“Donald Trump is a real fool, but I’m not concerned by him coming here,” says Maxime Adam, sitting on a park bench in central Paris.

While thousands of Parisians were preparing to protest the Trump’s visit to France, the rest of the capital gave a collective shrug as life continued as normal.

“I don’t like him but if Emmanuel Macron decided to invite him it’s for some reason,” Mr Adam added.

“Mr Trump can do whatever he wants – I don’t agree with it but it’s not like that here.”

The French President wooed his American counterpart with a tour of the Les Invalides war memorial and Elysee Palace before a bilateral meeting, followed by a luxurious dinner in the Eiffel Tower.

The famed monument was shut down on Thursday morning amid tight security ahead of the President’s visit and Bastille Day, which saw an Isis militant kill 86 victims in Nice last year.

Disappointed tourists milled around at the base of the tower taking photos under the watchful eye of dozens of armed gendarme.

In a souvenir kiosk, an American was buying a figurine as a momento of her visit when the owner jokingly asked whether she had come to see Mr Trump.

“Hell no,” she replied, before apologising for the US President’s election and presence in France.

But Chichernea Vcan, who runs the kiosk, said he thought the controversial state visit could do good by introducing Mr Trump to a “different culture”.

“Mr Macron is young and he can change people’s ideas,” he added. “I’m against the protests – what difference are they going to make?”

The police presence is high in Paris over both terror fears and concern over the potential for demonstrations to spill over into violence like the riots during the G20 summit in Germany.

“I don’t think there will be any violence tonight because France is calm at the moment, not like Hamburg,” Mr Vcan predicted. “The protesters are angry – but mostly with Mr Trump.”

Danielle Martens, a 60-year-old Parisian carrying her shopping home around the police cordon, was similarly pragmatic.

“I’m very happy with Mr Macron, he’s going to bring a big change to France,” she said. “He is a French Frenchman and Mr Trump is an American American – there’s a big culture difference so it’s good for them to come together.”

But Milson Buci, who sells ice cream in a hotel, was furious over the visit’s impact on the tourist industry.

“What do I think of it? It’s f***ing s***,” he said, expressing concern over the damage done to visitor numbers. “They don’t care for us.”

Anna Rizzato is an Italian who has been living in Paris for two years and works for a tour bus company, described the security cordon around the Eiffel Tower as “a mess”.

“It’s more difficult for the tourists, they’re confused,” she added, but said she had few other concerns over the visit.

“When Mr Trump was elected at first I was scared because here it felt like Marine Le Pen had a big chance to win the election – but I don’t care about him coming here now,” Ms Rizzato said.

“I think Mr Macron invited him because even if they have different political ideals, he needs Mr Trump.”

Patrick Maroni, playing boules with a sexagenarian group of friends in picturesque gardens of the Palais-Royal, said he supported the visit’s commemorations for the centenary of American soldiers joining the First World War but believed political discussions would be “difficult”.

“But I think Mr Macron is relatively intelligent – he will negotiate well,” Mr Maroni added, expressing surprise at news of the scheduled protests.

Among the diverse groups planning evening demonstrations are those opposed to Mr Trump’s climate change policies, travel ban and anti-war organisations.

France has not forgotten the President’s previous remarks claiming “no go areas” existed in European cities and suggesting the country was incapable of fighting terror attacks on its soil, with protesters creating their own “no Trump zones” filled with music, dancing and performances.

Paris Against Trump organisers say they oppose “his positions on the climate crisis, his international politics against migrants, his sexist speeches and behaviour, his Islamophobia and racist remarks, his military plans around the world and his neo-liberalism and capitalism”.

A particular point of contention is Mr Trump’s decision to withdraw from the historic Paris agreement, which saw the Elysee Palace “troll” the White House by altering a video seeking to justify the move.

Mr Macron has been outspoken with his support for the accords and his previous meetings with the US President have appeared tense, including a white-knuckled handshake in Brussels.

But Thursday’s encounter appeared more congenial, seeing the French President and his wife, Brigitte Macron, take Mr and Mrs Trump to sights including Napoleon’s tomb before a bilateral meeting aides said would focus on shared goals including counter-terrorism.

It was followed by a press conference that saw both presidents brush over previous antagonism towards each other and vow to maintain the strong alliance between France and the US, as Mr Trump was repeatedly challenged by reporters on the ongoing scandal over his son’s meeting with a Russian lawyer during the Presidential campaign.

The leaders and their wives will have dinner, expected to include blue lobster and caviar, at the Eiffel Tower’s famed Le Jules Verne restaurant.

Donald Trump is to be the guest of honor at Friday’s military parade on the Champs-Elysees – the first time a US President had attended since George Bush in 1989 – as more protests are planned in Paris.

Source: www.independent.co.uk