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The President's Hat

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,796 Ratings  ·  331 Reviews
Dining alone in an elegant Parisian brasserie, accountant Daniel Mercier can hardly believe his eyes when President François Mitterrand sits down to eat at the table next to him.

Daniel’s thrill at being in such close proximity to the most powerful man in the land persists even after the presidential party has gone, which is when he discovers that Mitterrand’s black felt ha
Paperback, 208 pages
Published September 3rd 2013 by Gallic Books (first published January 11th 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Claire McAlpine
Jun 16, 2015 Claire McAlpine rated it it was amazing
Another success from Antoine Laurain. Fable-like it follows the subsequent wearers of The French President during the 1980's Francois Mitterand after he leaves it in a Parisian brasserie.

The hat continues to be left and each person who becomes its temporary caretaker experiences something new and transfromative in their lives.

Impossible to put down, uplifting and a joy to read, it is wonderful to come across one of those 'turn-to' authors when in need of a literary pick-me-up or just a fun read!
Aug 13, 2015 Demis rated it really liked it
Loved it. A sweet little story, well-realised characters... gave me a real feeling of that magic I used to get reading stories as a kid, except instead of dragons, monsters and knights, it was all about the oysters, perfumes and Parisian parks I know all too well.

It's a quick read - anyone looking for a wonderful way to waste your afternoon, this one's a treat.
Apr 28, 2013 Jane rated it really liked it
Shelves: passed-on
“If you want to get ahead get a hat”

It’s a play on words, used as an advertising slogan in the UK in the 1940s. It would seem that those words struck a chord, as they remain in the public consciousness to this day. Maybe that’s because they’re true.

They certainly were in Paris, in 1986.

Daniel Mercier was an accountant, with a career that was solid but not spectacular.

One evening, when his wife and child were away, he decided that he would treat himself to a lovely meal and a good bottle of wine
Jan 18, 2016 primeballerina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nachdem der französische Autor Antoine Laurain mit seinem Roman “Liebe mit zwei Unbekannten” nicht nur zahlreiche Leser, sondern auch mich überzeugen konnte, ist heute sein neuester Roman erschienen: “Der Hut des Präsidenten”.

Die Geschichte spielt im Jahr 1986, François Mitterand ist aktuell Präsident Frankreichs und wird oft mit einem dunklen Filzhut auf dem Kopf fotografiert und gesehen.

Eines Abends gönnt sich Daniel Mercier ein Abendessen in einer vorzüglichen Brasserie – und sein Tischnachba
Nancy McKibben
Jan 06, 2014 Nancy McKibben rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Francophiles; flaneurs
The President’s Hat
By Antoine Laurain

A French novel in translation, The President’s Hat is a sweet bit of whimsy. Daniel Mercier, an everyday sort of accountant, inadvertently finds himself seated next to President Francois Mitterand at a brasserie; when Mitterand forgets his hat, Mercier appropriates it as a souvenir of the evening he sat next to the President. But when he dons the black hat, he feels transformed.
He felt as if his brain was bathed in a refreshing dose of sparkling aspirin. Bub
Jan 21, 2016 Ela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-gelesen
"Die wichtigen Ereignisse unseres Lebens sind immer die Folge einer Verkettung winziger Details" S. 28

Laurain hat letztes Jahr mit "Liebe mit zwei Unbekannten" für große Begeisterungsstürme in der Leserwelt gesorgt. Ich selber habe das Buch (noch) nicht gelesen, wollte mich aber gerne mit seinem aktuellen Buch von ihm überzeugen. Und mich zu überzeugen hat der Autor eindeutig geschafft!

"Der Hut des Präsidenten" ist nicht unbedingt eine klassische Liebesgeschichte, lässt sich aber dennoch toll le
Emma Iadanza
Jan 11, 2016 Emma Iadanza rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone!
I was going to rate this 4 stars, but the ending was just so satisfying that I had to give it 5!
Truly! I have never experienced such a satisfying ending. Indeed, it was an experience, not just a novel.

I believe I found this book on a list of short reads, and just was so captivated by the premise that I had to find it. I got it for Christmas last month - and I had to read it! It was so appealing, because I have experienced the horribleness of loosing hats many times. (view spoiler)
"Sometimes life carries you in different directions and you don't even realise (sic) you've gone down a fork in the road; the GPS of destiny has not followed the planned route and there has been no sign to indicate you've passed the point of no return. Life's Bermuda Triangle is both myth and reality."

IF.... A mighty little word with mammoth implications.

Daniel Mercier is an average bloke. A vanilla sort of cube-farm guy not likely to get promoted, let alone become company partner or rub elbows
Laura (The Book Habit)
Apr 09, 2013 Laura (The Book Habit) rated it really liked it
The book tells the tale of President Francois Mitterand's black felt hat, picked up in a restaurant by the Parisian accountant Daniel Mercier. From there, the hat passes through the hands of three other individuals, changing the lives of each person in an empowering and peculiar way. Inspired by his courage to steal the President's hat, Daniel Mercier stands up to his boss and receives a longed-for promotion. Fanny Marquant, coming into possession of the hat when it is left on a train by Daniel ...more

4 Stars

A fun little novel, I tossed up for a good ten minutes or so whether to give it 3.5 or 4 stars and eventually decided to round it up (think of it as a 3.75 if you like). This was a bit of an impulse buy – I went into Waterstones to pick up another book, had a quick browse through their special offer’s tables, marked this down as something that looked interesting, and left, walked halfway down the street, turned round, and went straight back into the shop. My wallet’s not particularly happ
Nov 15, 2015 Rebecca rated it really liked it
A cosy read. I liked it but didn't love it and sometimes books are just like that.
Fantasie Träumerei
Ob Zufall oder Schicksal - für Daniel steht außer Frage, dass er den Hut von Präsident Mitterand mit nach Hause nimmt, als dieser seine Kopfbedeckung im Restaurant liegen lässt. Dass er ihm ein gänzlich neues Selbstbewusstsein und Lebensgefühl vermittelt, ahnt er zu diesem Zeitpunkt nicht.

Nicht nur sein Leben nimmt unerwartet eine positive Wendung, sondern auch das all der anderen Finder und Träger des Hutes, denn der denkt gar nicht daran auf einem Kopf zu bleiben und - als wisse er ganz genau
Feb 09, 2016 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Man muss schon sagen, „Der Hut des Präsidenten“ ist wahrlich ein ganz besonderes Buch. Mein erstes Buch von Antoine Laurain und sicherlich auch nicht das Letzte. Eigentlich ist die Geschichte in mehrere einzelne Geschichten unterteilt. Allerdings haben die einzelnen Geschichten eine Gemeinsamkeit - Den Hut des Präsidenten. Und am Ende ergibt alles ein einheitliches Bild.

Ich mag Bücher von französischen Schriftstellern. Ihr Schreibstil hat diese besondere Eigennote, die mich augenblicklich in de
The novel is set in 1986 and the hat does not remain long in Daniel's possession but moves through a number of temporary owners, changing the life of each in a subtle way. Daniel is still very attached to the hat and does seek to re-unite with it.

While I listened to the majority of this on audio, I elected to splash out for the Kindle edition as well. This was partly because I was enjoying it very much but also I found that the subtly of the plot meant that I felt I'd not appreciated it fully v
May 21, 2015 Julie rated it liked it
Almost like a modern fairy tale. A pleasant and uncomplicated read.
Jun 26, 2015 Kay rated it it was amazing
The President's Hat (original French Title: Le Chapeau de Mitterrand (Mitterrand's Hat), made me so happy. After I finish this review I am going to read it again! A "fait divers," as they say in French to mean "news item," the French President from 1981 to 1995!, left his hat in a brasserie on evening. Daniel, sitting next to the great man, picks it up the forgotten hat and puts it on his own head, starting a chain of 'lost and found hat' that brightens and changes the life of everyone who finds ...more
Mackenzie Patel
Nov 21, 2015 Mackenzie Patel rated it it was amazing
The President’s Hat is an excellent read and one that is so much deeper than anything Goodreads has suggested. (i.e. “A quick read - anyone looking for a wonderful way to waste your afternoon, this one's a treat.”) For this novel is the opposite of a frilly “waste,” it’s a story so luxurious that it rolls off your tongue and lodges into your thoughts for a long while. It stirs something of the unknown inside of you and transforms the idea of “change” into an alluring creature. If only I could pl ...more
Edwin Lang
Jul 07, 2015 Edwin Lang rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015

I picked up this book because I desperately needed a break from reading Der Nister’s The Family Mashber. Although The President’s Hat has little of substance, it is lighthearted and easy to read and is enjoyable and comprises a closely-intertwined collection of four short stories of what happens to series of characters who find a hat.

There is a sense that each of the four characters is down for some reason. Daniel Mercier, an accountant whose wife and son are away (at her parents), has been una
May 01, 2013 Jacqueline rated it it was amazing
Shelves: france, paris
This book is set in 1980’s France and mainly in Paris. It dips it’s toes into the French politics of the time (but only a little), when accountant Daniel finds himself eating in the same Parisian brasserie as Francois Mitterrand. Daniel’s excitement about his proximity to the celebrity diner is nothing to when he discovers the President has left his hat behind. In an instant he makes the decision to take the hat, an action that will change many things for many people.

I love a book where the stor
Penny McGill
Oct 26, 2013 Penny McGill rated it it was amazing
This was a fast read but not because it was a short book. It was a fast book because the pace of the story and the premise - Mitterand's hat is left behind in a restaurant and the man who finds it experiences a boost in his life while he wears it, then HE loses the hat and the next person experiences a life altering upswing - so you keep reading because you want to know what is going to happen next. That is the part of reading that I love the most, the what-happens-next part, and with Antoine La ...more
Erin Robyn Walker
Mar 29, 2014 Erin Robyn Walker rated it it was amazing
I love this book. It is now one of my all time favorites. I wish I had bought it instead of borrowing it from the library because it is definitely one to add to your own personal library. The characters all positively benefit from the confidence given them when in possession of the president's hat. Is it the magic held within the hat or does it simply help each one to feel confident enough to look inside themselves? Given them a different perspective on their identity each character becomes a mo ...more
Roxanne Meek
Jul 04, 2015 Roxanne Meek rated it really liked it
This is my second book by Antoine Laurain, the first being The Red Notebook ( which I loved) . Laurain is a gifted writer who weaves a very clever and magical story. It has many twists and turns and comes full circle back to the beginning with a surprising ending and the uplifting message that all things are possible. Like The Red Notebook, it makes me want to go back to Paris. Between 3.5 ~ 4 stars
Sep 05, 2015 Erin rated it it was amazing
Every bit as delicious and delightful as "The Red Notebook" and a complete joy to read. Can I hire Laurain to ghostwrite my novel?
May 09, 2015 Beatrice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 start
The first book I've ever read that has had a hat as one of the main characters ;).
Wunderbar charmant und liebreizend!

Für Daniel Mercier, einen unscheinbaren Buchhalter aus Paris, wird sich am Abend durch eine ganz besondere Begegnung sein Leben verändern. Denn eines Tages, als seine Frau über die Ferien mit ihrem Sohn seine Schwiegereltern in der Normandie besucht, beschließt Daniel nach mittlerweile bestimmt einem ganzen Jahr wieder einmal eine Brasserie aufzusuchen. Ihm zaubert schon der Anblick der Tische allein ein Lächeln ins Gesicht: Die schneeweißen Tischdecken und die
Chris Tutolo
Dec 21, 2015 Chris Tutolo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nov 01, 2015 Lisbeth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, wellbeing
This book was read by many during the Paris in July 2015 challenge, and with raving reviews. I had put it on my to-read list and was therefore happy when I found it recently at the Book festival in Brussels. On Tuesday, on my way to Mallorca, I finished it during the two hour flight. An easy read and very entertaining.

Wonderful story of the president’s hat, that is President Francois Mitterand. He forgets his hat in a brasserie in Paris, and Daniel Mercier, who dines at the table next to the Pre
Oct 08, 2015 Suze rated it it was amazing
It's 1986 and Daniel Merçier wants to treat himself, so he goes to a Parisian brasserie for a seafood dinner. He can't believe his luck when president François Mitterand has his evening meal at the table next to him. Daniel dreams of being part of his meeting, but he's already quite happy listening in. Then the president leaves and forgets his hat. Daniel finds it and instead of returning it to him he decides to keep it. Only there's something very special about the hat. It actually changes his ...more
Zoe Brooks
Aug 19, 2014 Zoe Brooks rated it it was amazing
I bought this little gem on impulse. It was one of those reduced price kindle offers and I thought I hadn't reviewed many French books on this blog (a couple I think), so I took a punt.

The hat at the heart of the story passes from owner to new owner by a series of coincidences and each time the new owner changes his or her life, becoming more decisive and taking control of circumstances. Is this because of the hat? Daniel Mercier thinks so: his search for the hat he lost shortly after acquiring
Nov 23, 2013 Nicky rated it it was amazing
I wish there were more books like this. Entirely fanciful but could be true about the life changing effects of President Mitterand's hat as it falls into the hands of a succession of slightly unhappy people. It sounds quaint to say a book is charming but this book is. Translated from the original French it focuses on many aspects of French cultural life which do not fall into my daily aegis. It's a short book but I raced through it because I loved it so much. Thank you Felicity for recommending ...more
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Beautiful novel, ingenious author 3 6 Nov 26, 2015 03:48PM  
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Antoine Laurain was born in Paris and is a journalist, antiques collector and the author of five novels. The President’s Hat, a charming fable set in the Mitterrand years, was awarded the Prix Landerneau Découvertes and the Prix Relay in 2012 and is published in English by Gallic. It was a Waterstones Book Club book and ABA Indies Introduce pick in 2013. Antoine was chosen to represent France at E ...more
More about Antoine Laurain...

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“Sometimes life carries you in different directions and you don’t even realise you’ve gone down a fork in the road; the great GPS of destiny has not followed the planned route and there has been no sign to indicate you’ve passed the point of no return. Life’s Bermuda Triangle is both myth and reality.” 1 likes
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