Tom Cruise skips Paris news conference, goes shopping for baby clothes

Tom Cruise skipped a "Mission: Impossible III" news conference Wednesday in Paris to hit the boutiques in search of outfits for his new baby, organizers said.

Hours later, he helicoptered into La Defense, the sleek high rise complex on the western edge of Paris, where thousands of fans massed before a red carpet showing of his movie. Cruise treated them to autographs.

His fiancee, Katie Holmes, and their week-old baby girl, Suri, stayed home while Cruise went to Europe to promote his role as superagent Ethan Hunt.

At the news conference, "Mission: Impossible III" director J.J. Abrams playfully asked actress Michelle Monaghan what it was like to kiss Cruise with Holmes on the set.

"Was it weird?" he asked.

No way, she said.

"Just in general to kiss Tom Cruise is, you know ... an experience of a lifetime," she joked. "I highly recommend it. ... I said to Katie, 'I understand why you keep him around."'

The new baby girl is the first child for Cruise and Holmes. Cruise has a son and daughter from his marriage to ex-wife Nicole Kidman, reports AP.

According to Tonight , Cruise, 43, visiting London for the British premiere of his new film Mission: Impossible III, told reporters he had called fiancee Katie Holmes, 27, "about a billion times" to check on the couple's newly born child, delivered a week ago in Los Angeles.

The actor spent two-and-a-half hours on the red carpet outside a cinema in the capital, greeting well-wishers gathered outside the venue.

Asked if he was missing his new child, he said "how can you not, she's beautiful," and explained why the couple had chosen the name Suri, which has origins in Hebrew, meaning "princess", and in Persian, meaning "red rose".

O.Ch.