France’s Macron pays tribute, bids ‘adieu’ to Merkel | DW | 03.11.2021
Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the town of Beaune with her host, French President Emmanuel Macron, Wednesday on what is her farewell visit to France as chancellor.
Rather than a state dinner at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Macron opted for a truly French experience in his selection of Beaune, located in the heart of France’s Burgundy wine-growing region.
Macron was to present Merkel with the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor, France’s highest award, after a reception at the Chateau du Clos de Vougeot and a piano recital by Alexandre Kantorow. Macron’s wife Brigitte and Merkel’s husband Joachim Sauer accompanied them.
They also toured the Hospices de Beaune, a former hospital for the poor that is now home to an annual wine auction for charity. Its colorful glazed-tile roof is considered a top tourist draw. They were also to be inducted into the Fraternity of Knights of the Wine-Tasters’ Cup.
A place where Merkel ‘can really experience France’
Hundreds of locals gathered in Beaune’s town square at sunset while the two couples visited a wine shop and received flowers and wine.
“This is a wonderful place where you can really experience France,” Merkel said.
Writing on Twitter in French and German, Macron said: “Welcome to Beaune dear Angela. France loves you.”
A place that symbolizes European integration
In 1993, then German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and French President Francois Mitterrand called for closer European integration during a Franco-German summit in Beaune.
Both Merkel and Macron support European integration. The two worked closely during the COVID-19 crisis.
During a joint Franco-German Cabinet meeting in June that was Merkel’s last, Macron thanked her for her work improving bilateral relations.
At that meeting, Macron told Merkel: “Allow me to say how much the Franco-German relationship owes to your commitment, your determination, sometimes your patience with us, and your ability to listen.”
Macron is the fourth president at the Elysee Palace over the duration of Merkel’s 16 years at the helm in Germany. She will step down when the three parties hammering out a coalition in Germany form a government, which they have said will hopefully be by December.
ar/nm (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)