Page last updated at 14:37 GMT, Thursday, 5 June 2008 15:37 UK

Bruni lauds 'six brains' Sarkozy

By Emma Jane Kirby
BBC News, Paris

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy visit the archaeological site of Carthage, outside Tunis
Carla Bruni said she was bowled over by the president's charm and physique

France's first lady, Carla Bruni, has revealed how she was "swept off her feet" by President Nicolas Sarkozy.

In a new book by two journalists, the pop star and former model says she first met her husband on a blind date.

The flattering book - Carla and Nicolas, the True Story - is published just as the president's low popularity ratings are beginning to recover.

Ms Bruni told the authors she was won over by Mr Sarkozy's "physique, charm and intelligence".

She said her husband was so bright he appeared to have "five or even six brains", and that he was passionate about his work in politics.

Ms Bruni and President Sarkozy's whirlwind romance has both fascinated and irritated France in equal measure - many French people were angered that their leader appeared to be putting his private life before his public duties, and were annoyed by his flashy lifestyle and luxury tastes.

After plummeting in the popularity polls to a record low of just 32%, the president now appears to be slowly getting back on track, with 37% of French people suggesting they support him.

The Elysee Palace will be hoping the publication of this new and flattering portrait of Mr Sarkozy will help correct the image of the man who was recently described by psycho-analysts in a leading political French magazine as an overgrown child "with an adolescent desire to be leader of the pack and to have all the nicest-looking girls".

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