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Happy birthday, Mr President...

François Hollande may be 60 - but, like many others of his generation, he shows no sign of slowing down just yet

PRESIDENT François Hollande turns 60 today, and is marking the milestone in the south of France with his four children.

But, with two years of his presidency still to run, he shows no sign of slowing down in public life, or private.

Last month, he scotched rumours circulating in the media that he would celebrate by marrying actress Julie Gayet.

Their affair made headlines around the globe when it was revealed in January.

“The only event I know of on August 12 is my birthday,” he said at a dinner with the presidential press corps.

Mr Hollande may not be tying the knot today, but getting married in later life is increasingly common today, as people are unwilling to settle for the status quo and some look to “start over”.

"In 2010, a married woman of 60 has the same probability of divorce as a woman of 37 in 1970," demographic experts France Prioux and Magali Barbieri revealed.

And sociologist Serge Guérin wrote in Le Parisien that older people today, “want to be masters of their destiny and find meaning in their relationships.”

He said that senior people are no longer willing simply to “wait it out” after retirement.

“Today, retirement comes in the afternoon of life,” he wrote. “Seniors see this as a time to realise their desires.”

And today’s senior generation is more sexually open than previous ones.

Two surveys, one conducted in 1970, the second in 2006 reveal marked changes in attitudes - in the first study, 33% of women aged over 50 believed that sex was necessary for the well-being. That figure had risen 55% in the second.

While he is - officially at least - an “older” person, and has been a “senior” since he turned 50, Mr Hollande is one of the generation of “baby boomers” who believe that they have plenty of life left to live.

The facts support the belief that there’s plenty of life left to live once people turn 60. According to France’s official statistics body Insee, life expectancy is set to rise rapidly in the coming years. In 2060, "the number of seniors aged 60 and over could increase 80% people" or 10.4million more between 2007 and 2060, it said.

Today’s “senior” generation expects to make the most of their “second-life”, which began at around the age of 55, according to sociologist Jean Viard. "The fifties are at the top of their professional energy, sexual life," he told Nouvel Observateur.

Many older people, like Mr Hollande, maintain an active lifestyle. Music stars like Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, as well as Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young, still perform regular concerts.

Actors, meanwhile, are increasingly taking on action roles long into their senior years. The Expendables 3 stars Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Harrison Ford has just been released, while 2013 movie Red 2 featured Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Anthony Hopkins and Morgan Freeman.

Mr Hollande is, in fact, the second French leader to celebrate his 60th birthday while in office. The first was Georges Pompidou in 1971.

One writer and journalist, André Bercoff wished him a happy birthday and invited him to make good on one of his campaign promises: a return to retirement at 60.

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