Destinations Magazine

Beardless Youth

By Stizzard
Beardless youth

SELDOM has facial hair become an object of such frenzied political debate. When France’s popular young economy minister, Emmanuel Macron, returned from his Christmas break sporting a hip beard, it set off political chatter. Was it an attention-grabbing gimmick? A visual symbol of the outspoken minister’s defiance? An appeal to the metrosexual high-tech crowd? Mr Macron, feigning surprise at the fuss, insisted that he had just wanted a break from shaving, and soon after dropped the beard. But the impact lasted: at a time of disillusion with most politicians, there is one dynamic nonconformist leader whom the French find fascinating.

The 38-year-old Mr Macron has become the most popular politician on the left, and the second-most popular of any stripe. Yet 18 months ago he was unknown outside the corridors of government. A one-time investment banker and product of the elite civil-service college, the Ecole Nationale d’Administration, Mr Macron became economic adviser to François Hollande after the Socialist’s election as president in 2012. His efforts to coax the president away from his dafter ideas did not always succeed. Mr Macron once called Mr…

The Economist: Europe

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