Mr Macron is taking a break to undisclosed location with his wife Brigette amid reports he is ‘exhausted’ after a year of political strife.
Rumours have also been flying recently that the President and First Lady have been experiencing difficulty as the marriage feels the pressure of political life. According to French gossip, Brigitte has been overheard reprimanding him by palace staff. “No more fuck-ups,” was her alleged command, after he posed for unpresidential photos with half-naked rappers. Rumours became so febrile that the Élysée Palace posted a picture of the pair together, hashtagged “love”, and the world breathed a sigh of relief, because that is definitely what people do when they are truly in love.
The holiday even led to a crucial cabinet meeting being brought forward by a day in order to clear the president’s diary. There have been multiple reports that staff are alarmed by the wear that the job has inflicted on him. “This isn’t a sudden decision,” an aide said. “There’s no bout of fatigue but, yes, he is saving his energy.”
However, this has been denied by the government spokesman, Benjamin Griveaux, who said that Mr Macron was simply taking a break for the long All Saints Day weekend “like millions of French people”.
Nevertheless it has not been an easy period for Mr Macron; several ministers have resigned over the autumn and the summer saw a scandal with his former head of security, slow economic growth and consistently low approval ratings.
The glimmering wave of populism that saw Mr Macron rise to power appears to now be wearing off, as many are also now reporting the President’s arrogant manner is making him a difficult character to work with.
Some insiders said that Mr Macron, who modelled his leadership style on the Roman god Jupiter, inflicted exhaustion on himself with his mania for micromanagement and failure to delegate beyond his tiny circle of loyalists. “He runs France alone with [his chief of staff] Alexis Kohler, so it’s natural that he is worn out,” an aide said.
France Info, the public news broadcaster, said: “This is the end of the myth of the demi-god and his three-hours-a-night sleep that we heard at the start of his mandate.”
In the past month outlets such as Le Parisien newspaper and Europe 1 radio have quoted friends as saying that they fear for Mr Macron’s health after 17 hectic months in office during which he has made 66 foreign trips and 170 official visits to the French provinces.
The Élysée has dismissed all the reports of marital strife as mere gossip but it forces one to question whether the French leader is the demi-god he would like to be. Even his appearance, appears to have slid in the 18 months since he became President. His grey hairs and weight loss have caused a former aide to report to Le Parisien that “his face has changed. It is marked by the weight of power.”