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

Flying in the polls: the latest figures put Jean-Luc Mélenchon third

Surprise surge for hard left could scramble French election results

Three weeks from the first round of voting, a surge in support for the hard-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon threatens to scramble forecasts for the French presidential elections.

Nicolas Sarkozy addresses magistrates and police who took part in the Merah investigations at the Elysée Palace in Paris

TV channel agrees not to show Toulouse killer's video – but who sent it?

Explicit, close-up footage of the seven Toulouse murders received by a TV station this week was not sent by the killer, but by an accomplice, French police said yesterday.

A Muslim woman protests in France with a sign that reads 'Neither sluts, nor submissives. Secularism, equality, diversity'

Nabila Ramdani: For French Muslims, this horror only makes matters worse

Images of armed police milling around the flat of a "neutralised" Muslim of Algerian descent will be welcomed by France's increasingly right-wing political class. As would-be presidents campaign tirelessly towards an election starting next month, they will stress the need to seek out and destroy young men like Mohamed Merah. The 23-year-old "troubled-housing-estate'"kid turned jihad warrior had a truly dismal life record. It covered almost every manifestation of alienated immigrant angst, from petty crime, through to indoctrination in prison, right up to murderous terrorism.

John Lichfield: Sarkozy is likely to exploit this opportunity to the fullest

French presidential candidates exchanged insults on the apparent jihadist explanation of the Toulouse killings as the hiatus on campaigning came to an abrupt end with the news the suspect had been pinned down.

The French President has a first-round lead over his Socialist rival, a poll says

Sarkozy's appeal to right-wing voters provides poll boost

Nicolas Sarkozy's sharp right turn in the presidential election campaign appeared to draw blood yesterday when a poll suggested that he had taken a narrow first-round lead over his Socialist challenger.

JACQUES CHEMINADE: He claims he has collected the 500 signatures needed to be a candidate

First the Elysée, then Mars! Enter a rival to take on Sarkozy – and save the world

Electoral rules mean Jacques Cheminade may get equal air time on television as the President

President Sarkozy says that halal is the 'issue which most preoccupies the French'

Sarkozy singles out the meaty issue that will define France's election: halal

As France struggles with record debt and the eurozone crisis, one problem above all worries the French, according to President Nicolas Sarkozy. Should non-Muslims unknowingly eat meat from animals killed according to Islamic law?

President Sarkozy speaks at an EU summit in Brussels yesterday

Sarkozy suffers a ‘horrible week’ as Hollande increases lead in polls

It has been a black week for Nicolas Sarkozy. At a pivotal time in the presidential election campaign, he has suffered what one French newspaper described as “une semaine horribilis”.

François Hollande's walkabout in London

Hollande comes to England

The Prime Minister didn't meet him but Michael McCarthy greeted François Hollande yesterday

François Hollande's walkabout in London

The day Hollande won over England

The Prime Minister may have refused to meet him, but Michael McCarthy was on hand to greet François Hollande in London yesterday

Nicolas Sarkozy during an RTL radio interview yesterday

Sarkozy allies accused of fiddling polls in race against Hollande

Wide differences in scores for presidential candidates brings neutrality into question

President Nicolas Sarkozy outside his campaign headquarters in Paris yesterday. He formally declared he would fight for re-election on Wednesday

Stand by for the dirtiest French poll for decades

The President enters the fray, and immediately the insults fly

Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla arrive at the television channel TF1 last night to launch his presidential election campaign

History against Sarkozy as he starts re-election bid

France's most unpopular president of recent times must defy the polls if he is to defeat Socialist rival

President Sarkozy and his wife, Carla, live the luxury life at Elysée Palace

121 cars, €10,000 a day on food – book reveals the expensive tastes of France's golden couple

France may recently have suffered a credit agency downgrade, but President Nicolas Sarkozy's triple-A lifestyle in the Elysée Palace has been skewered in a new book.

National Front President Marine Le Pen speaks in front of a statue of Joan of Arc in Paris

Sarko's battle with the Right for St Joan

600 years after her birth, the Maid of Orléans is still a polarising figure, writes John Lichfield

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She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

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