| 6.4°C Dublin

Sarkozy imposes low-fly ban over Riviera retreat

Not content with helping to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, Nicolas Sarkozy has decided that another is required -- over a chic corner of the French Riviera.

This time, however, the target is not a troublesome dictator, but anyone who risks disturbing the French president's peace while he and his wife are on their Easter break.

An official decree threatens pilots with a fine of up to €40,000 or six months in prison for descending below 3,000ft above Carla Bruni-Sarkozy's large seaside villa at Cap-Negre, Lavandou.

The decree comes a year after France's first couple irked locals by declaring beaches surrounding the retreat off limits.

The low-fly ban lasts from April 8 to 26. "While the president's private engagements are never made public, I think we can rest assured he will take no more than a long weekend or two around Easter, given France's current involvements abroad," an Elysee adviser said.

The president has already made use of this year's no-fly restriction, staying at Cap-Negre last weekend with his wife and her son, Aurelien.

He returned to Paris but his wife remained in the south and he is expected to rejoin her tomorrow. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent