Michèle Marchand: a woman at the heart of power in France


The “queen of the paparazzi” Michèle 'Mimi' Marchand, who is currently in the news in relation to aspects of the probe into Libyan funding of Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 election campaign, is reported to be close to Brigitte and Emmanuel Macron. She was a regular visitor to the Élysée at the start of President Macron's term of office in 2017, though became a more discreet presence after July 2018 and the emergence of the Benalla affair, when the president's personal security advisor Alexandre Benalla was videoed beating up protestors. Yet the influential position that the presidential couple granted her at the centre of power in France continues to raise questions, reports Ellen Salvi.

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Her natural milieu is off camera. But for four years her name and image have appeared regularly if furtively in a series of articles and photographs. We caught glimpses of her at some of Emmanuel Macron's campaign rallies in 2017, inside the future president's inner circle of supporters. She was seen a few weeks later walking alongside Brigitte Macron through the streets of the northern French resort of Le Touquet, accompanied by bodyguards.