This combination image shows French actress Julie Gayet and President Francois Hollande. Their relationship made headlines when it was discovered. Pictures: Valery Hache and Thomas Samson

Paris -

A French court was on Thursday set to hear actress Julie Gayet's civil suit against Closer magazine, which revealed her affair with President Francois Hollande that made global headlines and prompted his split from his long-term partner.

Gayet is suing the glossy for breach of privacy and is seeking 50 000 euros in compensation and 4 000 euros in legal costs.

Closer made waves in early January by publishing photographs purportedly showing Hollande arriving for trysts on a scooter at an apartment near the Elysee presidential palace.

It claimed the affair began two years ago. A week later on January 17, the magazine published photos of Gayet at the wheel of her car.

The 41-year-old actress has also filed a criminal complaint against the photographer, Sebastien Valiela, for breach of privacy, an offence that can be punished with a year in jail and a fine of up to 45 000 euros.

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

Hollande split with longtime partner Valerie Trierweiler following the scandal, but has refused to comment further on his private life or the nature of his relationship with Gayet.

“It's a classic case of violation of privacy and we will present the case as such,” Gayet's lawyer Jean Enocchi told AFP.

But Laurence Pieau, the editor of Closer's French version, defended the decision saying the affair was the talk of the town already and discussed at dinner parties.

“We did our job as journalists in correctly informing the public about something they had a right to know,” she said.

Gayet, who has been lying low since the scandal, will not appear at the court in the western Paris suburb of Nanterre on Thursday.

She made her first public high-profile appearance last Friday, attending the ceremony for the Cesars, the French Oscars, but missed out on a top film award.

She had been nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category for her role as a mini-skirted ministerial adviser and seductress in Bertrand Tavernier's Quai d'Orsay, a comedy about life at the French foreign ministry. - Sapa-AFP