French President Nicolas Sarkozy has put an end to media speculation over who is paying for his holiday. In a phone call to Le Monde newspaper, he said he was invited by two millionaire families with whom he is friends. Le Monde estimated the two-week stay in the villa in the American resort of Wolfeboro cost about 44,000 euros.
The generous friends are the head of Tiffany jewellers, Agnes Cromback and a director of fashion house Prada, Mathilde Agostinelli. Socialist opposition leader Francois Hollande says Sarkozy can holiday wherever and with whoever he likes, but the important thing is who pays.
Talking about Sarkozy’s policies after 100 days in office, Hollande adds that what French people do not want is for the rich to get richer at the expense of the rest of the population. During his American vacation, Sarkozy and his wife Cecilia openly showed their displeasure at what they see as a prying press pack.
It is a problem that previous French leaders never really had. Jacques Chirac’s holidays, for example, tended to be in more low-key locations. But there is no such thing as a free holiday; a little less privacy is the price Sarkozy has had to pay for the glamour.