Colourful fashions as Carla welcomes African first ladies to the Elysee Palace

by As a photogenic former model with impeccable tastes, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is used to having the cameras firmly trained on her.

The wife of France's Pesident Nicolas Sarkozy had to share the limelight this week though, with a group of women who know a thing or two about commanding attention – the first ladies of Africa.

During France's traditional Bastille Day celebrations, Carla was the picture of Parisian sophistication as she played hostess to the partners of 12 African nations, who'd been invited to take part.

As chic as her little black dress and kitten heels ensemble was it was no match for the outfit won by Cameroon's Chantal Biya in terms of news value.

Her red trouser suit was set off by a truly impressive bouffant hairstyle, also in fire engine hue.

Also looking smartly put together was Chantal Yayi Boni of Benin in an orange patterned ensemble.

Meanwhile Carla's counterpart from Mali, Lobbo Traore Toure caught the eye in an elaborate lilac two-piece.

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