Though Valls and Ayrault are said to despise each other, and many of Ayrault’s staff were furious to learn of their boss’s dismissal on television, the short ceremony at 3 o’clock in the Paris sunshine went smoothly.
Ayrault described the job as difficult but “exalting” and defended his record in office. He labelled the arrival of Valls “a new stage”, wished him “bon courage” ending with “Good luck to France.”
Valls praised Ayrault’s hard work and declared that they were both “two Socialists, two republicans, two patriots.”
Ayrault’s staff, who had gathered in the courtyard of the Prime Minister’s official residence, the Hotel Matignon, broke into a lengthy applause and Valls accompanied Ayrault and his wife to their waiting car.
The new Prime Minister was careful to wait until the couple had departed before greeting some of the waiting staff and then turning to enter Matignon.
On Wednesday Valls will announce the names of the new French government team