French and Italian love-rats top European infidelity poll

PARIS (AFP) - When even their President is being caught sneaking around behind his partner's back, it is perhaps unsurprising to find the French topping a poll for infidelity, alongside the equally hot-blooded Italians.

More than one in two men - 55 per cent - from France and Italy admitted to cheating on their partners, along with one in three women.

The poll by Ifop, released on Wednesday, comes just a few weeks after "le scandale" in France, when President Francois Hollande was snapped leaving the home of actress Julie Gayet, on a scooter.

The photos led to the collapse of his relationship with long-time partner Valerie Trierweiler and a torrent of worldwide comment about French attitudes to fidelity.

The pollsters suggested a link between bed-hopping and religion, saying there was less evidence of cheating in "majority Protestant" countries.

Only 42 per cent of Britons and 46 per cent in Germany admitted to having an affair at some point in their lives.

"After all the noise about 'L'Affaire Gayet', and all the articles in the international press about the fickle nature of the French, this seems to confirm the cliches about latin males," Ifop director Francois Kraus told Agence France-Presse.

Mr Hollande and Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi, who was last year convicted of paying for sex with an underage prostitute at one of his infamous "bunga bunga parties", are "ultimately quite representative of their respective nations", added Mr Kraus.

Infidelity is most evenly distributed between the sexes in Germany, where 43 per cent of women admit to having had an affair. That compares with 34 per cent in Italy, 32 per cent in France and 29 per cent in Britain.

The more disciplined couples of northern Europe are not complete angels, though.

Some 53 per cent of Germans and 50 per cent of Brits have exchanged an illicit kiss, compared with 46 per cent in France, Italy and Belgium.

But it is the French that remain the most casual about flings, with 35 per cent saying they may cheat in the future, against 31 per cent of Germans and Spaniards, 28 per cent of Italians, and a quarter of Brits.

A total of 4,800 people aged 18 and over were quizzed for the poll across six Western Europe countries.

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