Cédric Villani, mathematician and independent candidate for Paris Mayor in the March elections, began his day on February 11 by meeting with about 25 AAPA members at Bloomberg’s offices next to Opéra.

Villani outlined his programme to “open up politics” to the outside world with more direct democracy, to free Paris of pollution and incivility, and to resolve the city’s housing shortage. He would foster scientific knowledge and culture, scrap two of the five layers in France’s administrative “millefeuille”, and extend the French capital beyond the périphérique.

Despite his policy divergence with President Emmanuel Macron and expulsion from the ruling LREM party, Villani denied there had been a “separation” or “rupture”, and insisted he remains loyal to the party’s principles and promises. He dismissed the suggestion that his refusal to back official LREM candidate Benjamin Griveaux in the election would end in defeat for them both. The two campaigns are different, and so is the profile of their supporters, he said.

He declined to put a number on the “many” spider brooches he owns, and was clearly pleased that an Iranian research team has named a spider after him. Villani’s election programme is available online at: https://www.cedricvillani.paris/