My wife and I were a little surprised to see Living France perpetuate the linguistic error commonly made by the English in Ian Moore’s column in the July edition – in the subtitle, the illustration and the text! It is not Madame la Maire, but Madame le Maire; it being the word not the person who has the gender. Thus Madame le Maire was once un bébé, who grew into une personne.
Apart from that little slip, we are getting a lot out of your magazine, as usual.
Thanks for writing to us, Martin and Jane, as this grammatical point caused us some deliberation when we printed the article. You are absolutely right that Madame le Maire is grammatically correct, but Madame la Maire is becoming increasingly common. In fact, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo is quoted as saying “Appelez-moi Madame la Maire”.
We would love to hear from other readers who can share their experiences of how a female mayor is addressed in France. – Ed