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Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Valérie Trierweiler resurfaces - Amber alert averted

Oh but it has been an anxious couple of weeks for the French and in particular the country's media.

Because ever since the infamous Seggers Twittergate affair little has been heard and virtually nothing seen of Valérie Trierweiler.

First up her page on the official site of the French president's office went "whoosh" as it disappeared.

And then the woman herself dropped "discreetly out of view" as Elle magazine (well, what did you expect? Le Monde as a source?) headlined.

She wasn't, as Le Parisien (yes another admirable source. On a roll) pointed out, in London with François Hollande as he sipped tea with Mrs Windsor and shared a carpet joke or two with David Cameron.

And apart from her Mills and Boon-type contribution to a behind-the-scenes look in a book about Hollande's presidential campaign (she wrote the treacly text to accompany Stéphane Ruet's photos) not a squeak or a peep had been heard of her for nearly a month.

Worrying times indeed.

Heck even the international media was concerned with the Italian daily Corriere della sera getting in on the act and reporting that Trierweiler had vanished.

It was all too much.

A country firstladyless and desperate for news of its number one journalist.

Rumours - as they always do in such cases - began circulating.

Some maintained Trierweiler had been seen, rag in hand and scarf tied around head to protect her lustrous mane, cleaning the windows of the Elysée palace. Penance for bad behaviour?

Others insisted she had been sent away on a retreat to contemplate her navel, work out a strategy for making amends and think about what a naughty, naughty woman she had been.

But apart from unsubstantiated gossip, her real whereabouts remained a mystery.

"Where was she?" was the anxious yet silent cry that could be heard not just in France, but around the world.

It was almost enough to launch an Amber alert, don't you think?

Well, the answer can now be revealed.

(Drum roll please)


Valérie Trierweiler makes the front page of local daily Nord littoral)

As the local daily (hey, she clearly knows how to make the news) Nord Littoral reported in its Tuesday edition, Trierweiler was seen...wait for it...drinking coffee in a café last week in Coulogne, a suburb of the northern French town of Calais.

She had apparently been visiting a centre for handicapped children run by the partner of a soldier killed while on duty in Afghanistan in June.

And the details of her reappearance were oh so very far removed from the juicy ones the French have all come to love and expect in the short time she has been their first thingamajig.

She reportedly brought her own food - very normal, don't you think?

The national media hadn't been informed ahead of time and in fact the centre only discovered Trierweiler would be paying a flying visit half an hour before she turned up.

The gentlest of gentle reintroductions to get her back into the swing of things with the feeling that the nation can now give a collective sigh of relief that Trierweiler is ready for a comeback deserving of her status.

And that'll be at the weekend when she appears at Hollande's side during France's annual display of military might and pride at the Bastille parade in Paris on Saturday.

And then it's off to Avignon for a spot of culture (her newly-discovered speciality at Paris Match, the international weekly news magazine for which she works) at the city's festival.

Relief indeed.

The French will be able to  sleep more soundly in their beds at night.

Welcome back.

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