French president Nicolas Sarkozy is having a rough time on the campaign trail, and on Thursday he ducked into a bar just to avoid the throngs of protesters who threw eggs at him after booing him offstage. We'd want a drink too, if we couldn't even get through a campaign appearance without protection from riot police. It sounds like Sarkozy picked a pretty fun place to have a tipple (which he's been known to enjoy). He should keep the address handy as this is shaping up to be a difficult campaign.
According to the Associated Press, the conservative incumbent spent about an hour in the bar, meeting with Bayonne residents while "some of the protesters outside threw eggs toward the barrier of riot police guarding the cafe." Eventually, he left under the protection of an umbrella. We don't know whether he ordered a round at the Bar du Palais in Bayonne (on the southern Atlantic coast in the basque region), but if he had, it wouldn't have set him back much according to a review on the French travel site Monnauge. A Google translation of Simon Robic's review says two glasses of the bar's signature sangria will cost you just 5.2 euros (though that's probably climbed a bit since 2008, when Robic wrote it). The large terrace is part of the bar's attraction, as the bar itself touts on its Facebook page, but Sarkozy wouldn't have wanted to hang out there, given the climate outside. Robic warns, "beware of servers that are not always very friendly," but it sounds like the staff was the least of Sarkozy's worries. From this video of an improvisational percussion jam on the glassware, it doesn't seem like the staff's too bad at all:
It's not the first time Sarkozy has probably wanted a have a stiff one during his two-week-old presidential campaign. Right as he announced his candidacy another member of Sarkozy's center-right Union for a Popular Movement party, National Assembly member Christian Vanneste, landed in hot water when he denied that homosexuals had been deported from France under the Nazis. A month before Sarkozy announced his candidacy, France lost its AAA credit rating in what The Guardian called his "worst election fear." In September 2011 the French left wing gained control of the Senate, the French legislature's lower house, in what Sarkozy's Socialist presidential opponent François Hollande called "a decomposition of the Sarkozy system." This election is "the French Left's to lose," wrote Roger Cohen in a New York Times op-ed. While Cohen suggested they may do so thanks to Sarkozy's strength of leadership, Tuesday's vitriolic display from opposition Socialists and Basque nationalists suggests that Sarkozy has a very tough fight ahead of him. He may want to take a look at the French Yelp equivalent to find some safe watering hole options before his next campaign stop.