How do we know about the supposed love affair between French president François Hollande and actress Julie Gayet? It was him. What about former president François Mitterrand’s secret daughter? Him, too. An interview with paparazzo Sébastien Valiela.
In January 2013, at a café on the Place des Ternes in Paris, Sébastien Valiela, 42, spoke modestly about his exploits as a member of the paparazzi. After a second cup of coffee, he said, “If someone could photograph François Hollande and Julie Gayet together, it would be a huge scoop. But who would dare to publish it?”
Twelve months later, someone made the scoop: Valiela himself. On Friday, January 10, the photographs were published in the magazine Closer. They show two men on a scooter, their faces covered by helmets, like Daft Punk. One of them is the President himself. Then a blonde woman is seen entering a building.
When reminded of his prophecy, Valiela is amused: “Yes, I already knew about it. The paparazzi had been talking about it for a while. But we still needed to find out where they were meeting. We tracked one of Julie Gayet’s bodyguards, and he led us to it.” Some say that former president Nicolas Sarkozy tipped off the press. “Nonsense,” says Valiela.
This article originally appeared in the January 15, 2014 edition of Le Monde.
Read the full article on the French version of L’Oeil de la Photographie.