French first lady returns to work with India charity trip

Fri Jan 24, 2014 2:29pm EST
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PARIS (Reuters) - France's first lady Valerie Trierweiler is returning to charity work with a trip to India, an anti-hunger group said, two weeks after she was hospitalized following a report that Francois Hollande had an affair with an actress.

Trierweiler, 48, spent a week in hospital to recover from shock and another week resting in a presidential residence near Versailles after the report was published.

Celebrity magazine Closer this month published what it said were images of Hollande making a nocturnal visit to French movie actress Julie Gayet's apartment in Paris.

The head of Action contre la Faim, Valerie Daher, said Trierweiler would go ahead with a long planned private trip to Mumbai on Monday to support the French charity against hunger.

"She's been through a difficult period and is very tired. She feels better, at least enough to make the trip, although we had to cut it short," Daher said on BFM TV.

Hollande has acknowledged the turbulence in his private life and pledged to clarify Trierweiler's status before a trip to the United States scheduled for February 9, but has steered clear of journalists' questions about the alleged affair.

Trierweiler has been Hollande's partner since 2006.

The president was holding his first meeting with Pope Francis in Rome on Friday, the same day a poll showed two-thirds of people surveyed believed that the focus on his alleged affair had been bad for the image of the traditionally Roman Catholic country.

At home, the storm has diverted public attention from a shift Hollande has made this month towards more business-friendly policies, which he hopes will revive the euro zone's second-biggest economy in the face of stubbornly high unemployment.   Continued...

Valerie Trierweiler, companion of French President Francois Hollande, attends a ceremony for recipents of the Family Medal award at the Elysee Palace in Paris November 30, 2013. REUTERS/Lionel Bonaventure/Pool