PARIS (AP) – Francois Hollande won the race for French president with a slogan declaring “Change is Now.” The first thing he had to change was his suit.
Hollande had no moment in the sun on his first foray as France’s president, becoming visibly drenched by a steady downpour moments into his first official procession up Paris’ famed Champs Elysees avenue _ a ten-minute drive the new president chose to make while standing umbrella-less out of his Citroen’s sunroof.
France’s new leader didn’t let the shower ruin his big moment, smiling through rain-spattered and fogged his eyeglasses and waving even as the rain kept the crowds along his motorcade’s route noticeably sparse.
He arrived at the Arc de Triomphe monument completely soaked, but displayed not even a hint of embarrassment as he was greeted by military officers _ in dry uniforms _ before taking part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The slightly farcical scene was quickly noted across the social media landscape. One Twitter user posting the comment “Hollande is wet as soup, but it’s Sarkozy who’s drowning his sorrows.” Others compared the new president to cartoon character Sponge Bob.
Following the ceremony, during which he was protected from the rain under the grand arch ordered built by Napoleon Bonaparte, it was back into his car for the drive back to the Elysee Palace _ this time waving from inside the sedan.
Hollande replaced Nicolas Sarkozy after voters ousted the incumbent after only one term in an election earlier this month.