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Now that there is plenty of tennis to enjoy on television, it’s the time to tuck into strawberries and cream.

Last week, I bought a punnet of strawberries at our local Tesco (£2 for 400g). I recommend these wholeheartedly. I haven’t tasted such a sweet, flavoursome strawberry in many years.

My English readers should look for the punnet with a label that reads ‘Kentish Supersweet Strawberries’ containing the variety Malling™ Centenary. (Malling is a rural district of Kent.) I put the variety in bold, because I tried another ‘Kentish Supersweet’ variety a few days later, and it was not very good.

Paul Mansfield is the grower. Well done, Mr Mansfield. You made our Pimm’s even more delightful.

Those who favour another option for their berries might want to add a dash of balsamic vinegar and finely sliced basil leaves, both of which are a perfect complement to strawberries. We had a fruit salad with those ingredients 18 years ago in Cannes at La Potinière. The restaurateur mixed the berries and basil with a tablespoon of light olive oil, a few finely sliced black olives, a scant teaspoon of sugar and cracked black pepper on top. He served it in a parfait glass with a long spoon. It sounds like an improbable combination, but it was excellent.

Here is Tesco’s recommendation, along similar lines:

Incidentally, based on customer feedback, The Grocer has named Tesco Britain’s Favourite Supermarket for 2017:

No doubt that is partly because Tesco are committed to reducing food waste and giving food to charity.

They also think of urban dwellers who would like to grow their own produce:

The accompanying article says, in part:

Now a new unique and super-productive indoor tomato plant is being launched by Tesco aimed at helping people living in urban areas without gardens.

The mini tomato plant has been naturally developed over the last five years by produce experts who have bred together varieties to come up with one that is small, compact and most importantly very productive.

By following the care instructions the small, but powerful plants can each produce up to 150 delicious tomatoes with minimal fuss.

A great idea. It looks as if the plants are small enough to be able to take home on public transport with minimal fuss, too. Perfect for summer.

This is not a plug for Tesco, but I will admit to shopping there regularly for nearly 30 years.

Although we associate Cannes with film stars and opulence, the small city has a longstanding religious history thanks to the nearby islands of St Honorat and Ste Marguerite.

The two islands are known as the Îles de Lérins, or Lérins Islands.

Our hotel had copies of an excellent book called Cannes: Jewel of the Mediterranean, parts of which are summarised below with additional sources.

The Ligurian-Celtic connection

Before the Romans began building their vast empire of exploration followed by trade, a more ancient people who were part Ligurian (from the northern Italian Riviera) and part Celtic had explored and colonised parts of the European Mediterranean coastline.

On the two islands near Cannes, they erected a shrine to their goddess Lerina. Nothing more is known about this deity, and the Ligurian-Celtic people disappeared centuries before the Romans arrived.

The Ligurian-Celtic people also gave the city of Cannes its name. In their language, it was Kan, denoting a summit. Many centuries later, when the Provençal language was spoken, this summit was called Le Suquet, where the old part of the city remains today. However, Kan stuck and later became Cannes.

When the Romans arrived, they called the islands Lero (Ste Marguerite) and Lerina (St Honorat), for the Ligurian-Celtic deity.

St Honorat

Germanic tribes invaded the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century, and by 476, it came to an end when Romulus Augustulus abdicated to the warlord Odoacer.

Around a century earlier, a man named Honoratus from northern Gaul — present-day Germany — had converted to Christianity. Honoratus was thought to have been born around 350 AD to a Roman consular family. His parents provided him with an excellent education and he became a highly learned young man.

Around 368, he and his brother Venantius — also a convert — decided to tour the Holy Land, Egypt and Syria. Their guide Caprasius was a pious Christian and took other observant believers along with them.

Venantius died suddenly along the way in what is now Greece, and the group decided to return to Gaul. Honoratus stopped off in Rome then made his way to Provence. He happened to meet Leontius, the Bishop of Fréjus — originally ‘Forum Julii’ — who encouraged the young man to sail to the Lérins and pursue a life of holiness.

Vgeant26.jpgLegend has it that the Lérins were full of snakes at that period in time. Regardless, Honoratus was able to attract faithful Christian men to help him erect a monastery on the island that bears his name today. By the early 5th century, it was built and was the primary achievement of Leontius’s episcopacy. Leontius was later canonised. His name is Léonce in French, and his feast day is December 1.

Many men who were later canonised became disciples of Honoratus, including Hilary of Arles and Patrick, who studied there before he became Ireland’s principal evangelist.

The woodcut at left, courtesy of Wikipedia, depicts the cover of a book by Raymond Féraud about Honoratus’s life written in Provençal around 1300. Near the end of his life, Honoratus was made Bishop of Arles, hence the book title. Hilary of Arles succeeded him and is thought to have been a relative of his.

After Honoratus died, many pilgrims sailed to St Honorat to visit the monastery. The aforementioned book, written centuries later, confirms that his place in Church history was lasting and significant.

It should be noted that the monastery in its present form developed over the centuries.

Ste Marguerite

Legend has it that Honoratus had a sister, Marguerite. According to the story, she became a nun and settled the neighbouring island, building a convent there.

She did so to be close to her beloved brother. However, Honoratus told her he would only visit her when a particular tree was in blossom once a year in March. The legend has it that Marguerite prayed fervently that the tree would flower more often, enabling her to see Honoratus more than once a year.

Her prayers were answered, and the legend says that Honoratus sailed to visit her twelve times a year.

In reality, this story probably came from the aforementioned Provençal book by Raymond Féraud.

It is more likely that crusaders settled the island and built a chapel dedicated to St Margaret of Antioch.

Millennial fear — 1000 AD

At the time of the first Millennium, there was not much to speak of in Cannes at that time. Only a few hundred people lived there then.

Historically, Cannes and the Lérins suffered from foreign invasions, mostly by the Saracens.

The general sentiment as the year 1000 approached was that a terrible apocalyptic fate would befall the area in the form of another foreign invasion.

I put that bit in bold because there are many who think that people were too ignorant to anticipate apocalyptic events around that time. Yet, history tells us otherwise.

Cannes: Jewel of the Mediterranean says that a local count owned the land at that time: Cannes and the Lérins. One of his sons, who became a monk and lived in community on St Honorat, inherited the two islands after his father’s death. He duly gave this land to the monastery so that it would be independent.

The book says that the count had fortified Cannes with a tower and château on Le Suquet — the summit. Other accounts say that the monks built those.

In any event, the area stayed safe during the time immediately before and after the first Millennium. The townspeople of Cannes believed the faith of the monks had kept them and the islands safe from harm. Therefore, they decided to place themselves under the protection of the monastery. This meant that the monks collected certain taxes from them during the year and imposed hefty fines for any infractions, such as unauthorised tours of the islands.

This dependence on the monks lasted until 1530 when Cannes became independent.

Later invasions and government intervention

The islands were not meant to be peaceful for long.

Their strategic positioning attracted other invaders centuries later, including the Spanish in 1635.

Ste Marguerite

At the time the Spanish invaded, Ste Marguerite no longer belonged to the monastery. The Duke of Chevreuse had purchased it in 1612 for strategic reasons. He built a fort — Fort Royal — on the island. France recaptured Ste Marguerite in 1637, and the government expanded the island’s development, building a barracks and state prison there.

In the 18th century, a small village developed on Ste Marguerite, which served the soldiers stationed there.

The prison closed in the 20th century and is best known for housing the mysterious Man in the Iron Mask, whose identity has never been verified.

St Honorat

When the Spanish invaded in 1635, they expelled the monks from St Honorat. The monks went into exile in Vallauris, not far from Cannes, and returned once France had liberated the Lérins.

Once reclaimed, the monastery suffered from later Spanish attacks. The Genoese also attacked the island.

In the 18th century, revolutionary fervour replaced religious faith on St Honorat. By the time the French Revolution took place, only four monks were left on the island. In 1787, the revolutionary government disestablished the monastery, took over ownership of the island and soon sold it to an actress, Mademoiselle de Sainval, who lived there for 20 years.

Fortunately, in 1859, the Bishop of Fréjus purchased the land so that a monastery could be re-established. A community of Cistercian monks settled there in 1869 and that religious order has remained there ever since.

In terms of religious discipline, St Honorat went from a monastic rule of Honoratus to a Benedictine one to the present day Cistercian rule, which also borrows from St Benedict.

Today

Cannes and the Lérins have changed much over the centuries. Frequent ferries from the centre of town link the city to the islands.

St Honorat

Visitors interested not only in Christianity but also wine and food produced at the monastery will enjoy visiting St Honorat.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some services and Masses are open to the public. Those seeking solitude and prayer can spend a quiet day surrounded by nature.

Those seeking more secular pursuits can take advantage of a tasting of the seven monastery wines, eat at the restaurant or bring their own picnic hamper.

Guided tours are provided free of charge.

Ste Marguerite

Ste Marguerite is a mixture of public and private land.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The village still exists, and the owner of the Force India Formula 1 team owns a huge plot of land on the island.

That said, most of Ste Marguerite is known as a nature reserve and a destination for those who enjoy water-oriented sporting pursuits.

One can also tour the old prison, which now has a Museum of the Sea and a youth hostel.

Cannes

The Promenade de la CroisetteCannes remained a small fishing village until the 1830s.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1834 — some say 1835 — Henry Brougham, the 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux, was touring the Côte d’Azur in an attempt to find a place where his daughter Eleonora could find relief from her bronchial ailment. By chance, they stopped in Cannes, where the local hospitality they received was so cordial that they decided to stay.

The fresh air and sea breezes helped Eleonora recover, and he built a residence for her in town.

Lord Brougham told all his friends how splendid Cannes was. It was not long before they arrived in town and, like him, built their own residences either along the seafront or in the neighbouring hills.

By 1870, the town had been transformed into an English home away from home. Cannes’s development preceded Nice’s. It was thanks to Brougham that Nice’s main seafront thoroughfare became known as the Promenade des Anglais.

Brougham lived to see much of Cannes’s transformation from town to city, which probably gave him some cheer in his later years. He outlived his wife and two daughters, which must not have been easy. He died in the city in 1868 and is buried in the local Cimetière du Grand Jas.

European royalty and nobility flocked to Cannes during the middle of the 19th century. An important Russian community of that group also took root.

One French author who knew the area when it was a humble fishing village was appalled by the number, style and size of the foreign-owned villas. However, the English and other Europeans invited him to their parties. He was soon swept up into the new Cannes social swirl and never looked back. Those people became his best friends.

By the end of the 19th century, trains were stopping at Cannes and the city built a tramway to facilitate local transport.

From there, the city grew and grew. It became known as a playground for the wealthy and for film stars. The 70th Cannes Film Festival took place in May 2017.

Many years ago, Cannes erected a statue of Lord Brougham in its city centre. Brougham stands facing a fountain overlooking the sea. It’s a splendid reminder of a remarkable history.

I cannot think of a place on earth that has more to offer in every respect than Cannes. Put it on your bucket list. You won’t be sorry, as long as you visit at the right time.

Cannes is as lovely as ever.

Some of my readers cannot see the attraction, but it all depends on when one sees this jewel of the Mediterranean.

There is a brief window between the end of the annual film festival in May and the beginning of the Cannes Lions advertising festival in June when one can experience the city in near normality. Of course, smaller conferences and another international festival — namely the music industry’s MIDEM — take place at that time, but these do not normally impinge as much on city life as the others do.

I’ll have more to write in the coming days, so this is a summary of impressions that my better half SpouseMouse and I noted this year.

Weather

The weather was perfect from start to finish. It was too hot for SpouseMouse during the second week, but we had wall-to-wall sunshine and warm temps.

By contrast, in 2015, we had some rollicking thunderstorms, including one around 6:30 a.m., which brought everyone in our hotel down to breakfast by 7:00 a.m.

Italians

We were surprised at the number of Italian visitors, given that most French people go to Italy for an inexpensive weekend break or holiday.

Femininity and masculinity maintained

Speaking of Italians, they and the French are firmly maintaining male and female roles. Women are feminine and men are masculine.

This was noticeably less common with visitors from northern Europe and North America.

New restaurants

There were a number of new restaurants that opened near the Marché Gambetta near the railway station. I will write about these in future posts.

These are convenient for people staying (and living) in that area. It also means that diners can readily avoid the street hawkers and musicians who panhandle at night near the bigger seafood restaurants along Rue Félix Faure in the centre of town.

Food prices

Restaurant menu prices haven’t gone up much, if at all, since our last visit in 2015, which is good news.

However, the prices of French food and vegetables at Marché Forville in Le Suquet have increased markedly. I can appreciate French talk radio listeners who ring up RMC to say that they do without home-grown produce, buy less of it or plump for Spanish fruit and vegetables which are much less expensive.

French produce is definitely cheaper at the supermarket than at the market stall.

Meat, whether at a butcher’s or the supermarket, is incredibly expensive, probably 50% higher than in the UK.

Shopping

Clothing prices are about the same as in 2015.

One can still find terrific bargains in natural fabrics for men and women at Monoprix and in Rue Meynadier, both of which attract Cannes residents as well as tourists.

Fun Mod’ in Rue Meynadier still has durable, traditional espadrilles in all adult sizes and colours for €6 a pair. You can’t get a better bargain.

Service

Service continues to improve in restaurants, both in terms of getting plates to the table and communication. We can speak French reasonably well, but many wait staff spoke in English initially to be helpful.

Cleanliness

Cannes is a smooth running ship in terms of hygiene.

We did not see any litter. (There are fines of €180 if the authorities see someone littering.)

I saw only one small bit of graffiti — in the upmarket Rue d’Antibes.

The dustmen went around at least daily — twice a day on Tuesdays and Fridays — to collect trash and recycling. There was a man who rode a machine that swept and cleansed the sidewalks of Rue d’Antibes every afternoon.

The majority of dog owners — of which there were plenty — were very serious about cleaning up after their pets, so there was very little canine detritus.

Conclusion

We had a lovely time. For once, we were able to stay for two weeks. The hotel was perfect. We had a room with a sea view and a spacious terrace. The hotel beach was great and the sea water soothing.

I am four to five shades darker than when I left Blighty, for which I am grateful.

More to come now and then over the next week or two. I have much to say.

Bruce Bawer — an American who has lived in Europe for nearly two decades — wrote an excellent essay for PJ Media, ‘What Happened in France?’

It offers a post-mortem of Emmanuel Macron’s victory on Sunday, May 7, 2017 and explains how it happened.

With an upcoming parliamentary election taking place in Britain on Thursday, June 8, it seems apposite to look at voting patterns in the two countries.

Before I excerpt Bawer’s editorial, I, too, have noticed a certain voting behaviour in France and the UK, two countries I know well. I live in the UK and see that voters are reluctant not so much to go to the polls as they are to actually vote in a way that reverses globalism. People in other parts of Europe, e.g. France, are similarly skittish.

The hive mind is a powerful thing in Europe. The globalists created it through politically correct thinking and make jolly good use of it via the media and pollsters.

Two recent British shockers were David Cameron’s victory in May 2015 and the referendum vote for Brexit in 2016. Both results surprised everyone. This is because we were under constant onslaught by print and broadcast media to vote against the Conservatives and Brexit.

Even now that Theresa May is the occupant of No. 10, politics remains a touchy subject. As I’ve said many times before, it’s not something I discuss much with people I know, even with fellow Conservatives, some of whom are quite wet — squishy, for my American readers — about Brexit. They think voters should have gone for Remain last June.

Howeverand this is something Bruce Bawer did not mention in his pieceEuropeans do not have a well developed online alternative media universe comprising independent journalists, citizen journalists and political fora. This, to me, is the principal difference between the UK and Europe.

Bawer’s article is well worth reading and passing along to friends. I’ll try to excerpt as little as possible, because it probably took him a long time to write.

Americans are probably still scratching their heads over 2017 election results, not only in France but in the Netherlands. Both resulted in preserving a self-destructive status quo, one that increases terror and diminishes national identity.

Bawer says that Europeans feel a collective guilt about their former colonies and political movements. Therefore, they feel the need for perpetual atonement (emphases mine below):

One way of trying to answer it is to look at countries one by one. For example, the Brits and French feel guilty about their imperial histories, and hence find it difficult to rein in the descendants of subject peoples. The Germans feel guilty about their Nazi past – and the Swedes feel guilty about cozying up to Nazis – and thus feel compelled to lay out the welcome mat for, well, just about anybody. The Dutch, similarly, are intensely aware that during the Nazi occupation they helped ship off a larger percentage of their Jews to the death camps than any other Western European country, and feel a deep need to atone.

Then there’s postmodernism:

According to postmodern thinking, no culture is better than any other – and it’s racist to say otherwise. No, scratch that – other cultures are, in fact, better than Western culture. Whites, by definition, are oppressors, imperialists, and colonialists, while “people of color” are victims.

We are in denial about terrorist attacks:

The plainer the truth got, in fact, the more fiercely they resisted it. And as skilled propagandists began to represent Muslims as the mother of all victim groups, many Westerners were quick to buy into it all …

But – and this is a fact that some of us are thoroughly incapable of identifying with, and thus almost thoroughly incapable of graspingsome people don’t want to know the truth. And if they do know the truth, they want to un-know it.

These are not intellectuals or socio-political elites, but ordinary people of various income groups and educational levels:

I’m talking about people who, in everyday life, come across as thoroughly good and decent – but who, when push comes to shove, just don’t want to rock the boat. That’s a lot of people. Maybe most. People who are nice so long as it’s easy to be nice

There are kind people who, the minute there’s any hint of trouble – which means, way before the death-camp round-up begins – prefer to lie low. Their highest value isn’t truth or virtue or beauty or even long-term security for them and their families but the ability to buy another day without major trouble.

You’d think they’d be able to look forward at least some distance into the future and dwell on that grim prospect. Able to see their children, their grandchildren, and so forth, living under sharia law. If, indeed, lucky to be living at all.

But I think it needs to be recognized that for some people, seeing that far into the future is just beyond their intellectual grasp. Or beyond what they dare to envision

Bawer posits that a lot of these people can see what is actually happening to Europe but they are ‘terrified’ to do anything about it, even at the ballot box.

This is why a Conservative victory in 2015 and Brexit victory in 2016 were so significant for Britain. I had hoped our continental neighbours would follow suit this year, but, alas, it was not meant to be. The Germans are likely to see Angela Merkel continue her chancellorship later this year.

Bawer says that Europeans are now so cowed into submission, even a private vote can’t help:

You might think that, once in the voting booth, these people would be able – and not just able but eager, desperate even – to stand up against the powers above them that have turned their countries upside down and assert their power as citizens. But everything around them has conspired all their lives to render them incapable of feeling that power – or, perhaps, has rendered them incapable of feeling that they have the moral right to exercise that power in the way that their gut is begging them to.

That still, quiet voice in their heads, which I would describe as a voice of plain reason and common sense, is up against the resounding voices of all the higher-ups shouting in unison – the leading voices of politics, business, the academia, the media, and so on – that they’ve been bred from infancy to respect and take seriously. To, indeed, obey

So it is that even in a secret ballot, it takes European voters a remarkable amount of nerve to resist the thunderous chorus of voices from above urging them to vote against their own interests; it feels like nothing less than an act of treason to heed the meek little voices in their own heads begging them to do the opposite – to do what’s actually best for themselves and their loved ones.

Bawer nails it perfectly in his next sentence:

They’ve been psychologically manipulated to the point where they truly believe, on some level, at least in some Orwellian doublethink kind of way, that acting in clear defense of their own existence, their own culture, their own values, and their own posterity, is an act of ugly prejudice.

Yes — that’s it in a nutshell.

I see it here in the elderly — people old enough to know better — and I see it in the middle-aged and the young.

Europeans must wake up and vote for what is right and good.

I sincerely hope that Britain will do so again on June 8.

Yesterday’s post related how Emmanuel Macron met Brigitte Trogneux, his wife and former teacher.

Today’s post describes a bit more about his youth and Brigitte’s involvement.

When he was a little boy, Macron often went to his maternal grandmother’s house. Germaine, who died in 2013, was a retired schoolteacher. She instilled in her grandson a love of books and education. She was also keen for him to become a politician. She died in 2013. However, from the beginning, he was accustomed to being around older people.

When Macron was 15, he was a student at the Jesuit-run La Providence school in Amiens. Trogneux, then Mme Auzière — a mother of three, married to André-Louis Auzière — taught French and drama. The first lady of France told an interviewer before her husband became president that when the young Macron auditioned for the school play:

‘I just found him incredible. He had such presence.’

She went on: ‘Without doubt he wasn’t like the others. He was always with the teachers. He simply wasn’t an adolescent.’

The Daily Mail has photos of this particular production, including her giving him a congratulatory kiss at the end.

She was close to her 40th birthday at the time.

The Mail researched several of her interviews with French media, one of which had this:

‘At the age of 17, Emmanuel said to me, ‘Whatever you do, I will marry you!’,’ Miss Trogneux told Paris Match magazine last year.

Macron’s parents were less than pleased. Heavy has 5 Fast Facts about Trogneux, including a description of how things unfolded at home in 1993 (emphases mine below):

According to the book Emmanuel Macron: A Perfect Young Man by Anne Fulda, Macron’s parents told Trogneux to stay away from their son, at least until he was 18.

As Vogue notes, Macron’s parents tried to split them up by sending Macron to Paris to finish his studies, but that didn’t work.

“I cannot promise you anything,” Trogneux told his parents, Fulda writes, notes Reuters. Their relationship continued and they married in 2007, after Trogneux and her husband divorced.

Macron’s parents told Fulda that they believed their son was actually going after the heart of Trogneux’s daughter. They were stunned to hear that this wasn’t the case.

We couldn’t believe it. What is clear is that when Emmanuel met Brigitte we couldn’t just say: ‘That’s great,’” Macron’s mother told Fulda.

Then there was the possibility of Macron not having his own children. Starting one’s own family is a top priority in France. Macron’s mother had words for her son’s teacher:

She is quoted as telling Trogneux, “Don’t you see. You’ve had your life. But he won’t have children with you.”

This came true. Macron stated the reasons why:

During a BMFTV interview in April, Macron made it clear that he and his wife have decided not to have any children, Gala notes. He’s already the step-grandfather of seven children.

We have chosen not to have children. A choice that was not selfish for me,” he told BMFTV. “It is a choice that has been assumed, which I had to make very young given the age difference …”

As the years passed, time healed the wounds between Macron’s parents and the May-December couple:

Although Fulda did interview Macron and Trogneux, Macron’s spokesman said he was disappointed that she didn’t ask about his parents’ approval of the relationship.

And, yes, the middle-aged teacher probably had broken the law, however:

Emmanuel’s parents were keen on emphasizing that they did not lodge a complaint against Brigitte Auziere (Trogneux’s married name) for corruption of a minor,” Macron’s spokesman said, reports Reuters.

Even today, years later, she said:

“Nobody will ever know at what moment our story became a love story. That belongs to us. That is our secret,” Trogneux is quoted as saying in the book.

Macron, 39, is two years younger than his step-son. He is the same age as his elder step-daughter and was a classmate of hers. He is only nine years older than Brigitte’s youngest child, Tiphaine Auzière.

Tiphaine, a lawyer, worked on Macron’s campaign.

Brigitte is very close to her second husband. The couple firmly expect that she will have an important role to play in his presidency.

One wonders whether she will have the family chocolates in the Elysée Palace. Heavy points out:

Trogneux’s parents were Jean Trogneux and Simone Pujol. They had six children, with Trogneux as the youngest, according to Geneanet.org.

L’Express notes that Trogneux’s family is well-known in the north of France for their chocolates. Her nephew, Jean-Alexandre Trogneux, leads the family business, which made four million euros in 2013 alone.

The Jean Trogneux website has a full list of merchandise. The chocolates and other specialities are very pricey.

There’s a joke here, because the company makes the famous Macaron d’Amiens, which Catherine de Medici introduced in the 16th century:

The company’s best-known product are their macaroons, or Mac[a]rons d’Amiens. In 2014, a local jokingly told Le Parisien that, “We already had the macaroon from Amiens. Now we also have the Macron d’Amiens!”

Such an unusual marriage cannot be without rumour:

Macron’s unconventional marriage has led some to speculate that he’s secretly gay. Back in February, he laughed off rumors that he was having an affair with Radio France CEO Mathieu Gallet … The Telegraph reports.

The NATO meeting and G7 summit last week put Brigitte Trogneux in the world spotlight. One French report said that Trogneux has the world at her feet (see the first 1:51 minutes):

Not everyone commenting on the video agreed (translation mine below):

It’s more like Melania Trump who has the world at her feet!

Trogneux, 64, has teenage legs, to be sure. However, she doesn’t need to show them off so much at every opportunity.

Here’s another video of her attire contrasted with Melania Trump’s:

In closing, below are links with photos of Macron’s family from his inauguration ceremony.

The senior Macrons have been divorced for several years. However, Jean-Michel and Françoise Nogues-Macron were photographed together at the Elysée. Macron’s mother is a retired physician and his father is a professor of neurology at the University Hospital in Amiens. Macron’s brother Laurent, a radiologist in the Paris region, is two years younger than the president and was at the ceremony, although no one in the media knows what he looks like. Their younger sister Estelle, a kidney specialist near Toulouse, did not attend.

One cannot help but wonder whether Macron, too, would have gone into medicine if his secondary school years hadn’t changed him so much.

In any event, I’m still thinking about a husband cuckolded by a 15-year-old and a set of very shocked parents. It’s disgusting.

What follows is the background to Brigitte Trogneux and Emmanuel Macron’s past.

The following tweets say:

‘It’s true that sleeping with students of 15 years of age is completely gross, borderline predatory, but it’s a woman, so it’s okay’. (Sarcasm alert there.)

When journalists put romance in a story of corruption of a minor by a person in authority. Beauty in what is ugly.’

My translation of the article follows:

When she met Emmanuel Macron, then aged 15, Brigitte Trogneux was married to a certain André-Louis Auzière. A portrait of her first husband and the father of her three children.

Brigitte Macron never leaves Emmanuel Macron’s side: an important source of support that the presidential candidate never missed emphasising during his numerous speeches and regular meetings. It has to be said that the couple are very closely knit, despite their significant age difference. The two lovebirds met in 1993 in a context more academic than romantic. At the time, Brigitte Trogneux was a French and drama teacher in the city of Amiens and very much married …

Coming from the comfortable middle class in Amiens, the young Brigitte Trogneux married André-Louis Auzière, two years her senior, although she was only 21 at the time. The ceremony took place in Le Touquet in June 1974. The son of an accountant in the public sector, André-Louis Auzière worked in a bank, the Crédit du Nord, and lived in Paris. He was born in the small town of Éséka, situated in northwestern Cameroon, as his father worked as a civil servant in this former French colony.

Emmanuel Macron born the same year as his step-daughter

The year after their marriage, André-Louis was transferred to Strasbourg. The couple began a new adventure in Alsace, soon followed by the birth of their son Sébastien that same year. Two years later, little Laurence arrived on the scene. She was born in the same year as Emmanuel Macron: 1977. André-Louis and Brigitte returned to live in Amiens, where, in 1984, they welcomed the arrival of their third and last child, Tiphaine. As she reached the age of 40, Brigitte seemed, for all intents and purposes, happy … however.

During a theatre workshop, she met young Emmanuel Macron, then 15 years old. She rapidly fell under his spell, intelligence and ardour. Anne Fulda, author of the book Emmanuel Macron, un jeune homme si parfait (‘Such a perfect young man’), wrote in the biography, ‘She spoke little of André-Louis Auzière. […] Because there were things she did not want to, or could not, say? In any event, he certainly was not making her very happy’.

Romantic encounters in Paris

The teacher and student began seeing each other outside of school … and were soon noticed by the residents of Amiens. On the one hand, those close to Emmanuel Macron opposed this romance taking place while her marriage was foundering more and more. The teacher finally left to work in Paris, where she met up with her young lover who [by then] was studying at Henri IV high school. In 2006, the Grand Tribunal in Amiens granted a divorce to Brigitte and André-Louis Auzière. One year later, she married Emmanuel Macron in Le Touquet for the continuation of an enduring love story.

Ugh!

I have more on this to come, but, to clarify: Macron’s parents pulled him out of La Providence, the Jesuit school in Amiens where Trogneux was teaching, and sent him to Paris to Henri IV, a secondary school in the Latin Quarter that, despite its motto ‘A Home for All’, prepares its students for admission into the most elite institutions of higher education. Little did the Macrons know that Brigitte was fully prepared to follow their son to the capital.

In closing, two geographical notes: Amiens is a cathedral city in the north of France and Le Touquet is a popular upmarket resort not too far away on the coast. It is also known as a place for lovers, so it comes as no surprise that people go there to get married.

For all his words during the presidential campaign lauding diversity, Emmanuel Macron has a remarkably un-diverse cabinet.

I normally wouldn’t say anything, but back in February, Teen Vogueincreasingly political and left-wing — took President Donald Trump apart for his lack of cabinet diversity:

President Donald Trump just shared a photo on Twitter late Thursday night from the @POTUS account that features the president sitting at his Oval Office desk surrounded by 12 others … And because nothing gets by the good people of the Internet, many immediately pointed out how much the photo is lacking in diversity: Everyone in the photo appears to be white, and there is only one woman included.

This was the offending tweet:

On May 8, Bloomberg speculated on who would be in Macron’s cabinet. The article oohs and ahhs over the people coming in from the elite Sciences-Po and ENA (École Nationale d’Administration). Macron attended both, by the way:

The following tweet shows Macron’s staff:

What would Teen Vogue say? Probably nothing. It’s too inconvenient a truth.

Emmanuel Macron officially became France’s president on Sunday, May 14, 2017.

The Daily Mail has a good write up, with plenty of repetitive photos of Macron’s £380 suit from Jonas and Cie and his 64-year-old wife Brigitte Trogneux’s teenage legs. Trogneux wore a powder blue Louis Vuitton suit, price unknown.

On the night he won the first round, Trogneux wore skin tight black leather trousers and a cropped jacket. Seen from the back, she could have been mistaken for a much younger woman.

But I digress.

The Mail has a photo of Macron’s parents, likely the only contemporary one we will ever see.

Sunday began with a huge red carpet rolled out at the Elysée Palace. After the ceremony inside, Hollande stood on the Elysée steps for the final time to rapturous applause. Macron escorted Hollande to a waiting car.

From there, the new president then went up the Champs Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe to lay a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier. A military ceremony took place.

After lunch at the Elysée Palace, Macron made a traditional presidential trip to the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall), which looked like this earlier in the day. Presumably, more people attended:

Then again, judging from the next tweet, I’m not so sure.

The caption translates as ‘The sadness of a president elected by default. No one there to acclaim him, nowhere. This pretence of a celebration!’:

It’s important to note the following:

Mr Macron, the former unelected Economy Minister, left Mr Hollande’s government to form his own electoral movement, En Marche! [On the Move], in April 2016.

Despite this, Hollande said he wanted today’s handover of power to be ‘simple, clear and friendly’…

The 64-year-old [Hollande] launched Macron’s political career, plucking him from the world of investment banking to be an advisor and then his economy minister.

‘I am not handing over power to a political opponent, it’s far simpler,’ Hollande said on Thursday.

Absolutely.

The plan from the beginning was for Macron to win. Macron is Hollande’s heir apparent.

Macron had to run under another label, hence he created his own movement.

This is because the weakness of Hollande’s presidency had tarnished the Parti Socialiste (PS) so much that everyone knew they would have a tough time winning.

That said, Manuel Valls, a law and order candidate, would have been a very strong favourite. However, through party machine sabotage, Valls came second in the PS primaries to the lacklustre former education minister Benoît Hamon. There was no way that Hamon could have beaten the conservative François Fillon, who was top in the polls in January 2017.

In order for Macron to win — the plan all along — Fillon, Nicolas Sarkozy’s prime minister, had to be brought down. This began happening on January 25, through a series of alleged financial scandals which dogged him until April, effectively stopping his campaign.

With Fillon out of the way, Macron had a clear path to victory. The French do not want Marine Le Pen in the Elysée.

The beauty of Macron’s En Marche! is that, even if he makes a total hash of his five years in office, the PS will have regrouped by then and En Marche! can be quietly put to sleep, with its leader likely moving on to bigger and better things in the private sector.

The following tweet sums up the situation as Hollande left office:

All the above points explain the highly negative tweets surrounding Macron:

To clarify: if a French traveller’s stay is under 90 days, there is no visa requirement.

French presidents traditionally make their first trip to Germany, a pattern that Macron duly followed.

This will not end well.

I will have two posts on Macron’s private life coming up soon.

On Friday, May 12, 2017, I posted a timeline of French media articles about the new French president Emmanuel Macron, most of which concerned his finances.

Anti-Macron French people wonder if the lack of transparency about his personal finances could, if investigated, turn out to be as significant as the Cahuzac affair which saw a former minister of François Hollande’s jailed for three years last December. Dr Cahuzac, originally a surgeon, is also prohibited from holding office for five years.

In February, someone pointed out that Macron, economics minister for François Hollande’s administration, got his start in politics from Cahuzac:

My post also mentioned an article from the Médiapart readers’ site, Club Médiapart, which proved explosive, creating a firestorm of media reaction. Essentially, it asked if Emmanuel Macron is a new Cahuzac.

Médiapart‘s editor Edwy Plénel had to tell the media that the views expressed on Club Médiapart have nothing whatsoever to do with Médiapart‘s editorial line. That said, despite numerous requests to take the article of April 14 down, Plénel refused, saying it did not violate any of their terms and conditions.

The Club Médiapart article did not have much on Cahuzac himself. Most of it focussed on Macron, 39, being an establishment creation, and — although the author did not use the following words, I will — a Manchurian Candidate.

Excerpts and a summary follow, translation and emphases mine.

First, how can one explain the meteoric rise of the youngest president in France’s history?

… the facts are stubborn. Macron’s journey does not go unnoticed without raising some questions: by what means can an individual, unknown until a few months ago, find himself in such a position? To be sure, talent and self-discipline can explain the stunning rapidity of such a trajectory, but, on the other hand, political life is far from linear, and to play a certain role in it, as in the theatre, one must have great directors.

We are convinced that Emmanuel Macron, contrary to appearances and his repetitive chant on reforming the practices of the political world, is not exempt from the old constraints which govern this particular world.

Then there is a certain irony of the public seeing early photos of Macron as a boy acting in a school play, which provides a reference point for his future as an adult. Even better, his drama teacher — now his wife — Brigitte Trogneux had directed the production. What did that portend for Macron’s future?

There is the stage where Emmanuel Macron performs and plays a tailor-made role, and then there is the backstage, where we find characters as diverse as Brigitte Trogneux, Henry Hermand ([recently deceased] multimillionaire, great financier of the Second [modern] Left, and mentor of Macron), François Henrot (Director of the Rothschild bank), David Rothschild (head of the business bank), Jean-Pierre Jouyet (secretary general of the Elysée) and, of course, Francois Hollande.

And there are more establishment figures in Macron’s universe:

So many complex characters, who have alternately played a considerable part in the rise of Macron to the highest levels of the republic. So many characters to whom Macron is devoted, and necessarily indebted. To these key players, we must add the media and financial ecosystem that has anointed him. Alain Minc, Jacques Attali, Pierre Bergé and Patrick Drahi, all these actors have played a more or less direct role in his political journey.

In other words, Macron is anything but an anti-establishment candidate. He is a globalist of the first water.

Don’t be deceived by the media craze. In fact, a radio programme that went against the grain was not allowed to be rebroadcast:

At the beginning of April, a show on LCI, Médiasphère, revealed candidate Macron’s artificiality. Depicted as a puppet serving extraordinary interests, Macron was laid bare during the show. The media effect of this broadcast of a few tens of minutes was such that LCI was forced to cancel the repeat of Médiasphère.

My post of Friday, May 5 explained how two strong candidates — the conservative Francois Fillon and the socialist Manuel Valls — had to be cleared out of the way for Macron to win. The Club Médiapart author says Macron is far from a genius:

Macron is a theatre actor, endowed with a questionable talent, as shown by his poor performance in the various presidential debates. Behind the scenes, a crowd of individuals, more or less commendable, write his role for him, draw up his replies, choreograph him and create the backdrop.

The author concludes that Macron we see is not the true Macron. Who is Emmanuel Macron really?

Yesterday, I profiled The Rebel Media’s Jack Posobiec, whom Emmanuel Macron is targetting for summarising news on his financial affairs based on a data dump from 4chan.

In that post, I mentioned a much more incriminating Twitter hash tag than the one Posobiec was posting on.

#EmmanuelCahuzac was used by the French to discuss financial documents that came out in French media earlier this year — at a time when North Americans were largely unaware of them.

My post on Posobiec explains why #EmmanuelCahuzac is so called. (There is also #MacronCahuzac.) Again, no one is implying that Macron was involved in the Cahuzac affair. People commenting are concerned that Macron’s financial situation, if investigated, could be of the same magnitude. No one wants to see another Cahuzac affair, which took three years to investigate.

That said, as far back as February 25 — before these hashtags were created — a Twitter user asked people not to forget that Macron got his start in politics thanks to Dr Cahuzac, a surgeon, later parliamentarian, who served as junior minister to the budget in François Hollande’s administration. He is now serving three years in prison, as of December 2016:

Earlier that month, on February 3, Le Figaro reported that Macron was quick off the mark in winning the support of the former anti-corruption judge Eric Halphen in Lyon. It could stand him in good stead.

On February 18, a Journal du Dimanche (JDD, ‘Sunday Journal’) article asked probing questions about Macron’s finances and wondered why Big Media were giving him a pass.

On March 2, Le Monde reported that the Belgian newspaper Le Soir stated that Macron:

was financed ‘more than 30%’ by ‘the kingdom of Saudi Arabia’.

However, Le Monde stated, there was a problem. The allegation came from lesoir.info, not lesoir.be. Lesoir.be is the real link to the genuine Le Soir. Therefore, the Saudi story was fake news.

The rest of this post documents highlights in the #EmmanuelCahuzac timeline from the beginning — March 14 — through May 5, before the 44-hour media blackout.

This is to demonstrate that American alternative media journalists have very little to do with Macron. They came in at the end. A lot of information had already been circulating in France and Belgium before then. That also means Hillary Clinton should stop braying about Russian hacking.

Important articles are also included, indicated by green arrows.

Translation and emphases mine throughout, unless otherwise indicated.

Mar 14: This is the first #EmmanuelCahuzac tweet asking what happened to Macron’s millions:

=> => The Challenges article, also from March 14, says that the French anti-corruption organisation, Anticor, had contacted the Haute Autorité pour la Transparence de la Vie Publique (HATVP) — High Authority for Transparency in Public Life — regarding Macron’s financial situation. Anticor stated that there appears to be a ‘lack of coherence between revenue and declared holdings’. Le Parisien broke the story on March 13.

=> => On March 16, Macron signed a nine-page financial disclosure form for the HATVP.

=> => On March 22, Les Crises said that the March 16 HATVP disclosure of Macron’s finances answered some of their questions, particularly regarding his recent book sales. That said, Les Crises pointed out that several of their questions concerning Macron’s financial situation remained unanswered.

=> => On March 24, Médiapart published an article, ‘Luxembourg, the preferred tax haven for those close to Macron’. They do not mention family, only close associates.

=> => On April 3, Entreprise.news asked what exactly happened to Macron’s earnings from Rothschild during his employment there:

More than three million euros in salary and bonuses over three and a half years.

The author states:

it is often the practice in large international investment banks to pay these bonuses in Luxembourg investment fund shares, for example: nothing is illegal, but it may be wise to turn them into pseudo work on the family homePeople like Macron in France are constantly sailing close to the wind, very close to insider behavior, and would certainly be worried if we were in the Anglo-Saxon world or if the influence of large institutions were not so dominant in our country.

As for François Fillon, the conservative candidate and former prime minister who was dogged by alleged financial scandals from the beginning of the year because Macron never could have beaten him otherwise, the article says:

By the way, François Fillon: you are a small player with your mini-scandal. The technocratic government has known for a long time how to reconcile the moral postures of champagne socialists with an inextinguishable thirst for easy money without the citizens realizing it.

=> => On April 10, an article in Contrepoints states that, based on the aforementioned Enterprise.news article, the conservative think tank IREF has contacted the public prosecutor’s department regarding a declaration of Macron’s assets, one which raises many questions. Contrepoints shows the IREF’s request in full, then explains:

The analysis here is essentially technical and shows that, if Emmanuel Macron really invested €500,000 in work on his wife’s house, he could not account for the transactions he presented in his declaration of assets …

Does this mean that Emmanuel Macron has deliberately sought to defraud? Probably not in the sense that some understand it, that is, with the premeditation worthy of a great, money-grubbing mafioso. On the other hand, it is more plausible that Emmanuel Macron found a convenient way to escape tax by exploiting a loophole, the risk of which he did not properly assess at the time.

For the big institutions, however, the zeal shown against Les Républicains [Fillon] and the Front National, as well as the passivity towards a presidential candidate who appears in many respects as a man of the the establishment becomes a real problem, the importance of which cannot be underestimated, especially if Macron were to qualify for the second round.

=> => On April 14, the aforementioned think tank IREF elaborated on their reasons why they wanted Macron’s finances investigated. Their article poses 15 questions which, they state, have not yet been answered. They conclude (emphasis in the original):

These elements [of the story] cannot be dismissed out of hand. Mr Macron must explain himself without delay or the judicial authorities will get involved. Transparency in public life must be applied with equal rigour to everyone.

=> => Also on April 14, a Médiapart reader posted an article on the readers’ site, Club Médiapart, which proved explosive, creating a firestorm of media reaction. Essentially, it asked if Emmanuel Macron was a new Cahuzac. (I will address it in a future post.) Médiapart‘s editor Edwy Plénel had to tell the media that the views expressed on Club Médiapart have nothing whatsoever to do with Médiapart‘s editorial line. That said, despite numerous requests to take the article down, Plénel refused, saying it did not violate any of their terms and conditions. Note the aforementioned real-deal Médiapart article from March 24.

April 16: the constant accusations against François Fillon and his family actually began attracting undecided voters before the first round of voting on Sunday, April 23. RMC (talk radio) received calls and heard from their guests that he and his family were being dragged through the mud. None of it seemed right, especially when no one was looking at Macron’s finances. A Twitter user complained about coverage on RMC’s sister channel, BFMTV:

On April 17, the JDD (also see their aforementioned article from February 18) reported on Macron’s interview with Jean-Jacques Bourdin on BFMTV, wherein the candidate — now president — called speculation on his finances fausses nouvelles —  ‘fake news’. Already talk was circulating about an offshore account. The JDD reported:

“People said, ‘There has been some trickery,'” said the former business banker, who wanted to cut short the rumours about a possible “hidden account” in a tax haven: Totally false. “

He also told Bourdin something incredible:

In six years, I earned €3mAt the end, I had €270,000 in savings.

=> => Following the BFMTV interview on April 17, Marianne posted an article that afternoon warning that Macron should be more forthcoming in his answers:

In any event, his declarations du jour will have to be addressed at some point, because the candidate of En Marche does not keep any documents in the public domain or available to journalists, which would make it possible to confirm his statements.

April 17: A Belgian researcher put together a brief slideshow showing how many fake Twitter accounts had been created using @Médiapart, after the aforementioned Club Médiapart editorial of April 14 — which, again, has nothing to do with the magazine’s editors or editorial line. The Belgian thinks the new Twitter accounts are bogus. It could be that those were Club Médiapart members who wanted to contribute to #EmmanuelCahuzac. This researcher, by the way, was the one who implicated Jack Posobiec in another anti-Macron hashtag. The only problem with that argument is that Posobiec created his Twitter account in 2012:

=> => Also on April 17, the Huffington Post (French edition) tied all these strands together and said that Macron was behind the curve if he thought that his aforementioned BFMTV interview would clear the air. The online chatter had already started with #EmmanuelCahuzac, the Club Medipart editorial and Nicolas Vanderbiest’s findings on supposed fake Twitter accounts.

April 17: Someone says that Macron’s stepchildren (he has no children of his own) have Swiss bank accounts (fric is slang for ‘money’) and that there is something not right about the house renovation:

April 21: L’Express deleted an article published on this date:

May 3: At this point, the English-language articles began circulating, the first being from ZeroHedge, which discussed the Disobedient Media investigation into an alleged Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Nevis called La Providence, after the Jesuit school Macron attended in Amiens.

May 4: Le Monde reported that, during the presidential debate the previous evening, Marine Le Pen told Macron:

Be careful in what you say, Mr Macron. I hope we won’t learn anything in the coming days … I hope we won’t find out you have a hidden account in the Bahamas.

I recall reading an American tweet at the weekend: ‘It’s not in the Bahamas. It’s in the Caymans.’

May 5: A French Twitter user found the Got News article that Posobiec referenced in his video of May 5. She asks whether BFMTV was economical with the truth regarding documents linked to a possible offshore account of Macron’s:

May 5: Police seized a Frenchman’s banderole, which had writing equating Macron with Cahuzac, and held him for questioning for two hours.

May 5: Lara.Poutou saw Jack Posobiec’s tweet on 4chan data dump. La toile means ‘the web’:

That was nearly the final tweet on #emmanuelcahuzac.

In conclusion, the French had far more to do with questioning Emmanuel Macron’s finances than the American alternative media did.

The only thing that might have really riled Macron up was their pursuit of an alleged offshore account.

WikiLeaks is investigating the authenticity of the 4chan /pol/ data dump.

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