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News

Governor General to Undertake Official Visit to France

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May 4, 2008

OTTAWA—At the invitation of His Excellency Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the French Republic, and at the request of the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, will make an official visit to France from May 6 to 10, 2008, with her husband, His Excellency Jean-Daniel Lafond. 

They will take part in the French ceremony celebrating Victory in Europe Day with President Sarkozy in Ouistreham, Normandy. The Governor General will then welcome the President of the French Republic to the Canadian military cemetery at Bény-Reviers to pay their respects to Canadian soldiers.

At the invitation of the mayors of La Rochelle, Rochefort and Royan, Their Excellencies will accept, on behalf of the Canadian people, Le Grand Livre de Champlain, at a ceremony marking the 400th anniversary of the founding of the City of Québec, and take part in the festivities.

On the occasion of the May 10 anniversary of the abolition of slavery, at the invitation of Alain Juppé, Mayor of Bordeaux, Their Excellencies will meet with the people of Bordeaux to discuss the importance of remembering our past in order to better understand one another, to live in harmony, and to fight exclusion of any kind.

This Official visit will mark three significant events that are at the heart of the historic ties between Canada and France, as well as the values of solidarity that our two countries have forged over the years.

Please see the detailed itinerary for the official visit below (local time).

Paris—Tuesday, May 6

10:15 a.m. 
Official welcome of Their Excellencies
Their Excellencies will be welcomed upon their arrival at the Paris-Orly airport by the Minister of Education, Xavier Darcos.
OPEN TO MEDIA – Photo op of the official welcome and the Governor General’s review of the guard of honour.

12:30 p.m. 
Meeting with the Prime Minister of the French Republic
Their Excellencies will meet with the Prime Minister of the French Republic, His Excellency François Fillon, at Hôtel Matignon.
OPEN TO MEDIA – Photo op upon arrival at Hôtel Matignon, at the start of the meeting and upon exit of the hotel. The Governor General will make a brief statement.

Paris—Wednesday, May 7

10:00 a.m.
Meeting with the Mayor of Paris
Their Excellencies with meet with the Mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, at Paris city hall.
OPEN TO MEDIA – Photo op upon arrival at city hall and at the start of the meeting.

11:00 a.m. 
Meeting with the President of the National Assembly
Their Excellencies will meet with the President of the National Assembly, Bernard Accoyer, at Hôtel de Lassay.
OPEN TO MEDIA – Photo op upon arrival at Hôtel de Lassay, during the review of the guard of honour and at the start of the meeting.

1:00 pm.
Lunch with the President of the Senate
Their Excellencies will meet with the President of the Senate, His Excellency Christian Poncelet, during a lunch at the Palais du Petit Luxembourg. The Governor General will deliver a speech honouring Canadian and French parliamentarians.
OPEN TO MEDIA – Photo op upon arrival at the Palais du Petit Luxembourg, during the review of the guard of honour and during the Governor General’s speech.

4:30 p.m.
Meeting with the President of the French Republic
Their Excellencies will meet with the President of the French Republic, His Excellency Nicolas Sarkozy, at the Palais de l’Élysée.
OPEN TO MEDIA –Photo op upon arrival at the Palais de l’Élysée, at the start of the meeting and upon exit of the Palais. The Governor General will make a brief statement.


8:00 p.m.
Reception at the home of Canada’s Ambassador to the French Republic 
Their Excellencies will attend a reception given by Canada’s Ambassador to the French Republic, Marc Lortie. Their Excellencies will deliver a speech for the occasion and will present the insignia of Officer of the Order of Canada to a French public figure.
OPEN TO MEDIA – Photo op at the beginning of the reception, during the speeches and during the presentation of the insignia of the Order of Canada.


Ouistreham, Bény-Reviers and La Rochelle—Thursday, May 8

11:30 a.m. 
Ceremony commemorating the 63rd anniversary of Victory in Europe Day
Their Excellencies will visit the beach at Ouistreham, in Normandy, where they will be welcomed by the President of the French Republic, His Excellency Nicolas Sarkozy, at a ceremony marking the 63rd anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, May 8, 1945.
OPEN TO MEDIA – Members of the media will be able to cover the ceremony.

12:45 p.m. 
Ceremony at the Canadian military cemetery at Bény-Reviers
The Governor General of Canada will welcome the President of the French Republic, His Excellency Nicolas Sarkozy, to the Canadian military cemetery at Bény-Reviers to pay their respects to the Canadian soldiers buried there. During the ceremony, the Governor General and the President of the French Republic will visit the cemetery, deliver a speech and place a wreath together.
OPEN TO MEDIA – Members of the media will be able to cover the ceremony.

3:30 p.m. 
Presentation of the Grand Livre de Champlain at La Rochelle
During an official ceremony that will take place at the Bassin des Chalutiers, Their Excellencies will accept Le Grand Livre de Champlain from the mayors of La Rochelle and Rochefort and the President of the Agglomération Royan Atlantique on behalf of the people of Canada. This remarkable work of art will be on display at the Residence of the Governor General at the Citadelle of Québec as of May 29, 2008.
OPEN TO MEDIA – Members of the media will be able to cover the ceremony.

4:15 p.m.
Their Excellencies will bid farewell to the crews of the Grande Traversée flotilla
Their Excellencies will board the Belem to bid farewell to the crews of the Grande Traversée flotilla, who will set sail on their transatlantic voyage to City of Québec from Bassin des Chalutiers.
OPEN TO MEDIA – Photo op on board the Belem.

8:00 p.m.
Inauguration of the Centre d’interprétation sur la Nouvelle-France in La Rochelle
Their Excellencies will take part in the inauguration of an interpretation centre on New France, during which the Governor General and other dignitaries will deliver a speech.
OPEN TO MEDIA – Members of the media will be able to cover the ceremony.

9:15 p.m.
Reception given by the Deputy Mayor of La Rochelle
Their Excellencies will attend a reception given by the Deputy Mayor of La Rochelle, Maxime Bono, at La Rochelle city hall.
OPEN TO MEDIA – Members of the media will be able to cover the beginning of the reception.

Bordeaux—Friday, May 9

3:30 p.m. 
Meeting with the Mayor of Bordeaux
Their Excellencies will meet with the Mayor of Bordeaux, Alain Juppé, at Palais Rohan.
OPEN TO MEDIA – Photo op at the start of the meeting.

4:10 p.m.
Travel by tram to the Quarter of Saint-Michel in Bordeaux
Their Excellencies will board a tram with the Mayor of Bordeaux, Alain Juppé, and travel to the Quarter of Saint-Michel. 
OPEN TO MEDIA – Members of the media will be able to board the tram and follow Their Excellencies during the visit to the Quarter of Saint-Michel.

4:55 p.m. 
Art Matters: Bordeaux-Québec with His Excellency Jean-Daniel Lafond
His Excellency Jean-Daniel Lafond will hold an Art Matters forum with the people involved in the Cap sur les ports francophones [setting sail for Francophone ports] project at the Centre d’information et d’activités musicales in Bordeaux. The theme of the discussion will be The Francophonies: Can this mobile and interconnected world promote the fair circulation of ideas and creators?
OPEN TO MEDIA – Members of the media will be able to cover the discussion.

5:00 p.m.
Discussion with the Mayor of Bordeaux and associations from the Quarter of Saint-Michel
Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean and the Mayor of Bordeaux, Alain Juppé, will meet with associations from the Saint-Michel neighbourhood, for a discussion on the theme How can we live together? What are the real challenges of integration?, at the Centre d’animation de Saint-Michel.
OPEN TO MEDIA – Members of the media will be able to cover the discussion.

8:30 p.m. 
Dinner hosted by the Mayor of Bordeaux
Their Excellencies will attend a dinner hosted by the Mayor of Bordeaux, Alain Juppé, at Palais Rohan.
OPEN TO MEDIA – Members of the media will be able to cover the dinner.

Bordeaux—Saturday, May 10

9:00 a.m.  
Roundtable discussion on the abolition of slavery
Their Excellencies will take part in a roundtable discussion with Canadian and French academics and writers on From the abolition of slavery to cultural diversity: Remembering the past to better understand one another today. This discussion will take place at the Centre d’arts plastiques et contemporains in Bordeaux.
OPEN TO MEDIA – Members of the media will be able to cover the discussion.

11:30 a.m. 
Ceremony marking the anniversary of the end of slavery
Their Excellencies will take part in a ceremony marking the anniversary of the end of slavery, which will take place at the Quai des Chartrons. The Governor General will deliver a speech.
OPEN TO MEDIA – Members of the media will be able to cover the ceremony.

1:00 p.m.
Lunch hosted by the chair of the Conseil régional d’Aquitaine
Their Excellencies will attend a lunch hosted by the chair of the Conseil régional d’Aquitaine, Alain Rousset, at the Maison du Fleuve.
OPEN TO MEDIA – Members of the media will be able to cover the lunch.

This itinerary is subject to change. For further information on the official visit, please visit our Web site at www.gg.ca.

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Images and photos of the official visit to France will be available upon request.

Media information
Marie-Eve Létourneau
Rideau Hall Press Office
613-302-0912
meletourneau@gg.ca

Marthe Blouin
Official spokesperson to the Governor General of Canada
613-993-0397
mblouin@gg.ca