Destinations Magazine

France and America: Mr Hollande Goes to Washington

By Stizzard
France and America: Mr Hollande goes to Washington So who wants croissants for breakfast?

THIRTY years ago a French Socialist president flew to Silicon Valley to see the future. Coming from the country that invented the Minitel, François Mitterrand was a credible techno-enthusiast, and he was inspired by meeting a 29-year-old Valley entrepreneur called Steve Jobs. Next week another French Socialist president will drop in on the Valley as part of a three-day state visit to America. But François Hollande will come with a less tech-friendly image—and a need to persuade Americans that France is not about the past.This is the first state visit to America by a French president since 1996. Mr Hollande will get full honours, including a black-tie White House dinner and a trip with Barack Obama on Air Force One. In many ways, the visit is well timed. France is not just America’s oldest ally. Mr Hollande also has a claim to be America’s most hawkish European friend, when there is concern over American disengagement. Since his election in 2012 he has sent French troops into Mali to push back an incursion by Islamists tied to al-Qaeda, and more recently into the Central African Republic to halt “…

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