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Obamas seek calm of southern France for summer holiday

US president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle wave as they exit the stage during the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago.
US president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle wave as they exit the stage during the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago. Jim Young/AFP

Former US president Barack Obama and his family have arrived in southern France for a week's vacation near Avignon, the medieval city that was home to the Pope in the 14th century.

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Obama, his wife Michelle and their two daughters Sasha and Malia landed at Avignon airport on Friday night and headed to Villeneuve-les-Avignon, on the other side of the Rhone river from the historic city.

No official information has been released about the exact location of where the family will be staying.

According to the daily Midi Libre and other local media, the Obamas will stay on Bathelasse island at an 18th century home owned by an American family. The rental for a week is reportedly 55,000 euros.

Obama family with police escort on the way to their residence

The rumours were circulating for the past week that the Obamas might reside at the magnificent home of former French Formula 1 driver Jean Alesi, high above Villeneuve.

A security detail from the Gard regional police will surround the Obama's residence. But the ex-US leader's personal Secret Service detail will provide security as the family visits the area.

From 1309 to 1377, Avignon was the papal seat of the Catholic Church. That history can be seen at the medieval Palais des Papes (Pope's Palace) in the centre of Avignon.

(with AFP)

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