Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Valérie Trierweiler’s Brother Recounts the Break-Up with François Hollande

[Vanity Fair France has a great article about the Hollande-Trierweiler split, explained by a family member, which hasn't been published in the anglophone press. Since I am a professional translator, I whipped up a verbatim translation  (and sent it to Vanity Fair France, gratis, but didn't hear back from them.    The orginal is here.   So here you have it.]

“What François Hollande did was brutal;  it goes beyond mere betrayal,” he says in the Spanish edition of Vanity Fair, revealing new details about the break-up less than a month after the official announcement of the Hollande-Trierweiler split.

The oldest brother of Valérie Trierweiler, William Massonneau, has discussed the break-up of his sister and French President François Hollande, for the first time, in the February 20 issue of the Spanish edition of Vanity Fair.  The monthly’s cover story, The Secrets of the Valérie Affair, cites as sources a number of those close to the President’s former companion.  “What François Hollande did was brutal;  it goes beyond mere betrayal,” says Massonneau.

William Massonneau, a 50-year-old computer engineer, continues:  “The relationship between my sister and François Hollande was altered by political events.  They weren’t Valérie and François.  They were the President and the First Lady.”

On January 25, François Hollande announced to Agence France Presse that he was ending his eight-year relationship with Valérie Trierweiler.  Two weeks before, the magazine Closer had broken a story about the relationship between Hollande and actress Julie Gayet.

Massonneau  gives a harsh assessment of François Hollande’s behavior towards his sister.  “I have never behaved in such a way, and hope I would never do so,” he confides to Vanity Fair. “Hollande is a man with a lot of empathy.  But his capacity to lead parallel lives is unbelievable.  His powers of seduction are immense.”

Hollande « pleasant and congenial »
The article published by the Spanish magazine recounts the last few weeks of their life as a couple, including spending Christmas Eve with Valérie Trierweiler’s family.
“We had dinner at my house.  My mother, my brothers, some nephews, Valerie and François. We are a large and close-knit family,” he explains.  “The unemployment statistics were about to be published, and the news wasn’t good.  Hollande knew that it would affect his image, which was already very weak.   Despite all that, he was pleasant and congenial with everyone.”

Admission to hospital on advice of the Élysée
The article in Spanish Vanity Fair also supplies some new details about Trierweiler’s hospitalization following the break-up.  Relying on a source who claims to be a close friend of Valérie’s, the magazine explains that her admission to the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris was “advised by the doctor of the Élysée.”

According to this anonymous source, “Valérie Trierweiler was sedated for 48 hours…  When she woke up, she thought she had been asleep for a few hours, whereas it was actually almost two days.  She was under the effect of the tranquilizers.  She was feeling nauseated and had difficulty remembering what had just happened to her.  Her two cell phones had been taken away and no one could contact her.”

Valérie Trierweiler’s brother said he too visited her in the hospital, despite doctors’ orders.  “I realized that she could hardly put two words together.  She needed to get out of there as soon as possible to start to take charge of her life. » 

“Willing to forgive the infidelity.”
The two Spanish journalists who wrote the story explain that they obtained the information during a secret meeting in Paris with a close male friend of Valérie Trierweiler’s.  Hollande visited Trierweiler only once in the hospital, said the friend, and that the doctors wanted the visit to be brief, a maximum of six minutes, but that it lasted more than half an hour.

« Valérie was willing to forgive the infidelity, that’s certain.  But Hollande didn’t refer to the affair a single time.  He asked only about her health.  It was then that she fully understood that their eight-year relationship was over,” explains the anonymous friend, who says he was present at the pavillon de la Lanterne the day that François Hollande issued his statement to the press.

Tense exchange of text messages
The Spanish edition of Vanity Fair also published an exchange of text messages between Valérie Trierweiler and François Hollande, giving the timing  of January 25, a few hours prior to AFP’s 6:50 p.m. publication of the official press statement by Hollande.

François Hollande: “We should send a joint press statement.”
Valérie Trierweiler: “Out of the question.  It’s your responsibility.  You are the one who got into this mess and it’s up to you to set it straight.  I won’t sign any press statement.”

A 3 million euro settlement?
Frédéric Gerschel, a journalist for Le Parisien and another a close friend of Valérie Trierweiler’s,  also spoke with Vanity Fair Spain. “François was prepared to listen to her and reassure her.  He knew that he needed to compensate her somehow for their eight years together.”  A contractual agreement in effect stipulates that the President give her financial support until the end of his term in office that would allow her to continue to live in apartment in the 15th arrondissement of Paris, which they rented together up to the time of the break-up, as well as a monthly allowance to pay for the education of her three children (the total was rumored to be close to 3 million euros, for which Vanity Fair did not cite the sources.)

“Hollande is sad”
The article also quotes Julien Dray, regional counselor for the Île-de-France and a close friend of François Hollande’s. “For the President, it was very difficult to leave someone whom he had loved.  Hollande is sad.”
In the January 31st Parisien Magazine Valérie Trierweiler was quoted as saying that she “hasn’t ruled out writing a book” after the break-up with Hollande.
Her brother does not deny that possibility.  “Until now, all the First Ladies who had been cheated on just accepted the situation.  They never spoke out… It is not normal that women remain silent.”

And, the magazine writes, based on confidential information from a friend of Valérie Trierweiler’s, that she warned Hollande “I’ll destroy you just as you have destroyed me!”

Jérémie Maire, Laure Cometti et Philippe Mathon
Translated from the French by Polly Lyman

Friday, February 14, 2014

10 Little French Words to know for Valentine's Day

Ah, the language of love. It's just so... fundamental!
So I bring you some of the basics, in French.

A is for aimer

A is also for affection and affectueux or affectueuse

B is for baiser.  The noun, people!!

C is for chéri or chérie  

C is also for cher.

E is for embrasser

F is for fevrier

F is also for fleur.  Love the French names!

And what is Valentine's Day if not toi et moi?

Illustrations from Mon Premier Larousse en couleurs, 1953

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