The Paris tour of campaign headquarters
Presidential candidates have to choose their campaign headquarters carefully. A crucial equation involving policemen, tobacconists, Lebanese restaurants and dog turds must be achieved to generate voter approval.
With these criteria in mind, Team Pâté went to investigate. Which Paris district did France’s five leading presidential hopefuls choose to represent their campaign?
Marine Le Pen, National Front: 8th arrondissement
First stop, National Front candidate Marine Le Pen’s campaign office – or at least, the street it’s supposed to be on. She can’t risk putting her name on the front door – it wouldn’t take long for the eggs to start flying. High above the opticians, antiques stores and tailors, harnessed workers are busy trimming trees on this tidy avenue in central Paris. Faceless suits and macks pass by, chauffeured cars slide towards the presidential palace (which is just around the corner, coincidentally…). This is the heart of the 8th arrondissement – don’t expect anybody to smile.
Eva Joly, Green Party: 10th arrondissement
Past a whirring laundrette, job centre and “veil-friendly” hairdresser, Eva Joly’s scruffy abode sits behind a mound of dog turds and scattered empty vegetable crates. Her front door is barely noticeable save for a green sticker on the window. An old lady circles the block with her urine-stained poodle. Welcome to the 10th arrondissement, packed with couscous restaurants, hammams and incense-infused bric-a-brac stores. People actually talk to each other here. And they’ve got a sense of humour. Who needs KFC when you’ve got “Paris Fried Chicken”?
François Bayrou, Democratic Movement: 7th arrondissement
Centrist François Bayrou is taking a big risk with the snooty 7th arrondissement. This exclusive street behind the Eiffel Tower is lined with Mercedes and Porsches, right up to Bayrou’s garden gate. And it is a garden gate – his office is actually in some kind of fancy shed at the back of a hôtel particulier. It’s an interesting space once you get inside, but for passers by, the address makes centrist Bayrou look more bling bling than Sarkozy.
Nicolas Sarkozy, UMP: 15th arrondissement
Speaking of the devil, President Nicolas Sarkozy has managed to work a miracle with his own dwellings. In the residential safety of the dowdy 15th arrondissement, Sarkozy has found the only working-class district in Paris where he’s not public enemy number one. And not only… His 5-metre portrait, pasted across the street-level façade, appears to be holding up the 20 stories of tower-block directly above. Symbolic? It gets even better. There’s a gaudy Chinese restaurant next door, a sushi bar and a Lebanese takeaway down the road (so he does like immigrants!), a tabac (all French people love smoking, right?) and a scooter shop (smoking and driving, even better!). There’s even a sports bar round the corner. It’s as though they actually built this street, Truman Show-esque, just to adorn it with Sarkozy’s face.
François Hollande, Socialist Party: 7th arrondissement
François Hollande was not so clever. Like François Bayrou, he settled for the dangerously posh territory of the central 7th arrondissement. On an avenue impossibly wide for Paris, Hollande’s HQ looks like a five-story city mansion. The front door is at least four metres tall. There are bay windows. And… balconies. Hollande was probably hoping that nobody would walk past and discover his dark, red carpet, secret. Which isn’t impossible – there is absolutely nothing on this street, save for a few dog turds and a parking metre. But he was not in luck. Reporters pounced upon the place as soon as he opened the doors, deriding him for his “Socialist mansion”.
HQs in numbers
Most staff? Hollande has by far the most staff with 80 onboard. Sarkozy has half of that and Eva Joly has just 15.
Biggest office? François Bayrou’s fancy garden shed is (strangely enough) the biggest space, at 2,000 metres squared. Hollande is next with his city mansion. And again, Eva Joly is the most modest, with an office so small it looks like a semi-detached family home.
Highest rent? Hollande is payin g the most for his command centre: 40,000 euros a month. Sarkozy is paying €19,000 and Marine Le Pen €11,000. Eva Joly and François Bayrou go free by taking over their party offices until May.
Longest squatter? Marine Le Pen moved into her headquarters in October, making her seven-month stay the longest. The Sarkozy team only started work in February, giving them just two months until the first round.
Know Paris? Candidates by Google map
All photos: copyright Sophie Pilgrim.