Tick tock, tick tock… The first round of the 2022 presidential elections is fast approaching! 12 political figures are candidates for the office of head of state, but as in Koh-Lanta, there will only be one left in a few weeks. If the lucky winner will join the Élysée and become the figure of the country for the next 5 years, his life will also be turned upside down. An upheaval which is not pleasant on all points… Yes, being president also means giving up a little quiet routine of Mr Everybody and accepting certain constraints.
1. He doesn’t take a real vacation.
It is not forbidden to them, but the presidents only take a few days back in the year. It must be said that it is not easy-easy to disconnect completely when your country is facing an epidemic, or crises of all kinds… The last to have taken long rests was Pompidou (1 month and a half , usually. Yes, like all of us.)! On the other hand, he does not need to go through the HR department to ask for his paid leave! The reason is very simple: he is not under an employment contract, but under a mandate instituted by the Constitutional Council.
2. … the word “vacation” no longer has the same symbolism for him
If I say “vacation”, you think of hot sand, palm trees, barbecue with friends, big parties and swimming, right? Well, when you’re president, that word has a much less exotic flavor. While Article 7 of the Constitution does provide that the presidential functions be taken over by the President of the Senate in the event of a “vacation of the Presidency”, this term simply describes a period of prolonged absence. Basically, it’s mainly used if the President is sick, resigns, or… dies. Less fun.
3. He doesn’t cook anymore
When you are President of the Republic, you have renowned chefs, clerks and a whole team that is involved in the kitchen every day, to satisfy our taste buds. So… well… We don’t cook anymore. In the book The Invisibles of the Elysée, Juliette Mayri, a kitchen clerk at the palace, says that Emmanuel Macron would not be very complicated and would warm up his meal trays himself. WOW. But what a man deconstructs this Manu!
4. He can find himself the godfather of a child he does not know at all
This is not an obligation, but a custom. Even if he got lost, the measure was intended to support the birth rate in France. Thus, the parents of thirteen children (yes, you still had to give yourself to have this privilege) could ask that the president be the godfather of the youngest. Lebrun and De Gaulle practiced it.
5. He receives a lot (too much) mail
Bah… At the same time, we have nothing to lose by writing to him… Not even the price of a stamp, since it’s free! Indeed, the Postal Code is very clear on the subject: you can write to the president without affixing any stamp and it is the State (so a little us anyway) which reimburses the loss of profit in the service. For example, between 2008 and 2011, Sarko received 242,000 letters per year, on average. 663 per day. That’s a lot of reading.
6. He is never alone again
And we’re not talking about his friends who are always there for him, that’s RESPECTING HIS PRIVACY, IN FACT. No, we allude to the fact that wherever he goes (or almost), the President of the Republic is surrounded by bodyguards and people in charge of his security. According to various security officials at the Élysée, each president can still impose personal flexibility in how to manage this constraint.
7. He doesn’t take the train anymore
Even if, as we explained to you in this top on the privileges granted to the president, he can dispose of the SNCF network as he pleases, he does very little. You wonder why and are already shouting “well, but it’s because the plane is more comfortable, heeeeein” with a lot of irony? I understand you, but sorry to tell you that this is not the real reason (not the official one anyway hihi). If the train is neglected, it is because it actually requires a LOT (too) of organization, for obvious safety reasons. Already, no leader can privatize an ENTIRE train, only a part and therefore travels with strangers. Then, this means of transport often passes over bridges. ALL these infrastructures must then be checked, before the passage of the machine, so as to be sure that there are no hidden bombs. Finally, here you go, there are lots of other explanations (including economic reasons!!!) that you will find in this video. Above all, remember that taking the train, when you’re head of state, is way too much of a mess.
8. He can no longer walk quietlylou billou
When you become president, you no longer go unnoticed, wherever you go. People recognize us, the paparazzi follow us, security (confers point 6) accompanies us and we often find his slightest actions and gestures outdoors exposed on the web or in magazines. I’m not telling you anything, but it’s still part of the tricky stuff when you become president. No more nose cleaning in public, the shameful jogging / t-shirt outfit on Sunday, or the big drums in seedy bars. Hard.
9. His children will never have the same life again.
And it’s hard enough, as parents, to know that because they are “son or daughter of president”, they will often be criticized. If they succeed, we will say “thank you dad/mom”. If they fail, they will be made a laughing stock. It’s not cool. Really uncool. Hollande also recently spoke about it on the program “le QG” on YouTube (at 19 minutes).
10. He is not allowed to have the bean (in the galette des rois)
Yes, if since the tradition established by Valéry Giscard d’Estaing in 1975, a baker delivers three huge cakes (1.2 m in diameter) to the President of the Republic on Epiphany Day, there is never a bean on the inside. PROHIBITED. The reason is very simple: no one can be named king, even for the day, within the Élysée.