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The British Ambassador's residence in Paris: 200 years old and still going strong

Our Ambassador launches a series of events to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the residence.

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Bicentenary logo - Credits: British Embassy Paris

Bicentenary logo - Credits: British Embassy Paris

As Ambassador to France, I and my wife have the huge good fortune to live in the lovely Hotel de Charost. This was bought in 1814 by the Duke of Wellington from Pauline Borghese, the sister of Napoleon. Since then it has been a place where British and French people from many walks of life have met to talk about the issues of the moment and plan together for the challenges of the future.

In celebrating the 200th anniversary, I am keen to keep up this great tradition to using the historic house as a place to work together on the future. So I am organising a series of events over the coming year, leading up to the actual anniversary when the Duke paid up for the house, in October. Over the year, we will hold a number of events showcasing Britain and France working together on some of the major issues for the future. For example:

We will have an event dedicated to cities of the future, inspired by the examples of Paris and London.

We will be bringing together some of the best and brightest young programmers from Britain and France to work together to come up with new ways of using government data to develop innovative products and services.

We will examine the role of innovation and excellence in sport, with Sir Dave Brailsford explaining the story behind the success of GB cycling and Team Sky, looking ahead to the start of the Tour de France in Yorkshire in 2014.

We will round off the series with a colloque in October 2014, where distinguished historians will discuss the big issues of 1814.

To kick off the series, Lord Chris Patten, the Chancellor of Oxford University and Chairman of the BBC Trust, gave a talk on 28 November. He reflected on the economic and political rise of China, and the implications of this for the US and Europe. In particular, he made the case for Britain and France to put old rivalries behind us, and challenged us to work even more closely together in the future to make sure that Europe’s many strengths count in the fast changing world of the 21st century.

Lord Patten’s speech

We will be putting the highlights from all the sessions on our website, Facebook and Twitter . Please join us through our social networking sites in celebrating this very special year.

Sir Peter Ricketts

Launch of our #BritsinFrance campaign

As part of our bicentenary celebrations we’re collating the stories of our citizens in France - to highlight the richness of experiences and the range of different ways Brits are contributing to UK-French understanding. Head to our Storify page to take a look at the fascinating stories we’ve collected so far.

If you’re interested in sharing what you do, why you came to France, what you love about the country and why you’ve stayed, simply leave us a comment on Facebook, tweet using the hashtag #BritsInFrance or email us at


Published 29 November 2013
Last updated 21 August 2014 + show all updates
  1. Updated version: Information about our bicentenary Storify account
  2. Updated version: information about our #BritsInFrance digital campaign, launched on 20 January 2014
  3. Added translation