6 Aug 2013

Cabinet ministers told to spend their holidays at home in France

12:53 pm on 6 August 2013

President Francois Hollande of France has ordered cabinet ministers to remain on call throughout the August break and to avoid going abroad.

The president, who is deeply unpopular, is trying to maintain public appearances, ever mindful that unemployment in France is at a record high.

The word has gone out to his ministers to stay visible and be prepared.

But the BBC reports Mr Hollande's decision to take up summer residency at La Lanterne, a hunting lodge replete with swimming pool and tennis court near Versailles normally reserved for the prime minister, has been criticised within his own ranks.

According to the Journal du Dimanche, Mr Hollande aims to go on short trips without necessarily informing the media of his destination.

He spent Saturday in his Correze constituency, visiting former President Jacques Chirac and his wife, Bernardette.

The ministerial summer break will begin on 2 August, after the last cabinet meeting

The financial daily Les Echos said only Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was expected to travel abroad, to Spain for a few days.