The front page of Liberation in Paris today.
Obama and Romney in Paris: Cardboard candidates in the foyer of the US ambassador’s residence this morning. The atmosphere at breakfast was one of palpable relief.
Rugby fever at this kiosque near the courthouse in Paris as the Rugby World Cup starts all the way in New Zealand. You don’t want to mess with a Maori warrior with his tongue stuck out, doing the famously intimidating haka, a pre-game tradition. Rugby is a big deal in France, especially in the southwest. The final is on October 23.
Le Figaro’s front page features Barack Obama, whose 9/11 anniversary opinion piece – featured in newspapers outside the US — gets a full page in the center-right daily, under the quote “Those Who Attacked Us Failed.”
Libération features a new embarrassment for the Socialist Party, with a top party official in Marseille, Jean-Noël Guerini, under investigation for alleged shady dealings with shady people (incidentally fulfilling a stereotype about Marseille), a month before primary voting begins to choose the Socialists’ presidential election nominee.
Le Parisien’s lead story is on lottery superjackpots, with one parliamentarian proposing top prizes be limited to spread the wealth around to more winners. Tonight’s EuroMillions top prize is 146 million euros. Le Parisien also declares, “Rugby World Cup: Welcome to Auckland!”
And Les Echos looks at real estate with “Prices at the Breaking Point.” Paris prices set a record in the second quarter, averaging a whopping 8,150 euros per square meter. More incidental advertising for the lotto.
— Tracy McNicoll
Is it possible he missed Securing the City?
Sure, there’s a newspaper kiosque back there somewhere, but we got held up at the nougat kiosque this morning, near the Opéra Bastille.
Another dark day for the markets. Les Echos headlines on “Bourse: The Infernal Spiral,” above stark red graphs of key stock indexes over the past month. The CAC 40, it notes, is down 16 percent since the beginning of August. Ironically perhaps, Les Echos’s front page also points to a B section piece on Champagne, with the earliest harvest ever starting today after a hot, hot spring and a cool, rainy July. There are giddy rumblings about 2011 yielding a high-quality vintage. Reason to look harder for something to celebrate, then.
The other dailies are keenly aware of the ugly markets, but seem desperate to put something else on their front pages. Barack Obama dominates Libération’s “une” (page 1) in close-up, eating a soft-serve vanilla cone against the backdrop of a deep blue sky: “Un Parfum de Campagne,” A Campaign Flavor. The left-leaning daily says Obama has disappointed – “It’s the economy, species of idiot,” in Libé’s more evocative translation of the familiar phrase – but the paper seems fairly bullish on his chances for re-election, if only because of the “outrageousness” of his Republican opposition.
Le Figaro and Le Parisien page 1 photos are of Pope Benedict XVI visiting Madrid. Curiously, Le Parisien mentions the violent protests against the pontiff’s appearance on its cover, the mix of “anger and passion,” while Le Figaro’s front page notes only “Madrid: young people enthusiastically welcome the pope” (an editorial inside does take on the protesters, calling them “ridiculous”). Otherwise, above the fold, Le Figaro features “Terrorist Attacks in Israel: Eight Dead,” and notes IDF reprisals on Gaza last night.
Le Parisien, meanwhile, seems pleased with the debut of Paris Saint-Germain’s new, young, insanely expensive Argentine, Javier Pastore, showing promise in a 4-0 win last night over Luxembourg’s Differdange. That would be cause, perhaps, for a sip of that Champagne. Unless you’re a Differdange fan (and who isn’t?), and you’re off to console yourselves with some nougat. Mmmm, nougat.
Sun-showers in Paris today, on the rue Saint-Antoine. Still more Paris kiosque keepers this Monday morning have left their posts in favor of the beach.
After trumpeting the excitement to come for the big-spending Paris-Saint-Germain soccer team all last week, Le Parisien has relegated the PSG to a bottom corner of page 1 today. It deems PSG’s embarrassing home opener Saturday, a 1-0 shutout to lowly Lorient in front of 40,000 fans, a “flop.”
The real attention today, of course, from Le Parisien and all the rest of the dailies, is on the markets. “The Threat of Recession,” reads Le Parisien; “Crash?” ask Libération; “Sarkozy and Merkel Mobilizing Against the Crisis,” decares Le Figaro; and the financial daily Les Echos, over the front-page photo of a pursed-lipped Barack Obama: “America Downgraded, The World Into the Unknown.”
The populist tabloid France Soir, meanwhile, pays lip service to the global economic chaos (“Stock Crash: It All Comes Down to This Week”), but devotes most of its cover to “The DSK Affair: Who’s Lying?” Scoops? Not exactly. Two full pages of a body language specialist’s take on photos of every player in the case. Consider the judge who ordered DSK to Rikers: she looks “sadistic,” apparently.
— Tracy McNicoll
Obama lovers take note: the July 28 - August 17 double issue of Courrier International, the widely read French compendium of stories from the foreign press, devotes its cover to “Obama the Resilient.” Among the articles, Eleanor Clift writing for The Daily Beast about Obama’s bet that the manufacturing sector will recover enough by next year to bolster his reelection chances.
Frustrated Obamistas will find the lead editorial by Philippe Thureau-Dangin especially encouraging. He compares Obama and Sarkozy, both of whom will be up for reelection next year and both of whom have disappointed many who voted for them their first time around. But this French analyst, at least, is confident that Obama will triumph because the opposition is so deeply divided. The editorial also likens the populism of Sarah Palin to that of Marine Le Pen.
When your local kiosque is closed for August holidays, tobacco shops like these sell the dailies.
President Nicolas Sarkozy, Prime Minister François Fillon and the rest of the French government are on vacation starting today. Their next cabinet meeting is August 24.
Le Parisien today exclaims, “Forget July!” with the insight that the cold, rainy month may have given some French holidaymakers the sense they have “lost a summer” or even “lost a year.” (It’s balmy in Paris today, sunny and 29C [84F], but the sun and high temps aren’t set to last, apparently.)
Libération’s front page features “Sarkozy Meneur de Jeu,” roughly “Sarkozy Quarterback,” a story on the outsized ambitions of the new Qatari owners of the chronically underachieving Paris soccer team, Paris Saint-Germain, including the 42-million euro purchase of Argentine midfielder Javier Pastore (Libé isn’t sure he’s worth half that). Sarkozy, who is a big PSG fan and is very friendly with the Qataris, is thought to have encouraged the tiny Gulf emirate’s involvement.
Le Figaro and Les Echos, meanwhile, headline on pessimism over the US economy despite the last-minute debt deal in Washington, with “Growth, Debt: Obama’s America Broken Down,” and “Doubt Grows Over the American Economy,” respectively.