Nepal-France ties in photos

Nepal and France might be celebrating 70 years of diplomatic ties, but the links between the two countries began to be forged centuries earlier.

In the 1600s cloth merchant Jean-Baptiste Travernier became the first French citizen in Nepal, according to the book Six Voyages of Baron Aubonne, published in 1676. Other merchants and missionaries followed, including the Jesuit priest Dorville in 1665, who mentions the two cities of, ‘Catmandir’ and ‘Patan’ in one of his accounts sent to Rome. In the other direction, the 1908 European trip that inspired Chandra Shumsher’s modernisation drive also included a stop in France.

All these events, and much more, are on display at Alliance Française Kathmandu, in a photo exhibition marking Nepal-France ties over the centuries. Highlighted are the past 70 years of the modern diplomatic relationship, with photographic evidence filling the white walls of the auditorium, including the Prime Minister KP Oli’s visit in June 2019.

Read also: Ancient Panauti’s French Connection, Nepali Times

The exhibition reveals some interesting and previously unknown facts about France in Nepal, such as the French influence in the military uniform of Prime Minister Bhimsen Thapa. Also, the sword of Prime Minister Jung Bahadur Rana was gifted to him by Napoleon III, and is currently in the National Museum of Nepal.

Photographs display Gurkha soldiers fighting alongside French soldiers in World War I and II, those bonds ‘formed in blood’ crucial to the nascent diplomatic relationship between the two countries.

The last part of the exhibition highlights bilateral development projects and meetings, conversations and exchanges between the countries’ leaders and officials during the last 70 years.

The photo exhibition is colour-coded: the red section exhibits photographs from the years before diplomatic ties, blue indicates pictures taken during the past 70 years and green is used to highlight photos of the bilateral projects carried out by the two countries.

The exhibition will remain open until 30 September at the Alliance Française Kathmandu in Dhobighat.

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