State Visit to France – day 1

Motiv: The King and Queen meet pupils from the Swedish School in Paris outside the Hôtel des Invalides. Photo: royalcourt.se

Motiv: The King inspects the Guard of Honour together with the Military Governor of Paris, Hervé Charpentier. Photo: royalcourt.se

The King and Queen's state visit began on Tuesday 2 December.

Welcome banquet 
20:00 President François Hollande hosted a dinner for The King and Queen at the Élysée Palace.

The King gave a speech, in which he said: "Together we have a responsibility to work to ensure that COP21, which will be hosted by you in Paris next year, is a global success. Another important issue that we will be addressing during our visit is that of youth and integration. Working with – and for – young people always involves looking to the future, and therefore has its own unique significance."

The King gave a speech during the welcome banquet in which he highlighted the relationship between the two nations, both historically and today. Photo: TT

The King gave a speech during the welcome banquet in which he highlighted the relationship between the two nations, both historically and today. Photo: TT

The King and Queen open an illuminated artwork
18:05 The King and Queen's final programme event before the President's banquet was opening the illuminated artwork Jardin de lumière, created by Aleksandra Stratimirovic, at the Jardin du Palais Royal. The work consists of 1,700 LED bulbs mounted on seven metre high poles.

The King and Queen visit the Swedish Institute
16:57 The King and Queen arrived at the Swedish Institute for a reception to which Swedes living in Paris were invited.

The Swedish Institute in Paris is Sweden's only overseas cultural centre, and is an active meeting place for Franco-Swedes and international cultural collaboration. The centre includes a film auditorium, a concert hall, an art collection and guest accommodation for Swedish researchers and cultural workers. Swedish language courses are provided for 250 French people every week. 

Annika Rembe, Director General of the Swedish Institute, took part in the state visit. Photo: royalcourt.se

Annika Rembe, Director General of the Swedish Institute, took part in the state visit. Photo: royalcourt.se

Annika Rembe is Director General of the Swedish Institute, and was one of the hosts for the reception at the Swedish cultural centre in Paris.

What is the role of the Swedish Institute in a state visit?
We often take part in state visits and help to draw up the programme. This could involve elements such as film festivals, exhibitions, dramatic art and seminars within a variety of different areas. The Swedish Institute has a broad mandate.

Who has been invited to the reception here this evening?
Mainly Swedes living in Paris: artists, writers, students and others who live and work here. There's a real sense of pride at being part of the Swedish colony here, and a great interest in meeting The King and Queen.

The Swedish Institute is a state agency that has been tasked with spreading information about Sweden abroad. Its work includes raising awareness of Swedish social and cultural life, and promoting an exchange of ideas and knowledge within culture, education, research and society. The institute also teaches Swedish as a foreign language abroad.

The King and the President of the Senate on their way into the Luxembourg Palace. Photo: royalcourt.se

The King and the President of the Senate on their way into the Luxembourg Palace. Photo: royalcourt.se

The King holds a meeting with the President of the Senate of France
16:04 The King arrived at the Luxembourg Palace, where the President of the Senate of France Gérard Larcher received The King, Minister for Employment Ylva Johansson and Minister for Energy Ibrahim Baylan for discussions on subjects including the environment and equality. 

The King is met by Ángel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD. Photo: Reuters

The King is met by Ángel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD. Photo: Reuters

The King attends the Green Economic Forum
At lunchtime, The King and Queen went their own separate ways. The King visited the OECD (the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) for lunch and to take part in the Green Economic Forum. The forum was arranged by Business Sweden together with the OECD.

15:15 The forum began. The theme was how companies can become more environmentally friendly while also remaining competitive. Minister for Enterprise and Innovation Mikael Damberg and Minister for Energy Ibrahim Baylan also took part in the forum, together with representatives from Swedish industry.

Secretary-General of the OECD Ángel Gurría gave an opening speech, in which he mentioned how Sweden showed early on how growth and the environment can be combined successfully. Sweden introduced a carbon tax back in 1991, amid the financial crisis. He also spoke about green commerce as a new mega trend. However, political courage, awareness and innovation are needed in order to make a successful transition to a green economy, particularly at the UN's climate summit to be held in France in 2015. A Franco-Swedish panel including Jacob Wallenberg (Investor), Leif Johansson (AstraZeneca), Elie Cohen (CNRS) and Catherine L Mann (OECD) then spoke about the green economy.

Business Sweden and the OECD arranged the Green Economic Forum. Photo: royalcourt.se

Business Sweden and the OECD arranged the Green Economic Forum. Photo: royalcourt.se

The OECDexternal link, opens in new window was formed in 1948 to coordinate the implementation of the Marshall Plan for rebuilding Europe after the Second World War. The organisation has its headquarters in Paris. Sweden joined in 1961, and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is the responsible authority and coordinates with the Government Offices of Sweden. The OECD evaluates and compares the various members' politics and policies to identify the best ways of creating economic growth and to highlight good examples. 

The Queen visits the Swedish School and the Swedish Church

While The King took part in the OECD's forum, The Queen visited the Swedish School and the Swedish Church in Paris. Her visit began with lunch at the Swedish Residence, on the theme of integration, bilingualism and education based on the work of the Swedish Church and the Swedish School in France. The Queen was joined on the visit by Minister for Employment Ylva Johansson.

15:05 The Queen was met at the premises shared by the Swedish School and the Swedish Church by Principal Marina Rondeau and Priest Tanja Kamensky, who – together with pupils and teachers – welcomed The Queen. During her visit, The Queen saw the church and the school and saw examples of their work, including the Christmas bazaar that was being prepared. 

The Queen during the visit to the Swedish School. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

The Queen during the visit to the Swedish School. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

The history of the Swedish Church in Paris stretches back to 1626, when the Sofia Church began holding services in Swedish for students at the Sorbonne. The current church was built in 1911-13. The most popular event in the church's calendar is the Christmas bazaar, which attracts many Swedish and French visitors.

The Swedish School in Paris is the world's oldest overseas school, and was established in 1878. The school has been attached to the Church of Sweden since 1911, and currently has around 100 pupils from preschool to upper secondary age. 

The King and Queen visit the PSG Foundation
12:48 The King and Queen visited the football club Paris Saint-Germain FC's PSG Foundationexternal link, opens in new window at the team's home arena, the Parc des Princes. They were welcomed by the team's owner, Nasser Al-Khelaffi, who – together with director Christine Le Gal – explained how the foundation finances sporting, educational and health-related activities for young people in socially disadvantaged areas. The aim is to improve integration through football. PSG currently has three Swedish players: Caroline Seger, Kosovare Asllani and Zlatan Ibrahimović.   

The King and Queen with Zlatan Ibrahimović at the Parc des Princes. Photo: royalcourt.se

The King and Queen with Zlatan Ibrahimović at the Parc des Princes. Photo: royalcourt.se

Since being founded in 2000, the PSG Foundationexternal link, opens in new window has worked with more than 100,000 children and young people. The foundation will also be opening a centre called Rouge et Bleu Schools, where children and young people can get help combining their homework with physical training as a way of combating isolation.

Football is a popular sport in France, not least since the country's victory on home soil in the 1998 World Cup. France will host the Euro 2016 tournament. 

Meeting with President Hollande
11:40 President François Hollande met The King and Queen on the steps at the Élysée Palace. An informal meeting was held, and gifts were exchanged.

The King and Queen with President Hollande outside the Élysée Palace. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

The King and Queen with President Hollande outside the Élysée Palace. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

The Élysée Palace is the official residence of the President of France. The French Government also meets here. The palace was built in 1722, and has been the residence of the President of France since 1873. 

Welcoming ceremony at the Hôtel des Invalides
10:48 The King and Queen's second state visit to France began with a welcoming ceremony at the Hôtel des Invalides, one of Paris' most prominent buildings.

The Hôtel des Invalides. Photo: royalcourt.se

The Hôtel des Invalides. Photo: royalcourt.se

Work began on the Hôtel des Invalides towards the end of the 17th century, inspired by St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Made up of several buildings, the complex houses museums and monuments, as well as a hospital for war veterans. The Hôtel des Invalides is also the burial site of Napoleon Bonaparte.

At the welcoming ceremony, The King and Queen were greeted by Secretary of State for European Affairs Harlem Désir and Military Governor of Paris Hervé Charpentier. After the national anthems had been played in accordance with military protocol, The King inspected the guard of honour together with Secretary of State Désir. The King and Queen were also given a brief guided tour of the Hôtel des Invalides by museum director Christian Baptiste.