A combination of pictures shows French actress Julie Gayet and France's President Francois Hollande. Picture: VALERY HACHE / THOMAS SAMSON

Paris - French police on Tuesday were to question paparazzo Sebastien Valiela, whose photographs revealed the affair between President Francois Hollande and actress Julie Gayet that made global headlines.

The move comes after the 41-year-old actress filed a criminal complaint against the French photographer for breach of privacy, an offence that can be punished with a year in jail and a fine of up to 45 000 euros ($61 000).

“Sebastien Valiela will be summoned in the course of the day following the complaint filed by Julie Gayet after the publication of photos showing her at the wheel of her car,” a police source said.

Under French law, the inside of a car is considered to be a private space and subject to the country's strict privacy laws.

Prosecutors opened the case after the photos appeared in French magazine Closer on January 17, a week after it revealed the liaison between Hollande and Gayet.

It follows a previous civil complaint by Gayet for breach of privacy against Closer. She is seeking 50 000 euros ($68 000) in compensation and 4 000 euros in legal costs.

Closer claimed the affair began two years ago and published photographs purportedly showing Hollande arriving for trysts on a scooter at an apartment near the Elysee presidential palace.

Hollande split with longtime partner Valerie Trierweiler following the scandal but has refused to comment further on his private life.

Gayet has kept a low profile and friends have told various media outlets that she has no desire or ambition to become first lady.