No Secrets at Versailles

By: Katie Petersen

In France, Princeton Dean Rebecca Graves-Bayatizoglu says, “there is a much greater distinction between public spaces and private spaces.” This cultural norm appears to have deep roots, as even Marie Antoinette was desperate for that division, according to head curator of the Museum of the Château de Versailles and of the Petit Trianon Bertrand Rondot.

Rondot explains in the stairway of Marie Antoinette’s Trianon that the queen longed for privacy – naturally, he says, because “this was the center of family life in the time of Marie Antoinette.”

This is where she raised and educated her children, put on plays for them and others in the family theatre, and taught them about the nearby-country lifestyle. She was eager to give them a normal childhood, and the house matched her aims: architect Gabriel-Ange Jacques had constructed the residence beautifully but unassumingly, as its original inhabitants were first one, then another king’s mistress.

Antoinette even had movable mirrors installed that could open to let the sunlight in during the day and then close to keep out prying eyes at night.

“The royal family was seeking privacy from court-goers,” Rondot explains, who were just a short walk away at the main palace.

But nothing was truly private for the royal family. “Paparazzi didn’t exist at the time,” Rondot says, “but people were always watching the royal family.” For instance, when Antoinette moved in and disliked the “revealing” paintings in the hamlet, she commissioned new paintings of the courts in her home country of Vienna. According to Rondot, the Parliament heard of these plans and stepped in: ultimately, the members did not allow Marie Antoinette to remove the originals. The paintings, bared breasts and all, remain in the Trianon today.

Rondot concludes, “it was a nightmare to live in Versailles” for Marie Antoinette. “It was a public life every day.”

Carmen Mariscal, a Mexican in Paris

When Carmen Mariscal was 22, she was in a serious car accident. Sequestered for months in a hospital in Mexico City, she began to think about the human body. She thought about its vulnerability. She thought about how it can trap us, limiting us in its shortcomings.

Days before she died, Mariscal’s grandmother gave Mariscal her wedding dress. The dress stayed in a cardboard box for nine years until one day, it became the central subject of a series of photographs.

A friend of Mariscal’s once told her that every artist follows one subject throughout their work. For her, it’s three in one: memory, entrapment, and fragility. The wedding dress contains with in it notions of family lineage and the constriction of the body. Even today, she is working on building a wedding dress made entirely of wife and miniature handcuffs.

Mariscal was born in Palo Alto in 1968 while her father was a student at Stanford. “Before everyone knew about Palo Alto,” she said, laughing. Her family soon returned to Mexico City, where she spent the rest of her childhood. At 18, just after graduating from high school, Mariscal spent a year in France studying drawing and art history at la Sorbonne. She returned to Mexico City for her Bachelor’s degree in Art History at the Ibero-American University, then did her Master’s Degree in Fine Art at the Winchester School of Art in the U.K. and Barcelona.

Six years after her wedding, she moved to France permanently to be with her husband. France had been a dream of hers since her childhood, and she finds inspiration in the city even today. It was not difficult to fit in, since she spoke French already. Besides, in her experience, the French love Mexicans.

Yet she has not assimilated fully. “I have an accent and I always will,” she said. She recalled a time when she was standing in line and a man told her to ‘go back to where [she] came from’. “It’s always hard to be a foreigner. Always.” Yet she would like to become French in order to vote and participate politically.

In Paris, she has found inspiration in the communities she has built and in the city itself. She has many Mexican artists as friends, and she meets weekly with a group of female artists who collaborate on different performance art projects.

Though she has found inspiration in her alliance with other female and Mexican artists, Mariscal does not like to be categorized by her identity. “I want to be an artists, period. Nothing more.”

Mariscal has produced solo shows in France, Spain, Mexico, the U.K., the U.S., and Russia. She loves to present her work abroad. “Every audience is different,” she said. “Everyone perceives [the art] differently.” In Kuala Lumpur, people were terrified of a piece in which she suspended wedding dresses mid-air, because they saw ghosts in the hanging white cloth.

Mariscal is a mother of four young children, three girls and a boy. They live all together with her husband, a lawyer, in a tall apartment building minutes away from her studio. She teaches art classes in English to American students at the Paris campus of Trinity College, and she is preparing for three upcoming exhibitions in the next year.

“Visitors Must Be Protected”

As visitors pass through the rooms of the Château du Petit Trianon at Versailles, a security guard in dark sunglasses follows a short distance behind. It is not immediately clear what he is protecting, and what he has deemed a threat.

In recent years, the focus of security measures at Versailles has shifted from vandalism to terrorism. While once the main concern was ensuring that visitors didn’t steal anything more valuable than a selfie from the Hall of Mirrors, the wave of terrorist attacks that started in 2015 and put the nation on high alert has galvanized Versailles staff to amp up security measures to match. 

These terrorist attacks began with a shooting at the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, then another shooting the next day at a Jewish supermarket. In November of 2015, suicide bombers and gunmen targeted the Bataclan concert hall, the Stade de France stadium, and bars and bistros in the 10th arrondissement. The French government declared a national state of emergency following the November attacks, which was extended again in July 2016, when a man drove a lorry through a crowd in Nice celebrating Bastille Day, killing over 84.

The French government recently voted to extend the state of emergency until July 15th, 2017. According to a recent article in The Guardian, this will be France’s longest uninterrupted state of emergency since the Algerian War. Tourism has decreased as a result of fears over increased terrorist attacks, and popular locations like Versailles have had to adapt.

“With the attacks last year, security is reinforced,” explained Aurélie de Oliveira, 35, director of communications and e-commerce for Versailles.

At Versailles, this reinforcement comes in the form of increased security presence. At the entrance to the main Château of Versailles, visitors are expected to send their belongings through a baggage check. Next to the bag check, a yellow sign with a red triangle in the center greets visitors. The sign is marked with the words: “ALERTE ATTENTAT.”

“We are in a red alert about terrorist attacks,” explained Oliveira.

Versailles draws huge numbers of tourists each year, and for most of its history, has been open to the public. For many years this has been an advantage. Now, it’s possible to see this openness as a liability.

“We are open to the world,” said Catherine Pégard, president of the Château de Versailles, at an interview with Princeton students on Thursday. “Unfortunately, we must think of security more and more,” she said.

As an employee of Versailles, Oliveira said she feels safer with these security measures in place. It’s not that she’s necessarily scared to live in France—“after, life goes on,” she said, but these measures make her feel more secure.

While they work for Oliveira, there is a worry that these renewed security measures might detract from the beauty of Versailles. As Catherine Pégard maintained, a trip to Versailles must remain enjoyable. “Visitors must be protected,” she said, “but it must be a pleasure.”

Secrets of Versailles: Traces of the Gossip that Surrounded Marie Antoinette

By Katherine Trout

The private theatre of Marie Antoinette, one of the most luxurious renovations, in her chateau.


VERSAILLES, FRANCE – In today’s Digital Age, the threat fake news is on the rise. But don’t forget, this isn’t the first time fake news has delivered real damage.

It’s also a big reason the French didn’t mind taking Marie Antoinette’s head.

The scenic chateau of the famed French Queen Marie Antoinette is tucked away a mile behind the grand Palace of Versailles. The manor was restored by Napoleon Bonaparte in the early 19th Century. Today, the small palace serves as a memorial to its most famous accompaniment, Marie Antoinette. Traces of Marie Antoinette and the gossip that tainted her reputation remain scattered throughout the chateau.

Marie Antoinette was born the Archduchess of Austria. At the age of 14, she was sent to France to meet and wed the soon-to-be King of France, Louis XVI. But Marie Antoinette didn’t get the memo: the overtly ostentatious lifestyle of Austrian royalty was very much out of style with the French proletariat. “She made mistakes from the very beginning,” said Bertrand Rondot, Chief Curator at the Palace of Versailles.

When Louis XVI gifted Marie Antoinette the chateau, she set about redecorating the place – with little mind to budget. The “LL” medallions of the king were replaced by her own initials “MA” and baby eagles, the Austrian symbol, were added to décor sporting France’s symbol of the rooster.


The initials of Marie Antoinette hidden in a metal medallion in her chateau.

The new Queen ordered countless ornate furnishings. There were so many that her new purchases had to be systematically registered and organized by numbers. The total sum spent was so large that one of her servants burned the furniture records out of fear for the Queen’s life.


Bertrand Rondot, Chief Curator at the Palace of Versailles, holds up a parlor chair from Marie Antoinette’s chateau. A number to locate its spot in the chateau is stamp on the underside of the cushion.


To escape the ever-present public eye and pressure, Marie Antoinette installed moving windows in her light-blue painted private study. Rondot recalls, “People were always watching.” The invention was an intricate mechanism that slid the windows away and replaced them with walls. But this installation only sparked more rumors. The French masses claimed that “the Queen was having orgies and needed to hide.”

While the Queen broke the budget on furnishing her new home, the rumors of her lavish spending went far beyond. A scandal broke in 1785 when a diamond necklace of more than 5,000 carats was falsely purchased in the name of Marie Antoinette – who never saw the diamonds, neither before nor after the “purchase.” Despite her innocence, her reputation as a spoiled over-spender was set in stone. Rondot says, “That was a total disaster for Marie Antoinette.”

The trail of the origins of the gossip that destroyed the reputation of Marie Antoinette can be tracked in her former home. One of the greatest struggle of Marie Antoinette was her fight against the vicious fake news of her time. Too bad, as Rondot says, “the monarchy lost that battle.”

The Pineapple Express Makes a Stop at Versailles

By Mariachiara Ficarelli

The pineapple is a royal fruit. With a golden, diamond pattern and crown of leaves, it is a fruit fit for the opulent and lavish landscape of the Versailles Palace.

Yet, in all the pineapple’s prickly grandeur, it is easy to overlook this exotic touch to the neoclassical décor. The velvet swathes of cloth that drape the beds and windows, the crystal chandeliers and the infinite mirrors radiate such extravagance that in comparison even the “king of fruits” is humbled.

The extent of the decorative occurrence of the pineapple is exclusive only to the keenest observers. In the Petit Trianon Palace, intermingled with the more common fruits like apples and grapes, the tuft of leaves of the pineapple appears in the wall decorations. The golden designs on the chest of drawers feature a horn of fruit with a pineapple emerging from the center. In the main palace, in the Queen’s Private Cabinets, a painting of a potted pineapple by Jean Baptiste Oudry hangs on the wall.

The pineapple, however, was not just a decorative decision made under Louis XIV to symbolize the 18th century European ethereal vision and glorification of distant lands. It was grown in the grounds of Versailles and was a feature on his table.

“Versailles was a scientific place for bringing plants from all over the world and there was a great interest specifically for pineapples,” says Bertrand Rondot, head curator of the Museum of the Château de Versailles.

Close to the Trianon is the “potager du Roi,” a 23-acre, green world of fruits and vegetables that provided sustenance for the inhabitants of Versailles. By the time of the French revolution, there were 800 pineapple plants growing.

Today, the pineapple is a common feature in France. From pineapple door handles in the Grand Pigalle Hotel to pineapple tomatoes sold at the local grocer, this golden fruit is no longer exclusive to the rich. This fruit has seduced France. A pineapple mania is gripping the country.

My pineapple backpack is a fitting addition to the Pineapple theme in Versailles. Photo by Iris Samuels.

Living in the Present, Learning from the Past: Catherine Pégard

By: Katie Petersen

Catherine Pégard considers herself lucky because, she says, “this is my third life.”

Standing in a conference room minutes away from the gold-plated iron gates of Versailles, Pégard explains that she has lived and said goodbye to two lives already: those of a journalist and political advisor. She is now the President of Château de Versailles, responsible for everything about the more than 300-year-old palace. But she hasn’t truly said goodbye to who she’s been.

As she says, “You are not the man you are at the moment. You are the man you were before.”

She was a political reporter from 1977 to 2007 and spent much of that time as journalist-editor at the major French magazine Le Point. Later, she served as advisor to President Nicolas Sarkozy, who appointed her to the presidency of Versailles in 2011.

When she left journalism in 2007 to be Sarkozy’s advisor, she says, “I knew that it was probably forever, even though I loved that job.”

And she was careful to not blur lines with old colleagues by sharing about her new job. As Elaine Sciolino, former Paris bureau chief for the New York Times, says: “She was correct, and very strict, and once she went to work with the government she was loyal to the government.”

However, Pégard also qualifies her status: “If you are a journalist, you stay a journalist.” Although she left her press pass behind, she brought the lessons from journalism with her. One was learned through interviewing, and found to be equally important in representing the public: “You can’t just work alone in your office,” she says. “If you want to know something, you must go talk to the people.”

Another was objectivity. “Anytime he [Sarkozy] asked me anything,” Pégard says, “I told him what I believed, and that’s it.” In fact, she believes that Sarkozy picked her as an advisor because he thought “I would be free to say what I want with him.”

She also found that in politics, as in reporting, accuracy is important. “You must be as close as you can to the truth.”

When Sarkozy appointed her as President to Versailles in 2011, she was surprised “because I was not supposed to come here.” But as it turned out, her previous lives had been preparing her all along.

“What you need to be a journalist, you need at Versailles,” she says. To Pégard, that includes the previous lessons as well as being “curious and inventive.”


It also requires solid narrative ability: “You must understand what the story is and you must tell the story.” She describes Versailles as “the history book of France,” quoting Victor Hugo, but says, “the story continues.”


Naturally, she hadn’t learned everything necessary to run a palace by the time she arrived at Versailles. She spoke about the chateau’s Twitter account, which her team started recently, and said, “we are very proud of that, especially me, because I learned to do that here. And now I tweet every day.”
She says about Versailles, “You must always think of what it was, but you must also think of what it is,” because if you don’t, “then it is a dead museum.”
Perhaps the same can be said of a human being. While Pégard may have lived multiple lives already, she’s still learning like the rest of us.

Madame-President: Catherine Pégard

By Mariachiara Ficarelli

In the balustrade terraces of the Jardin du Luxembourg are a series of celebrated French female saints and queens. One day, Catherine Pégard may have a statue of her own.

Pégard is the president of the Château de Versailles. She has held this position since 2011 when Nicolas Sarkozy, the former French president, appointed her.

Yet, Pégard while having an executive role is not removed from the people and space she governs. It is perhaps her background working as a political journalist for Le Point, which allows Pégard to have such a profound on-the-ground knowledge of Versailles. She stresses the importance of being there.

“If you want to know something, you must know to be there,” she says.

And Pégard is there. She knows that the best moment to appreciate the Hall of Mirrors is at sunset when the light is pink. She knows that putting Angela Merkel’s office in the bathroom of Marie de Antoinette is the best way to impress the Chancellor of Germany. However, she also knows that she still has “everything to learn about Versailles.”

True to her origins as a journalist, Pégard understands that there is always something new to uncover that has been left out of “history with a Big H.”

She tells the anecdote of the discovery of the wedding between the driver and the secretary of President Eisenhower that took place in the chapel in the Palace as an example of “little h” history. It is such stories, left out of the commonly known history, which Pégard believes keep Versailles from becoming a “dead museum.”

However, Pégard does not aim to paint a rosy picture of her job with her heartwarming anecdotes. She states, “the good is better than you think and the bad is worse thank you think.”

Pégard does not feel the need to delve further into either the positive or the negative aspects of her job. Likewise, she does not feel the need to linger much on her position as a woman in the male-dominated French political environment.

“The most important things have been done,” Pégard says in reference to the representation of women in the French workplace.

She gestures to her pregnant assistant sitting at the end of the table to highlight her statement. Then she changes subject.

Pégard does not care for frills and much elaboration in any of her statements. She is straightforward. She knows that there is work to do. Above all, she knows that she will do it well.

To see Versailles in motion, try moving some furniture around

In houses-turned-museums, a thin red rope is as good as a brick wall in keeping visitors at bay; but the curator of The Petit Trianon, Marie Antoinette’s summer home at Versailles, can step past that rope and into history.

In a private tour for visiting student journalists on Thursday, Curator Bertand Rondot stepped into the large dining room and grabbed a deep brown chair dotted by gold metal pins. The group gasped: the chair looked as fragile and untouchable as the rest of the surrounding fragments of Marie Antoinette’s world. When Rondot then briskly swung the chair upside-down, propping the ornate woodcut backrest on his shoulder, nearly every student whipped out a camera to capture the unique image: both the rarely seen underside of the chair, and the sight of human contact with an untouchable artifact.

The underside of the dining room chair in Trianon (Photo by Alice Maiden).

Objects in museums usually seem as static as pixels on a screen. Their display seems sufficient in telling the whole story: visitors can walk from room to room without asking or wondering what it on the back or underneath an object. When the Rondot breached the invisible walls that the visitors could not, though, he brought the room to life. The bottom of this chair promised more stories and sparked more questions than the chandeliers and intricate wallpaper that usually characterize Versailles and The Petit Trianon.

Rondot reminded the visitors that objects have backs, bottoms, stamps left by the humans who made them and signs of wear from the humans who used them. You can imagine the scratchiness of the chair’s woven underside, and picture someone applying the thick black ink that reads “C.T. – au No. 78 – 20.” Using those numbers, the curators pieced together a story that Marie Antoinette tried to keep secret.

Notorious for her lavish lifestyle, Marie Antoinette was relentlessly criticized by the public in the tumultuous time leading up to the French Revolution. In an effort to conceal her spending, Rondot said, she had someone destroy the purchase records of the chairs and other furniture destroyed. The numbers on the underside, however, hold the key to reconstructing Antoinette’s The Petit Trianon.

The numbers denote the type of room a chair belongs to, and indicate that this chair was for a dining room. Curators used other clues in records of the house to determine in which of the multiple dining rooms this chair would have been.

“It is like a puzzle,” Rondot said, “which we can slowly reconstruct.” From behind the red rope, the most visitors can do is observe Versailles as an image. But look under even just one chair, and Versailles might start looking like the moving picture it really is, with still more stories to tell, and puzzles to solve.

The Many Lives of Catherine Pégard

Catherine Pégard has inhabited three distinct worlds. She has been a journalist, a political advisor, and is now the current president of Château de Versailles. One would think these worlds would overlap, or that the boundaries between them would start to dissolve. Instead, Pégard’s ability to keep these worlds separate in her mind is one of her greatest strengths.

“In France, we aren’t used to having different lives,” said Catherine Pégard in an interview on Thursday. “But I’m very lucky,” she continued. “This is my third.”

Any one of Pégard’s three careers would be enough for most high-achieving people. But for Pégard, one of the most important and visible women in French politics and journalism, one life was not enough.

 Pégard quickly rose to positions of power as a young journalist. She started writing for the French political newsmagazine The Point in 1982, covering politics. In 1995, she became the editor of the paper. While she was a young working journalist, she met the young French politician named Nicolas Sarkozy. This meeting would lead to another big break; soon after Sarkozy became president in 2007, he hired Pégard to be his political advisor.

Pégard said yes, and gave up journalism forever.

The move from the world of politics to the world of journalism was bizarre by French standards, and also for Pégard herself. Pégard had spent much of her life covering French politics, only to suddenly find herself an important political figure. “It is most difficult to know what to do on the other side,” she said.

The French were not used to a journalist who would leave journalism for another high profile career, let alone a career that would transform her into the kind of politician she’d written about for years. “I was creating myself at the same time during it, living it,” she said.

Though her career path was unconventional, having access to both backgrounds proved useful in Pégard’s political career. More than anything, it seems to have given Pégard context for understanding both worlds, as well as where they align, and where they conflict. Pégard disagrees with journalists who say that if they spend enough time with politicians they are covering, they will take on too much of their influence. “I think that is stupid,” Pégard says. “That means they are weak!”

Weakness, according to Pégard, seems to be defined as permeability to the influence of others. Strength means strong self-awareness, and distinct boundaries around what you believe. “If you are strong enough,” she clarifies, “you can hit with anybody, and say what you want. You must know what you want. You must know what you are. You must know what they are.”

At 63, the Le Havre-born Catherine Pégard knows who she is, even if that means she needs to intensely compartmentalize her life. As Pégard constructed her identity as a journalist-turned-politician, she was careful to keep her new career distinct from her new one. When she became Sarkozy’s political advisor, she asked not to be involved in the press. “It’s not easy not to be a journalist,” she said.

Pégard succeeded in keeping the boundaries distinct between her old life and her new one, even if this task proved challenging. “She was correct, and very strict,” said Elaine Sciolino, former Paris bureau chief for the New York Times and current Princeton professor. “Once she went to work for the government, she became loyal to the government. She was always correct with us [journalists].”

Though Pégard felt like an outsider as a former journalist in the world of French politics, her next job would be equally unexpected. When she became the president of Château de Versailles in 2011, Pégard did not have any curatorial experience. Yet that did not mean she was unprepared.

President of Versailles is a political position. She received her job as a presidential appointment in 2011, but performed so well in the role that she managed to keep her job after her five-year mandate finished;  Hollande, Sarkozy’s successor and rival, chose her to continue.

Pégard also cites her journalistic career as a helpful background for her job at Versailles. As Pégard’s journalism career informed her political one, it has continued to inform her post at Versailles. Journalism taught her the importance of honesty and staying true to her story, and provided her the toolkit to be a successful president of Versailles. “You need to be a journalist to be here,” Pégard said.

Each of Catherine Pégard’s previous jobs has helped her with her subsequent positions, so long as she has been able to keep them separate in her mind. This trend seems like it will continue, as Versailles attempts to adapt to the new media environment. Just as journalists must now know several different jobs to be successful, including television and video in addition to storytelling, Catherine Pégard’s position now requires her to engage with the modern world. She has done so in the same way as many modernizing media companies: by utilizing the storytelling power of Twitter.

“We do tweets at Versailles,” she said, grinning. “I am very proud of it. Now I tweet every day!”


The Reporter in Chief

Crowds prepare to enter the famous Hall of Mirrors
Photo by Anhar Karim

63-year-old Catherine Pégard started her career as a journalist breaking stories across the political scene. But today she’s gone from reporting on politics, to being the subject of political reporting.

Born in Le Havre, Pégard worked in journalism for over thirty years and topped off her career in reporting by becoming the editor at the French news magazine Le Point. But when an old acquaintance called her to catch up on lost time, her life took a radical turn. This is because the friend in question was the then newly elected President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy. The two had met when she was a low-level journalist and he a little-known politician. But now that the two are both influential leaders in their fields, they decided it was time to work together. In a surprising turn of events, Pégard signed on to be one of Sarkozy’s political advisors, referring to herself as “a journalist for the president.”

A view of the outside courtyard
Photo by Anhar Karim

After a few years of this, Pégard marked her step into politics more formally when Sarkozy appointed her to the office of the president of the Public Establishment of the Palace, Museum and National Estate of Versailles. Colloquially, this means she became the president of Versailles. But what was the reason for Sarkozy’s seemingly infinite confidence in this journalist? Pégard saw it as simple:

“I’ll always tell him the truth.” She’d never alter her advice and work to tell him what he wanted to hear. And this paid off, because while Sarkozy only appointed her to Versailles for five years, the man who beat Sarkozy in the next presdiental election, the Socialist François Hollande, decided to leave her in charge.

Pégard understands that it is abnormal to hop careers so late in life.

“I knew it was probably forever,” she says about her decision to leave journalism in 2007 in favor of this new career track. But in some ways she never really left the field. She is aware that she is the first journalist to ever be president of Versailles and knows that that is strange. But in her view, the skillset of a journalist is more apt for this job than people would expect.

The Hall of Mirrors
Photo by Anhar Karim

“You need to be a journalist to be here sometimes,” she says. And that is because the entire mission of the person running any sort of historical site is to tell the narrative behind it.

“You must understand what it is, and you must tell the story,” she says. And doing this properly is crucial because, as she says, “the history of France is linked to Versailles.” That is, France’s entire story, from the beginning to now, is intimately linked to what happened at this particular site. And so it is important, essential even, that the French people, and even global communities, are aware of this history. So to ensure this she’s gotten very creative in thinking about the best ways to tell the story.

“Every day we try to create another way to understand Versailles,” she says. She admits with a chuckle that in the past she would write all of her articles in longhand. But she smiles with pride now as she announces that she not only learned how to use Twitter but employs it at Versailles daily to teach her followers about Versailles’s history. One innovative use of this medium was a series of tweets explaining the sorrows of the last king, Louis XVI, before his coming execution.

Tourists admire the art
Photo by Anhar Karim

However, as apt as journalism skills sound for this new job, being president of Versailles comes with a lot more administrative tasks as well. Pégard is in charge not only of conveying the story of Versailles, but also of preserving this cultural heritage, maintaining all the shops and businesses on the grounds, and caring for the hundreds of employees that keep the site running daily. All this isn’t easy, and many criticized Pégard’s initial appointment to this position because of her lack of experience in managing art sites such as this. But as she’s run the place without incident for so many years, she’s done a lot to prove these critics wrong.

Pégard’s new position has also changed her understanding of journalism. She spent most of her career looking into French politics with a critical eye. But now that she sits inside of the political bubble, she laments the negativity of journalists. She admits that, yes, the bad parts of politics are worse than you can imagine. But at the same time the good parts are great and need to be acknowledged. She wishes she could change journalism along these lines. But at the same time she admits that she is extremely grateful that it is not her job to cover the roller coaster ride that is the current French presidential election.