Yesterday, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa spent their third and last day in France. In the morning, they travelled by plane from Paris to Toulouse, in the south of France.
Several organisations based in Toulouse are active in the fields of aerospace and research, thus contributing to the international reputation of the city. The city has also been awarded the label “European City of Science” for 2018.
The Grand Ducal Couple and the delegation first visited the National Center for Space Studies (CNES) to see, among others, the French Instrument Mars Operation Center (FIMOC), a centre for French instrument operations for the Mars mission. Thanks to the FIMOC, the researchers can control two instruments for analyzing rocks and soils embarked on the Rover Curiosity during its mission to explore the crater Gale of the planet Mars. This mission aims to determine if the planet Mars is habitable.
Afterwards, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa were welcomed by the Mayor of Toulouse, Jean-Luc Moudenc at the City Hall. After a private meeting, they had the opportunity to visit the Hall of Illustrious whose paintings retrace the history of the city and to meet with Luxembourg nationals and local authorities.
Then they had lunch with the Prefect of the region before visiting the Quai des Savoirs, a cultural space dedicated to the dissemination and sharing of scientific, technical and industrial culture, innovation, and digital technology. They visited the #HumainDemain exhibit which aims to make its visitors aware of the issues and impacts of scientific and technological innovations on their daily lives and those of future generations.
In the afternoon, they visited the Airbus company to see the Airbus 380 assembly line and hear a general presentation of the company’s activities. This event, the last one of this state visit, allowed the Deputy Prime Minister Étienne Schneider and Airbus Vice President for Strategy and International Affairs, Patrick de Castelbajac, to sign a framework agreement under the supervision of Grand Duke Henri. This agreement aims to strengthen the long-term development and research between Luxembourg and Airbus in the areas of cybersecurity and space technologies.
After this event, the Grand Ducal couple and the delegation left Toulouse to go back to Luxembourg after an eventful and successful state visit.