The Obamas play tourists (with the odd detour for lunch at the Elysée Palace)

A typical American family of four completed a typical tourist weekend in Paris yesterday. There were visits to the Eiffel Tower, to Notre Dame cathedral, to the Pompidou Centre and, er, Sunday lunch with President Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni. Actually, the father of the American tourist family, Barack Obama, missed the lunch at the Elysée Palace. He had to fly home to Washington on business.

To those who tried to read a snub into his early departure, President Obama said: "I would love nothing more than to have a leisurely week in Paris, stroll down the Seine, take my wife out to a nice meal, have a picnic in the Luxembourg Gardens. Those days are over, for the moment."

In fact, the President, making a whirlwind visit to Paris after the commemoration of the 65th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, did manage the "nice meal". He and his wife Michelle, his older daughter Malia, 10, and two friends, joined other diners on Saturday night at La Fontaine de Mars, a classic Parisian bistro on the Rue Saint Dominique in the seventh arrondissement. Gabriel de Carvalho, who waited on the presidential party, said: "They were very pleased. They said that they had had a 'wonderful meal'. The President was very friendly. He had gigot d'agneau and an île flottante. No wine, just water. The others had fillet of beef and crème brûlée."

Just to be on the safe side, the US Secret Service had a taster in the kitchen to test the President's food before it was served. French and American security officers patrolled the street outside.

The restaurant visit was the only time the US First Couple came close to ordinary French people. Notre Dame cathedral was cleared to allow them to make a special tour on Saturday evening. They spent two hours in the modern art museum at the Centre Pompidou before it opened to the public yesterday. Malia and Sasha Obama, who celebrated her eighth birthday on Saturday, visited a children's workshop where they made human figures from wire.

After lunch at the Elysée with the Sarkozys and their younger children, Mrs Obama and her daughters visited the Louvre and went shopping in the afternoon. By that time, Dad was already on his way to the (Oval) office.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
News
Image from a flyer at the CPAC event where Nigel Farage will be speaking
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower