French President Emmanuel Macron and US counterpart Donald Trump marked France’s Bastille Day together on Friday at a military parade that showcased their warming relations.
Macron invited Trump to be his guest of honour at the pomp-filled military parade down the Champs-Elysees which the two men watched with their wives.
Bastille Day commemorates the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789 — the start of the French Revolution and a turning point in world history.
This year’s Bastille Day celebrations were also tinged with mourning, one year on since a vicious Islamist attack in the Mediterranean city of Nice where a man drove a truck into a crowd, killing 86 people.
The Paris parade this year also marked the centenary of the United States entering World War I in 1917 and was set to feature 63 planes, 29 helicopters, 241 horses and 3,720 soldiers.
Macron, standing in a jeep surrounded by dozens of republican guardsmen on horseback, smiled and waved to the crowds amassed along the Champs-Elysees as he arrived for the parade.
“This is a wonderful national celebration,” Trump said at a joint news conference with Macron on Thursday, adding: “We look very much forward to it. Spectacular.”
“Our two nations are forever joined together by the spirit of revolution and the fight for freedom,” he added.
Macron rolled out the red carpet for Trump’s two-day visit, hoping to improve relations and persuade the US president to change his mind about withdrawing from the global Paris agreement on climate change.
The warm body language between the two leaders evident in Paris was at odds with broader concerns about the transatlantic relationship since Trump’s election victory in November last year.