Special signs of Franco-German friendship
The meeting to mark the end of Merkel’s term in office did not take place in the French capital of Paris but in the small town of Beaune in the heart of the Burgundy wine region. French President Emmanuel Macron received the Federal Chancellor in the town’s historic centre. The programme included a tour of the old town, a piano recital and a visit to the medieval hospice Hôtel-Dieu. The wine-producing town of Beaune is situated some 40 kilometres south of Dijon.
Over dinner, the President bestowed the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour (“Légion d’honneur”) on the Federal Chancellor – the highest French order of merit. This honour is in recognition of Merkel’s outstanding commitment to good relations between the two countries and reflects the particularly effective and trusting collaboration between the Federal Chancellor and the French President.
The Grand Cross is the highest of the five orders of merit within the French Legion of Honour and is awarded to civilian and military persons who have made an outstanding contribution to France. Not only French dignitaries receive this honour – it can also go to international personalities. In this case it is a tribute to Angela Merkel’s outstanding commitment to Franco-German relations.
Previous recipients of the Grand Cross include former Federal President Joachim Gauck, former Federal Chancellor Willy Brandt and also the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Konrad Adenauer.