It was a chic, flattering shape, and showed off her figure but the grey colour was so understated she almost blended into the asphalt. Or perhaps she had matched her clothes to what she had heard about the British weather. Strangely, she changed three times throughout the day, but into variations on the same demure theme. Even at a white-tie state dinner in the evening she eschewed high octane red carpet glamour in favour of a navy silk floor-length dress with delicate jewellery. The sheer cape on the dress ensured that her arms were largely covered, and she exposed nothing more daring than a flash of forearm.
[…] Yesterday’s outfit was teamed with flat ballet pumps, while it was M. Sarkozy who sported shoes with a considerable heel to even out the height difference between him and his beloved.
[The Independent: “French dressing: France’s first lady arrives in Britain”.]
He loves us. He adores us. He reveres us! Listening to Nicolas Sarkozy address Parliament yesterday was like being underneath a torrent of crème Chantilly sprayed from a high-pressure hose.
[…] And we had the vast battle pictures on either side of the room - Waterloo and Trafalgar. “We get them lit especially brightly,” said one attendant. Denis MacShane had come over from the Commons, bubbling with excitement. “Did you hear him on Today? He was completely over the top about Britain - he probably only talks to Carla like that!”
Ah, Carla. She entered, cool, calm and poised, as if nude pictures in the tabloids hadn’t greeted her arrival on our shores. (Why do I suspect Sarko doesn’t care?) She sat at the back of the stage and her audience seemed transfixed. Crusty old codgers who spend their lives steeped in policy documents smiled for the first time in years.
For her husband, the thanks for the war were mere throat clearing. He also loves our parliament. He loves the whole country. Over the years our nation had become “aux yeux de beaucoup d’hommes, un idéal humain et un idéal politique”. It wasn’t just him - the whole world thought we were brilliant!
The audience were entranced. Even the translator could be seen to chop the air and wave in excitement as if she were delivering the speech itself.
“My dear British friends,” he continued. He needed us. The Franco-German axis was all very well, but it was now the Anglo-French axis that mattered.
“I was so often inspired in my youthful days by the greatness of Britain,” he mused. And now he would never forget the hospitality he had been shown. “Vive le Royaume-Uni! Vive la France!”
Somehow we slithered our way through all that cream and gave him the ovation he so obviously craved.
[The Guardian, Simon Hoggart: “One is not amused. But the rest are wowed”.]