© Jean-Paul Pelissier / Reuters
Macron's speciality is inane publicity
Emmanuel Macron is keen to be seen as a man of many talents. The French leader, nicknamed Jupiter after the all-powerful Roman god for his ostentatious displays of statesmanship, has this week been waxing lyrical after a 13-year-old British schoolgirl sent her poetic tribute to the Eiffel Tower to the Élysée Palace.

On a family visit to Paris in April, the teenager known only by her first name, Sophie, penned a tribute to the French capital's most enduring symbol over a sketched drawing of the Dame de Fer (Iron Lady). Entitled, Centre of Attention, she wrote:

"She has four beautiful legs, which help her stand proud.

She looks over everyone, with her head in the clouds.

She is elegant and tall, wears a pretty lace skirt,

While staring at her in awe, your eyes will not avert."

Sophie sent the poem to France's presidential palace, where the then president, François Hollande, was spending his final weeks before the May election that resulted in the centrist Macron replacing him.

On Wednesday, Sophie's 13th birthday, the French embassy in London delivered Macron's response on Twitter.


In his 21-line verse reply composed in English, the president writes on behalf of the Eiffel Tower:

"How you flatter me! So few poets these days

Ever sing the praises of my Parisian soul,

as did Cocteau, Aragon, Cendrars,

Trenet and Apollinaire..."

The poem ends by encouraging Sophie to write more poetry.

"Well I know a man who'll read your verse...

"Really? Who?

The President of France."

The historic entente cordiale may be strained by Brexit, but Macron, who has been captured on film reciting entire poems by heart and who advocates cultural exchanges and languages as the key to greater European understanding, may have charmed one British youngster.


Comment: Publicity stunts such as these are about as impressive as Emmanuel Macron gets since the real issues at home are less than appealing: