Hollande's actress lover has 'first lady'security'
Julie Gayet is receiving protection from Francois Hollande's personal bodyguard and another security agent, leading to claims the actress is being treated as France's "first lady", according to French media.
The guards drove Ms Gayet (42), to Rennes, western France, on February 5 in an "official vehicle", according to 'Closer', the gossip magazine, which published photographs of the trip to visit the set of a film she is producing.
One of the bodyguards was the agent 'Closer' pictured last year taking croissants to a flat opposite the Elysee where Mr Hollande would visit Ms Gayet for trysts, wearing a moped helmet as disguise.
"We know that this bodyguard has privileged links with the president, or at least is very attached to him, so she is effectively being treated and protected like the first lady, without having the status," said Laurent Pieau, the editor-in-chief of 'Closer'.
She said the photos, which had been "given" to the magazine, not commissioned, were in the public interest.
"Today, [Ms Gayet] has no official presence. This hypocrisy must end," she told BFM TV.
The Elysee declined to comment, but Michel Sapin, the finance minister and one of the French president's closest aides, confirmed that the vehicle used for Ms Gayet's trip to the film set "belongs to the French state".
While he declined to comment on the nature of their relationship, he told iTele: "I know lots of private individuals who can come under a certain number of threats."
This was, he added, particularly true following the "recent dramatic events in France", referring to the attacks in Paris in which 17 people died.
Asked to confirm whether Ms Gayet had received threats, he said: "I don't know, but I imagine that fame can lead to threats."
Rene-Georges Querry, a police security expert, told BFM TV: "It doesn't surprise me that Jule Gayet is protected, albeit by a very flimsy and weak security arrangement.
"Everyone knows she is today still close to the president, so it's logical that there's a bit of security around her, as she could be a potential target to reach the president, and in a way, France.
"Like it or not, she is the natural extension of Francois Hollande, even if it appears there is no official link."
Speculation over whether Mr Hollande and Ms Gayet were still an item gathered steam late last year when the French magazine 'Voici' published photographs of the pair at a terrace inside the Elysee Palace.
(© Daily Telegraph, London)