French First Lady Valérie Trierweiler leaves hospital a week after scandal of François Hollande's 'affair' with actress Julie Gayet

President's official partner driven to presidential retreat outside Paris

Paris

The French First Lady Valérie Trierweiler left hospital in Paris today, a week after reports emerged that her partner, President François Hollande, was having an alleged affair with the actress Julie Gayet.

Trierweiler left the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital and went to the president's official residence at La Lanterne in Versailles to rest, for which Trierweiler works.

Hollande's office declined to comment.

Hours after Ms Trierweiler left hospital, she thanked her supporters.

"Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all who sent messages of support and recovery" by email or social media, she tweeted. "Very touched."

Paris Match magazine said that Trierweiler was expected to spend a few days at La Lanterne, near the Chateau de Versailles, citing sources close to Hollande.

Trierweiler was admitted to hospital eight days ago after gossip magazine Closer published what it said were images of Hollande making a nocturnal visit to Gayet's pied-a-terre apartment in the upmarket eighth arrondissement of Paris.

Hollande, who visited Trierweiler in hospital on Thursday, according to a source in his office, was in his old parliamentary constituency of Tulle, in central France, today. His speech there made no reference to the matter.

Closer magazine, which exposed the affair with Ms Gayet last week, has produced new revelations. The magazine said that the relationship had started two years ago – before Mr Hollande was elected President.

The reports of the affair with Gayet, which Hollande has neither confirmed nor denied, have raised questions about whether Trierweiler will continue to occupy the unofficial position of France's "first lady" and accompany the president on state visits.

Hollande pledged at a news conference on Tuesday to clarify Trierweiler's status ahead of a trip to the United States scheduled for 9 February. He brushed off questions about the alleged affair.

He said everyone in their personal life could "face trials" and that "that is our case", adding that "these are painful moments".

The president has insisted on his right to a private life and has pursued business largely as usual, unveiling his economic reform plans for the rest of his five-year presidency at the Tuesday event and giving a keynote speech to French diplomats on Friday.

With the reports surrounding Hollande, Trierweiler and Gayet have hit the headlines internationally, the French are traditionally indulgent of their leaders' sexual indiscretions.

A poll carried out by BVA for French TV channel iTele published on Saturday showed three-quarters of those interviewed thought Hollande was right not to answer questions about his private life, with 62 per cent considering it was a private matter that only concerned him.

Before the publication in Closer, Hollande had become the least popular French president in modern times, largely due to tax increases, recession and high unemployment, compounded by a reputation for dithering.

AP

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