Macron's polls rise to highest level since yellow vest revolt as French approve his handling of Notre-Dame fire

Henry Samuel
French President Emmanuel Macron addresses the French nation following a massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral, at the Elysee Palace in Paris - REUTERS

Emmanuel Macron’s approval ratings have risen to levels not seen since before the “yellow vest” revolt erupted last autumn with most French feeling he “rose to the occasion” over the Notre-Dame fire, a poll out on Friday suggests.

President Macron's popularity plummeted last September following a tax rise on pensioners and a backlash over plans to raise fuel taxes.

According to BVA, Mr Macron has clawed back three points in the past month and is now on 32 per cent with six out of ten French feeling he did a good job handling the Notre-Dame inferno.

Mr Macron had been due to broadcast a key televised address on Monday night to address ”yellow vest” concerns in the wake two months of debates around the country. Leaked details of the speech suggest he was going to announce tax cuts for poor households and a boost to small pensions, among other measures.

Instead, he rushed to the famed Gothic building in central Paris and later promised to rebuild the cathedral within five years. 

A poll out yesterday suggested most of the measures Mr Macron was due to announce “answered” yellow vest demands, although the vast majority were angry at his refusal to instantly reinstate a wealth tax. Mr Macron is expected to detail the measures in person next week.

The poll also found that 54 per cent of French think “yellow vest” protests should be put on hold in the name of national unity over Notre-Dame.

Due to the fragility of the building and the risk of violence, police are to impose a protest ban on the area around the fire-stricken for Saturday's 23rd consecutive “gilets jaunes” protest.

Despite this, police fear fresh protests in the French capital on Saturday with the interior minister warning “some people literally want to trash Paris”.

A number of high-profile gilets jaunes figures have called for action with some outraged that almost €1billion (£865 million) was donated to rebuilding Notre-Dame while there was no such gesture for the poor.

Yesterday the last artworks inside the cathedral were removed with art conservationists confirming none suffered major damage in the fire. In more good news, the 180,000 bees kept in hives on the monument that were thought to have perished in this week's fire were discovered alive.