Francois Hollande "shared" his mistress Valerie Trierweiler with a minister from Nicolas Sarkozy's government in a 'Jules et Jim'-style relationship, a new biography has claimed.
La Frondeuse claims that Trierweiler had an affair with Patrick Devedjian, a former economic recovery minister, in the early 2000s but Hollande muscled in when the Right-winger failed to commit himself further to the relationship.
There followed a period "a bit like Jules et Jim", said the co-author Christophe Jakubyszyn, a close friend of the first lady, referring to the 1962 Francois Truffaut film in which Jeanne Moreau is in a love triangle with two men and all three live in the same house.
"Patrick Devedjian hesitated so much that Valerie Trierweiler allowed herself to be courted by a second man of another political persuasion: Francois Hollande," the Telegraph quoted him as saying.
"Little by little, the relationship with Hollande took precedence over the other, notably after an ultimatum in 2003 which Devedjian failed to respect. But he suffered a lot from the break-up. It was a bit like Jules et Jim. Both men still have a lot of respect for each other," he said.
All three people involved in the affair had other partners at the time.
In another extract of La Frondeuse, Trierweiler is cited as claiming she was "chatted up" by Sarkozy "while he was holding his ex-wife's Cecila's hand" at an Elysee garden party in the same period.
He is said to have whispered "you are so beautiful" to Trierweiler, then who was a political journalist and she responded with a "withering look".
Clearly annoyed at the rebuff, he is said to have told other journalists: "Who does she think she is? Am I not good enough for her?"
The book about France's first lady says they fell out irrevocably in March over claims that Sarkozy's entourage leaked information to the press that one of her sons had been stopped by police in the street with a banger.
Trierweiler alleged that he did so as a damage limitation exercise after his youngest son, Louis, was caught throwing tomatoes at policemen from the Elysee Palace.
The revelations about Hollande's romantic life came a day after a French former minister mocked the President, who is about to legalise homosexual unions in France, for wanting "marriage for everyone, except himself." ANI)