Round One and a Very Special Gift
According to France 24, by noon yesterday voter turnout was at 25 percent at midday in the first round of the presidential election. But by 5 p.m., it had gone up to 65 percent. This is slightly lower than in previous elections—in 2017, the turnout rate at 5 p.m. for the first round of the presidential election in mainland France was 69.42 percent. In 2012, this rate was 70.59 percent. At 8 p.m. last night, when the results were announced, the abstention rate was 26.2 percent out of 48.7 million voters.
This was the first round with twelve challengers. Every conceivable political viewpoint was represented, from a Communist on the left to anti-immigration candidates on the far right, all who are looking to unseat the incumbent, Emmanuel Macron, as he seeks to become the first French president to win re-election since Jacques Chirac in 2002. On the ballot was: Nathalie Arthaud, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, Anne Hidalgo, Yannick Jadot, Jean Lassalle, Emmanuel Macron, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Valérie Pécresse, Marine le Pen, Philippe Poutou, Fabien Roussel and Eric Zemmour.
But the only real contenders were Macron (centrist) and Le Pen (far right). These top two winners of this first round will go on to the second and final round on April 24th. At 8 p.m. last night, Emmanuel Macron had won with 28.1 percent and Marine Le Pen had 23.3 percent. Jean-Luc Mélenchon (far left) didn’t do badly with 20 percent, but Anne Hidalgo, the current Mayor of Paris, and socialist, only scored about 2 percent.
At 8 p.m. these were just estimates, but the figures came in more clearly as the evening progressed. Voting still went on till 9 p.m., but by the time you read this, there will not be enough of a change to make a difference in what round two offers up.
The far right gained a lot of ground during this election. Marine Le Pen has made globalization the enemy, while Emmanuel Macron favors a global outlook, a stronger European Union and a French economy based on free trade. Le Pen wants to close French borders, withdraw France from the EU and the eurozone, and establish protectionist economic policies. France 24 compares their platforms side by side, proposal by proposal here.
Yes, it’s scary for immigrants like us. As we become more global, we also become more tribal. We’re seeing this happen all over the globe—the pendulum swinging in a direction contrary to the natural order of things. Let’s just hope and pray that voters will get smart and realize how counter productive it is to become so insular and tribal in today’s world.
VIBING WITH US
Every House Hunters International episode deserves a new wardrobe. The taping of my 50th episode is coming up at the beginning of May, so that means finding something new and worth the camera’s eye. While I was in Venice last month, I scored a pale pink and black checkered rain coat that was too special to pass up, but that means finding other pink things to wear under it and with it.
Nice is an easy place to purchase clothing of color, unlike Paris where the trends tend to stick to smoky tones such as black, gray, brown, taupe, navy, wintergreen, burgundy, etc…not my colors at all, nor do they make for great video. However, pink isn’t my usual color either, mostly because many shades of pink don’t work very well with olive colored skin such as mine.
When I was a little kid, long before “Color Me Beautiful” was so popular, my very astute mother told me, “Under no uncertain terms should you wear typically fall colors, such as rusty red, gold, tan, brown, etc. These colors against olive skin are deadly,” something she innately knew. I heeded her advice and have been wearing clear, pure, bright colors ever since: red, blue, yellow, green, purple, etc. It’s so ingrained in me that when I see someone wearing the wrong tones with their coloring, I have to seriously refrain from saying something to them…unless I know them well enough that they wouldn’t take offense.
So, a good pink became the mission to find this week in Nice and I did, at both Benetton and Desigual—two stores that are within close walking distance to my Niçois home. I bought things in both stores with the idea to test them out and decide which would be the winner. Desigual magically offered up 30 percent off the entire purchase, which was a one-day sale to which I had lucked out by sheer chance. And at the end of the transaction, the sales person handed me a square purple box on which was written “Vibing with us.” She said these words three times, and each time with different emphasis: “This is a very special gift.”
I smiled, thanked her, took away my packages including the gift and headed home. I couldn’t wait to open “this very special gift.”
Stores giving away small gifts to their loyal customers is nothing new, but she was right. This was “a very special gift”—the likes of which I have never received by any store and likely never would receive if this had been in America. I can’t even fully divulge it, as it would be too embarrassing, but I can tell you this: it was specifically for women. It has a battery in it and with it came a “balm.” If you were to buy it for yourself, you’d find it at a shop such as Passage du Désir!
“Only in France” comes to mind at such a “petit cadeau.” And I love that sex is such an open topic that a major chain store can indulge in such pleasures. Now, don’t ask if I’ve tried it out because I’ll never tell!
THE WINDY CITY
The winds came up so high on Friday along the Baie des Anges, that it was near to impossible to be on the Promenades des Anglais without being blown into the water. The water was frothing as the immense waves hit the “galets.” We watched a boat nearly crash into the rocks at Castel Beach, managing to escape unscathed, but bouncing around like a toy boat in a bathtub.
We had gone there to visit a particular apartment right on the Quai des Etats Unis that we hope to be listing for sale soon—a newly remodeled luxurious apartment of 180 square meters, occupying the entire fifth floor of an Art Deco building, with an elevator and breathtaking views overlooking the Mediterranean sea, Old Town and the Alps. The apartment has four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a boudoir with a crib, and a large and bright kitchen open to the living room and dining room. There are three decorative fireplaces and four air-conditioning zones. The floors are also heated for winter comfort. The owner died recently and the heirs are looking to sell it. It’s “a very special gift.” (Contact us if you’re interested.)
THE GIFT OF GARDENS
The first Côte d’Azur Garden Festival took place on several sites in the Alpes-Maritimes from April 1st to May 1st, 2017, with the theme of awakening the senses. This year, its 4th edition, is the bi-annual event with four components: a competition for landscape creations, gardens without competition, conferences and many activities throughout the department. The ambition of the festival is to make the Côte d’Azur a leading destination for garden tourism. Stop by the Parc Albert 1er night or day to see this unusual display.
A la prochaine…
The Adrian Leeds Group®
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