France warms to Gérard Depardieu, the heroic exile

France warms to Gérard Depardieu, the heroic exile

Asterix and Obelix have deserted Gaul. Or at least the two actors who played them in three blockbuster movies have. With Gérard “Obelix” Depardieu’s much-trumpeted exile to Belgium last week, following Christian “Asterix” Clavier’s move to London in October, France has lost her best-known fictional heroes, undefeated by Julius Caesar’s legions, but vanquished by François Hollande’s punitive new 75 per cent top marginal income tax rate, recently hiked capital gains tax, and reinforced wealth tax.

The symbolism has not been lost on the French. When France’s richest man, Bernard Arnault, the CEO and main shareholder of the luxury behemoth LVMH, applied for Belgian citizenship last August, it was easy for Socialists to paint him as an unpatriotic, despicable fat cat. “Get lost, you rich b——” blasted a headline on the front page of Libération, the Left-wing daily, effectively capturing the national mood.

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