French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his model-turned-singer girlfriend, Carla Bruni, arrived holding hands in Luxor, Egypt, Tuesday, kicking off a private visit to Egypt.

Heavy security prevented media from approaching Sarkozy's entourage at the airport, and the couple was whisked off in a convoy of Egyptian presidential security cars to Luxor's famed Old Winter Palace hotel on the east bank of the Nile.

Wearing sunglasses and dark casual clothes in balmy Egyptian winter weather, they turned to wave to a crowd of onlookers and media as they walked up to the hotel, appearing relaxed and at ease with the media attention.