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The Charming Mountain Goat – Grocery Shopping with the Danish Prince and Johnny Hallyday

July 15th, 2011 · No Comments · Charming Mountain Goat, Provence, South of France

It is true that the South of France attracts many celebrities. A few years ago, popping out of our non-descript little house in our plain little village to pick up the piglets from the village school, I nearly ran into Helen Mirren. Apparently she is a neighbour.

David Beckham’s phone number was in the phonebook until recently. Further down the coast, we used to keep bumping into Joan Collins. We have even hung out with the Monegasque football team and the airport and Piglet 1 shook hands with a national player. Last year before they became big brothers to their little sister Harper, we had a day on the beach with the Beckham boys. Princess Stephanie of Monaco, Angelica Huston, Adnan Kashoggi…I could go on, but it  gets boring very quickly.

So when we went shopping in our local Leclerc supermarket on Wednesday we weren’t altogether too surprised when we pumped into Prince Joachim of Denmark near the pasta aisle. Near the yoghurt section, a teenag girl was surreptiously taking photographs on her digital camera.

The Prince’s French wife, Princess Marie of Denmark was heading towards the mustard section like me. “Sennep,” she told her husband in Danish and reminded him firmly in French to take the fine mustard, because “c’est la meilleure, chérie!” His Royal Highness acquiesced – also in French. Their princely son was chewing on a Maggi packet he must have grabbed from the shelves.

All in all, they were trying to keep a low profile, blending in and playing at everyday life. Quite a challenge, given that we had seen many Danish tourist cars in the supermarket car park.

After the excitement of shopping with royalty, we were beginning to wonder what was going on when we looked up and saw Johnny Hallyday in front of us at the checkout.

As a non-French person, I have never managed to solve the Johnny Hallyday mystery. He is considered to be the French Elvis and was big in the 1970s.

He is now married to a French model more than half his age and seeing “Mme Hallyday” in front of our eyes and calculating very quickly that she was neither half his age, nor a model, we realised this particular Johnny Hallyday must be his impersonator Johnny Vegas, another neighbour.

Johnny Vegas did his best to draw attention to himself; dark sunglasses, dark shirt, gold chains – ready for a Vegas performance, but not shopping in a Var supermarket. His wife, a middle-aged housewife who was packing their groceries in the shopping bag, looked out of place by his side. People were staring. Mission accomplished.

Walking out of the supermarket, I caught another glimpse of the real celebrities, as Princess Marie quietly carried more groceries towards their trolley. She looked like all the other young mothers in the shop. Mission accomplished.

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