Mrs Chirac on spiritual trip to Varanasi
French First Lady Bernadette Chirac packed her bags and quietly left for Varanasi while her husband was busy discussing the finer points of bilateral relations with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
"Madam Chirac had been wanting to visit Varanasi for a long time. Her dream has turned real this time," said a French diplomat on condition of anonymity.
"She is spiritually inclined and greatly interested in Indian art and culture. The trip will bring India closer to her," he added.
Situated on the bank of river Ganga, Varanasi is considered to be one of the world's oldest living cities and houses a legendary temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Jacques Chirac, a self-confessed Indophile, has even learnt Sanskrit to dig deeper into the mysteries of Indian culture.