June 21, 2017 / 10:12 PM / 2 months ago

French First Lady and Colombian drums herald new Macron government

Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos (2nd L), his wife Maria Clemencia Rodriguez de Santos (L), French president Emmanuel Macron (C) and his wife Brigitte (R) pose with young musicians as they arrive for a state dinner at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, France June 21, 2017.Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt/Pool

(This version of the story fixes the spelling of Colombian)

By Brian Love

PARIS (Reuters) - While President Emmanuel Macron prepared the lineup of France's new government on Wednesday, a Colombian musical ensemble played a cover version of the "Mission Impossible" movie theme tune in the yard of his Elysee Palace offices in central Paris.

First Lady Brigitte Macron, a former drama teacher, met a group of teenage students preparing to play at the presidential premises for France's annual music festival and told them of her piano-player husband's musical talents.

"The last time I heard him play it was Brahms," she told an awed audience of youngsters with official Elysee access badges around their necks.

"He might well have played today - with a big government reshuffle (to work on) from early morning," she said, adding that he was obsessed with the finer elements of piano tuning.

The summer solstice festival sees thousands of musicians play in cafes, street corners and even in the grounds of the presidential palace.

The Colombian show at the Elysee was held in honour of a visit by the arrival there for dinner of Juan Manuel Santos, the Andean nation's president.

Brigitte Macron won plaudits on social media.

"Super-cool Madame Macron," was one of the regular ones. "What a class act," said many others. But at least one asked nonetheless: "So how much is this going to cost us all."

Reporting by Brian Love; editing by Richard Lough

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