The rise of Emmanuel Macron's party has shattered the accepted wisdom.
Everyone looks stunning. Just don't mention the Crimea.
"A portion of the left is about to make a historic mistake," the French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy told the New Statesman.
Of the Brexit ministers, one will steer us towards disaster, one will try to sell the ship, and a third who you can never quite be sure wasn’t on the iceberg’s side in the first place.
The Republic may well be secular – yet when the results of the first round came in that evening, many electors must have offered up a prayer in gratitude.
While the candidates of the main left and right parties have endorsed the centrist from nowhere, others have held back.
The centrist is not the first to succeed from outside the traditional parties in the Fifth Republic.
The centrist former economy minister and the far-right leader are set to contest the run-off on 7 May.
With the far right and far left surging in the run-up to a defining presidential election, the French seem intent on blowing up the political establishment.
A last-minute attack, as many feared, can change everything.
A run-off between Le Pen and a scandal-ridden François Fillon suddenly looks worryingly plausible.
The Zombie PM
The doomed premiership of Theresa May