'Le Spice Boy' comes to Paris! French excitement reaches fever pitch as David Beckham signs for PSG

Excitement and speculation thrived today. Would Victoria also be coming? And all those children with the odd names?

Paris

Forget the war in Mali. Forget the French civil servants’ strike. One event dominated most news sites in France today – “Le Spice Boy” is coming to Paris.

Football is not an all-consuming passion in France – and certainly not in Paris.  The American singer, Tom Waits, once famously said: “Not a man's town, Paris, not a man's town.”

If Paris-Saint Germain had signed any other 37 year-old, one-time footballing great, most of the city would have shrugged and asked: “qui?” 

But David Beckham is not just a footballer. He is “un people” – the franglais word coined by the French press to mean a “celeb”.

Excitement and speculation thrived today.  Would Victoria also be coming? And the children, one of whom is aptly named Paris?

There was ironic pride that a global super-star should be moving to France while the world enjoys the alleged stampede into tax-avoiding exile of most of the French glitterati.  Paul, 24, a fan standing outside the Paris Saint Germain club shop on the Champs Elysées said: “Maybe David Beckham will ask for a French passport like Gérard Depardieu asked for a Russian one.”

One famous Parisian, unavailable for comment today, will certainly be delighted. Former President Nicolas Sarkozy, a match-going Paris Saint-Germain fan, was reported to have played a part in the club’s abortive attempt to sign Beckham a year ago.

Mr Sarkozy was instrumental in the Qatari government’s decision to buy PSG in 2011, which has made the French capital’s perennially underachieving club into the richest in the world.

Maybe the Beckhams will now become Sarkozy’s neighbours. Another recently imported PSG star name, the Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahamovic, considered moving in next to Nicolas and Carla in a gated estate which contains Carla Bruni-Sarkozy’s mansion in the 16th arrondissement. “Ibra” finally decided that the house on offer was too expensive and not grand enough.

The transformation of PSG into a global player in the football world – and goal-scorer for the Qatari government’s PR machine – has not pleased all Paris football fans.

Violette Nahmias, 27, an economics lecturer, has written blogs and newspaper articles complaining that the club has been stolen from its fans and that the atmosphere at the Parc des Princes has become stultifyingly dull.

What did she make of the signing of David Beckham?

“Beckham? They are really signing Beckham?” she told The Independent. “That’s wonderful news. He is the only player that would persuade me to go to the Parc [des Princes] again. I swore that I would never go back after a game against Sochaux at the end of last season. We were going for the championship and we won 6-1 but the atmosphere in the stadium was completely dead.”

“But Beckham is different. I love Beckham. I will swallow my words and principles to see Beckham.”

French journalists were both excited and cynical. “With ‘Becks’, Qatar PLC is hiring a show-biz figure, a poster-boy adulated in Asia who will open up new marketing horizons,” said the website of the centre-left Le Nouvel Observateur.  “The fact that the ex-Manchester Unitred Number Seven is the shadow of the player he once was means little to the new bosses of PSG.”

The right-wing Le Figaro said: “The capture of Beckham is a wonderful media and commercial coup for PSG. His shirts will fly off the shelves at €85 a time.”

London calling: The commute

The Beckhams’ decision to live in London may work out well for Victoria’s fashion empire and their children’s education, but for David it heralds what could be a torturous 400-mile round commute.

Taking the Eurostar, which could cost Beckham £245 each way  should he opt for a Business Premier ticket, could be the best option. The journey from London’s St Pancras to Gare du Nord takes two hours and  15 minutes – less onerous than the seven to nine hours it would take  him to drive and take the ferry across the Channel.

Eurostar said “a lot” of people make the London-to-Paris trip each day for business, but would not give exact numbers.

Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth GamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Karen Dunbar performs
Entertainers showcase local wit, talent and irrepressible spirit
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game