By ADRIAN TAHOURDIN
Alain Juppé is mayor of Bordeaux. He has an illustrious predecessor in that position: Michel de Montaigne, who reluctantly took up the post in 1581 and served until 1585. Those were troubled times: wars between Catholics and Protestants were raging in the region and, from June 1585, a plague in the city that took away some 14,000 souls in six months (Montaigne was criticized for not leaving his chateau to attend his successor’s investiture in the plague-ridden city).
Montaigne isn’t mentioned in the journalist Gaël Tchakaloff’s new book about the eighteen months she spent in Juppé’s entourage, Lapins et merveilles (265pp. Flammarion. €19). The reason for her assignment? Juppé, if the polls are to be believed, could become France’s next president this time next year. He is well ahead of his fierce rival Nicolas Sarkozy, and on the Left, no candidates have declared themselves yet. Juppé is seventy – which would make him a year older than Donald Trump and two years older than Hillary Clinton.