Published January 01, 2008
France's Nicolas Sarkozy and his new girlfriend, model-turned-singer Carla Bruni, mixed business with pleasure in Egypt over the holiday weekend when he took a break from official duties to take his main squeeze on a tour of the pyramids.
Sarkozy, 52, and Bruni, 39, were seen holding hands and posing for cameras as they took in the Giza pyramids in Cairo.
They also made a stop in the resort city of Luxor, where they stripped down to their bathing suits to take a swim.
Sarkozy was in Egypt on an official trip to meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. His decision to take Bruni along angered some opposition politicians back home, who said Sarkozy was blurring the lines between public and private life.
Sarkozy also came under fire from Egyptian lawmakers, who said it was improper of him to share a hotel room with his girlfriend.
Independent Egyptian Member of Parliament Gamal Zahran said in parliament that by welcoming Sarkozy and Bruni, Egypt was giving the impression that the Muslim country was "ready to accept official prostitution by heads of state," according to a Sky News report.
The French press has speculated Sarkozy's motives for putting his love life on display have political underpinnings, and that by attracting attention to his relationship with Bruni, he hopes to detract attention from some of his more recent and unpopular reforms.
The high-profile pair made their romance public in mid-December, when they were photographed together on a trip to Disneyland Paris — just two months after Sarkozy's divorce from his second wife, Cecilia, to whom he had been married for 11 years.