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Putin, Macron take tour of exhibition devoted to Peter I’s visit to France

The two Presidents left their entries in the books of honorary visitors

VERSAILLES, May 29. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday had a tour of the exhibition ‘Peter the Great. A Czar in France. 1717’ in Versailles in the framework of Putin’s working visit to France.

Familiarization with the display took about 40 minutes and the two Presidents left their entries in the books of honorary visitors.

"Many thanks to the organizers and sponsors of the display that reaffirms the historic cultural and business ties between France and Russia - the ties looking into the future," Putin wrote down.

At the end of the visit to the Grand Trianon chateau Putin presented a copy of the Book of Angels (the Reims Gospel) to the Museum. The Reims Gospel is the book on which the French rulers took oath. One of them was Anna Yaroslavna, the youngest daughter of the Duke of Kiev Yaroslav who married Henry I and became the queen of France.

"This is the Gospel on which many French Kings took the oath of allegiance," Putin said, making reference to the history of the book, the language of which - Old Church Slavonic - the French could not identify for centuries. "When Peter I came to France, he was given the book, opened it and started reading the text aloud. That’s because he knew the language. He even attended to priests at church services."

"This is why we ordered two copies of the book - one for the President and one that we’ll leave here at Versailles," he said.

The exhibition ‘Peter the Great. A Czar in France. 1717’ was prepared by the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. It highlights the czarist visit to France in 1717 and it will be open for general visitors from May 20 through to September 24.

Visitors will see around 180 exhibits from the Hermitage Museum collection. The list of exhibits includes Czar Peter’s suit and the personal belonging he took along on trips to Europe, as well as the exhibits providing insight into his first grand European tour of 1697 and 1698.

Besides Versailles and the Hermitage Museum, loans for the exhibition have come from French archives and libraries and from the Library of the Russian Academy of Sciences that has loaned books and albums from Czar Peter’s personal library.

Peter’s visit to France, the first one ever made by a Russian monarch to this country, marked a crucial event in Russo-French relations. It took place from April through to June 1717.

In Paris, Peter met with the seven-year-old King Louis XV and the regent of the French Kingdom, Philippe II Duke of Orleans. He visited Versailles twice.

The goal of his visit was to hold diplomatic talks related to the Great Northern War but the Russian Czar spent much time visiting royal residences and state institutions.