Emmanuel Macron’s many loyal outriders in the media are trying to paint the picture of a “comeback” in his fortunes. But rising labor disputes and challenges to his environmental record show that the French president is anything but popular. As France returns from its long summer break, pundits seem to agree the country’s embattled president is on the rise — at home and abroad.

“Jupiter is back,” French politics blogger and translator Art Goldhammer declared at the end of August. “The turnaround is starting,” gushed Sophie Pedder, Paris bureau chief of the Economist. “He’s leading the West,” boomed Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin.