A very Happy New Year to everyone, and I wish you the best of good fortune in 2014. This is going to be a year of commemorations: we shall have the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Channel tunnel by President Mitterrand and Her Majesty the Queen ; the 70th anniversary of D-Day, with tremendous presence of veterans on the beaches of Normandy ; the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.
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But very special to us here in Paris, is the 200th anniversary of the Duke of Wellington buying this wonderful residence from Pauline Borghese in 1814.
So there is a lot to think about in terms of the history of relations between France and Britain.
But I want also to have an opportunity to hear the stories of people from the UK living and working in France, because Franco-British relations are not just about what governments and the official machines do together.
It’s about the stories of people, and I’m constantly amazed in this job by the range and the richness of experiences of British people living here, contributing in a whole range of different ways to UK-French understanding.
So this year, we’re going to open on our social networking sites a platform where you can contribute your story, something special, something interesting, something amusing about your experiences in France, which we are going to assemble as part of our celebration of 200 years of Franco-British cooperation going on, here in Paris. Thank you.
We are starting this #BritsinFrance campaign with the story of our colleague Pamela Deegan, Vice-Consul in the Consular Services of the British Embassy in Paris. She was awarded a British Empire Medal in the 2014 New Years Honours list for Services to British Consular Services in France. Congratulations Pam!