Tue, 16 Apr 2013 By John Hill
Despite Margaret Thatcher’s loathing of French President Mitterrand, she was a great lover of France, its mountains – and cuisine.
The Iron Lady is pictured here with France’s greatest chef, Michel Rochedy, of the world-famous Chabichou restaurant in Courchevel ski resort.
Mrs Thatcher visited the Chabichou after she was ousted as Premier – for much-needed R&R and liked it so much she stayed on longer and returned for the following three years for a full week – always in summer and always accompanied by four Scotland Yard protection officers.
Mrs Thatcher spent her time relaxing, walking in the hills and went with M Rochedy to inspect his mountain herb gardens and see his goats (used for cheese production) and then lazed her time away in the spa, and of course loved the gourmet cuisine. According to Rochedy she drooled over the food and was perfectly happy to eat off the menu although she had been asked in advance for her favourite meals so they could cook for her.
The former Premier particularly loved the fresh cheeses – made by the mountain goatherd who lived next to the restaurant. And she often was accompanied at dinner by one of her detectives.
We asked M. Rochedy if she was ever bossy, or stroppy or handbag-waving and he looked surprised and said: “Mon Dieu non, absolutely non – she was a kind and caring woman who was always polite and charming. A real Lady. I wish we had leaders in France as caring and considerate as Mrs Thatcher. Our politicians here, like yours, are getting more catastrophic each time.”
M Rochedy added: “Mrs Thatcher always hated when it was time to go home and she said on her last visit – I would like to come here every week. Then sadly she became too ill to travel.”
photo credit to: Noël Pelegrin