Sacre Bleu, a few short days after John Lewis chief Andy Street’s “France is over,” faux pas and the French PM Manuel Valls was in town, speaking at the Guildhall to a packed-out City audience yesterday.
Orating in his mother-tongue (let’s hope everyone remembered their GCSE French), Valls said he thought Street had “drunk too much beer” while thanking a certain businessman for his apology. To laughter, he promised to sort out Paris’ Gare du Nord, or “the squalor pit of Europe,” to borrow Street’s phrase.
The Pru’s Tidjane Thiam was there, along with StanChart’s Thomas Harris, Lord Mandelson and former minister for Europe and one-time resident of HM Brixton Prison, Denis MacShane.
“Prime minister, if you have a headache in France, it costs a lot of money to buy Aspirin,” complained MacShane during the Q&A, in perfect French.
“Dennis, I do apologise,” responded Valls. “Let me recommend somewhere you can buy some cheap Aspirin for your next holiday.” How helpful.