Chirac: the cool subway fraudster?


- 24/06/2022 -

Signature. The President. A mythical photograph at the heart of an iconic model which has been with LAPS since the brand's early days. Almost 1000 editions later, this emblematic watch is about to be sold out. An opportunity to revisit the history of a legendary picture...

December 5, 1980: Jacques Chirac, mayor of Paris, inaugurates an exhibition at Auber station. And while no one was expecting it, the man who will become the French president for 12 years jumps over the turnstile. An act immortalized by Jean-Claude Delmas, photographer for Agence France-Presse (AFP). "The story is quite simple" says the latter "Jacques Chirac had just inaugurated an exhibition of paintings in the station. I didn't want to take a banal photo of the mayor looking at an exhibition. We were a few journalists and I said to myself I'm going to make his arrival in the metro anyway, you never know." The result? A series of seven photos of a unique and unexpected kind, combining politics and cool. 

Photo by Jean-Claude Delmas for Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Some call it a scandal, others admire the uninhibited audacity of an official representative "a little rogue, always charming" as described by Mathieu Dozol co-founder of Fuck Yeah Jacques Chirac. With Jean-Philippe Djalili he had the idea to gather the most unusual pictures of this "accidentally" cool politician. 

"There are so many funny pictures of him that he's kind of a precursor to the Instagram generation"

Hair in the wind, cigarette in the mouth, kissing Barthez's bald head, or getting ready to taste an apple or a sausage. Photographically cool, the former president has left behind him much more than the record of two terms.

Slightly dandy, falsely hype, pro of the punchline, Chirac became without wanting it a media character before being political. His puppet in the Guignols - former satirical show on Canal+ - contributed to the creation of this popular myth. His double with famous gimmicks gives him a more accessible image, far from the sacralized power.

A coolness tinged with scandals, misbehavior, and absurd details making him the most imitated man in France, a target of choice for humorists making his popularity climb.

Among all these images, these lines, these cult moments, the famous black and white photo of Chirac defrauding the Parisian subway has particularly marked the minds. But the picture tells a very different story from reality. Far from having defrauded the politician with his ticket, offered by the director of the RATP, simply forgot to take it back after having slipped it into the opening of the portal. Spontaneous and subversive, the future president stepped over the gate blocked by this oversight. Would the fraudster be in reality simply unaccustomed to the subway?

This iconic moment was printed on T-shirts, mugs, and a limited edition LAPS for 1000 copies approved by the AFP. After 5 years of existence, dozens of orders, a highlight in the shelves of Parisian department stores, and a passage in the TF1 news, this model is about to leave our collections. Like Chirac, take the plunge and get one of the last remaining pieces!