The birth of First Baby Giulia is greeted with a yawn

 

Baby, what baby? France, or part of France, greeted the birth of President Nicolas Sarkozy's daughter with an ostentatious yawn yesterday.

The centre-left newspaper Libération ignored the happy event completely. The upmarket Le Monde, carried only a teasing article on page two, mocking the obsession of the twittosphere and foreign press with Carla Bruni-Sarkozy's pregnancy. It also led its front page with the story that the world population was now 7 billion, implying, perhaps, that one baby was incidental.

President Sarkozy was equally coy. He spoke of "very great happiness" but turned up at his wife's clinic yesterday morning with a sheaf of documents and departed after 40 minutes for an official engagement in western France. There was some surprised comment in other French media at President Sarkozy's decision to skip the birth on Wednesday night in favour of eurozone crisis talks in Germany. Euro crisis talks are daily events after all. The birth of a daughter is special.

Political commentators suggested that the President was trying to make a point. New father or not, he would remain focused on trying to rescue the European economy. Although some Sarkozy supporters have been hoping for a "baby bounce" in his poll ratings, the Elysée Palace insists that the birth is a private, not public, event. This may be tactical as well as principled. Much of his presidency has been dominated by his private life: his divorce, his marriage to Carla Bruni and his son Jean's fast-track political career. People would prefer what remains of Mr Sarkozy's mandate to be devoted to them.

The studied lack of interest of the French goes beyond the centre-left press. "We are not a monarchy. We are a Republic. I am delighted that they have a healthy baby but it is really no one else's concern," said Hervé Letellier, a Paris-based businessman.

Not all French people shrugged yesterday. The print edition of Le Monde may have hardly covered the event but it was the third most visited story on its website yesterday. On French gossip and celebrity websites, interest was intense, especially in the possible name of the baby.

Ms Bruni-Sarkozy, 43, gave birth at about 7pm on Wednesday night at the exclusive Clinique de la Muette in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. After a brief visit to mother and child yesterday morning, Mr Sarkozy, 56, flew to Mayenne in western France. He gave a speech at a recycling plant where employees presented him with a bib, an oak sapling and a book "for maman" on how to lose weight after pregnancy.

"That is really very kind, very thoughtful," Mr Sarkozy said. "We have been lucky enough to have a very great happiness... a joy all the more profound because it is private. But they are both doing very well." Asked the baby's name, the President said: "Lets leave the pleasure of announcing that to the mother." Later it was confirmed as "Giulia".

Le Monde may not have treated the birth of France's first First Baby for more than a century as a news story but it could claim one scoop. It published the first image of the presidential daughter. A front-page cartoon pictured the L'Oréal heiress, Liliane Bettencourt, who was placed under judicial control by a French court this week. Next to her was a baby in a pram with President Sarkozy's features and a pink ribbon in her hair. She was saying: "Better put Dad under judicial control. And quickly!"

Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sportThe city’s fight for justice after Hillsborough is embodied in Steven Gerrard, who's poised to lead his club to a remarkable triumph
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
VIDEO
News
The energy drink MosKa was banned for containing a heavy dose of the popular erectile dysfunction Levitra
news
Environment
People are buying increasing numbers of plants such as lavender to aid the insects
environmentGardeners rally round the endangered bumblebee
Sport
Australia's Dylan Tombides competes for the ball with Adal Matar of Kuwait during the AFC U-22 Championship Group C match in January
sportDylan Tombides was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011
Arts & Entertainment
Customers browse through Vinyl Junkies record shop in Berwick Street, Soho, London
musicBest exclusives coming to an independent record shop near you this Record Store Day
News
Ida Beate Loken has been living at the foot of a mountain since May
newsNorwegian gives up home comforts for a cave
Extras
indybest10 best gardening gloves
Arts & Entertainment
tvIt might all be getting a bit much, but this is still the some of the finest TV ever made, says Grace Dent
Arts & Entertainment
Comedian Lenny Henry is calling for more regulation to support ethnic actors on TV
tvActor and comedian leads campaign against 'lack of diversity' in British television
News
Posted at the end of March, this tweeted photo was a week off the end of their Broadway shows
people
News
peopleStar to remain in hospital for up to 27 days to get over allergic reaction
Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit