Nepal and France might be celebrating 70 years of diplomatic ties, but the links between the two countries began to be forged centuries earlier.
In the 1600s cloth merchant Jean-Baptiste Travernier became the first French citizen in Nepal, according to the book Six Voyages of Baron Aubonne, published in 1676. Other merchants and missionaries followed, including the Jesuit priest Dorville in 1665, who mentions the two cities of, ‘Catmandir’ and ‘Patan’ in one of his accounts sent to Rome. In the other direction, the 1908 European trip that inspired Chandra Shumsher’s modernisation drive also included a stop in France.
All these events, and much more, are on display at Alliance Française Kathmandu, in a photo exhibition marking Nepal-France ties over the centuries. Highlighted are the past 70 years of the modern diplomatic relationship, with photographic evidence filling the white walls of the auditorium, including the Prime Minister KP Oli’s visit in June 2019.
Read also: Ancient Panauti’s French Connection, Nepali Times