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Carla website lifts lid on life as French first lady

 Paris — Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, the supermodel wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, tantalised fans Tuesday with a new website that provides behind-the-scenes glimpses into her glamorous life.

The pop star admits on the site, which crashed on its launch Monday after being swamped by visitors, that she sometimes feels locked in a beauty contest with Michelle Obama and other leading ladies.

The website features a profile of the 41-year-old that describes her as a woman with a "romantic destiny" who has to "face history with a cool head and a smile on her lips."

It also provides an A to Z glossary, in both French and English, of people, places and things that have featured in her life.

But www.carlabrunisarkozy.org was only intermittently viewable Tuesday as Carla fans around the world logged on to find out more about the woman the twice-divorced Sarkozy married last year after a whirlwind romance.

The letter "B" has an entry on her meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s wife Sarah.

In it Bruni laments that the world’s press overlooked Sarah Brown’s charity work and focused instead on how unstylish the Englishwoman appears compared to the one-time Parisian supermodel.

Italian-born Bruni, who presents herself as a modern feminist and philanthropist, notes that she had tougher competition when she went to Spain.

"As with (US First Lady) Michelle Obama, it is a beauty contest between Princess Letizia, a former star journalist, and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, ex-top model," said the site, where pink and pale blue dominate the background.

The site, whose front page featured a photo of French fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier, aims to publicise Bruni’s charity work as well as giving the world a glimpse of her life in the Elysee Palace with Sarkozy.

Bruni had a successful career as a pop star before marrying the French leader and already has a website dedicated to her musical career.

The new site covers three topics: her foundation to help the underprivileged in France, her work as ambassador for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and her life as France’s first lady.

But the part likely to draw in most visitors are the A-Z entries on everything from Irish rock star Bono, who is praised for his charity work, to Disneyland, where she was first spotted with her now husband, to "Rumours."

One rumour she is keen to refute on her site is the claim that, just before her wedding to Sarkozy, the president sent his ex-wife Cecilia a text message telling her that if she came back to him he would "call the whole thing off."

Such personal titbits are however rare.

Many of the entries are given over to texts that might have been cut and pasted from her husband’s official press statements.

"Spain’s Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero spoke with Nicolas Sarkozy on subjects affecting the two adjacent countries, high-speed train lines, strengthening gas and electricity cooperation agreements," read one.

The Bruni list also leaves out many names her legions of fans across the world might hope to see.

She does not mention the many high-profile lovers she had before tying the knot with Sarkozy, who include Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton and former French Socialist prime minister Laurent Fabius.

The website’s launch came just days after her husband took another big step into the Internet communications world by saying he would track his every move at a forthcoming climate summit on Twitter, the microblogging website.

Sarkozy also has a page on the social networking website Facebook, but the president’s web initiatives are likely to be outshone by those of his wife.

As her website states: "In many parts of the world when the name ‘Carla’ comes up in conversation, there is a good chance that they are referring to Carla Bruni-Sarkozy."