Sarkozy is set to marry his ex-model lover Carla Bruni

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President Nicolas Sarkozy and the former model Carla Bruni will marry in February, just over two months after they met, according to the French press.

Their whirlwind romance continued at the weekend, with a private visit to Jordan, at the invitation of King Abdullah. The President, 52, posed for photographs in the ruined city of Petra, with Mme Bruni's four-year-old son Aureli* perched on his shoulders.

The Elyse Palace refused to comment yesterday on a report in the Journal du Dimanche that the couple would marry on 8 or 9 February. Mme Bruni's mother, Marisa Borini, told the Italian press last week that President Sarkozy had asked her for her daughter's hand. "I told him: 'Mr President, I have no reason to refuse you'," Mme Borini said.

There was a warning sign yesterday, however, that the glitzy relationship was beginning to offend some of his older and more conservative supporters. An opinion poll in the newspaper Le Parisien suggested that M. Sarkozy's approval rating had dipped below 50 per cent for the first time since he was elected on 6 May.

There was a dramatic fall in the level of his support among older voters.

Such a downward lurch in M. Sarkozy's support amongst older French people is significant as he owes some of his electoral success to strong support in this age group.

They are thought to have been offended partly by his choice of former pop star Mme Bruni, 39, to replace his wife Cecilia, 50, who divorced him in October.