The French press generally was far more critical of [Raisa Gorbachev] than he probably anticipated. During interviews, Gorbachev was asked repeatedly about human rights issues, including the condition of physicist Andrei D. Sakharov, exiled in the city of Gorky for more than five years.
Gorbachev received some backing from Mitterrand for his opposition to space weapons, but his proposal for separate negotiations to limit the French nuclear force was flatly turned down by Mitterrand. The French leader said that France's force de frappe was only a bare minimum deterrent that could not be bargained away.
Gorbachev's arrival diverted public attention away from the "Greenpeace affair," as the French call it, and Mitterrand's action in standing up to Gorbachev on the issue of negotiating limits on the French nuclear force was widely praised.