Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Gambians herald 'new independence' after Jammeh defeat

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

FRANCE 24 turns 10: A look behind the scenes

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Hollande, the One Term President (part 1)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Trump Keeps 'Em Guessing, Italian Referendum, Austrian Election, Castro's Death (part 2)

Read more

FOCUS

Video: Far-right at the gates of power in Austria

Read more

FASHION

Discovering the winter 2016/2017 men's fashion collections in Paris

Read more

ENCORE!

Rendez-vous on '42nd Street' as the meta musical comes to Paris

Read more

REPORTERS

Uzbekistan reinforces its tight grip on election and country

Read more

#THE 51%

Generation porn: The impact of online pornography on teen sexuality

Read more

Americas

Did Obama almost ditch politics for painting in Paris?

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-03-26

After the diplomatic love fest between Barack Obama and French President François Hollande last month, more proof of the US president’s affection for France has surfaced: a postcard that Obama sent while on vacation in Paris in 1988.

Quoted and shown online in a New York Times article on Obama’s past as a Chicago community organiser with ties to the “social justice wing” of the Catholic church, the postcard finds the then-27-year-old falling under the French capital’s spell.

“[…] I wander around Paris, the most beautiful, alluring, maddening city I’ve ever seen,” he writes to Cynthia Norris, the director of the Chicago Archdiocese’s black Catholics office at the time. “[O]ne is tempted to chuck the whole organising/political business and be a painter on the banks of the Siene [sic].”

At the end of the brief message (transcribed in its entirety below), Obama adds that his French skills aren’t quite up to snuff. “[…] I don’t know a word of French, I’m left speechless most of the time,” he writes.

The front of the postcard is a picture of the famous Cathedral of Notre Dame, one of the City of Light’s primary tourist attractions.

What exactly Obama found “maddening” in Paris remains, at least for now, an unsolved mystery; perhaps it was the French capital’s notorious coolness toward tourists.

Cynthia —

Hope all goes well with you; I understand you left something in my mailbox, and I trust Shaila retrieved it.

Meanwhile, I wander around Paris, the most beautiful, alluring, maddening city I’ve ever seen; one is tempted to chuck the whole organising/political business and be a painter on the banks of the Seine.

You’ll be amused to know that since I don’t know a word of French, I’m left speechless most of the time.

Wish you a fruitful summer.

Love, Barack

 

© Twitter

Date created : 2014-03-26

  • USA

    Secret Service agents dropped from Obama trip after night of drinking

    Read more

  • UKRAINE

    Obama admits Russia unlikely to leave Crimea

    Read more

  • Ukraine

    Obama says Russia's Ukraine policy reveals 'weakness'

    Read more

COMMENT(S)