Valerie strips French president “naked”.

Valerie Trierweiler

Valerie Trierweiler

That adage “Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned’’ must have lodged into the mind of French president Francois Hollande since  “Merci Pour Ce Moment’’ the memoir of  his jilted girlfriend hit book shelves.

Valerie Trierweiler, who was the first lady of France, for 18 months, has vented her rage and aired her humiliation into the book, the sales of which have turned her into a millionaire overnight


One wonders why sales now stand at almost 700,000 when Trieweiler claims she has not divulged either state secrets or details of her sex life with the French president, who clearly hides his surprising sex appeal behind an almost nerdish, bespeckled,, balding persona.


The 320-page expose, described by French magazine, Paris Match as her “cry of love and slow descent into hell’’,  is believed to have earned her about 2 million euros or A$2.8 million.

Valerie Trierweiler has never been a popular figure in the eyes of the French public. While she claims Hollande seduced her away from her husband and her three sons,  Hollande’s long-term partner and former French presidential candidate Segolene Royale has the opposite spin on the beginnings of the affair.  Even Trierweiler admits in the book that Royale telephoned her twice warning her to stay away from the father of her four children (when Trierweiler conveniently claimed her innocence). In desperation, Royale finally  gave her wayward common law husband an ultimatum in the middle of her presidential campaign – that classic   “Her or Me’’.

Segolene Royal, ex long-time partner of French president Francois Hollande

Segolene Royal, ex long-time partner of French president Francois Hollande

Actually,Trierweiler had been on the scene as the mistress  for eight years before Hollande  was elected president and Royale lost to Sarkozy who was elected president of France seven years ago. Facts do speak, Valerie.

So this woman scorned has whitewashed her own role as seductress as if she innocently succumbed to Hollande in that two-star hotel in Limoges right back in 2004.

“He was impossible to resist,’’ she writes.


After the May 2012 French election when Hollande swept into power, he moved into the Elysee Palace and so did she.  He announced her as  “First Lady” and  Mademoiselle Trierweiler soon had  a personal staff of five, at a cost to French taxpayers of €20,000 (£16,400) a month. Her existence riled the public who carried a sense of injustice for Segolene, who, with Francois, had been socialist royalty for 24 years.  In a country where the existence of mistresses is  far more commonplace, there is still heightened bitterness towards “the other woman’’.


Another reason for Trierweiler’s unpopularity is that she has scandalised the Palace with the juiciest scandal to hit politics since Clinton-Lewinsky in the US.  And hung all the dirty linen in public.

Media attention to top public figures’ love lives has long been taboo in France, with most media abiding by the unwritten rule that disclosure stops at the bedroom door.

Such rules were torn up by Trierweiler, a journalist, as the book reveals jealousy, love and despair at the Elysee palace and, at the same time, takes political swipes at the socialist leader who is portrayed as an indecisive man who hates the poor. But Hollande was definite in his midnight trysts with French actress/comedienne Julie Guyet, sneaking to her apartment on a motor cycle like a million other Parisians.

One French literary critic condemned  the memoir was akin to “sentimental pornography”.

Secret Life of France. author Lucy Wadham,  says on The Guardian’s website that Trierweiler is even more unpopular than the president – and that is certainly claiming something.

“She’s being attacked on all sides –by left and right, male and female. Front National leader, Marine Le Pen, called her book “indecent” and “a dishonour to France”,’’ she writes of Hollande’s rival political leader.

“ Female Le Monde columnists Françoise Fressoz and Pascale Robert-Diard were no less punishing: “Valérie Trierweiler is trying with this book to repair her image… as the hysteric, the husband thief, the vengeful woman’’, she quotes.

Adding to any woes she might be experiencing as the money rolls in at her feet, Trierweiler’s book has been banned by booksellers across France. But,  Amazon sales usurped Fifty Shades of Grey’s five year best-selling run in a few days.

Rather than a plethora of interviews and excerpts, the French media has boycotted the publication..

How to explain the vehemence of these attacks? Trierweiler has broken a fundamental principle of French political life, an unwritten law inherited from the Ancien Régime and perpetuated by France’s revolutionary nomenklatura, that the private life – and that generally  means sex life – of a public figure must remain inviolable. Nor are the French people concerned by presidential infidelity.  They have come to expect a certain faithlessness in their presidents, considering them of the ilk of the Louis Kings. Sexual prowess is akin to powerful politics. In fact, whenever a president of France has been caught with his pants down, his approval rating has shot up. This is why Hollande believed he had nothing to lose when his affair with actress/comedian Julie Gayet was made public through Closer magazine.  He further thought that he could brazenly despatch Trierweiler with his statement “I am making it known that I have put an end to my relationship with Valerie Trierweiler.’’

French actress, Julie Gayet

French actress, Julie Gayet

But things have gone terribly awry for the President. As Bruno Roger-Petit, political columnist for the left-leaning Le Nouvel Observateur, pointed out last week, with Trierweiler’s book: “The president has been stripped naked. Naked as no president has been before him. The king’s body has been profaned.”

There’s “neither bomb, nor scandal” in Trierweiller’s book, said Le Monde‘s review, so why haven’t all these outraged commentators rallied round their “desacralised” president? And why have his approval ratings, already catastrophic, dropped even further since the publication of the book?

Because embedded in this otherwise innocuous kiss-and-tell is a devastating revelation about Hollande: “He presented himself,” writes Trierweiler, “as the man who doesn’t like the rich. In reality, the president doesn’t like the poor”. More than any revelation about his philandering, this aspersion cast on his left-wing credentials could bring down the president.

Unlike in the past where presidents have not bothered with sexual scandal, Hollande has been trying desperately to down-cry and deny Trierweiler’s accusations.

The nation can be assured that Hollande deeply regrets that night in the two-star hotel in Limoges. His dalance has cost him dearly and Trierweiler may yet inflict the shocking revenge – Hollande losing the presidency, perhaps even before the next election.


Be Sociable, Share!

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply