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French president Hollande takes train, not plane, on vacation

India TV News Desk 03 Aug 2012, 8:57:10 AM IST
India TV News Desk
Paris, Aug 3: France's President Francois Hollande has headed off on vacation this year by train, not plane, in a break with his flashy predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy.

Frugal-minded Hollande, who promised during spring's presidential campaign to save money by catching trains, took high-speed rail on Thursday  from Paris with his girlfriend, Valerie Trierweiler.

They're headed for the Fort de Bregancon, an official retreat in southeastern France.

They travelled first class. But it's a stark contrast from the unpopular Sarkozy, who was criticised for vacationing using a Dassault Falcon 7X jet and an Airbus dubbed "Air Sarko One."

Mr Hollande has carefully cultivated a "Mr. Normal" image. He says traveling by train is an important symbol at a time when "many French want to go on vacation