Far from endearing Mr. Sarkozy to his people, his paparazzi romance with the model-turned-singer Carla Bruni has fueled criticism that he is ignoring the country and spending too much time having fun.
Mr. Sarkozy, 52, was photographed with Ms. Bruni, 40, touring the pyramids of Egypt and archaeological sites in Jordan. There, in the Middle East, was Ms. Bruni, a beatific look on her face, as she leaned her head on his shoulder; there he was holding her waist, his fingers touching her exposed midriff.
His romantic life with Ms. Bruni, he insisted, was different. “We do not want to be manipulative about our relation in any way, but we did not want to hide,” he said. “I did not want a picture of me taken in the early morning. Sordid. I did not want a picture of me taken at night. I did not want you to describe the same hypocrisy under a cloak.”
He described his divorce last October as “not the happiest moment in my life,” portraying himself as just like any other Frenchman when it comes to love. “The life of a President, on these essential matters that are those of love, is like the life of anybody else,” he said. “I am going to make a confession: I get up in the morning, I go to bed at night, like millions of French people