Malia and Sasha Obama are starting their summer vacation in a manner most magnifique, as they trade their book bags for Parisian shopping...

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CHICAGO — Malia and Sasha Obama are starting their summer vacation in a manner most magnifique, as they trade their book bags for Parisian shopping bags.

After their last day of school Thursday, the first daughters are headed to France, where they will join their parents in Normandy to mark the 65th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.

A White House official said Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, will join their mother, first lady Michelle Obama, today as she flies to France.

The girls have made numerous trips to their father’s native Hawaii but have never vacationed in Europe. They traveled to Africa with their parents in 2006 and are expected to make many more overseas journeys, now that they can hitch a ride on Air Force One.

The adventure comes after the girls survived their first semester at Sidwell Friends School, where they enrolled in January just before their father was sworn in as president.

A European media crush is expected in Paris as Michelle Obama and her daughters spend several days there after the Normandy event Saturday. Plans call for President Obama to return to Washington on Sunday, ahead of Sasha’s 8th birthday Wednesday.

Not since Jacqueline Kennedy went to Paris in 1961 has the French capital been so abuzz with U.S. first-family anticipation.

The family will not be joined on the trip by the first lady’s newest aide, Susan Sher, a longtime friend who used to work with Michelle Obama at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Sher, a former Chicago corporation counsel who had been working as an associate counsel to the president, was named Thursday as Michelle Obama’s chief of staff, replacing Iowan Jackie Norris, who is going to the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Obama’s daughters are making their first excursion abroad as daughters of a U.S. president earlier than some of their recent predecessors.

“As long as they’re not getting in the way of important events, it will be an exciting educational experience for them,” said Bonnie Angelo, a former Time magazine reporter and author. “They’re so well-behaved and such mannerly little girls, I think the French will find them very charming.”

Material from The Associated Press is included in this report.