Nicolas Sarkozy who rode to office five years ago promising a historic “rupture” was on Sunday night booted out of office having exhausted his nation.
The “Sarko show”, a five-year rollercoaster ride of political and private highs and lows frequently rendered France open-mouthed in disbelief or wonder.
The French took a risk in electing a high-wire, hardline interior minister with a refreshingly pro-market approach.
He was on the back foot from the start after spending an ill-advised electoral soirée in Le Fouquet’s, the Champs-Elysées bar.
More eyebrows were raised when the “bling bling president” jetted off in aviator shades to a billionaire friend’s luxury yacht, cancelling plans to spend a couple of days meditating in a monastery.
Used to an aloof leader, the French quickly realised they were in for front line politics after Mr Sarkozy dubbed his bit-part prime minister a mere “collaborator”.