A survey for French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur showed a three-point jump among women in approval for President Francois Hollande following Julie Gayet affair report, from 23% in December to 26%.
In contrast, men in France seem far less impressed by the president’s reported liaisons and his rating stayed at 26%.
Francois Hollande’s official partner Valerie Trierweiler, 48, is still in a hospital bed in central Paris, where she has been lying since news of the president’s affair with Julie Gayet, 41, broke last Friday.
There is nothing physically wrong with Valerie Trierweiler, but she said learning about the relationship was like “being hit by a high-speed train” and is desperate to win public sympathy.
Intriguingly, an Elysee Palace spokesman would not say to whether Francois Hollande had even visited his de fact first lady in hospital, where Valerie Trierweiler has so far spent few nights.
Francois Rebsamen, a Socialist MP, said the revelations showed the entire idea of a First Lady was outdated.
“There is no longer a First Lady in France – these practices are outdated, passé and should be banned,” he told RTL radio.
He added: “François Hollande himself said it at one point: You elect a person. And then this person can live alone, can be single, can live with another man or a woman. It’s doesn’t interest people and it doesn’t come into play.”
“This means that there is no First Lady, it’s over.”
Mother-of-three Valerie Trierweiler, 48, has told friends she is ready to forgive Francois Hollande if he states both “publicly and privately” that his affair with Julie Gayet is over.
Francois Hollande has spoken only about the scandal since it was made public last Friday, to say he deplored the intrusion into his privacy.
Despite the media attention, a recent poll found 80% of French people believed Francois Hollande’s love life should remain private.
And 90% believed France’s struggling economy is the most critical issues facing the nation.
A spokesman said Valerie Trierweiler, would stay in hospital “for another six or eight more days”, adding that she needed rest after a “very strong emotional shock”.
From her hospital bed, Valerie Trierweiler seemed well enough to be orchestrating a campaign to win public sympathy.
She let it be known that she felt she had been “hit by a high-speed train” – but was ready to forgive Francois Hollande.
Valerie Trierweiler and Francois Hollande are not married but have been together for six years, making her the de facto first lady when the Socialist leader became president in 2012.
The divorced magazine journalist, who still writes a column for Paris Match, has been widely criticized for her high living.
She has five taxpayer-funded staff at her permanent disposal and the use of several homes, jets and limousines.
Valerie Trierweiler has been personally briefing French newspaper Le Parisien, which quoted “a friend” as saying: “She seems ready to forgive, but she wants to know quickly what Francois Hollande’s intentions are.”
Frédéric Gerschel of Le Parisien later said he had spoken directly to Valerie Trierweiler.
He said: “She has made it clear that a clarification is needed. She knows that, if she is no longer first lady she cannot continue to have an office in the Elysee and make use of state funds.”
[youtube g29c6CkQP-g 650]