While walking along the ramparts in Montreuil-sur-mer on Thursday, David and I spotted these workmen using high-powered hoses to remove all traces of presidential election posters from metal signs (click photo to view detail).
With one week to go until the second round of voting, the race is becoming remarkable more for issues that are not discussed openly than those that are. In an elaborately-staged rally Sunday in Paris, Sarkzoy tried to distance himself from government policies which he has long supported. The rally was attended largely by the French elite - including General DeGaulle's son, the French rocker Johnny Hallyday - who claims Switzerland as his residence, due to high taxes in France - and the actor Jean Reno, along with the sort of crowd found at Bush rallies - pre-selected and agreeable. Sarkozy also criticised the Chirac government of which he is now a part.
In contrast, Segolene Royal spent her Sunday touring French health care facilities, picking up the endorsement of the emergency medicine director who blew the whistle about deplorable conditions in French hospitals during the heatwave of August 2003, in which 11,000 people died.
The limits of French press freedom are being tested, as big stories - particularly vis a vis the state of presidential frontrunner Nicolas Sarkozy's marriage - go unreported. French journalists are not allowed to comment on personal lives of politicians.