February 3, 2008 -- It was no secret that they were going to wed. The French President had always said marriage was on the table and he hinted it was imminent. At a recent press conference, Pres. Sarkozy told reporters, "This is serious, you'll probably find out about the wedding after it's already done."
True to his word, on Saturday, after nearly three months of courting and wooing the former model-turned-folk singer Carla Bruni, the couple tied the knot at the presidential Elysee Palace with little fanfare.
Why the speedy marriage? Rumor has it that Sarkozy was worried about being a guest of the Queen Elizabeth II in March with only a "live-in lover" by his side.
Unlike their very public relationship, which found them visiting every place from Egypt's Valley of the Kings to Disneyland Paris with photographers snapping their every move, their wedding was a very private affair.
The secret ceremony took 20 minutes and was attended by only a handful of their close friends and family. And no pictures of the newlyweds have been released.
The mayor who married them, Francois Lebel, told French Europe-1 radio, "I married two voters, who live at 55 Rue du Faubourg St Honore," giving the official address of the Elysee.
According to Lebel, "they were emotional and amorous" and sealed the ceremony with a kiss.
The bride wore a white Hermes dress and "looked ravishing." As for the bridegroom, the mayor says he wasn't bad either.
Lebel called it a "historic moment" and said it was the first time a French president had married while in office, but historians pointed out that President Gaston Doumergue married in 1931, 12 days before leaving office.
Outside the Palace, the pack of paparazzi waiting to catch a glimpse of the couple on their big day were disappointed. The happy couple were nowhere to be seen.
After the ceremony, it was lunch at the lavish Ritz Hotel. The crowd trying to sneak a peek, got a peek at Sylvester Stallone instead. He is there promoting his new movie, "Rambo."
Since they began their whirlwind romance in November, the tabloids have had a field day, nicknaming him "President Bling Bling," for allegedly being obsessed by the rich and famous. And she? A Maneater! Her former lovers include Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton and Donald Trump, to name a few.
For the 53-year-old French president, this is his third marriage. He separated from his second wife, Cecilia, last October following a shaky 11-year marriage and just five months after becoming president. His colleagues said he was deeply upset by the divorce. Weeks later, Sarkozy met the Italian-born Bruni, 40, a former supermodel. The couple made their relationship public when they were photographed visiting Disneyland Paris together in December.
The publicity surrounding Sarkozy's personal life has come as a surprise in a country which is used to presidents keeping their love lives private. He has said that he "broke with deplorable tradition."
There are rumors that his own mother urged him not to re-marry after his divorce. Bruni has also spoken out against marriage. "I'm monogamous from time to time, but I prefer polygamy and polyandry," she told the Figaro Madame magazine a year ago. Never married before, she has a son from a previous relationship, while Sarkozy has two adult sons from his first marriage, and a third son from his marriage to Cecilia.
And to show that not everyone is in love with love, since they started dating, his approval rating has plunged. Speaking to ABC News, Catherine Boullay, a political analyst for the Europe 1 radio station, says, "This wedding could make things worse for Pres. Sarkozy. He has been crashing down in the polls since October. Now, at the moment, only 37 percent of the French people are satisfied with his actions and 93 percent of the French people believe they don't want to see his private life in magazines. He divorced in October, in the middle of a huge strike, and then in December he went on holiday with Carla Bruni in Egypt, in Jordan, showing he was happy -- but at the same time we had the finance minister telling us that prices were going to rise and the tills were empty. And that is just not on!"
So what do the Parisians think of their new first lady? Do the romantic French approve?
One woman told Associated Press Television News, "She'll be a bad first lady; I don't see her suiting the role. Why? She doesn't have the profile of a first lady. Well, not the same stature as Cecilia. There we go."
Speaking to the BBC, one woman said, "This is ridiculous, I don't believe in this. This is strange."
Not everyone agrees. "She's very beautiful, so I think it's good thing for him and I'm not sure it good thing for her," said one man.
The couple spent their first night of wedded bliss at a hunting lodge in Versailles. As the French say: Vive L'Amour!