France celebrates National Day at Expo 2020 Dubai
DUBAI, 3rd October, 2021 – France kicked off Expo 2020 Dubai’s National Day celebrations on Saturday with a host of spectacular activities, including a video message from astronaut Thomas Pesquet beamed from the International Space Station (ISS), and an awe-inspiring aerobatic display by the French Air Force’s renowned Patrouille de France.
Leading the way for the 192 countries participating in the six-month celebration, France is the first to host its National Day, celebrating the country’s people, places, businesses, innovations and cultures, and helping to inspire new ways of thinking and international collaboration.
A delegation from France, including its Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian, and Minister Delegate of Foreign Trade and Attractiveness Franck Riester, attended the festivities.
Sheikh Nahyan Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence and Commissioner General of Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “It’s an honour to be with you today to celebrate Expo 2020’s first National Day, the National Day of the French Republic.
“As a leader in the global transition towards a sustainable future, France has been spearheading key global commitments such as the Paris Climate Agreement, the ‘One Planet’ initiative, as well as countless key efforts, and the French Pavilion is a reflection of that.
A unique representation of a sustainable design, 80 percent of the pavilion’s energy is self-generated, and its theme, ‘France, Lightspeed Inspiration’, embodies France’s vision and highlights its many successes in the shift towards innovative eco-friendly and user-oriented mobility solutions.
Erik Linquier, Commissioner General of France at Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “This exceptional day is a wonderful opportunity for France to showcase its artistic and cultural diversity to an international audience.
The France Pavilion is a showcase of unique and daring French innovations and creations, all in the fields that make the history of humanity a history of progress.
France’s National Day celebrations were spread across Expo 2020 Dubai, with the main activities taking place at Al Wasl Plaza, including a 15-minute exchange between celebrated astronaut and France Pavilion Ambassador Thomas Pesquet and the French delegation in Dubai.
Pesquet, who returned to space in April 2021, is on his second six-month stay on the ISS.
The legendary Patrouille de France, the aerobatic team of the French Air Force, painted the skies blue, white and red during a dynamic aviation display above Expo.
The unit traditionally opens the Bastille Day military parade in Paris and is considered among the world’s finest.
Other performances throughout the day and across the Expo site included double world beatbox champions Berywam; stilt-walker company La Zizanie; and Cécilia Bengolea and François Chaignaud’s breath-taking choreography GrimeLove, performed by an ensemble from the Ballet National de Marseille.
Children were enraptured by Mister Sigrid, a crazy hatter who dressed visitors with eye-catching headgear in the colours of the French flag, while students from seven French schools in the UAE took part in a parade to highlight a message of universality and showcase the history of France.
National and Honour Days at Expo 2020 Dubai are moments to celebrate each of its 200-plus International Participants, shining a light on their culture and achievements and showcasing their pavilions and programming.
Each features a flag-raising ceremony at the Stage of Nations in Al Wasl Plaza, followed by speeches and cultural performances.
France has a long tradition of hosting World Expos, organising six in Paris, including the second World Expo in 1855.
The Eiffel Tower was built for the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris, and France is home to the governing body of World Expos, the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE).
The France Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai is located in the Mobility District.
It seeks to explore light as an enabler of progress, a vehicle for connections and a source of creativity.
Designed as a link between France’s proud universal heritage and a more inclusive world for today, it offers solutions to build a more sustainable and more resilient world, in accordance with the United Nations 2030 Agenda.
Visitors are transported into a glittering, Monet-inspired vision of the country’s sustainable future.
The visitor experience revolves around light, and this unifying theme has been present since the start of the project – both in the pavilion architecture and in its exhibitions and event programming schedule.
Jessica Préalpato – Head Pastry Chef at the Alain Ducasse Restaurant and named World’s Best Pastry Chef in 2019 by the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards – and astronaut Pesquet are ambassadors of the France Pavilion, selected for their humanitarian commitments.
The duo embody French audacity and art de vivre: values that the pavilion is designed to showcase.
One of the first global mega-events to take place since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Expo 2020 is inviting visitors from around the world to join the making of a new world until 31 March 2022, in a six-month celebration of human creativity, innovation, progress and culture.