Elegant Carla lays on sumptuous Elysee welcome for Chinese president


French first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy pulled out all the stops for the state visit of the Chinese leader Hu Jintao and his wife Liu Yongqing.

In keeping with her 'Parisienne chic' approach to fashion, the former model was the picture of elegance in a full-length black dress as she welcomed the couple to the Elysee Palace.

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After shaking hands, flanked by guards in silver helmets, Carla and her husband Nicolas Sarkozy led their VIP guests into the official presidential residence.

Dinner was served at a table covered with rose petals and laden with candelabra.

Earlier, the Sarkozys greeted the Chinese delegation at the airport - an honour the French President rarely grants visitors.

Then, the presidential motorcade rolled down the famous Champs-Elysees avenue with French and Chinese flags flying from lamp posts.

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