News President François Hollande and First Lady Valérie Trierweiler

It is understood that she refused to put her name to the declaration

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

Mr Sarkozy at yesterday's rally

Despondent Sarkozy faces his final reckoning

The President's team is still talking up the possibility of a narrow lead in tomorrow's first round of voting, but John Lichfield finds little to suggest his campaign has won over a sceptical electorate

John Lichfield: Could France get the competent new leader it needs?

Mr Hollande’s economic programme is vaguely promising compared with the “Merkozy” orthodoxy

Recent polls suggest Marine Le Pen could win 17 per cent of the vote in the first round of voting on Sunday

Like father, like daughter? Le Pen plans an election shock

Far-right candidate vows to shake up political scene even if she fails to claim Sarkozy's scalp

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

Ile de la Jatte between Neuilly-sur -Seine and Levallois cities

Two little boys from a wealthy Paris suburb to meet once again

If you drive due west from Paris, heading for the skyscrapers of La Défense, you might not realise you have left the French capital. The Arc de Triomphe remains visible in your rear-view mirror. The broad avenue ahead of you is an extension of the Champs Elysées.

The News Matrix: Monday 16 April 2012

As vacancies dry up, 20 apply for each job

Sarkozy greets jubilant supporters before giving his speech in Paris

Sarkozy urges French voters to save civilisation – and his career

Standing on the spot where Louis XVI was guillotined 200 years ago, President Nicolas Sarkozy yesterday appealed to "the people of France" to save "French civilisation". And his own head.

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.

Strict rules as French election campaign begins

Electioneering seems to have rumbled on for more than a year, but yesterday marked the official start of the French presidential campaign.

François Hollande says he will pull French troops out of Afghanistan by the year’s end

French election throws Afghan exit into disarray

François Hollande's promise to withdraw troops this year means Nato allies may have to fill the gap

Richard Descoings' body is removed from the Michelangelo hotel, New York

How did another top Frenchman come to grief in New York?

Five days after Richard Descoings' death, Manhattan police still can't say how Nicolas Sarkozy's close friend died

French members of the French National Police Intervention Group (GIPN) arrest suspected radical Islamists

French police launch new swoops on suspected Islamists

Elite French police arrested 10 suspected Islamists in early morning raids today in several cities, including Marseille, a police source said.

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.

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