After his victory was sealed in the early evening of May 6th, President Sarkozy went to the famous café-restaurant on the Champs-Elysées to celebrate with a group of friends from the world of business, media, showbusiness and politics.
The occasion has entered into French political history, inspiring a book and even its own Wikipedia entry.
For many, it marked the launch of a presidency nicknamed “bling-bling” by some, to symbolise the president’s supposed love of the high life.
The word “Fouquet’s”, when used in political debate, is used as an attack on Sarkozy’s perceived leadership style and his network of well-placed friends.
In Wednesday night’s television interview, he was asked if he regretted the event.
Sarkozy said “if I had to do it again, I wouldn’t go back to Fouquet’s”. He added the incident became a “soap opera”.
“However, after three years of economic crisis and a five-year term, if that’s the worst thing I have to admit to…” he said before listing other famous scandals in French political history, including the attack on the Greenpeace-owned ship the Rainbow Warrior.
On the evening itself, well-known French figures including the singer Johnny Hallyday, the actor Jean Reno and several senior businessmen were there to celebrate the victory.
While the party ran into the evening, crowds of people were waiting further down the street at the Place de la Concorde for the new president-elect to attend a victory rally in front of his supporters.