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Sarkozy's Summer Place: New Hampshire

French officials are keeping mum about details of their president's private vacation plans, only saying that Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Cecilia will be staying at a lakefront home owned by friends in the New England area.

But based on security activity, it appears that the French first family will be taking their two-week break at a New Hampshire lakefront estate owned by a former Microsoft Corp. executive with a private beach and dock space for four boats.

In Paris, officials from the Elysee presidential palace confirmed Friday that the Sarkozy family traveled to the U.S. on a regular commercial flight. The official French statement said the Sarkozys would be staying with friends "in a house on a lake about two hours by car from Boston," without giving further details.

But local residents said that if security precautions were any indication the French first family would be staying at the estate owned by former Microsoft executive Michael Appe just south of the town of Wolfeboro on Lake Winnipesaukee.

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Town historian and rare coin dealer Q. David Bowers said the section of Lake Winnipesaukee off Springfield Point where Appe's estate is located has been buzzing with Marine Patrol boats. Officials in the town of 7,000 said local public safety officials have met with the U.S. Secret Service to arrange security.

The estate where the Sarkozys are expected to stay can be rented for $30,000 a week, according to published reports and a rental Web site. The 13,000-square-foot home has several bedroom suites overlooking the lake, a movie and media room with seating for 15, eight bedrooms and 11 bathrooms.

Appe built the home about three years ago. It was one of seven featured in a Wolfeboro Woman's Club home and garden tour earlier this year, according to Maryann Rice of Carroll County VNA-Hospice, who called it gorgeous.

"The woodwork is spectacular," she said.

Lake Winnipesaukee in eastern New Hampshire is a popular vacation destination for residents of Boston, which is about 110 miles to the south.

Sarkozy has taken private vacations before to the north in Canada's French-speaking Quebec province on the Charlevoix-area estate of the Desmarais family, according to the Globe and Mail of Toronto.

The town of Wolfeboro, which traces its history back to 1759, claims to be the oldest summer resort in America and has drawn rich and famous people from around the world. Monaco's Prince Rainier and Princess Grace and author Kurt Vonnegut, actress Drew Barrymore and Taiwan's Madame Chiang Kai-shek have vacationed there. Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and current Republican presidential hopeful, has an 11-acre estate valued at more than $10 million on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee.

Ironically, the town of Wolfeboro is named after Gen. James Wolfe who was killed leading British forces in the decisive 1759 Battle of the Plains of Abraham outside Quebec City that effectively ended France's hopes of empire in North America.

Wolfeboro works to maintain its image as a quaint, New England resort. A trolley named Molly takes visitors from one end of Main Street to the other, and the town is filled with plush summer homes.

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