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French presidential hopeful has Marie Antoinette moment

By AFP 27 October 2016

French presidential hopeful Jean-Francois Cope had a Marie Antoinette moment on Monday, when he said he had "no idea" of the cost of pain au chocolat, a French pastry favourite.

“I have no idea but… I think it must be around 10 or 15 centimes,” Cope said when asked by a viewer of French TV channel Europe 1 if he knew the price of the chocolate-filled pastry, which sell for around 10 times his estimate.

Cope’s comments recall a piece of 18th century French legend: when informed that the peasants had no bread to eat, the country’s last queen, Marie Antoinette, unaware of a raging famine, was said to have uttered the immortal words, “let them eat cake.” 

“I admit I don’t buy them very often because… you have to be a little careful because of the calories,” said Cope, one of seven candidates vying for the conservative nomination ahead of next year’s election.

The Twittersphere was quick to jump on the gaffe with a mocking hashtag.

“Hey @jf_cope could you buy tea for my four kids please? A baguette and some sweet buns would be nice too. #painauchocolat,” tweeted Yves Bienvenu, together with a photo of a euro coin.

Above a picture of a large swimming pool, Mallis tweeted: “A pool like this costs 20 or 30 euros, tops! #painauchocolat.”

Like many on Twitter, Cedric Abdilla, made reference to the last queen of France’s famous suggestion.

“Row over the cost of pain au chocolat. @jf_cope is right, Why eat them. Let people eat cake.”

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© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

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