This is Jacques Chirac's last full day in office. Tomorrow at 11 am Paris time, in a solemn ceremony, Chirac will hand over the keys to 55 rue du Faubourg St. Honore to Nicolas Sarkozy. (We don't have time to investigate whether there will be any teary wife-to-wife exchanges between Bernadette and Cecilia, but somehow we really really doubt it. We're not actually sure that Cecilia will even show up, or if she does what her sartorial statement will be.)
Oops -- we always digress into something girly. We apologize.
Ahem. From what we can surmise, changing of power, "la passation du pouvoir" in France is a different kettle of fish from the hoopla of US presidential inaugurations. When does he put his hand on the bible and swear to uphold the laws of the land, we keep wondering? Because we couldn't find that part in this information-packed Presidential Investiture site for the Office of the French President. Chirac will give Sarkozy the keys and -- a sobering little thought -- the secret code for nuclear attack. Then, the excitement begins in full swing when the election results are read out loud to Mr. Sarkozy, department by department by department.
Then a short presidential talk, most likely nothing like "Ask not what your country can do for you" or "Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away." But we're sure it will be gripping.
We hope we got the order right for all the activities. In any case you can observe for yourself! We'll be watching, most certainly. The ceremony will be televised starting at 10 am Paris time Wednesday. TF1, France 2, and France 24 will all broadcast the event and some may podcast it.
And tonight at 8 pm Chirac will bid adieu to the French people he has served for the past 12 years on TF1. And later, a program on "The Chirac Years."
Incredible. The last time a new French president was being sworn in to office there was virtually no such thing as a blog. Back in the good old days when "Paris" always meant France, not Hilton.
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