Feb. 12 - French President Francois Hollande attends the White House ceremonial reception during his official State Visit with U.S. President Barack Obama. Sarah Toms reports.
French President Francois Hollande was the toast of Washington. Hollande was honoured at a lavish White House state dinner, capping a visit to renew the long partnership between the US and France. Diplomats and dignitaries from both countries joined Hollywood royalty -- such as actors Bradley Cooper and Julia Louis Dreyfus -- on the star-studded guest list. The two Presidents toasted their centuries old friendship.....and suggested a smoothing of relations after allegations of US spying and French opposition to the Iraq War. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING: "To our friend and partner President Hollande, to all of our friends from France who are here today, viva la France, God bless America, and long live the alliance between our great nations. A votre sante" (SOUNDBITE) (English/France) PRESIDENT OF FRANCE FRANCOIS HOLLANDE SAYING: "In honor of the United States of America of the President Barack Obama, Michelle, long live the United States, viva la France, Vive l'amitié de la France et les Etats-Unis." It is the first state dinner since 2011. It highlights the importance attached to the nations work together on Syria's civil war, attacks in Mali and Iran's nulcear programme. Around 350 people dined on caviar, quail eggs, rib-eye steak and icecream in a heated gazebo on the South Lawn..... They were seranded by the singer Mary J Blige. Hollande was tactfully seated between President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle...The French President had arrived in the US straight from a widely publicised split from his partner Valerie Trierweiler after rumours he had an affair with an actress.