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October 16, 2004
Le Muse, C'est Moi

The French president, Jacques Chirac, has a museum showcasing all of the gifts given to him by foreign dignitaries, an odd form of official showiness that usually is associated with dictators and other narcissists. Having his own museum seems like a perfect reflection of the man who has decided to make himself and France the center of anti-American global expression. Unfortunately for Chirac, his museum also perfectly reflects French economics:

A state-funded museum built to display gifts showered on President Jacques Chirac by foreign dignitaries has gone almost three times over budget and is steadily losing money as admission figures slump.

Inspectors from the regional audit office in the Corrze, south-western France, found that the museum, opened in 2000, cost almost 5 million to build and lost more than 400,000 in a single year.

Most Western heads of state wait until their retirement to open their libraries; countries usually wait until their leaders pass away to build monuments to their memory. Chirac's ego appears to need constant feeding, however. One wonders how long it will be before 20-metre-high statues of Chirac begin appearing on the Champs-Elyse. This case literally shows that Chirac's ego is writing checks that the French president can't cash.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 16, 2004 7:35 AM

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