Valéry Giscard d'Estaing facing François Mitterrand on May 10, 1974. -


At the time, we did not yet call them “punchlines”.

Man of letters, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, who died on Wednesday from Covid-19 at the age of 94, was also a television man.

Whether during his speeches, looking at "France in the depths of the eyes" or his games against François Mitterrand, "VGE" marked the history of politics with his famous "little phrases".

January 10, 1967: "Yes, but", facing De Gaulle

In 1966, Giscard distanced himself from General de Gaulle by creating the National Federation of Independent Republicans (FNRI).

The following year, he defined his position in the Gaullist majority by the famous formula "yes, but".

Furious, De Gaulle replied the next day in the Council of Ministers: “We do not govern with corn.


April 8, 1974: "I would like to look at France in the depths of my eyes"

This is the story of an express campaign.

With the death of Pompidou, on April 2, 1974, two years before the end of his mandate, four candidates from the majority dispute his succession.

Chaban-Delmas launches the first on April 4.

Giscard, then Minister of the Economy, waited four more days.

From the town hall of Chamalières, he launches: "I would like to look at France deep in my eyes".

Two weeks later, he completed his formula on the television news: “I said that I wanted to look at France in the eyes, but I would also like to reach its heart.


May 10, 1974: "You do not have, Mr. Mitterrand, the monopoly of the heart"

In his autobiography,

Le Pouvoir et La Vie

, he assures us: “I believe that I was elected President of the Republic thanks to a ten-word sentence.

This sentence, he hammers it several times during the televised debate between the two rounds which opposes him to François Mitterrand.

The latter accuses him of the "lack of heart" of his economic policy.

The answer is scathing: “You don't have Monsieur Mitterrand, the monopoly of the heart.

You don't have it… I have a heart like yours which beats at its rate and which is mine.

You don't have a monopoly on the heart.

The following week, he won the second round by 400,000 votes in advance (50.8% against 49.2%).

May 5, 1981: "Mr. Mitterrand, you have been managing the ministry of speech since 1965"

François Mitterrand takes his revenge on Valéry Giscard d'Estaing seven years later.

Coming in third position in the first round, Jacques Chirac stabs a dagger in the back of his best enemy, declaring: "On May 10, everyone will have to vote according to their conscience".

Even if he indicates that he will vote personally for Giscard, the damage is undoubtedly done.

In the debate between the two rounds, the outgoing one goes on the attack: “Mr. Mitterrand, you have been managing the ministry of speech since 1965 and I have been managing France.

You are the man of the past ”.

To which the socialist candidate replies: “And you, the man of the passive.


May 19, 1981: "Goodbye"

Valéry Giscard d'Estaing lost three points against François Mitterrand.

On television, he sends a “departure message” to the French, which he concludes with a sinister “goodbye”, before getting up and leaving the studio live in front of the camera filming his empty chair.

Long seconds that he will explain later by the distance he had underestimated between his chair and the door.


Death of Valéry Giscard d'Estaing: Majority at 18, IVG… The reforms which marked the seven-year term of “VGE”


Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, former President of the Republic, is dead

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