PARIS Jan 17 French President Francois Hollande
paid a first visit on Thursday to his partner Valerie
Trierweiler since she was hospitalised in need of rest after
reports he has a mistress, a source in his office said.
The source declined to give further details about the visit,
which came amid questions over whether the 48-year-old
Trierweiler will still enjoy the unofficial title of France's
first lady and accompany Hollande on state visits.
Opponents of Hollande, whose failure to turn around the
French economy has already made him the most unpopular leader of
modern-day France, have accused him of bringing the role of
president into disrepute.
The 59-year-old Socialist has neither confirmed nor denied
the magazine reports of an affair with film actress Julie Gayet,
saying only that he had experienced "difficulties" in his
personal life and that he would clarify his relationship with
Trierweiler before a scheduled Feb 9-11 trip to Washington.
Trierweiler was initially due to have left Paris' Pitie
Salpetriere hospital last weekend. Local media have quoted
acquaintances of the former journalist saying she needs "peace
and quiet" to recover from the shock of an episode that has made
Gayet, 41, issued a statement late on Thursday to deny media
reports she was pregnant. She is seeking damages from celebrity
magazine Closer, which last week published what it said were
images of Hollande making a nocturnal visit to her pied-a-terre
apartment in the upmarket eighth arrondissement of Paris.
Hollande has insisted on his right to a private life and
pursued business largely as usual. On Tuesday he unveiled his
economic reform plans for the rest of his five-year presidency
and on Friday gave a keynote speech to French diplomats.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau and Gerard Bon; writing by Mark
John; editing by Andrew Roche)