On the Mountain Top With a French Presidential Candidate

One of the French reporters looked at my footwear — black suede ballet-slipper flats that I wear when you have to look presentable but may need to run after someone. “Is that all you have?” she asked me in French. I shrugged and said “Umm, oui.”

“Oh,” she said. “I think we are going up the mountain to a restaurant. They didn’t tell you to bring anything else?” They hadn’t, but then I had joined the trip at the last minute.

The French reporters, always nattily dressed, got busy lacing up spiffy hiking boots they had brought in their luggage. One of the press attachés looked particularly dashing in Christopher Robin-style rain boots. The Macrons, Emmanuel and his wife, Brigitte (who is always with him), donned short, stylish down ski jackets (his black, hers a brilliant azure blue) and serious shoes for walking through the snow.

Altogether there were probably 35 people in his entourage, including press, a bunch of staffers, security guards and several local dignitaries. We all clambered across the snowfield as bemused skiers watched our progress. Then, in groups of three, we boarded the chair lift, a logistical feat hard to imagine in the context of an American political campaign. I tried to look nonchalant, as if I always walked through snow in ballet slippers.

It took at least 20 minutes on the lift to get from the bottom to the top, and I was struck that Mr. Macron, in the final push of his campaign before the first-round vote, didn’t seem to mind spending time being ferried up a mountain top where there were few potential voters. Those there stopped at our ski hut for just a few minutes to grab a snack between runs.

It was breathtakingly beautiful at the top, in a cirque of mountains, the day crystal clear. As we slid off the chairlift, we could see the hut across the snow, and next to it, the young waiters setting…

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