The Obamas play the tourists in Paris

Barack Obama and his daughter Malia at the Pompidou Center for

modern art in Paris, June 7. The President stole a few hours to tour

the town with his family before leaving his wife and daughters to

shop in Paris without him.



Le Figaro, France

Food Taster in Tow, the Obamas Visit Paris


"'The atmosphere was quite relaxed. They were very happy. They said they had had a wonderful meal … There were five at the table: the president, Michelle Obama, one of the two girls, an American writer and a fifth,' said waiter Gabriel de Carvalho. A taster from the American Secret Service tested the president's plates."


By C.J. with Agencies


Translated By L. McKenzie Zeiss


June 7, 2009


France - Le Figaro - Original Article (French)

Americans in Paris: First lady Michelle Obama, with daughters Malia, Sasha and Secret Service contingent, tour the Eiffel Tower, June 6.


C-SPAN VIDEO: Obama-Sarkozy Press conference prior to 64th D-Day ceremonies, June 6, 00:35:22RealVideo

An exploration of the monuments of Paris, sheltered from cameras and photographers. ... On Saturday, after attending ceremonies for the 65th anniversary of the allied landings in Normandy, Barack Obama began his private family visit to the French capital. The first stop of his "relaxing" stay was at Notre Dame. Arriving a little after 8pm, the presidential couple and their two daughters, Sasha and Malia, spent just over an hour in the cathedral, which was closed to the public for the occasion. They were greeted on the spot by Monsignor Patrick Jacquin, rector and archbishop of Notre Dame, who showed them around the premises. "It went very well; it was the visit of a family on vacation," confided a spokesman of the archdiocese.


A children's choir was in the cathedral. The American president lit a candle and mounted the steps to the roof with his wife, the first lady's press service reported. Toward the end of the visit, part of the delegation, led by Sasha and Malia, appeared on one of the building's balconies, greeting onlookers from a distance and being photographed. Crowds of tourists and Parisians filled the surrounding area along the banks of the Seine, loudly cheering the passage of the presidential convoy. The first family then returned to the residence of the United States Ambassador, where they stayed during their visit. At 9:30pm,  the Obamas went out to La Fontaine de Mars on rue Saint-Dominique [Saint-Dominique St.], a hundred-year-old bistro, one of the oldest establishments in the capitol, which serves southwestern French cuisine.



"The reservation for their visit to La Fontaine de Mars [photo below] was made over a week ago but wasn't confirmed until 7:15pm. Several other restaurants were in the lists [in the running]," indicated Gabriel de Carvalho, one of the waiters at the bistro, frequented regularly by personnel from the American Embassy. It wasn't until Saturday that the staff learned the identity of their prestigious customer.


In the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, the La Fontaine

de Mars at 129 Rue Saint-Dominique is where the

president and his family spent part of Saturday.


"The atmosphere was quite relaxed. They were very happy. They said they had had a wonderful meal," the waiter continued. There were five at the table: the president, Michelle Obama, one of the two girls, an American writer and a fifth," he added. A taster from the American Secret Service tested the president's plates. "Barack Obama was extremely nice to the staff. He ate a leg of lamb and a floating island. No wine, just water. The other guests had beef tenderloin and crème brûlee." The resident of the White House paid the bill of nearly €300 himself.


Before leaving for Washington on Sunday afternoon, the American president paid a last cultural visit. On Sunday morning, Barack Obama and his wife went to the Georges Pompidou Center for Modern Art. The American presidential family briefly appeared on the terrace of the fifth floor of the building, made of glass and colored tubes, designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers in 1977.  



The first lady didn't return with her husband. Michelle and her children lunched at the Elysée Palace with Nicolas and Carla Sarkozy. Michelle Obama was then spotted shopping at Bonpoint, an upscale children's clothing store in Paris. She then went to the Louvre museum before a last family dinner at La Cigale Récamier, another chic restaurant in the 7th arrondissement of Paris. The first lady of the United States and her two daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, who celebrated her 8th birthday on Sunday, were to leave Monday at the end of the morning for Washington.


Questioned Saturday on the brevity of his visit to France, Barack Obama insisted that, "I would love nothing more than to have a leisurely week in Paris, stroll down the Seine, take my wife out to a nice meal, have a picnic in the Luxembourg Gardens. Those days are over, for the moment." At the start of the week, the American president had already affirmed his "love for France."


"Americans love everything French," he said, citing pell-mell "the food," "the wine … Paris" and even "Provence," where he had stayed while he was a student, something he confided during an exclusive interview with Canal+.



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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US June 8, 11:29pm]


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