Nicolas Sarkozy has revealed his fear that he could be assassinated after becoming the most hated French president in more than 50 years.
The country has erupted in strikes and protests since he proposed saving cash by increasing the retirement age from 60 to 62.
The change has now been voted into law by MPs.
“I am so hated that I am beginning to fear for my life. Someone may just cross the line and attack me,” the Sun quoted Sarkozy as telling aides.
“But I don”t know why the French have come to hate me so much,” he said.
Pollsters found last week that just one in three people backed him.
That made him even more unpopular than General Charles de Gaulle in 1968 – when millions took to the streets to demand an overhaul of French society.
Socialist party leader Martine Aubry, now backed by more than half of voters, said, “The president has treated the French people with contempt.”
And author Besma Lahouri said part of the blame lies with Sarkozy”s ex-supermodel wife Carla Bruni – branded the “new Marie-Antoinette”.