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Bulletproof screens, snipers and haute cuisine: Paris prepares for Trump's visit

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Bulletproof screens, snipers and haute cuisine: Paris prepares for Trump's visit
Photo: AFP
12:06 CEST+02:00
US President Donald Trump arrives in the French capital on Thursday and the final preparations are being made for a visit in which his French hosts are determined to show Trump that "Paris is still Paris".

News that Donald Trump had been invited to be the guest of honour at this July 14th celebrations in Paris, certainly did not go down well with everyone in France.

It wasn't long ago that Trump angered many in the French capital not least the city's mayor when he suggested France and Paris had changed beyond recognition, hinting that immigration from Islamic countries was to blame.

"I wouldn't go to France. France is no longer France," were Trump's words after the jihadist murder of a priest July last year.

Those remarks came after he previously said "unfortunately France isn't what it was and Paris neither."

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo hit back, calling Trump "unfriendly" and blasting the US for its record on gun crime.

Yet the pair will likely cross paths this weekend when Trump spends two days in the French capital for the Bastille Day celebrations, which will see him attend the annual July 14th parade on the Champs-Elysées.

According to Europe1, one of the main aims of the French hosts is to show Trump that Paris is still indeed Paris and not some kind of no-go zone as Trump and sections of the right wing US media have suggested in the past.

The US president is due to arrive at Orly airport on Thursday morning, where he will be picked up in his armoured limousine, a bomb-proof vehicle dubbed "the beast", that he takes on all foreign trips.

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He will also be accompanied by a delegation of around 300, according to French sources, for a visit that will see maximum security in Paris and parts of the city in lock-down.

Given the ongoing terror threat security in Paris for July 14th would have been at a heightened level, but with Trump in town it will no doubt be at maximum, with the usual snipers positioned high above the Champs-Elysées.

Trump's own security team will have the last say on the president's movements.

After he arrives Trump is expected to pay a visit to the American Cemetery in Suresnes, to the west of Paris to pay tribute to those US soldiers who died on French soil.

He is also then due to lay a wreath at the nearby Memorial de L'Escadrille La Fayette, which is in honour of American pilots, who fought in World War One.

He will officially meet the French president Emmanuel Macron at the Hôtel National des Invalides at around 15.30 before heading to the Elysée Palace for talks with his French counterpart. 

On the agenda is likely to be the fight against terrorism, international trade and the environment, with Macron heavily critical of Trump's decision to pull the US out of the Paris climate deal.

A press conference is due to take place after their meeting. It is scheduled for 18.45.

Thursday evening's programme has not been revealed publicly, however it is understood that, following a reception at the Ministry of Defence, Trump and Macron and their partners will head to the swanky Jules Verne restaurant on the second floor of the Eiffel Tower, where they will dine on blue lobster and caviar overlooking the French capital.

Macron to treat Trump to blue lobster in plush Eiffel Tower restaurant

Although the Elysée Palace has not confirmed the location for the dinner, they did confirm they were looking for an "exterior" location for Thursday's dinner.

However a member of staff at Jules Verne told The Local this week that the public could not reserve tables for Thursday night because it was booked out for Trump's visit.

It's not clear where Trump will spend Thursday night. The American embassy declined to say whether the president would be staying there. But given that there is currently no US Ambassador in place, with Trump having failed to have appointed one, there should be plenty of room at the Embassy which is next to the Elysée Palace.

On Friday morning Trump and Macron will head down to the Champs-Elyseés, the famous avenue where the annual July 14th will take place.

According to the French media Trump will be sat in the stand behind a bullet-proof screen which is apparently required whenever the US president takes a seat in front of the public.

 

This year, the event will mark "the 100th anniversary of the US joining the war with French troops in World War I".
 
Trump will see US soldiers march alongside French troops on the famous avenue to commemorate the centenary of America entering World War I.
 
Once the parade is over, Macron is due to head to Nice for a memorial service for the victims of last year's July 14th Nice terror attack which saw 86 people killed when a radicalised Tunisian man rammed his truck into a crowd.
 
Trump will then leave Paris, on Friday afternoon so will unfortunately miss out out on the annual fireworks parade and fireman's balls that will take place across the city.
 
However hopefully he will leave with a different impression of the city than he had when he arrived.
 
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