Brigitte and Emmanuel Macron: a novel (or a song) of love

When Brigitte looks at Emmanuel, see a prodigy, a genius. When Emmanuel looks at Brigitte, there is a special sparkle in his eyes.

“You have the impression that at that moment she is discovering in her a cross between Brigitte Bardot and Golda Meir”, says the French writer Gaël Tchakaloff (Toulon, 49 years old) in reference to the legendary actress and the prime minister of Israel in the years seventy, respective symbols of beauty and power. “She fascinates him. I would love for an uncle to look at me the same way ”, he adds in a café in Saint-Germain-des-Près, the most literary of Parisian neighborhoods.

French journalist Gaël Tchakaloff, author of the book ‘Tant qu’on est tous les deux’. MARTIN BUREAU (AFP)

Tchakaloff knows the Macrons, the French president and his wife well. He considers her a friend; with him the relationship is not so intimate. He has known them since before they moved to the Elysee Palace in 2017.

Between 2020 and 2021, the writer spent hours and hours in the Castle, as the presidential headquarters in the center of Paris is known, lived with the first lady and followed the head of state in his public acts. He enjoyed unusual backstage access. I observe. He pointed.

From his notes he has drawn So much qu’on est tous les deux (“As long as the two of us are together”, published in French by the Flammarion publishing house), an impressionistic and friendly portrait of the Macron family, without revelations or uncomfortable news, but with notes and brushstrokes that allow us to understand something more about a couple that fascinates and puzzles . There is something in Tchakaloff’s book of the chronicles of the court of Versailles and the Sun King in a country that has never ceased to have a monarchical background and that has made its president an elected and crownless king, omnipotent and, according to what It emerges from these pages, fragile too.

“Everything will be fine as long as the two of us are together,” Brigitte Macron tells the author towards the end of the book. The phrase, which gives the book its title, seems to be taken from a romantic song, but it reveals something of the mentality of the couple since they met. The story is known. He was 16 years old and a model student at Providence, the Jesuit school in the provincial city of Amiens, in northern France; She, the daughter of a bourgeois family, was his theater teacher, was 40 years old and was married to a banker with whom she had three children (today the president is 43; his wife is 68). As in any good novel of the 19th century (or as in a bad romantic song), both fought against the elements of families and social conventions, they left Amiens to conquer Paris, they overcame rumors and slander and there they continue, hand in hand. at the top of France.

Brigitte sums it up in the book: “We were very lucky to cross paths, our merger took place from day one, as if it were evidence. People do not understand it, because society is individualistic, but the couple does not break individuality: it reinforces it, it respects it ”. And he adds: “Couples with our history, our journey, everything we’ve been through … Yes, maybe there aren’t many.”

Gaël Tchakaloff, the friend and chronicler, points out: “There is an MRI between them.” There is something religious about it that fits with the idea of ​​a president who, according to the author, “is in love, more than with power, with the sacred.” The sacred is also the literary: sometimes it seems that Macron sees his life as a nineteenth-century novel and himself and his wife as the romantic hero and heroine.

The Macron couple, in the tribute to the late actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, last September.
The Macron couple, in the tribute to the late actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, last September. Chesnot (Getty Images)

“He is not really cut out for politics, he is a literary man, his ambition was artistic, from childhood,” a person from Amiens who knew the president well tells Tchakaloff. One of the novelties that the book brings is the testimony of Françoise Noguès, Emmanuel Macron’s mother. Until now he had remained in the shadows, like the father. And Noguès corroborates this idea about the authentic vocation of her son, because politics, according to her, is “a parenthesis”. “I am convinced,” she says, “that she will launch into writing, that she will change her path.” Brigitte Macron, who in addition to being a theater teacher taught French Literature, also believes in her husband’s literary destiny.

There are those who maintain that, in reality, the image of Macron as a man of letters or philosopher –His work, as a student, together with the great thinker Paul Ricoeur marked him– is a construction that does not respond to reality. This is how one of Gaël Tchakaloff’s anonymous interlocutors defends it in So much qu’on es tous les deux. “Although he is very intelligent, he is not an intellectual,” he says. “It is not very cultured, it has a popular culture.”

His written work, for now, is summarized in the programmatic book Revolution, published during his election campaign. The existence of an adolescence text entitled Babylon, Babylon where, as he explained before becoming president, “he recounted in a slightly misplaced way the adventure of Hernán Cortés.” There is a whole legend around these juvenile texts.

“Even before he was running for president, I often heard Brigitte talking about the manuscriptsTchakaloff said in conversation in mid-October. “And last week I went to the Elysee to have lunch with Brigitte, and she kept talking about the Emmanuel manuscripts. I think they are novels and apparently there are three or four ”.

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Brigitte and Emmanuel Macron: a novel (or a song) of love