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King Charles to visit Notre-Dame, Champs-Elysées and Versailles on France trip

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
King Charles to visit Notre-Dame, Champs-Elysées and Versailles on France trip
Britain's King Charles, then Prince of Wales, meeting French President Emmanuel Macron in 2021. Photo by Paul ELLIS / POOL / AFP

Royalty fans will get a glimpse of Britain's King Charles III and Queen Camilla as they descend the Champs-Elysées avenue in Paris on Wednesday at the start of a state visit, according to President Macron's office.

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At around 3pm on the opening day of the three-day trip, the royal couple, accompanied by President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte, will attend a ceremony in memory of World War I and lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe landmark in the French capital.

Charles will then share a car, marked with the French Republic's insignia, with Macron to travel down the Champs-Elysées, as will Camilla and the French first lady, but in a separate vehicle, Macron's office said.

Charles III and Macron will then meet for a one-to-one discussion at the Elysée palace. Topics are to include biodiversity, climate change and a November summit in Britain on artificial intelligence (AI), as well as the situation in the Sahel region of Africa and the war in Ukraine, the presidency said.

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Both couples will get together in the evening for a state dinner at the Versailles Chateau, on the outskirts of Paris.

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The late Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip had lunch at Versailles during their first state visit to France in 1957.

Charles is "appreciative of the idea to walk in his mother's footsteps", the Elysée said.

The choice of Versailles, a royal residence built by French king Louis XIV now owned by the French republic, was also an opportunity "to make France shine" through one of the country's most-visited monuments, the presidency said.

Up to 180 people will be invited to the dinner in the Hall of Mirrors - 73 metres long and adorned with 357 mirrors - that was built to illustrate Louis's absolute power and dazzle visitors.

Swedish violinist Daniel Lozakovich will perform on the night.

On Thursday, Macron and Charles will pay a visit to the Notre-Dame cathedral, currently under restoration following a 2019 fire that destroyed its roof, and will also go to the Museum of Natural History to meet business leaders and talk about biodiversity.

Queen Camilla and Brigitte Macron meanwhile will present a new French-British literary prize to be awarded for the first time next year.

They will also travel to the northern suburb of Saint-Denis, home to a large ethnic minority population, and visit a centre for fashion crafts founded by celebrity house Chanel in the up-and-coming 19th district of the capital.

The royal couple then travels on to Bordeaux, southwest France, to conclude the visit that was originally scheduled for March but got postponed because of unrest in France over Macron's controversial reform of the French pensions system.

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