President Tony Tan meets Paris mayor, mingles with Singaporeans in France

Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo (right) shakes hands with Singapore's President Tony Tan Keng yam (cetnre) and his wife Mary(left), as she welcomes them at the City Hall in Paris on May 20, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP
Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo (right) shakes hands with Singapore's President Tony Tan Keng yam (cetnre) and his wife Mary(left), as she welcomes them at the City Hall in Paris on May 20, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP

PARIS - President Tony Tan Keng Yam spent his last morning in Paris at the sprawling Hotel de Ville, where he met the city's mayor Anne Hidalgo and mingled with Singaporeans invited to a reception.

Dr Tan, who is in France for a week-long state visit, then moved on to Bordeaux for the next leg of his trip.

Arriving on Wednesday morning at the Hotel de Ville, the seat of the local administration since 1357, Dr Tan received a red carpet welcome. The current building, with its sweeping corridors and grand stairways, was built on the site of the former Hotel de Ville, which was burnt down in 1871.

Dr Tan and the mayor had a a good exchange on the challenges faced by cities such as Singapore and Paris, according to Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The two looked forward to greater city-to-city cooperation, especially in the development of smart cities, urban solutions, entrepreneurship and climate change.

Dr Tan also welcomed Paris' intention to bid for the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize. Organised by the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore and the Centre for Liveable Cities, the biennial prize honours vibrant and sustainable cities around the world.

After meeting with Ms Hidalgo, Dr Tan then mingled with about 30 Singaporeans living in France, who were invited to a reception organised by the mayor's office.

They included students on exchange programmes, businessmen and Singaporeans married to French nationals.

In the afternoon, Dr Tan left via train for the port city of Bordeaux in southwestern France, over three hours from Paris by high speed rail.

There, he will be hosted to dinner by France's secretary of state for foreign trade, tourism promotion and French citizens abroad Matthias Fekly.

The dinner will be held at the residence of the prefect of Gironde, Mr Pierre Dartout. He is the state's representative for the department of Gironde, of which Bordeaux is a part.

On Thursday, Dr Tan will make a trip to Cazaux Air Base, about 60km outside Bordeaux, to meet Singaporean personnel and their families based there.

The Republic of Singapore Air Force's (RSAF) 150 Squadron - its advanced jet training detachment - has been training its fighter pilots in Cazaux since 1998. Dr Tan had visited the air base then, when he was deputy prime minister and defence minister.

About 60 RSAF personnel and their families currently live on the base.