Paris: 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.
Frugally-minded Hollande, who promised during spring`s presidential campaign to save money by catching trains, took high-speed rail today 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."
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...And can`t."