For generations, while the scandal-hungry British press have happily ferreted around the bedroom antics of their politicians, France has proudly boasted higher standards.
Politicians' private lives were private - and the President in particular was a remote and austere figure.
Now the BBC's former Paris correspondent Emma Jane Kirby explains how the traditional relationship between French politicians and the press is changing dramatically under President Sarkozy.
"President Bling Bling" as he's been dubbed is like no previous French President.
His new approach made him - initially at least - the darling of the media.
His glamorous marriage to model-turned-singer Carla Bruni turned politics into a celebrity show.
His willingness to appear on TV at the drop of a hat is legendary.
And dutifully ticking the gender equality box, Sarkozy's first cabinet was stocked with photogenic female ministers - irresistible to TV editors.
But these tactics have created a backlash.
With far greater transparency, the traditional reverence which reined in the French press for most of the duration of the Vth Republic has gone.
Nicolas Sarkozy has changed France's press for ever.
Producer: Adele Armstrong.