French Ambassador to Vietnam Bertrand Lortholary addresses the opening ceremony of Balade en France 2018 in Hanoi on December 14 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Balade en France 2018 (Walk in France) began on December 14 night in Hanoi as a concluding event of celebrations for the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between France and Vietnam and marking the fifth anniversary of bilateral strategic partnership.

Addressing the event, Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung said the event will strengthen the solidarity between Vietnam and international friends in general and between Vietnam and France in particular.

French Ambassador to Vietnam Bertrand Lortholary said 2018 marked successful cooperation in politics, economy, culture, education, healthcare, defence and the environment between the two countries, as evidenced by the visit to France by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in March, and Prime Minister Edouard Philippe’s visit to Vietnam in November.

He expressed his hope that Balade en France 2018 will tighten France-Vietnam ties.

A ceremony was held to light a 6m-tall Christmas tree made of recycled plastic bottles, sending out a message of protecting the environment.

The site of the event at Ly Thai To Square on Dinh Tien Hoang street and by Hoan Kiem Lake was set up like a Parisian street during Christmas time lined with shops and decorated with sparkling lights.

The Christmas tree made of recycled plastic bottles at the event (Photo: VNA)

Visitors will be able to enjoy French dishes offered by French restaurants in Hanoi, as well as cosmetics and technological products presented at 60 booths by French companies.

The event also features an extensive music programme with performances of French music group La Bella et la Bete, DJ Ouissam Mokretar and singer Kenijah David, and Vietnamese singers My Linh, Dong Lan, Trang Phap.

The festival will also include a workshop on theatre guided by French artist, director and actor-improviser Quentin Delorme.

A photo exhibition entitled France and I will display photos taken by former students in France and Francophiles, while screenings of animation movies competing at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival will also be held.

The three-day event is held in the capital for the first time, after nine consecutive years in Ho Chi Minh City.

Balade en France 2018 is organised by the French Embassy in Vietnam, the French Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the People’s Committee of Hanoi.-VNA