“How are you doing? Is it not too hard right now?” Hollande asked Macron as they exchanged greetings at the tribute to soldiers killed during World War One at the Arc de Triomphe on the Paris Champs Elysees.
Macron’s answer was brief: “Yes. Thank you for being here. We have to talk about it.”
During his tenure, Hollande himself faced a string of deadly insurgent attacks in Paris in 2015 and in Nice a year later.
In 2016 Hollande, faced with very low ratings, decided not to seek re-election.
Relations between Hollande and Macron, his former economy minister, who quit the Socialist government to run for office, have not been always smooth.
In his book Lessons of Power, recording his five years in office, Hollande famously warned his pomp-loving successor: “don’t forget French royals lost their heads at the guillotine”.