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Last Updated: Monday, 29 March, 2004, 14:34 GMT 15:34 UK
Queen will celebrate French ties
The Queen
The Queen will address the French parliament
The Queen will visit France to mark the centenary of close relations between the two countries.

One hundred years ago this year the Franco-British accords, or Entente Cordiale, put an end to centuries of rivalry between the two countries.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will begin their three-day visit next Monday - it will be the Queen's fourth state visit to France.

Previous visits took place in 1957, 1972 and 1992.

This is her first official trip to the region since 1998 when she unveiled a statue of Sir Winston Churchill and attended ceremonies to mark the 80th anniversary of the end of World War I.

Co-operative relationship

French foreign ministry officials said the Queen will be greeted by President Jacques Chirac and a banquet will be held in her honour.

This visit opens the celebrations for the Entente Cordiale whose anniversary will be celebrated with special energy
Herve Ladsous, French foreign ministry spokesman

The Queen will also address the French parliament, visit a cavalry school in western France and view a room in the Louvre gallery in Paris that will be dedicated to British art.

The visit will also include a lunch that has been organised by the French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin.

On the last day the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will visit the south-western city of Toulouse for lunch with the mayor and a tour of the headquarters of Airbus, the European aircraft manufacturer.

French foreign ministry spokesman Herve Ladsous said: "This visit opens the celebrations for the centenary of the Entente Cordiale, the agreements signed by the United Kingdom and France on April 8, 1904 and whose anniversary this year will be celebrated with special energy."

The accords laid the foundations for a co-operative relationship that served through two world wars.

The Queen will also visit France in June when she commemorates the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy.

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