The Visit from President Francois Hollande of France is Cause for Research

I was impressed with the first visit of a foreign dignitary during President Obama's second term.  I am quite sure that security regarding the guest list was tight.  It was revealed during an official visit in his first term that a couple was there solely to boost their reality show hopes.  Mary J. Blige and her husband made the list.  Cicely Tyson was also there.  Thelma Golden, the Director of the Studio Museum in Harlem, was seated next to the President.  These were a few of the almost 350 guests that were present for this important visit.
The menu featured American Caviar, Quail Eggs, Winter Garden salad with honey from the White House Bee Hive, Dry-aged Rib Eye Beef with Braised Chard and Hawaiian Chocolate Malted Ganache with Vanilla Ice Cream and Tangerines.  That sounds scrumptious.

President Francois Hollande was elected in 2012.  He has a dual role that also includes being the Co-Prince of Andorra.  He was the Mayor of Tulle from 2001 - 2008.  Tulle is a commune and capital of the Correze department in the Limousin region in central France.  It is also the episcopal see of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tulle. It is the third largest town in the Limousin region, after Limoges and Brive-la-Gaillarde.  He also served as the Deputy of the National Assembly for Correze's 1st Constituency.  The Correze is a department in south-central France named after the Correze river.  He seems to have had a solid legislative career in advance of his election to the nation's highest office.

President Hollande's visit was a little awkward as official visits go.  Most Presidents or leaders arrive with their spouses or significant others.  President Hollande had an official partner in the person of Valerie Trierweiler.  He was linked by a gossip columnist to Julie Gayet, a mother of two.  She is a well known actress in France and allegedly spent weekends with Mr. Hollande in the south of France.  Ms. Trierweiler is a journalist who writes for Paris Match magazine.  She was briefly hospitalized after the rumors heated up.  She moved into the Elysee Palace with Mr. Hollande upon his election.  Mr. Hollande's ex wife, Segolene Royal, is a prominent member of the Socialist Party.  The turmoil in his personal life did not prevent the President from making his visit by himself.

France is one of the most modern countries in the world.  It is a member of NATO and the G-8.  The Group of Eight is a forum for the governments of eight of the world's largest national economies.  The forum originated with a 1975 summit hosted by France that brought together representatives of six governments: France, West Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.  I would say that it pays to associate with the better economies of the world.  France's citizens are primarily Roman Catholic and urban.  The major urban areas include Paris, Lyon, Nice, Marseille and Lille.  They also control entities such as French Guiana, Guadalupe, Martinique, Mayotte and Reunion.

France has had some issues with racism and diversity.  The Hijab ban law was a controversial move that targeted North Africans and Romani peoples.  76% of people polled in 1990 felt that there were too many Arabs and Berbers in France.  In June 2013, six Chinese students were attacked in a racist incident in Bordeaux.  In spite of racial incidents, President Hollande vowed to eliminate the word 'race' from the nation's law books.  This move did not stop Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, who is of African descent, from being compared to a monkey.  The new Miss France, Flora Coquerel, a French citizen who's mother is from Benin, has been subjected to withering attacks on social media.  One person is quoted as saying, "I'm not a racist but shouldn't the Miss France contest only be open to White girls?"  I hope the rest of her reign is less controversial than the start of it.

I want to end this post with some facts about France.  The Canal du midi is Europe's oldest functional canal.  It was completed in 1681.  It is 150 miles long and has 63 locks, 126 bridges and 55 aqueducts.  Briancon, in the Hautes-Alpes, is the highest town in the European union.  It lies at an altitude of 1326 meters.  Some of the seaside resorts are the Opal Coast, Alabaster Coast, Mother of Pearl Coast and the Pink Granite Coast.  I read a novel based in France called Blackgammon.  French people are the second largest consumers of alcohol in the world, after Luxembourg.  I learned a lot myself while writing this blog on a snowy day in Philadelphia.   

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