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Hollande’s bodyguards forget guns on Rio trip

French President François Hollande’s absent-minded bodyguards left their charge with less protection than usual on his recent trip to a climate conference in Brazil after leaving their guns in France.

The presidential bodyguards realised they had forgotten their guns on arrival at Rio de Janeiro Airport, French satirical Le Canard Enchainé revealed. 

The elite GSPR unit which protects the French president normally travels with a secured briefcase that contains a set of guns. But when they sought to present the weapons to customs officials, they couldn’t find them. It turned out they had left them at the Elysée Palace in Paris. 

The bodyguard in charge of the weapons was fired from the unit because he reportedly tried to blame the neglect on somebody else.

Le Canard Enchainé reports that Hollande’s protection during the climate conference in Brazil was “bare-handed”. 

While Hollande enjoyed minimal protection in Brazil, former president Nicolas Sarkozy was being royally protected. French weekly Paris Match reports he has been allocated 10 police officers to provide security for him.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

Car, moped, public transport, or electric bicycle - which means of transport is the quickest way to get across Paris?

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

One intrepid reporter for French daily Le Parisien decided to find out. 

The challenge was simple. Which mode of transport would get the journalist from the heart of Fontenay-sous-Bois in the eastern suburbs to the newspaper’s office on Boulevard de Grenelle, west Paris, fastest?

Over four separate journeys, each one in the middle of rush hour, the electric bicycle was quickest and easiest. More expensive than conventional bikes, electric bikes do come with a government subsidy.

The journey was described as ‘pleasant and touristy’ on a dry but chilly morning going via dedicated cycle lanes that meant the dogged journalist avoided having to weave in and out of traffic.

It took, in total, 47 minutes from start to finish at an average speed of 19km/h, on a trip described as “comfortable” but with a caveat for bad weather. The cost was a few centimes for charging up the bike.

In comparison, a car journey between the same points took 1 hour 27 minutes – a journey not helped by a broken-down vehicle. Even accounting for that, according to the reporter’s traffic app, the journey should – going via part of the capital’s southern ringroad – have taken about 1 hr 12.

Average speed in the car was 15km/h, and it cost about €2.85 in diesel – plus parking.

A “chaotic and stressful” moped trip took 1 hour 3 minutes, and cost €1.30 in unleaded petrol.

Public transport – the RER and Metro combined via RER A to Charles-de-Gaulle-Étoile then Metro line 6 to the station Bir-Hakeim – took 50 minutes door to door, including a 10-minute walk and cost €2.80. The journey was described as “tiring”.

READ ALSO 6 ways to get around Paris without the Metro

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