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CULTURE

Fresh claims around Emmanuel Macron’s erotic novel set tongues wagging in France

Rumours that a teenage Emmanuel Macron penned an erotic novel about his blooming relationship with his teacher, now wife, Brigitte Macron have started flying in France due to revelations in a soon to be published biography of the "first lady".

Fresh claims around Emmanuel Macron's erotic novel set tongues wagging in France
Photo: AFP
It's no secret that Macron has literary aspirations. But it might come as a shock that they may have once included erotic fiction. 
 
According to a source used in the upcoming biography of France's first lady by Closer journalist Maëlle Brun, in 1993, a 16-year-old Macron penned the blue novel in addition to several poems.  
 
Rumours of the book's existence have been around for a while, according to Le Parisien.
 
But the fresh revelations come from a neighbour who alludes to the fact that the subject of the novel was Macron's budding relationship with his future wife Brigitte who he met when she was a teacher at his school. 
 
“I knew him from the neighborhood and one day he asked me to type up 300 pages of a book he had just written,” she said, according to the report in Closer magazine.
 
“It was a daring novel, a little smutty! The names were of course not the same but I think he had to express what he felt at the time.”
 
In 1993, Emmanuel Macron aged 16-years-old had just met Brigitte Macron, who as a teacher ran the high school theater club. During this time they rewrote a play by Eduardo De Filippo, “The Art of Comedy”. 
 
And “in full creative excitement the future president also wrote poems and this infamous novel,” writes Closer. 
 
Unfortunately for us, she did not hold on to the manuscript. After all, how could she know its author would one day become France's youngest president?
 
If true, it wouldn't be the first time a French politician had turned their hand to erotic fiction. 
 
Indeed French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe co-wrote “In the Shadows”, a detective novel crossed with erotica. And Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire wrote a book called “The Minister” which features a risque scene involving the main character and his wife during a trip to Venice. 
 
On top of which, Marlene Schiappa, France's minister for sexual equality has so far not denied claims made by L'Express newspaper that in the past she authored erotic novels under a pseudonym.
 
French politician and novelist Aurélie Filippetti has also included a very racy scene in a novel and of course, there's the erotic novel written by former President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing in 1994, “Le Passage” (“The Passing”). 
 
The biography of Brigitte, “Brigitte Macron, l'affranchie” (“Brigitte Macron, Liberated”) is due to be released in France on January 17th. 
 

MONEY

Everything you need to know about France’s 2022 summer sales

In France, you can only shop the best deals twice a year - during the soldes. Here is everything you need to know about this year's summer sales.

Everything you need to know about France's 2022 summer sales

They happen twice a year – Each year, France has two soldes periods: one in the winter, usually starting January, and another in the summer, usually starting in June.

This summer, the soldes will start on Wednesday, June 22nd in most parts of France and run for four weeks, so even though you might be tempted to go on the first day, keep in mind they’ll be going on for a while.

They are progressive, so items will be continuously marked down as the soldes wear on. If you wait, you are risking that your favourite t-shirt might sell out quickly, but if you’re lucky it might end up marked down even further.

During 2020 and 2021 the government altered sales dates and time periods to help shops cope with closures and lockdowns, but now we’re back to the usual timetable.

This is the only time stores can have “sales” – Technically, the soldes are the only time that stores are allowed to have sales, but the definition of ‘sale’ is important.

Basically, the French government qualifies a ‘solde‘ as the store selling an item for less than they purchased it for.

During the rest of the year discounting is allowed in certain circumstances, so you might see promotions or vente privée (private sales, usually short-term events aimed at regular customers or loyalty-card holders) throughout the year.

In these situations the stores might be selling items for less than their original price, but they are not permitted to sell the item for less than they bought it for. 

Shops are also permitted to have closing-down sales if they are shutting down, or closing temporarily for refurbishment.

They are strictly regulated by the French government – Everything from how long the soldes go for to the consumer protection rules that apply to the very definition of ‘solde’ is regulated by the French government, and the main purpose of this is to protect small independent businesses which might not be able to offer the same level of discounts as the big chains and multi-national companies.

Whether you shop in person or online, the same rules apply.

As a consumer, you still have the same rights as non-sales times regarding broken or malfunctioning items – meaning you ought to be entitled to a refund if the item has not been expressly indicated as faulty. The French term is vice caché, referring to discovering a defect after purchase.

On top of that, stores must be clear about which items are reduced and which are not – and must display the original price on the label as well as the sale price and percentage discount. 

READ MORE: Your consumer rights for French sales

They started in the 19th century – France’s soldes started in the 19th century, alongside the growth of department stores who had the need to regularly renew their stock – and get rid of leftover items.

Simon Mannoury, who founded the first Parisian department store “Petit Saint-Thomas” in 1830, came up with the idea.

Funnily enough, this department store actually is the ancestor for the famous department store Le Bon Marché. His goal was to sell off the previous season’s unsold stock in order to replace it with new products.

In order to do this, Mannoury offered heavy discounts to sell as much merchandise as possible in a limited time.

The soldes start at different times depending on where you live – The sales start at the same time across most of mainland France, but there are exceptions for overseas France and certain départements, usually those along the border.

France’s finance ministry allows for the sales to start at different times based on local economies and tourist seasons. 

For the summer 2022 sales only two parts of metropolitan France have different dates; Alpes-Maritimes sales run from July 6th to August 2nd, while on the island of Corsica they run from July 13th to August 9th.

In France’s overseas territories the sales are held later in the year.

You might qualify for a tax rebate – If you are resident outside the EU, you might be eligible for a tax rebate on your sales purchases.

If you spend at least €100 in one store, then you qualify. You should hold onto your receipt and tell the cashier you plan to use a tax rebate so they can give you the necessary documentation (a duty-free slip).

Then when you are leaving you can find the kiosk at the station or airport dedicated to tax rebates (détaxe) and file prior to leaving France. For more information read HERE

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