An attempt by French President Nicolas Sarkozy to act like a 'man of the people' buying drinks for his friends in a rural bar backfired horribly this week when he left without paying.

The embarrassing scene took place when the French president visited Villetelle, a small village in the country's central Creuse region, while campaigning for re-election.

Swanning up to the main bar in a cafe, he said 'It's my round!' and ordered six coffees, totally 6 euros and 60 cents (Rs 447).

French President Nicolas Sarkozy orders for six coffees forgetting
to pay for it during his campaign

Sarkozy then started holding forth to his presidential team about how there was nothing better in life than enjoying a drink with your friends.

"It's a beautiful place, we want to move here," he told Bruno Durand, the cafe owner, which doubles as a shop, post office and petrol station for 160 villagers.

As Sarkozy continued to hold forth up at the bar, he boasted about how he had made life easier for rural cafes by reducing VAT to 5.5 per cent for them. He then left and, three days later, has yet to pay his bill.

"It just shows Sarkozy is the complete opposite of a man of the people," said another local resident.

"He's got an election to win, and wants to pretend to be one of the boys, but clearly only goes for a drink with his mates when the cameras are on him."

Sarkozy, who will stand for re-election in spring 2012, is well-known as a teetotaller who prefers holding meetings in upmarket hotel lobbies rather in bars or cafes.