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Valerie Trierweiler

Valerie Trierweiler

Valerie Trierweiler, former companion of French President Francois Hollande, stands behind him before a state dinner at the Elysee Palace in Paris, in this May 7, 2013 file picture (REUTERS/Charles Platiau/Files)

Valerie Trierweiler, former companion of French President Francois Hollande, stands behind him before a state dinner at the Elysee Palace in Paris, in this May 7, 2013 file picture (REUTERS/Charles Platiau/Files)

Reuters

French actress Julie Gayet posing during a photo-call at the Hotel Royal Mansour in Marrakech during the sixth Marrakech International Film Festival. French magazine Closer on January 10, 2014 said President Francois Hollande was having an affair with actress Julie Gayet, promising to back its claim with photographs after months of swirling rumours (AFP PHOTO  / ABDELHAK SENNA)

French actress Julie Gayet posing during a photo-call at the Hotel Royal Mansour in Marrakech during the sixth Marrakech International Film Festival. French magazine Closer on January 10, 2014 said President Francois Hollande was having an affair with actress Julie Gayet, promising to back its claim with photographs after months of swirling rumours (AFP PHOTO / ABDELHAK SENNA)

AFP

French President Francois Hollande's former companion Valerie Trierweiler writes in her tell-all book that months after their public breakup he was trying to win her back with flowers, dinner invitations and barrages of text messages. Valerie Trierweiler, a journalist for glossy magazine Paris Match, lived with Hollande at the Elysee presidential palace for a year and a half until a gossip magazine exposed his secret relationship with actress Julie Gayet, 42, in January (REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/Files)

French President Francois Hollande's former companion Valerie Trierweiler writes in her tell-all book that months after their public breakup he was trying to win her back with flowers, dinner invitations and barrages of text messages. Valerie Trierweiler, a journalist for glossy magazine Paris Match, lived with Hollande at the Elysee presidential palace for a year and a half until a gossip magazine exposed his secret relationship with actress Julie Gayet, 42, in January (REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/Files)

Reuters

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Valerie Trierweiler

"I'm cracking, I can't hear anything, I rush to the bathroom . . .

"I take the small plastic bag containing sleeping pills. Francois follows me. He tries to snatch the bag. I run into the bedroom. The pills scatter on to the bed and floor. I manage to grab them . . .

"I swallow what I can. I want to sleep. I feel the storm about to break around me, and I don't have the strength to resist. I want to run away. I lose consciousness."

Voila. After months of speculation, Valerie Trierweiler has released an explosive, tell-all book. Entitled sarcastically Merci Pour Ce Moment (or 'Thanks for the Moment'), over 320 pages she recounts her 18 months with President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace and the history of their nine "mad, passionate" years together.

And, as you can see from the above excerpts describing the moment she discovered the truth about Hollande's affair with attractive actress Julie Gayet, she doesn't spare her readers any private detail or drama.

Dubbed, 'The Rottweiler's Revenge', the book was printed in Germany so it would remain top secret in France. It hit the shelves last Thursday amid massive demand. The first print run was for 200,000 copies and last Wednesday's edition of the magazine Paris Match, which leaked excerpts from the book, was sold out in hours.

Despite the (long bygone) French tradition of ignoring politicians' private lives, the book is all anybody wants to speak about right now. French current affairs TV shows question at length if Trierweiler has debased the presidential role by writing about their private life together while he's still in office and the book is even being discussed in parliament. If she wanted revenge, she's certainly got it.

In fact, the unflattering portrait she paints of her ex-lover is yet more egg on the face for Francois 'Flanby' Hollande, whose popularity rating hovers at a dismal 16pc. After the fall of his government in recent weeks, amid zero economic growth and rising unemployment figures, he probably thought things couldn't get much worse.

Until now.

Much like his worst enemies, Trierweiler paints Hollande as a hypocrite, indecisive and weak. She indicates Hollande's cruelty towards her, not only in their breakup - as she points out, there were 18 words in the press release by which he officially dumped her, "one word for each month at the Elysee" - but also during his rise to power.

As Hollande's "first girlfriend" she writes that she always felt illegitimate, a woman who started out as a mistress and that Hollande did nothing to alleviate this image.

She tells an anecdote about a time when they were on the campaign trail: Someone in the crowd cried out, "don't marry her Francois, we don't like Valerie!" Instead of sticking up for his partner, he merely laughed in response.

Overall, she felt he was cold with her in public and did little to quell her jealousy over his relationship with the mother of his four children and current Minister for Ecology, Segolene Royal.

Once in office, she claims his advisers once told her she would have to make an appointment if she wanted to see her partner and that they never had a moment's privacy, with his staff even following him into the bathroom on occasion.

She claims she found living in the gilded cage of the Elysee Palace intolerable, with employees watching their every move. While the book does not delve deeply into politics, among the most damaging claims she makes is that Hollande "dislikes the poor" calling them "the toothless" or "sans dents".

Twitter went wild last Thursday with the hashtag #sansdents, prompting Twitter users to remove Hollande's teeth from various photos with PhotoShop. For a politician who built his election campaign on "hating the rich" it's not exactly ideal PR.

She also writes about how he lied to her. When the rumours about his alleged affair with Gayet first surfaced in March 2013, Hollande denied everything and even "swore on her son's head" that he was not being unfaithful.

Later, when the truth finally emerged in January 2014, she alleges that Hollande couldn't make his mind up about which woman he truly wanted to be with: "The president sent me 29 texts in just one day . . . Every evening he asked me to go for dinner with him and that he wanted me back, no matter what price he had to pay."

But that was not to be.

Is revenge a dish best served cold? Trierweiler didn't wait very long to get hers. She claims that she was so crushed by Hollande's decision to stay with Gayet that she took the decision to tell her own story.

It seems that if Trierweiler is to be believed, there is no hell worse than the Elysee Palace. And hell has no fury like the scorned First Girlfriend who once occupied it.

Sunday Independent