‘€100 per head’: Minister’s taste in Paris restaurants gives the French indigestion

There are few worse gaffes for a French politician than making a ill-judged remark about food and one minister might be about to learn the lesson, having apparently revealed his rather expensive taste in restaurants during a speech at the Sorbonne university.

'€100 per head': Minister's taste in Paris restaurants gives the French indigestion
Photo: AFP
French Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin, 36, was trying to urge his audience to show compassion for protesters across France who have been blocking roads since last weekend to protest rising fuel costs and low living standards.
The protests have been led by mostly rural or small-town voters wearing high-visibility “yellow vests” who are fed up with rising fuel prices and the policies of unpopular President Emmanuel Macron. 
“If we don't want a domestic Brexit… we need to take on board and not only explain, but listen and understand, what it's like to live on 950 euros ($1,100) a month when the bill for a Parisian restaurant is around 200 euros when you invite someone out and you don't take wine,” Darmanin said.
“Who can believe that we live in the same society?” he added, calling on politicians to “listen and hear the cultural and social distress, which is not just about purchasing power.”
Photo: France's Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin
The remark about a meal for two without wine costing 200 euros — more than double the cost of an average dinner in most Parisian brasseries — immediately sparked online outrage.
“It's difficult to show more clearly his disconnect with the average French person, even a Parisian” said an article in the Marianne magazine.
One person tweeted that it was “shameful” (see tweet below). 


Another Twitter user recommended a website to help the minister find cheap meals. 

“I advise Gerald Darmanin to go to @LesPetitesTabl more often because it's really not complicated to find good restaurants for a budget of 10 euros in Paris,” wrote Giulia (see below).

And one joked that the photo below was “a rare shot” of Darmanin 'paying' a restaurant bill. 

'Raising hackles'
The price of 100 euros per person without wine would be typical in one of the Michelin-starred eateries favoured by high-rollers and top politicians in Paris, the magazine explained.
“In the middle of the struggle with the 'yellow vests', the comments risk raising hackles,” said an article by the RTL radio station ahead of a fresh round of protests on Saturday.
Darmanin is generally considered one of the most skilled communicators in Macron's centrist government, which he joined last year  from the right-wing Republicans party.
He is also one of few members of the cabinet to have solid working-class credentials as the son of a bar manager and cleaning lady from a small town in northern France. 
The best-known food gaffe in French history remains the infamous comment from Marie-Antoinette, wife of King Louis XVI, who is said to have advised her countryfolk to eat cake during chronic bread shortages at the end of the 18th century.
She and her husband were executed during the French Revolution.
More recently, the career of right-wing French presidential hopeful Jean-Francois Cope took a blow in 2016 when he admitted he had “no idea” about the price of a pain au chocolat, a breakfast pastry eaten by millions every morning.
He guessed it at 10 to 15 centimes — it usually costs at least a euro —  but later laughed off his mistake, saying he didn't eat them because he tried to stay slim. 

Member comments

  1. That restaurant in the photo looks to me like Chartier where you wouldn’t get a full meal for 10€ but you could certainly get three courses and wine for 20€ per head. Great place, one of my long time favourites over 40 years of visiting Paris.

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France’s mystery rooftop panther stolen from zoo

A black panther rescued from rooftops near the northern city of Lille last week has been stolen from the zoo where it was taken after capture, officials said.

France's mystery rooftop panther stolen from zoo
Photo: AFP/ Sapeurs Pompiers du Nord

The feline was seized overnight from the zoo in Maubeuge near the Belgian border, the city's mayor, Arnaud Decagny, told AFP on Tuesday.

“This animal was the only target,” Decagny said, adding that “considerable efforts” were made to force locks and avoid security systems.

Zoo personnel are worried about the young panther's health, “which is rather delicate because he lacks strength,” the mayor added, saying the animal was just a few months old and weighed between 25 and 30kg.

The panther after its capture. Photo League Protectrice des Animaux de la Nord de France/AFP

The panther was going to be transferred to a centre specialised in rehabilitating wild animals that had been domesticated.

Firefighters caught the cat last Wednesday as it roamed rooftops in Armentieres after escaping through the window of a private apartment believed to have been its home.

The panther's owner is thought to have escaped through the same window, for fear of being charged with illegally harbouring a wild animal.

Police have not located the fugitive owner, who could face charges of endangering the public, which is punishable by up to a year in prison and €15,000 in fines, Decagny said.