— Published 8 November 2023

A journey that raises questions

Much ado about nothing? No doubt. Anne Hidalgo has been rather discreet for some time about the preparations for the Paris 2024 Games, but now she finds herself at the heart of a controversy. It concerns her recent trip to French Polynesia in mid-October, where she was due to visit the surfing venue for the next Summer Games, at Teahupoo. So far, nothing really problematic. But Le Parisien revealed that the mayor of Paris did not visit the future Olympic site, sending her deputy mayor for sport, Pierre Rabadan, instead. That was all it took for the municipal opposition to question the real motives behind this trip at taxpayers’ expense: professional or personal? In a bid for transparency, Paris City Council issued a belated but well-documented press release earlier this week. It states that the trip cost €59,500: €40,955 for plane tickets for three elected representatives and three staff members – Anne Hidalgo paid for her own return ticket – and €18,545 for accommodation and catering. Above all, the press release explains the reason for the cancellation of the visit to the Teahupo’o surfing site, initially scheduled for Saturday 21 October: “At the request of the Polynesian President, the Mayor of Paris did not visit the site on Saturday, due to local tensions linked to the construction of a judges’ tower, as a meeting on site had been scheduled for the same day by the Polynesian Presidency“. The visit did take place the following day, but was led by Pierre Rabadan. Anne Hidalgo had already left Polynesia.