The beautiful film star, the President, the nocturnal rendez-vous and the spurned First Lady.
It had all the trappings of one of the most delicious political scandals to hit the headlines since a news reporter said ‘you know that MPs’ expenses file we use to sort the wonky table...I was thinking...why don’t we look at it this year?’ and Berlusconi first used a lads mag to draw up a list of party guests.
That was until I realised that the scandal-hit politician in question was France’s Socialist leader Francois Hollande, a man with a face like a shrivelled grape at the bottom of a fruit bowl topped with a spray-on combover. The bloke makes David Cameron look like James Bond.
I’m a Francophile. Ever since I first tucked into a baguette and laid eyes on David Ginola I’ve been hooked.
And my affection for all things the other side of the Channel runs deeper than a silver-maned fox and a bit of crusty bread.
The French are smug and unapologetic and I love them for it. When a national sporting hero headbutted a footballer for insulting his sister they captured the moment with a ruddy great bronze statue.
They must look at us silly English with our long queues and our inherent fear of offending, and snort.
‘Look, zose eedeots are complaining about ze Downton Abbee again!’ they cry
But as more details emerge of the alleged Hollande affair I am left increasingly cold. France hath failed me.
Hollande’s chosen method of transportation to a clandestine meeting with his supposed mistress Julie Gayet was not a blacked-out limo but a scooter.
As far as glamorous scandals go this is simply unacceptable. Who wants their forbidden love to arrive the same way a takeaway pizza does?
Julie is stunning. But rather than add any glamour it simply adds to the world’s bafflement. That what-on-earth-did-she-see-in-him feeling we all got over Sven and Ulrika. So 2002.
Things turned uglier when Hollande’s partner Valérie Trierweiler was admitted to hospital.
As for the President – he has has made a meek return to the spotlight, delivering an apology-less press conference as dry as himself.
The moped, the embarrassed faces all round, it’s all very disappointing. I mean, what are they – English?