French President Emmanuel Macron travels to Britain today for talks with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Mr Macron's visit will mark 80 years since exiled wartime resistance leader Charles de Gaulle made his famous call to a defeated France from London not to give into the Nazis.

It will be Mr Macron's first foreign trip since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Harking back to General de Gaulle's dramatic appeal on 18 June, 1940 from BBC studios will give Macron a chance to underline the importance of Anglo-French relations even after Brexit.

But beyond the historic symbolism, Mr Macron's meeting at 10 Downing Street with Mr Johnson will also focus on the grinding search for an agreement on Britain's exit from the EU.

Britain, which left the EU in January, is negotiating a trade deal to govern relations after 31 December, when it stops abiding by EU rules.

Mr Macron has on occasion expressed impatience with the drawn-out Brexit process.

In a sign of the tensions in the talks, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in an interview with the French daily La Croix that he still did not rule out a "no deal" scenario.

He said the UK might not have "understood the full magnitude of their withdrawal".

Mr Macron's status as a visiting foreign dignitary will spare him the controversial two-week virus quarantine now demanded by the British authorities of all visitors from abroad.

Before heading to Britain, he will take part in the traditional annual ceremony at Mont Valerien outside Paris, a memorial for the French who fought against the Nazis and those who were killed by the occupying forces.

On arrival in London he will meet Prince Charles, with both set to pay their respects to General de Gaulle and make speeches.

Mr Macron will award the Legion of Honour to London, making it the seventh city to be decorated with France's highest order of merit, after Algiers, Belgrade, Brazzaville, Liege, Luxembourg and Volgograd.


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He will then head to Downing Street for the talks with Mr Johnson, himself an avowed fan of Britain's wartime leader Winston Churchill who allowed General de Gaulle to broadcast from the BBC.

Mr Johnson has announced honorary British MBE awards to four surviving French resistance fighters - one aged 100 and three in their late 90s.

The London statue of Churchill that was controversially boxed up after anti-racism protests will be uncovered for Mr Macron's visit.

In his radio broadcast from London, de Gaulle urged all those who could to carry on fighting for France, words that laid the foundation of the resistance movement and helped keep alive hope that France would be liberated, as it finally was in 1944.

"Has the last word been said? Should hope disappear? Is the defeat final? No! Believe me, I... tell you that nothing is lost for France," he said.