“Putin was very friendly with me, he even decorated me”

“As you know, Edmund Charles Roux’s sister, Cyprien, married an Italian prince and was the mistress of Ciano, Mussolini’s son-in-law. But what was the name of their brother already, who was somewhat of a priest…a strange man…Abe de la Morandi, next door, It’s Schwarzenegger!” Here’s the kind of feedback we get when we listen to our interview with Frédéric Mitterrand again: a mixture of drop names (literally) “Give up the name”Elegant and unexpected transformations. You must have the right symbols to find your way in the live conversation of this man of the world, the sad and the Joker, who speaks in his legendary, careless voice in the evenings at the palace or about a meeting with Gaddafi in Libya.

A nephew of a president uncomfortable with his family, director of Olympic cinemas, animator, director, writer, director of Villa Medicis and minister of culture, Mitterrand lived thousands of lives. The chaos of his apartment is a reflection of this unusual fate. We are a stone’s throw from the Palais Bourbon, in the heart of Faubourg Saint-Germain. Our host lived there for forty years. He can no longer pay his rent (his brother does it) and looks like a penniless aristocrat among the portraits of his ancestors and the piles of books overflowing everywhere.

Under his splendid solitude, Mitterrand is a workaholic: he set up a desk in every room. His room is probably the most crowded and smoky place. Half a cigar cooled in an ashtray. Hats pile up near the worn leather jacket Mitterrand wears when he takes out his dog, Anita, which slips between our legs. Yellow pictures discovered in the markets of Tunisia frame his bed. With its vintage elegance, spleen and shaded areas, this “old student” He has something of a Modiano personality, who was once frequented by their mutual friend Pierre Le Tan. Le-Tan is no longer in this world, but some of his drawings adorn the living room – one of which represents Tonton.

Story as a novel

In the corridors there are portraits of Dalida and King Sihanouk, paintings of the Romanov family, a picture showing young Frederick, at the age of 13, with Michel Morgan – in 1960, they played together in luck by Alex Joffe. Mitterrand can speak as easily as Tocqueville, Liberty, Warhol and Saint-Simon. What era does he live in? his latest book, 1938. Eye of the Storm (2022, XO Éditions), brilliantly depicting politicians and business ambassadors before the outbreak of World War II, Daladers, François Poinsett, Charles Roux or Bonnet on the French side, and Ribbentrop on the German side. Mitterrand alternates between painted images and theatrical scenes.

Is it a novel or a history book? “I love Ardisson on his show with Dalida: I raise the dead! Above all, I did not want to write a boring book, but a delicate and lively one. My thing The beautiful stories of Uncle Paul. My cultural base remains Spiro And the Tintin – He built things on it after that, but it…

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