The Queen today left Waterloo station on Eurostar to begin her three-day state visit to France.
Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, and 200 British children, she began the centenary celebrations of the Entente Cordiale by naming one of the trains after Anglo-French pact.
The children are participating in a Franco-British Education agreement signed last year.
President Jacques Chirac and Jean-Pierre Raffarin, the French Prime Minister,Â will welcome her at Gard du Nord in Paris this afternoon.
She will then take part in a military ceremony on the Champs-Elysees, to be followed by a state banquet with M Chirac at the presidential Elysees Palace.
The Queen, a devoted equestrian, is expected to visit France’s elite Cadre Noir dressage team tomorrow.
She will also visit the Louvre Museum, attend a dinnerÂ and visit Toulouse in the south of France to see the headquarters of the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus.
The Entente Cordiale was seen as crucial in ensuring co-operation between Britain and France in the run-up to First World War.0