France's Macron dismisses criticism for stay in opulent chateau

2017-12-18 15:03
French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte. (Ludovic Marin, AP)

French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte. (Ludovic Marin, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Chambord – French President Emmanuel Macron hit back on Sunday at criticism that he was "cut off from the people" for spending the weekend before his birthday at the lavish chateau of King Francois I.

Macron, who turns 40 on Thursday, spent the weekend at the chateau in the Loire Valley estate of Chambord with his wife Brigitte and extended family, staying in a cottage on the vast grounds and enjoying a dinner in one of the castle's 440 rooms.

Although the Elysee Palace said Macron and his wife were using private funds to pay for their stay, the choice of venue was criticised by several French politicians.

ALSO READ: 6 months on, France's Macron unpopular but still in control

The stay and dinner cost €1 400 in all, the Elysee said.

"It's a reasonable cost for a president who wants to entertain his family to pay," Macron said in a joint interview with AFP and RTL radio Sunday.

"We can't fall into this sad state of mind when people always wish to see symbols."

He added that the trip was intended as an "early Christmas" with the family.

'Why celebrate at Chambord?'

Macron, a media darling during his campaign, has seen his image as a monarchical or even "pharaonic" leader climb from the night of his election in April.

"Why is he celebrating his birthday at Chambord?" asked radical-left firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon, quoted in the newspaper Le Figaro.

"What a strange idea! I am so republican that everything about royal symbols exasperates me, I find it ridiculous," he said.

"While the French suffer from taxes, insecurity, immigration, Macron celebrates his 40th birthday at Chambord," right-wing politician Nicolas Dupont-Aignan said on Twitter.

ALSO READ: France's Macron, Arab leaders tour the Louvre Abu Dhabi

"Eras go by, but the oligarchy remains cut off from the people," he said.

Commissioned nearly 500 years ago by King Francois I (1494-1547), the immense chateau remains the largest of the Loire grand estates, boasting 365 chimneys and a 5 500-hectare estate.

It also has boasts the largest enclosed forest park in Europe, a long-time favourite for presidential hunts.

The chateau, which attracts some two million visitors each year, has been listed as a regional UNESCO World Heritage cultural site.

Read more on:    emmanuel macron  |  france

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.