Readout from meeting between Mayor Eric Johnson and Ambassador of France to the United States Philippe Étienne
DALLAS — Mayor Eric Johnson on Friday hosted the Ambassador of France to the United States Philippe Étienne and Consul General Valerie Baraban at Dallas City Hall.
Mayor Johnson — who was joined by his staff and Mayor’s International Advisory Council Chairwoman Jeanne L. Phillips — met the ambassador and consul general in the ceremonial Flag Room, where they exchanged gifts and provided brief statements to the assembled media.
Mayor Johnson and Ambassador Étienne proceeded into the Dallas City Council chambers, where the mayor talked about the building’s unique architecture. They then moved to the mayor’s conference room for a formal meeting over coffee.
Ambassador Étienne began the meeting by inquiring about the reasons for the city’s success and growth. Mayor Johnson and Phillips highlighted the city’s business-friendly climate, the relative affordability for former residents of coastal cities, the excellent quality of life, and the increasing focus on creating more dense, walkable development in an expansive car-friendly city. The group also discussed education and agreed to work together to find opportunities to offer and expand French language programs for Dallas students.
The ambassador and the mayor also discussed the new direct flights to Paris that will begin later this month on Air France. American Airlines, which is based in the region, currently operates non-stop service. These new direct connections will help Dallas celebrate its 65-year anniversary of becoming a Twin City with Dijon, France — Dallas’ oldest city-to-city relationship. The agreement between the two cities was established in 1957 for the Neiman Marcus Fortnight. Mayor Johnson committed to visiting France and Dijon in 2022.
Finally, the ambassador and the mayor discussed their shared desire to open an official French trade office in Dallas. France would be the first country to do so in Dallas. Negotiations have progressed in recent months, and potential locations have been discussed.
The meeting concluded to allow Ambassador Étienne to conduct a virtual live interview with ABC News from the mayor’s conference room.
More photos from the meeting are below.