French president holidays in US

-File photo

France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy arrived here to spend the first summer holiday of his presidency in an upmarket US lakeside town rather than a French resort, sources said on Friday.
“I can confirm that he has arrived yesterday (Thursday) evening,” George Hutchinson, whose Yankee Pedlar agency is renting a residence to Sarkozy in the town of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, told AFP.
As offices in France empty for the traditional long August break, the country’s leader has chosen a leafy corner of New England over sunny French spots such as the Bregancon fort, his official residence by the Mediterranean.
In Paris, the presidency said Sarkozy, his wife Cecilia and their children had been invited by friends, without specifying how long the visit would last or confirming the exact location.
“Mr and Mrs Sarkozy are on holiday at the invitation of friends, in a house on a lake two hours’ drive from Boston,” Sarkozy’s office said. “They traveled there as a family on a regular flight.”
The Boston Globe earlier said the buzz around Wolfeboro was that Sarkozy had rented a 1,200 square meter (13,200 square foot) house belonging to Mike Appe, a former official of Microsoft.
It is the first summer break Sarkozy has taken since becoming president in May. He has said he hopes to strengthen France’s relations with the United States.
Rene Dosiere of France’s opposition Socialists demanded to know who was paying for the holiday, after French newspapers reported that the house Sarkozy was visiting cost some 30,000 dollars a week.
Wolfeboro, a leafy, quiet town of some 6,000 people by the Winnipesaukee lake in this northeastern state, is said to be the country’s oldest summer resort.
Princess Grace and Prince Rainier of Monaco used to holiday here, as did the late US author Kurt Vonnegut.
Hutchinson declined to give further details of Sarkozy’s holiday house. “We respect the privacy of our clients,” he told AFP. “Some of our clients are as important as your president.”

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2007