First, he was a true radical and, avoiding conventional party politics, insisted that Aids would only be combated by fresh political debate (as well as continuing medical research). The fruits of such innovation are evident in the calibre and depth of the now highly politicised French debate about Aids. Secondly, Mettetal was committed to European unity, believing that the conventional national framework suited the professions of neither medicine nor politics. His hoped-for contribution to the development of liberal civil society in the New Europe will be much missed.
For a man driven by such courage and intelligence, Jean-Florian was an alarming romantic and Anglophile: a hero was Victor Hugo. His ashes will rest in an English churchyard.