FRANCE FURY: Macron ‘prefers sea’ despite spending thousands of taxpayers’ cash on pool

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Fort Brégançon

The young centrist raised eyebrows earlier this summer after the French media revealed he and his wife had spent lavish sums on a new dinner service and a swimming pool.

But on Tuesday he said: “I don’t like swimming pools. I much prefer the sea.”

Mr Macron was speaking to a crowd who had gathered to welcome him in Bormes-les-Mimosas, the southern French town where he and his wife Brigitte will be spending their two-week summer holiday.

“The water is lovely… But don’t tell people I swim in the sea, or I’ll be spotted!” he joked after a passer-by asked him whether he had found the sea “too salty”.

emmanuel macron house

Though seemingly trivial, Mr Macron’s comments have hit a raw nerve with the French, who are still seething over the 40-year-old’s decision to build a €34,000 (£30,000) swimming pool at the Brégançon fort, a 17th-century fortress overlooking the Mediterranean.

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The act of indulgence triggered an outpouring of criticism in June, with members of the opposition slamming the move as tactless at a time when Mr Macron has cut housing benefit for the poor and just days after he was filmed complaining about the “crazy amounts of cash” France ploughs into social benefits.

Pressed to justify the extravagant expense, Mr Macron’s office told the French press that the president’s Riviera retreat had a private beach but no pool, making it an easy prey for paparazzi from the sea.

The Elysée palace further argued that the presidential pool was needed to “protect the privacy” of the young centrist’s family, particularly his step-grandchildren’s.

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The cost will come from the retreat’s €150,000 (£135,000) annual maintenance budget, presidential aides said.

Mr Macron’s office also said that the private pool would “save” some €60,000 (£54,000) of taxpayers’ money, because a smaller security team would be needed if Mr Macron shunned the beach for the pool.

This is not the first time Mr Macron has come under fire for his spending habits.

Shortly after the Mr Macron’s election win in May last year, the Elysée was forced to admit that the presidential couple had spent €26,000 (£23,000) on makeup in three months.

In June, Mr Macron was accused of yet more extravagance following reports the Elysée had spent around €50,000 (£45,000) on new crockery for the presidential palace.

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