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Pomp, circumstance and a dash of chic at Carla's first Bastille Day

July 14, 2008
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France's elegant First Lady Carla Bruni Sarkozy found herself sharing the spotlight with another well-known figure whose charisma has captivated the public at the country's Bastille Day celebrations.

Carla's husband President Nicolas Sarkozy had chosen the most important date in the national calendar to present former hostage Ingrid Betancourt with the Legion D'Honneur.

Ingrid, who became a cause celebre during six years of captivity in the Colombian jungle, received the award - France's highest distinction - in a Champs Elysee palace ceremony.

Later the presidential party watched a procession marking the storming of the Bastille prison in Paris in 1789 - an event regarded as the start of the French Revolution.

Some 4,000 marching soldiers and police, 65 aircraft and 241 mounted horsemen paraded before world leaders, including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

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Photo: ©
The wife of the French president added her customary style to the July 14 celebrations, which were the first she's attended in an official capacityPhoto: © Rex
Photo: ©
Earlier, Carla was on hand as her husband paid tribute to a national heroine. Nicolas Sarkozy presented the Legion D'Honneur to Colombian-French politician Ingrid Betancourt, who until recently was being held in the Latin American junglePhoto: © Rex
Photo: ©
The presidential couple enjoy a moment of affection amidst the formalities of the dayPhoto: © Getty Images

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