A moving “goodbye” from France’s most famous presenter

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LE PECQ, France – Goodbye, Jean-Pierre. And thank you.

Jean-Pierre Pernaut came equipped with a handkerchief sent by one of his many fans – and embroidered JPP – for what turned out to be a touching farewell to the country which has come to know itself better thanks to its unquenchable appetite to unearth and showcase its many pleasures. .

Friday, the last of the countless hundreds of thousands of words he has spoken to his audience on TF1 since his first broadcast at noon on February 22, 1988 was: “I love you and I will never forget you.”

True to form, his latest newsletter – like so many – featured earthy and familiar topics. Friday’s offerings included a segment on French consumers buying smaller-than-normal birds for roasting at Christmas as the pandemic cuts the number of parties.

“The stuffed pigeons, if I may say so, are really taking off,” said one butcher quoted in the report.

And that was Pernaut’s daily newsletter in a nutshell: light, informative, cheeky, well-produced and, often, an appetite-stimulating reminder that it was time for the “lunch break” – the sacrosanct French lunch. Segments about France’s rich abundance of culinary delights were a staple of its shows.

A measure of Pernaut’s stature in France was that his latest bulletin was competing for the news space with President Emmanuel Macron’s positive test for COVID-19.

Le Parisien newspaper published an interview with Pernaut on pages 2 and 3 on Friday, relegating Macron’s diagnosis to pages 4 and 5.

Pernaut, 70, told the newspaper that he and his wife, Nathalie, decided during the first lockout against the virus in France in the spring that this would be his last year to present what has been “my baby for 33 years. “.

His replacement is Marie-Sophie Lacarrau, who has big shoes to fill.

“It is sparkling and we share the same thinking on the defense of our regions,” Pernaut told Le Parisien. “We already know that she has more hair than me!”

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