille Day Celebration at the French Ambassador's Residence
In contrast, following the announcement of France's new government cuts, French President Nicolas Sarkozy decided to lead by example and cancelled the traditional Elysée Garden Party.
Garden Party 2009
This saving is, of course, merely symbolic. Last year, the Elysée Garden Party cost 732,826 euros. A drop in the ocean would you say? Naturally, but it would have been very poor taste to party when so many others are tightening their belts.
Nicolas Sarkozy therefore preferred to pre-empt any criticism by cancelling the reception altogether.
Did you think that the British Government was the only one to have been in turmoil and involved in outright scandals? Well you’re wrong! France has certainly had its fair share. Lately, the French media have been feasting on scandal!
Shortly after, Christian Blanc, junior minister for the development of the Region-Capital, was found to have spent 12,000 euros on Havana Cigars... a sum that just happened to come out of the government's piggy-bank. The Prime Minister, Francois Fillon, kindly asked him to reimburse the money. His future government involvement seems to have gone up in smoke…
Last but not least, Alain Joyandet, yet another minister, appears to have received an illegal planning permission which allowed him to increase the size of his house in Grimaud, near St Tropez. Strangely, he has since refused to go ahead with the building work.
And the least goes on.
All these scandal snippets put together are evidence that some government officials are enjoying certain advantages which put the French President in a very uncomfortable position when his men are trying to impose some major life changes to the French electorate.
It is therefore critical for the government to be seen to be going on a diet: no more canapés nor champagne! If one wants to celebrate, it will have to be after the economic crisis or maybe they could take a look at how it's done in London where France's representatives have learnt to use the promotional budgets of their commercial contacts rather than spending the government’s.