2007-12-25 18:30:18 Xinhua English
French President Nicolas Sarkozy with model and singer Carla Bruni arrives at Luxor airport to spend his Christmas holidays Dec. 25, 2007.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
BEIJING, Dec. 26 (Xinhuanet) -- French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his new girlfriend, former model Carla Bruni arrived in Luxor, Egypt, Tuesday for a private visit.
Sarkozy and Bruni, wearing sunglasses and dark casual clothes, were seen holding hands as they arrived at the Luxor airport, according to media reports Wednesday.
Surrounded by heavy security, the couple was promptly whisked off in a convoy of Egyptian presidential security cars to Luxor's famed Old Winter Palace hotel on the east bank of the Nile.
Security was also stepped up around the hotel and at the three archaeological sites.
Bruni and Sarkozy would spend three days at the Winter Palace and would also travel to the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik on Thursday.
The French president is scheduled to start an official visit to Egypt on next Monday, when he meets President Hosni Mubarak, according to the French Embassy in Cairo.
His appearance came two months after the French president's divorce from his wife of 11 years, Cecilia, as pictures of Sarkozy, 52, accompanying model-turned-singer Bruni, 39, at Disneyland Paris were splashed all over the French press.
The longtime model Bruni, an Italian-born French citizen, won critical and public acclaim for her first folk album in 2003, singing in a raspy, whispery voice.
Bruni has a son from a previous relationship, while Sarkozy has two elder sons from his first marriage, and a third son from his marriage to Cecilia.
According to French media, Sarkozy borrowed a private plane from French billionaire Vincent Bollore for the trip.
The French president's department has declined to comment on Sarkozy's trip to Luxor, saying it is a personal affair.