Arts and Entertainment French press said that Mr Hollande's affair with Julie Gayet started more than two years ago

Gayet has earned a César nomination for Best Supporting Actress

Face off: Can a victorious François Hollande, top, live up to Europe's expectations

Olaf Cramme: Hollande will go via Brussels to rescue France

A victory for the Left in today's French election would help those who want more regulation on the City of London

Mary Dejevsky: Don't second-guess French voters

It is fashionable to lament the death of politics, and the lacklustre campaigns waged in many of our cities for yesterday's local elections did little to contradict that. Anyone looking for signs of political life in recent weeks, however, had only to look across the Channel to rediscover politics, red in tooth and claw.

Margareta Pagano: If Hollande takes victory he will need to win Merkel over too

Midweek View: Hollande's first visit as president should be to Berlin to persuade Merkel that austerity alone is not enough

Sarkozy looks to appeal to the far right over immigration

French president Nicolas Sarkozy, seeking support from the far right as he fights an uphill battle for a second term, said today that his country has too many immigrants and is failing to integrate them.

France's socialist candidate Francois Hollande says he'd keep 'burqa ban'

France's socialist presidential candidate says that, if elected, he won't seek to overturn a law banning face-covering Muslim veils enacted by President Nicolas Sarkozy's conservatives.

Archie Bland: Rise of the far right in France? It's the economy, stupid

Right-wing populism is, to be sure, a troubling presence in British politics. There's no question that the voices of the likes of the BNP and the EDL are as persistent and as seductive as they have ever been. But if they ever seem too much for you, you only need to look across the channel for an awful warning about how much worse it could be.

Nicolas Sarkozy weighs in on the issues with voters in Longjumeau, south of Paris, yesterday

Allies turn on Sarkozy as he makes his pitch to far right

President's party divided on his strategy to court NF voters, fearing he will lose centre-right support

Leading article: Mr Sarkozy must reject a tainted second term

He would always be the President who sold his soul to remain in power

Nicolas Sarkozy has pledged to ‘respect’ the wishes of far-right voters

Sarkozy plays to the far right as he fights for his survival

President looks isolated as Hollande is endorsed by losing candidates and influential public figures

More than six million people voted for Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Front party

John Lichfield: Le Pen's six million supporters hold the key to the Elysée

The more Nicolas Sarkozy talks the talk of the far right, the more he will alienate centrist voters

The incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy is widely expected to be ousted after just one fractious term in office

Hollande wins first round of French presidential elections - says exit poll

Socialist Francois Hollande has won the first round of the French presidential poll, setting up a run-off with Nicolas Sarkozy who came second, according to an exit-poll.

A French citizen waits to cast her vote in the French consulate in Rio de Janeiro

Sarkozy braced for bruising first round in French election

After weeks of ill-tempered campaigning, the President's future looks far from certain as the country goes to the polls today

Former President Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy

Chirac to ditch former protégé Sarkozy and vote for Hollande

Predecessor's switch of allegiance is blow for president, but former First Lady remains loyal

President Sarkozy has gambled in the last month on a hard-right campaign

Divisions emerge as Sarkozy loses ground in polls

Reports of deep divisions within the President’s camp as he prepares to address supporters at a rally in the heart of Paris

Leading article: As France goes, so will go Europe

After months of skirmishing, the French presidential candidates are finally under starter's orders and the real contest can begin. That the campaign seems to have been going on forever, though, should not be allowed to obscure the significance that the outcome will have, not just for France, but for Europe and for Britain.

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