French weekly magazines review
Speculation about Sarkozy’s possible comeback, a portrait of an elite school, and a luxury train voyage are in the French weeklies.
Marianne is faithful to itself. While other weeklies tend to go one way, the “left biting” magazine always prefers to swim against the current. This week was no exception.
All the dailies and weeklies were ablaze with speculation about former President Nicolas Sarkozy’s possible comeback, with headlines along the lines of “The secret plan of Sarkozy’s comeback” and former president Chirac’s wife Bernadette predicting Sarkozy’s comeback on national radio.
Marianne features an opposite title: “Why Sarkozy cannot come back”. But there is one thing that Marianne has in common with the other weeklies: it gives the story 8 pages.
To cut the story short, here is why the journalists believe he won’t come back into the political limelight (any time soon):
1. Opinion polls show the public does not want him to return to the political arena.
2. His former Prime minister, François Fillon, who is expected to win the leadership race of the conservative UMP party, will never hand the number one spot back to Sarkozy.
3. The authors of the article speculate that if Sarkozy decides to run again for presidency, his wife, the singer Carla Bruni, might break away since she hated being the first lady.
4. He is eager to make a real fortune.
5. And finally, say the authors, Sarkozy announce himself that he will never apply for the same position again.
To a completely different story in the right-leaning Le Point. The magazine features a portrait of a private Parisian school à l’ancienne, like in the good ‘old times.
The name of the school is Hattemer and it is one of the most sought-after educational establishments in Paris. Despite its tiny size, miniscule schoolyard and sports classes hidden in the basement, the 100 year old year school taught some of France’s most prominent personalities.
Among them, the former president Jacques Chirac; the son of the founder of one of France’s biggest airplane manufacturers; a top philosophers; and the alumni list of famous writers, artists and statesmen is very long.
So why do so many members of the old and the new elite do everything they can to get their offspring into this school?
The secret recipe: Hattemer school believes a child should learn a lot. Much more, says the article, than the program demanded at government schools. But what does it mean to learn a lot?
The headmaster of the elementary section of the school tells the journalist that before anynone remembers anything, they have to repeat the subject matter seven times. Furthermore, parents are required to be present during weekly evaluations. “The presence of my parents in the class was terribly unpleasant”, one of France's politicians said. It seems it didn't affect him too much.
The portrait of the school ends with a surprising conclusion: “If the national education system was doing its work properly, we wouldn’t exist”, the school’s director told the weekly (with a smirk).
And finally, if you wanted to escape tyour dull daily routine or the depressing news flow, Le Point offers you a nostalgic voyage on board one of the most luxurious trains in Asia.
The weekly’s travel reporter took the illustrious (renowned) Eastern and Oriental train from Singapore to Bangkok. “A cruise on the train," says the author, "is an invitation to contemplation… It is a trip from another century, when people used to have time to take time off”.
The article features captivating photographs taken from the train. It also puts a “modest” price tag on the “contemplation trip”. A plane ticket to either Bangkok or Singapore would set you back around 700 to 900 euros.
By comparison, the train ride is peanuts: a mere 6,400 euros per person. But where else would you be able to smack your lips over an “aromatic sea bass with Shitake mushrooms” while contemplating the sight of Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands’ tea plantations?