Paris people

Sophie Marceau: The girl from next door

Remember, we’re in Paris and people are not supposed to function before ten. The avenue de Rapp in the fancy 7th arrondissement is kind of sad looking. The plane trees have lost their leaves. It’s blowing a gale on this November day, people are rushing to work, crossing the pont d’Alma to catch the next metro station. But Café d’Alma is busy already.

Here she comes, Sophie Marceau, the early bird. She has dropped her kids off for school, she did a bit of walking on the Champs-de-Mars, she’s ready for the day. Quickly she walks up the steps to the first floor of the cafe. Nobody has seen her. No wonder. She is in sneakers, wearing a light cashmere sweater and she is not hiding the dark circles under her eyes with make-up. Her hair looks as if washing wouldn’t be a bad idea.

A working mother

She walks in and I think, gosh, she is beautiful. Natural and beautiful. I had a fight the night before with my husband. He pretended she was not. Not beautiful, I mean. But he also claims that Penelope Cruz looks like a Parisian concierge. So may be he just doesn’t count when it comes to women’s beauty.

Sophie Marceau is a big star. Not only in France. But she's still natural, unpretentious. Looking like the girl from next door. The working mother. Somebody normal.

A star over night

This is why the French love her, I guess. No airs and graces at all. She actually is France’s favourite actress as the Figaro found out. And the best paid. Last year (2009) she got 2,9 Million Euros for two films, 1,5 Million for each. But for the French she still is Vic from The Party, La Boum, the film that made a star of her. She was 13 then. And she lost her youth in that adventure. Today she can talk about it. It was such a strange thing: the daughter of a divorced truck-driver and a shopkeeper who had grown up in a modest Paris suburb, who became a star overnight.

She was 16 when she got the Cesar du meilleur espoir, the award for the best young actress. The same year she paid one million Francs to get out of the contract with Gaumont. She had to borrow the money. Today she says, “that was a way to show that I exist, that I can choose what I do”.

The film we are talking about deals exactly with this: life choices. L’âge de raison is about a successful business women, a cold career girl, who gets letters from the seven year old girl she was.

Everybody loves her

Does she doubt about herself, her life? “Every day”, Sophie replies. Every day she wonders what would be the right choice, she says, “even for very small things”.

In a few days she will turn 44. She has appeared  in 37 films, written and directed two, she has written a book, raised her two kids, Vincent, 15, and Juliette, 8, and she is now sharing her life with Franco-American actor Christophe Lambert. “I’ve never asked for all this”, Sophie says. That’s precisely why everybody loves Sophie.Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard, AFP