Emmanuel Macron spoke for three hours, almost without pause, at the first of his grand débats national in Normandy last week, in an attempt to respond to recent protests, while 8,000 policemen kept the gilets jaunes at bay. Yesterday, in the splendour of the Palace of Versailles, Macron hosted scores of international business leaders, many on their way to Davos, to reassure them that France was open for business. They were polite but it is fair to say sceptical, having seen on television the Porsches of bankers burning on the streets of Paris.
Today the peripatetic president is with Angela Merkel in the German city of Aachen, known still to the French as Aix-la-Chapelle, Charlemagne’s capital. In an elaborately staged love-in, in which he will share his thoughts on the future of Europe, doubtless at length, he is signing a new treaty that will bind the French and Germans in even closer embrace, with commitments to further integrate their political, economic and defence relationships.